Sunday, 28 July 2013

When friends become just friends

This is not about facebook friends. This is about real friends.

There are many reasons for a friendship or blood tie to crumble and fade away from your life. It could be because you've suddenly become busy with a new career, new love or even moved to a different place. Whatever the reason may be, a change is always hard to accept but you will get over it and move on because you know, it's the right thing to do. However, to lose this comforting closeness due to the arrival of a baby, is a little harder to accept.

I could go on babbling about how busy life gets with children but that's what, most parents use as their winning argument when complaining. It's not false, these reasons are valid but 8 years ago, it didn't dawn upon me to think about how this change would affect my friends.

I had been bestowed by a miracle of life, a tiny doll like playmate, who despite taking over my pre-baby lifestyle, managed to tattoo herself in my heart and was, perfect in every sense. I expected friends to understand and admire my new super powers; the ability to produce a life form.

With great power comes great responsibility.

Motherhood is liberating (I have never been braver to voice out my opinions) but limited (I had to put a halt on many personal interest). It changes you in ways you least expected it.
You become too preoccupied, ensuring you are doing everything right for your baby. You neglect yourself and people around, especially in the early days after delivery.

Real friends would stick around and give you the space to recover and get over the initial, 'I'm in love' phase. A feeling similar to that of teenage-love, where you cannot bear being separated from your boyfriend. Admiring everything about him, the way he speaks, laughs, plays football for the school team and everything he does, is wonderful to watch. 
With children, this phase tends to linger on for a couple of years!
This is when, friends start to fade away if you don't bounce back up and shed off, some of your preoccupied mind to make space for friends.

Things will never be the same again (sing it to TLC tune).

Free and easy, a term used very frequently in my pre-baby lifestyle, doesn't apply any longer in my post baby life. Every outing needs to be meticulously planned, especially if it's an adult only affair because it means my breastfed baby will be cared by another. Luckily for me, I didn't encounter many of these night.
I managed to have get-togethers which were good for kids and adults alike. You'd be amazed at how much fun it can be. Having more than a pair of hands to fuss over your 'mini-me' is great.

This is a fabulous way to stay connected with your friends and family. It is good for the children too because they learn to socialise early and would know how to carry themselves when they meet people out of their normal circle of friends. This was brilliantly proven during our recent holiday to a local beach. My girls were quick at making good judgments of characters and easily made friends with children from other cultures.

I am truly blessed to have found friends who have stuck with us from thick to thin.
Cheers to the years we have spent together and to many more!

You'll Never Walk Alone

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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Life is a little simpler with the 3Bs

With baby #3, I sweat a little less because I am calmer and more organised at handling her. I take things as they come and try not set any unrealistic goals, like I had done with my earlier two girls. In fact, I hardly set any goals this time around. You'll understand more by reading my thoughts on life with three children.


I never succeeded in exclusively breastfeeding my elder two children. Eldest was breastfed for 7 months but never exclusively. In a day, she was given a bottle or two of formula milk. 

My second child hardly had any breast milk because I was unaware and inexperienced. I thought perhaps, I couldn't produce enough milk to satisfy her needs. Also, giving up and switching to infant formula was much easier than getting her to latch on and not cry out each time I tried feeding her.

During my third pregnancy, I had time to research about the struggles of breastfeeding and joined some breastfeeding groups. I learned a lot by listening to experiences being shared and advises being given by breastfeeding mothers. I never knew the extent of initial struggles and sacrifices involved in being able to breastfeed exclusively.

I still remember my zombie-fied days and loneliness because I had to let my newborn suckle every hour! I remember not leaving my bedroom for weeks and the only time my baby was not latched on, was when I was having my meals or in the bathroom. I was breastfeeding and pumping, to increase my milk supply. It was very demotivating to see that I could only produce 2oz after 40 minutes of pumping!

I thought of giving up, but I had a good support system.

My numerous sad and desperate emails were always answered by my friends with encouraging words. Everything they said was so true, but was hard to believe it at that particular moment in my life.

Abort! Abort! Mission abort.

When my infant was about 7 weeks old, I was quite pooped because I haven't had a proper sleep for almost 4 days in a row. Apart from being kept awake by the baby, my eldest had developed fever. My husband was nursing her fever by continuously sponging and checking her temperature. I couldn't stop myself from going to her room and checking on her too.

Luckily her fever broke the day my husband  was to leave for his business trip (which he had already postponed). I assured him I could handle it own my own and he needn't worry.

It was a chaotic night. Imagine rushing from one room to the next, I had to closely monitor my eldest daughter's fever (although, it had gone down but she still got the cold shivers and would call for me to be next to her), keep an eye out at my second child, who was showing signs of infection catching on and feeding my newborn.
(The three of them were quarantined in separate rooms, hoping to contain the infectious bug).

I faltered and fell when I saw my newborn showing signs of infection. That was the last straw and I broke down. I knew then I could not do this own my own and when he called from the airport to check how I was doing, I begged him to return. I had caused him to abort boarding his scheduled airplane and rush back home. 

Although he had checked-in his luggage he didn't fail me. He ran the opposite direction while his name was being paged to board the flight. Must have been like a scene from a movie.

I am glad I stuck to it and after 7 weeks of nerve wrecking and almost going insane period was over, everything fell into place. Breastfeeding has made life a little simpler for me now. I am able to handle her night feeds on my own, unlike when I was bottle feeding.

A friend couldn't help himself from joking about the way we prepared baby formula. "It's like running a science lab!" he'd say each time he caught me preparing a feed for my baby. Come to think of it, it did seem like that. The process of measuring water in the bottle, followed by getting levelled scoops of formula milk into it, stirring gently to ensure not to produce too many air bubbles and finally checking to see the milk isn't too hot for the baby.
Imagine trying to achieve all that while holding a hungry crying baby.

Since breastfeeding, all I have to do is feed her. I can even do it while lying down!

Bed-sharing or co-sleeping

I had always practised co-sleeping. When my first child was born, she shared my room but had her own cot. We were hesitant to share our bed with her for fear of suffocating her with our pillows and blankets. I slept better knowing she was safe in her cot. I practised the same with baby #2.

Baby #3 never liked sleeping in the cot. She would not sleep in it and had no trouble voicing out her disapproval by keeping us awake, the whole night.

I finally succumbed to her demands and let instincts take over.

Bed-sharing sharing and breastfeeding jived well. Thanks to these, no more crying baby in the night. I am always ready to answer all her needs even before she gets a chance to voice it. Being a light sleeper also helps.


At about 2 months, my baby became aware of my movement. She could sense whenever I wasn't close to her and would cry. It got to the point where I wasn't able to take a shower. If I am next to her, she would sleep for 2 hours straight but would awake the moment I am not around.

Cooking was almost impossible while holding her in my arms. I had to rely on my oven and learn to bake my food instead of my usual stir fries and curries. I didn't want to chance any oil splatter on her while I was cooking AND holding her.

I am not sure how I stumbled upon the Malaysian Babywearers but I learnt a lot from them. I managed to carry her and complete many chores in the house. I didn't panic when she got up (before babywearing I would have to drop everything and rush to her) because I could carry on doing whatever I was while wearing her. It was amazing how she would sleep so soundly each time I carried her in a baby carrier.

I started off with a structured carrier which was lent to me by a mother front the group. This was really good during the day when it's hot. Then I was given a ring sling. Loved it to bits and it looked good too.
Finally, I bought my first wrap and then, there was no turning back. I was able to carry her in so many positions and do so much with it.

Travelling alone with my kids, was no sweat.

She is now 17 months and I still carry her everywhere I go. Having my hands free while carrying her is so rewarding. I don't think I will ever use my stroller because that slows me down, especially when I am  in crowded places. 

This article is also featured in local daily, The Star

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Sunday, 7 July 2013

Not my ordinary Friday morning.

Spring / Summer 2013 Catalogue Launch
With young fashionistas

"Mama, I've picked out my outfit for tomorrow's fashion show!" said K, gleefully showcasing her ensemble. She could not contain her excitement because she was about to be a young fashionista.

"Very nice!" I responded. "The outfit looks like Princess Jasmine's, but we need YOU, not Princess Jasmine for the event".

Excitedly she rummages through her closet again, looking for something that says 'her' and gets it right the second time around. However, her bedroom was in a mess with clothes strewn all over the place, thanks to her playing the fashion designer. 
I was about to lose it, then remembered that I just did the same thing in my bedroom. Apple does not fall far from its tree.

"Stay cool as a cucumber", I chanted and left the room. To calm myself, I decided to clean up the mess in my room, hoping she would do the same.

Next morning, my eldest had a wardrobe malfunction because she couldn't find her jacket. A repeat of the day before took place. A real patience tester, this was. 
Urging them to leave the mess, we dashed out and dived into the car.
With no proper make-up on (luckily for KL traffic lights, I managed to put on my lipstick) and a surly faced daughter, we made it nick of time.

Toy haven

The venue was spectacularly furnished with many toys. It really looked like a mini ToyRus. Before I could introduce them, they had already made themselves comfortable and were having a blast. They knew how to work each new toy like seasoned engineers, whilst I was struggling with the instructions.

As we moved closer to the fashion show, K became nervous. All the whats, hows and ifs started emerging.
Just do the thing that you do, I assured her and she was all smiles after that.
Next thing I knew, many were congratulating me on her splendid performance which I missed because I was busy getting the youngest fashionista ready for her walk, on the runway. 

Models looking cool in their Squids

"Na! Na! Na!" that's usually the response I get from my youngest sidekick, each time she's about to put on something new. When she puts her feet down, there is very little I can do to make her change her mind. 
Since I don't own a pair of Squids, I managed to get her intrigued with my sunglasses, hoping this would be good enough to get her to put on the mini squids.

Next, she modelled Cuddledry swim poncho. She was a real crowd pleaser, waving and moving to the beat of the music while flashing her infectious smile.

I was so glad that she didn't get startled from the strikingly, bright flashing lights from the camera. There were so many photographers, at the launch. Each with a huge camera and standing so close by. No wonder some celebrities hate being photographed. The flash lights can temporarily, blind you.

Not wanting to be left behind (or more like sticking out, like a sore thumb) I was given a couple of diaper bags to model while walking down the runway with the youngest fashionista. I modelled StorkSak and Skip*Hop diaper bags.

The youngest fashionista 

Carrying a Storksak

These bags don't look and feel like diaper bags. I kept on clutching the white Storksak even after the show was over. No one would have guessed I was carrying a diaper bag! That's how gorgeous it is. These bags are no way close to what I had been lugging around previously, which you can see in my; The Switcheroo.

But like everything else, it had to come to an end. So, I too had to 'end' clucthing the gorgeous white StorkSak and watch it being wrapped up and thrown into a big empty box! How lonely and sad it looked.

Each baby/mummy/daddy product showcased, was of high quality and standards. 

Soon I will be sharing an in-depth descriptions of these wonderful products.
So don't go anywhere and  wait for my review.

Enjoying light refreshments after their hard work

With Malaysian stand up comedian, Harith Iskandar, his lovely wife Jezamine
& cheeky son, Zander

Disclosure: I was not paid to join this catalogue launch. In fact, I volunteered to spice up a stay-at-home mom's day and spend time with some local celebrities.

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Friendliest Jog Ever

It's Sunday and we are back at KK's park-my sanctuary. It's good to be back here.

Today's jog was a little harder than usual because my feet were refusing to move. It felt like some huge boulders had attached itself to my feet. (This happens when you start slacking off and keep putting off, the much required jog).

Thankfully I had my old but trusted ipod with me. Listening to Tron Legacy soundtrack, I managed to take my mind off how boring jogging was and just kept running. I hardly ran a few meters and already felt like giving up. I wish I was playing basketball with some of the youngsters at the park, who seemed like they were having so much fun.

Jogging is such a boring activity for me because I am a team player and enjoy sporting activities which involves many players.

Not wanting to give up, I switched to a local radio station and boom! My feet started moving to the rhythm. It was so good that I started dancing whilst jogging (jog-e-robics?)

After my first lap, I noticed all the other joggers who'd I passed by earlier, had very broad smiles arched on their faces.

Each time someone smiles at me without me smiling at them first, I start wondering my jog-e-robics very amusing? Is there something on my face?

Discounting all the ifs, I attributed it to the joggers being a friendly lot, who needed some encouragement or something to take their mind off the boring activity they were doing too.

However, it didn't take long before the ifs crept its way back into my thoughts.

After my second lap, I paid more attention to the other joggers and tried making eye contact, hoping to see the genuinity of their smile.

That's when it hit me!
Their eyes were not fixed on my face region, they were transfixed at my boobs!

That's when my not so distanced memory came flooding back to me, like a flashback from a movie.
I suddenly remembered that instead of wearing my jogging brassier, I had put on night nursing bra!

I don't want to go into the details of the craftsmanship of each bra and it's performance but let me just state that jogging, is not a viable option when you've got on your thin silky night nursing bra.

Unaltered by my discovery, I persevered and marched on with my jogging.

When time is of essence (jogging has become somewhat a luxury because my youngest is struggling with separation issue. She screams, if she is unable to see or hear me), you don't let these little things bug you or transmute your course of action. 

"Just stick to it and keep on moving!' I ordered myself.

At the end of it all, what matters most to me is my family. It was an awesome feeling, seeing my kids enjoying themselves with a beautiful backdrop of the sunset. It was truly a blessed day.

I know tonight, I will sleep well

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