Showing posts with label Parenthood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenthood. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

10 Unforgettable Moments with Baby YC - 6 months of Fatherhood

They say children grow up the fastest in their first 2 years of age.

In the wink of an eye, Baby YC has now passed the 6 months mark. For the occasion, I shall pen down some of the touching/teary moments we spent together, and which are etched deep in the heart.


1) We flew to Vietnam!

So we applied for a passport for Baby YC.

Should we? Should we not? But there is cosmic radiation on planes...

Eventually, we decided that the Mummy should take a trip back to her hometown to spend the last leg of her maternity leave. And for her extended family to see Baby YC for the first time.

"The clouds... can eat or not?"

Vietnam Airlines gave us an additional 10kg for Baby YC. Since he did not require seats, there was no additional cost to fly him. It was a packed flight and we were way back in queue. The airport staff was helpful to secure two adjacent seats for us. #ChangiAirport :)

As first-time young parent travellers, we were extremely conscious of inevitably causing disturbance to other passengers. Fortunately and unfortunately, en route to Hanoi, we were seated near a toddler that kept screaming at the top of his voice. Baby YC ended up being a much quieter boy, not even giving a frown when the plane took off and landed. The toddler's screams later made him cry. But for a first flight, we were so blessed with such a well-behaved boy!

2) Baby YC meets his Uncles, Aunties, Cousins, Grand... Great Grand... 

We thought we were visiting her Grandparents as usual. When we reached her Grandparents' place, we were greeted by her extended family members and relatives who had all gathered for the occasion.

"Yoz Cousin, how ya' doing?"

I did not have the luxury of paid leave to be in Hanoi for a month, so I returned to Singapore and subsequently flew back to Hanoi to bring my wife and Baby YC home. I thought I would have had two weeks of peaceful sleep in the nights, but I was wrong. Ended up missing them in the night :(

On my return trip to Hanoi, Baby YC burst out crying in a way that we had never witnessed, when he saw me. He wailed even louder when I tried to carry him. That was a heart wrenching moment. It is as if he was angry that his father left him for weeks. Gradually, he "forgived" me and the first smile thereafter was reassuring.

3) Baby YC goes on Hunger Strike

Baby YC went into photosynthesis mode for a month or two. Smart of him to know his way of demanding to be fed latched on. Practically did not drink any milk in bottle for the longest of times. We felt puzzled when doctors after doctors were in disbelief of our paranoia. His weight grew with each visit to the clinic, and was at the 90+th percentile as compared to infants of the same age.

Where did all the weight gain come from?

"Like a Boss"

Visit to the clinic

4) One day, he started crawling (in a way)

He turned to his side and tada~ crawl mode. He started pivoting himself and crawling... backwards.

What cha' looking at?

Sitting (albeit unstably) skill unlocked

After 6 months dominating our bed, he now sleeps on his own.

Never too tired to be on his belly ever since

And then this happened

Baby YC growing fast!

5) We go Walk Walk

Inconvenient to go outdoors with Baby YC, but it would otherwise be draining to walk the baby round and round at home.

National Gallery has some fantastic kids activity corners

Enjoying the view munching his fist

Those legs....

6) The Weekend when both of us were away

Clash of schedules resulted in both my wife and I overseas for the weekend.

"I still have my bolster!"

7) Baby YC's Parents became Masseurs

Thanks to Angeline who, as part of her infant massage course requirement, needed to teach a group of parents how to massage their babies, both me and my wife became masseurs for Baby YC.

Baby Networking session in progress

"Mum, what are you waiting for?"

8) Baby Spa

9) #nobodysleepsifidontsleep

"Who's that sleeping beauty?"

"Hehe. Papa I know you are still there."

And when he finally sleeps, we go all out to ensure the sleep is as long as it can get.

Self-invented "Butt locker" to lock the butt in optimal sleeping position

Only parents will know

10) Are we teaching him enough?

We attended some Preschool Seminar and talks to get ourselves prepared for the 6-month milestone. The guilt is strong if we know we could have taught him more but we did not. Right brain training classes looked too stressful and unreal. Music classes seem fun. We are opting for FUN.

Infantcare is of great help for working parents like us, though it also meant less time for interacting with Baby YC during weekdays. Weekends become extremely precious.

It seems like just yesterday that he was born. It was not too long ago that he discovered he had hands, and then he started grabbing everything and shoving it to his mouth. 6 months ago, he smiled, now he giggles and infects us with laughters. As he amazes us day by day with his growth, we continue to draw inspiration from our Baby YC.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Life of a Father Alone at Home on Paternity Leave with Baby - 3 months with Baby YC

What better way to celebrate your son's 3rd month than bringing him to ICA and collecting our passports (mine renewed; his new) together?

Taking Baby YC's passport photo was vastly challenging, and it is not just because I no longer have white walls (passport photos require a white background) at home. He had became a sinister to our phones. When the phone was on our hands, it meant reduced time on him, and he was definite that this is a zero-sum game.

Fortunately, we found a cupboard which was white. My wife held him to his upright sitting position, leaning on the cupboard, and used her hands to support his pendulating body. 

Lesson #1: Never use a lagging Samsung phone with limited storage space when your wife has an iPhone. But which I did. With each lag after each shot taken, it was frustrating. Lucky for me, out of the spam shots, there was a few to choose from.

Baby YC looked very stunned on one, and had a smirk on the other. We chose the latter. And that printed photo on the passport never failed to make my family laugh each time we look at it. The ICA Officer was also smiling when she checked out Baby YC's face with the passport photo.

Here's the contented YK Junior trying to beat my travel records. I am sure he will.

Baby YC has a passport!
Don't ask me where's the missing sock

In days leading to the 3rd month milestone, my wife had to return to work from her maternity leave for 3 weeks due to a major work event. My mother and I took turns to take leave to be home to tend to the little one. That is what Paternity Leave is for.

Taking the same bus to work together after a long long time

Spending an entire day with the little one exhausts me to the last bit of my battery. It also gave me a chance to experience for myself how my wife had to manage caring for our son single-handedly when the confinement nanny left.

The typical day usually starts on an exceptionally high note. Baby YC wakes up gleefully, giving us his best smiles and laughters almost every morning. It is like he had received his full dose of charging and he is ready for the day.

Sunbathing. Showering. Feeding. Nap.

And the window opens for me to clear as much work as possible on my laptop. If I am lucky, I have 1.5 hours to settle some of the urgent matters. If not, I will be pacing around the entire home with Baby YC in my arms until he falls into sleep. If I succeed in transferring him to the bed, hurray. Most of the time, Walk. Sleep. Repeat. Because my arm beats a Dunlopillo.

In fact, I think my walkabout had probably worn off a nanometre of flooring. And my right biceps are probably thicker than the left.

Give me my drumsticks! Nom nom nom...

If only milk bottles came in the form of a baby's fist. At first, Baby YC struggled to place his fist on his mouth. The fist would fly up, go one big round, and might miss the mouth. After a while, he mastered the skill. And there goes snacking on his favourite "drumsticks" (as my Mother coins them). The cutest thing is he also likes to share and feed his Father with these "drumsticks" when I'm near.

One day, few days after Baby YC turned 2 months of age, he started to pay attention and connect eyes-to-eyes with us. It is an amazing thing. He would look deep into us and send love straight into our souls.

The afternoon programme features Mozart music, storyreading, and talking. Baby YC has started to experiment his vocals, though I have given up after repeating "Papa" to him for the umpteenth time. He makes the sound that resembled "Uncle" (more like Angkor) and "Al Gore" (does he even know this is Election Year 2016?). He enjoys being talked to and reciprocates with blabbers (speeches). Children's books are getting more sophisticated. Some left me deep in reflection after reading them out to Baby YC. 

In this month, several unbearable news of bad things happening to other 3-month-old and 2-year-old bothered me, and I believe many parents. Shan't share the negativity. Thankfully, such news were balanced by postings shared in the U Circle of Dads Facebook group and other pages that were useful to pass time and for me to gather some inspiration and energy to sustain the day.

Baby YC dreads being ignored. Attempts to leave him in the bouncer so that I can read some emails failed when he realised someone is around but not talking to him. When I flashed out my phone for a quick check, he would be casting his pitiful eyes on the device. 

He dreads being placed on the mattress, but is surprisingly reasonable and accommodating if I were to rest beside him. He would keep kicking me, while staying peaceful, while I doze off for a while.

The maternal grandfather finally met Baby YC alongside his official visit to Singapore with his delegation. My sister-in-law had also just delivered to a second son. Excited to bring Baby YC to Vietnam to meet his cousins.

Although I often tell friends and colleagues, even my wife, that I so look forward to returning to work, some part of me want to be part of my son's growing up, every day and every moment. I was reminded, when I was lamenting the tireness to someone, that my son will be growing up very fast and this will be a phase of his growth that I will come to miss in due time. 

And indeed. It had been 3 months since I first saw my son.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

5 Lazy Ways to settle your expired/excess breast milk guilt-free

Besides Making milk cheesemilk lotion and milk soap (techically, what you can do with cow's milk, you can do with human milk, I suppose), here are some easier way to make you feel less guilty over having to waste milk, and to zero waste.

Nourish the Plants

Add your breast milk to your collection of waste water for the plants.

Especially if you grow vegetables or fruit trees. You get to reap what you sow.

Feed it to your dogs and cats

And so I read somewhere that people do that. Well, if human can drink cow's milk, surely dogs can drink human's? But you probably not want to give them expired ones. Be humane or animale.

Carousell your Breast Milk 

I. Am. Amazed.

Donate your Liquid Gold

Although there are no official human milk bank in Singapore, the global movement of Human Milk 4 Human Babies has its Singapore arm, called Human Milk 4 Human Babies - Singapore, where you can donate your spare milk to other mothers (or rather, their infants).

Although the health risk of taking in other's breast milk is not high, do consider these Counter-arguments if you are on the accepting side.

Make your own Breast Milk Jewellery

Turn Liquid Gold into Solid Gold. Keep it for yourself.

Or some day, your son could use it as betrothal gift.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

2 Months with Baby YC

What a growth spurt in the span of one month. The second month with my son drained both of my wife and I more than the first month, primarily because he had to waive goodbye to the confinement nanny and then his grandmother.

The send-off for his grandmother brought him to the furthest place he had ever been from home, and that was the Changi Airport. I would think that he is very fortunate to be able to set foot (not literally) at one of the world's best airport at one month plus of age.

Too bad my son is still not able to verbalise his emotions. Wonder if the farewell to the confinement nanny and then to his grandmother who would sing lovely Vietnamese songs to him late into the night, had had any impact on him.

Sending off my mother-in-law at Changi Airport

It was very helpful to us that my mother-in-law was in town to help us care for Baby YC, as my wife eased and get used to caring for him.

Being the heavier sleeper, by the time I am startled by the crying, my wife had already tended to our son's needs. The abrupt waking also made me groggy and lagging in my situational awareness. I was inclined to attribute the weariness to the fact that I had to work in the daytime, until I took a day off from work (to bring him for immunisation) and experienced how it was like to be caring for him the whole day. I would choose to be the one to work in the daytime (if comparing energy consumption), anytime.

Explaining to my son why Papa cannot be at home in the day

At one stage, we underestimated the importance of burping the Baby well. We thought some gentle pats were alright. And that led to the constant crying throughout the day and night. Thanks to my mother's intervention, we finally got the hang of it. And with each burp (which took some time to come out), we cheered and poured champagne (figuratively).

Thanks to my understanding wife, I was able to balance work commitment, grassroots volunteering and family time. I find myself chipping in for grocery shopping, watching the budget, making the meal, cleaning the dishes, hanging the clothes before heading to meetings and events. All the day's stress and tireness fade away when seeing and holding Baby YC at home.

Being oversensitive, we found ourselves visiting the clinic just to be assured that the temperature of the baby was alright after he lost his voice from crying too much. In fact, we were so anxious at the long wait time for my regular family clinic, that we checked in at a nearby clinic for medical consultation. We duly regretted when we saw the Doctor tried to use a wooden "ice-cream" stick to check our son's throat, and reprimanded us for not feeding him water (!). A simple google search shows first many pages of results telling parents not to feed water to infants below six months. After that dreadful consultation, we went back to our family Doctor, who charged us lesser and was much more experienced.


Relatives, friends and colleagues continue to be a source of support, especially with our queries in issues as interesting as how do we clear the nose, etc. 

It is comforting to see him smiling more often, although we are still unsure if that is emotionally backed. He has also started to look at us when we are talking to him. Our confinement nanny had told me that she was able to see my late Father, and that he was still around to look after the family. It may sound creepy to readers of the blog and probably could be taken as a pinch of salt, but it was of great comfort to me to know that he was still with us and celebrated Baby YC's birth. And hence, when Baby YC stares into the blank sometimes, I wonder if he was near :)

Hotter than any other car sales model

Coincidentally, it is Father's Day this Sunday. We have decided to celebrate the occasion by bringing Baby YC out to the park, something that I enjoyed with my family when I was younger.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

One Month with Baby YC

The story began when I met my son's Mother at the Orientation session of the 37th Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme (SSEAYP), which led to the Vietnamese Hand Massage facilitated by fellow Participating Youth (PY) Parveen, and partially deal-sealed with the Night of Destiny (thanks to our Vietnam PYs).

The Mother had all the symptoms of pregnancy that you could probably find, since the first day of pregnancy. We literally did not need a test kit to know that a new life was in the tummy.

4 hours before the water bag burst, we were having supper at MacDonald's for the first time ever since the pregnancy. The mother tried doing some squats, as advised by the Gynae to encourage labour since the baby is getting too big. 1 hour before we sprung up from our bed, I was finishing a movie to wind off the weekend.

The childbirth process is unforgettable. The brave wife rejected any pain relief methods and endured the incrementally excruciating pain for the first few hours. The gas mask went on, and after two hours or so, she finally relented to the suggestion (more like persuasion) by the nurses to be administered epidural. 

While standing outside the room, as requested by the anaesthetist, I started a conversation with another father-to-be who was waiting out too. His wife had endured 9 hours without epidural. Salute. (He would continue to support his wife for over 20 hours).  

The mid-wife came in and the breathing exercise began. An hour and a half passed, and we requested for the Gynaecologist to assist. After several rounds of trying to push, the Gynae shared that the assisted delivery still requires the mother to push hard, and if it still didn't work, the labour might enter the stage of emergency caesarian.

"Emergency Caesarian!!!" The mother must have been terrified by that thought. So much so that at the final round of pushing, a head popped out.

The mid-wife gave a pat on the buttocks, and the most beautiful cry was heard in the room. Mid-wife and nurses promptly commented that the baby was so fair. The weight of the baby, rounded to 3 decimal places, was deeply engraved into my brain. 

It was a very touching moment, but I heeded the advice of my colleague, Elangovan, who told me that the Father should not cry while holding the baby for the first time. It was very challenging.

Meanwhile, the brave mother was expressionless with the extreme exhaustion and the pain of labour. It was great she was not able to see how the Gynae was sewing her up with the thick strings. I now have a whole new perception of mothers, totally.

We tried to memorise the baby's face as the nurse starts tagging both the baby and the mother. It was the first time the baby had to leave us to be cleaned and dressed.

Lessons on breastfeeding randomly shared in great details during SSEAYP by Parveen to me and Ethel were recalled when the mother tried to feed the baby for the first two nights. We were so worried that the baby would be hungry but learnt from the nurses that babies are able to live without food for the first few days.

The first month with Baby YC has been amazing. Never mind the disrupted sleep which proved to be more effective as a weight loss method than dieting. Our lives have not been more complete with the new addition. 

I guess we become parents when we enjoy smelling the pee and poo of the baby to know that he is feeding and digesting well. The pee fountain on my hand brought laughter to both my wife and I.

I look forward to coming home inhaling the baby fragrance as I pace along the corridor. And now I finally realise why my late Father enjoys kissing me so much when I was much younger.

The mother and I have decided that we shall try our best to protect our baby's privacy. Much as we can't wait to share his cute images, we rather let him share it when he gets older and decides for himself. Sharing just a snippet:

We will hold on to you and always be there for you

We have many to thank for being so understanding and generous in sharing tips on pregnancy, childbirth and parenting, including my cousins and cousins-in-law (especially Yuan Feng and Shiyin who had to entertain simple questions like what to consider in looking for a gynae), Yuan Wei and Ruiping (for the great recommendation for us to attend baby seminars/talks); relatives; colleagues (one colleague was so kind to bring me for a tour at a departmental store to note the different types of feeding bottles and baby things to buy); neighbours, fellow grassroots volunteers; confinement nanny and friends.

Not forgetting our family members who were excited (can't forget the "Yes!" from my Brother when I break the news) and supported us throughout the journey.

Like my Mother who spent weeks after weeks slowly sieving out the husk from bean sprouts to make the baby pillow. And Brother who is always around to lend an additional hand to rearrange furniture, and carry stuff (to put it in layman's terms - saikang).

And my Mother-in-law who flew over to join us for the 1st Month Celebration, and keeping up to Vietnam tradition of making offerings to the 12 fairies who had looked after our baby from pregnancy to the first month.

The parenting journey ahead is full of uncertainty, but with each day of growth we see in Baby YC, I believe the journey will only be a meaningful and enriching one.

Happy 1 month birthday, my son :)

With Love,