Here comes Aly!

I was at work today when my mum sent me this video clip of Aly walking with the help of a walker

I mentioned previously that she’s still not walking even though she’s cruising comfortably. In fact, we never allowed her to use the walker because she didn’t know how to use it and would often place her weight forward, so she ends up falling forward when the walker rolls forward too quickly.

So I was really happy to receive a message from my mum to say that aly finally can walk steadily with a walker! It was a milestone for her and this means she’s one step closer to walking on her own, without support! She can even walk backwards with the walker! Haha.

My heart was bursting at the seams with pride when I watched the video and feeling really glad that the moment was caught with a camera phone. At the same time though, I felt a little bitter that I wasn’t there to witness that milestone. It’s the usual FTWM guilt.

It reminded me of something I read recently – even though i cannot for the life of me remember where, a line which says “we didn’t give birth to children so other people can raise them”.

Although I’m one of the lucky few who have great support from both sets of grandparents who take turns to look after Aly, some days I do wish that I have more time with her than the usual evenings and weekends. Today was one of those days…

{Thankful Tuesdays} – Bedtime

I have the privilege of putting Aly to bed every night. It has been the case since day one. I pat her to sleep, I nursed her to sleep, and now I sing her a lullaby and lie beside her till she falls asleep.

I have to admit that there were times when I was exhausted, and when I would be rather be in the living room watching tv, or spending some me time reading a magazine, or just lying down in the comfort of my own bed (instead of her mattress). There were times when I also wished I could pass this task to ys when I have to leave my dinner appointments early just so I can be in time to tuck my little one into bed. I am only human.

But I would say these occasions are rare. I do think these thoughts but not often. Most of the time, like tonight, I am grateful for the time I have with Aly before she drifts off to sleep. It is a precious time for me. I sing to her and hold her close for that familiar baby smell, which she is losing bit by bit each day.

It is a bliss to be able to wind down at the end of an exhausting day with someone I love so dearly. Today, I am thankful for this child, for being able to hold her to sleep and for being able to experience this joy.

Linking up with:

Mummy stays in the picture

Inspired by this post by Allison Tate.

A candid shot of me and Aly.

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An extract from the post:

“”Come take pictures with me, Mommy,” he yelled over the music, “in the photo booth!”
I hesitated. I avoid photographic evidence of my existence these days. To be honest, I avoid even mirrors. When I see myself in pictures, it makes me wince. I know I am far from alone; I know that many of my friends also avoid the camera.

It seems logical. We’re sporting mama bodies and we’re not as young as we used to be. We don’t always have time to blow dry our hair, apply make-up, perhaps even bathe (ducking). The kids are so much cuter than we are; better to just take their pictures, we think.

But we really need to make an effort to get in the picture. Our sons need to see how young and beautiful and human their mamas were. Our daughters need to see us vulnerable and open and just being ourselves — women, mamas, people living lives. Avoiding the camera because we don’t like to see our own pictures? How can that be okay?

Too much of a mama’s life goes undocumented and unseen. People, including my children, don’t see the way I make sure my kids’ favorite stuffed animals are on their beds at night. They don’t know how I walk the grocery store aisles looking for treats that will thrill them for a special day. They don’t know that I saved their side-snap, paper-thin baby shirts from the hospital where they were born or their little hospital bracelets in keepsake boxes high on the top shelves of their closets. They don’t see me tossing and turning in bed wondering if I am doing an okay job as a mother, if they are okay in their schools, where we should take them for a vacation, what we should do for their birthdays. I’m up long past the news on Christmas Eve wrapping presents and eating cookies and milk, and I spend hours hunting the Internet and the local Targets for specially-requested Halloween costumes and birthday presents. They don’t see any of that.

Someday, I want them to see me, documented, sitting right there beside them: me, the woman who gave birth to them, whom they can thank for their ample thighs and their pretty hair; me, the woman who nursed them all for the first years of their lives, enduring porn star-sized boobs and leaking through her shirts for months on end; me, who ran around gathering snacks to be the week’s parent reader or planning the class Valentine’s Day party; me, who cried when I dropped them off at preschool, breathed in the smell of their post-bath hair when I read them bedtime stories, and defied speeding laws when I had to rush them to the pediatric ER in the middle of the night for fill-in-the-blank (ear infections, croup, rotavirus).

I’m everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won’t be here — and I don’t know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now — but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother.”

Source: Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/allison-tate/mom-pictures-with-kids_b_1926073.html)

September Day 6 – Everyday

Everyday for the last 5 months, we drop Aly off at my mum’s place or my in-laws’ place before ys drops me at work and heads off to work himself. It is indeed a challenge to have to shower, get dressed, pack what is needed for Aly as well as my pumps and stuff, have breakfast and get everyone out of the house in time so we dont get to work late. Every single morning is a mad race against time.

Every single night we bring Aly home after dinner, and we get back just in time to put her to bed. And the whole routine repeats.

Most people would think we are silly and that there is no need to tire ourselves out like that. But it is important to me that we don’t become weekend parents to Aly. I am not judging here. Of course parents who leave their kids overnight at their caregivers’ homes may have their reasons and I am in no position to judge. But for us, we live close enough to bring her home every single night, and there is no reason why we shouldn’t, even if it means that we have to sacrifice some sleep with this arrangement. In any case, I think all is worth it when I see her huge grin that greets me every single morning.

Here is a picture of her looking pensively out of the car window. Everyday, I will steal a few glances at her from the front passenger seat, on our way to grandma’s. Everyday I marvel at how she has grown.

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Me time

I feel that ever since I became a mum, I am constantly racing with time. Somehow 24 hours a day just don’t seem enough. When I take time off work, I cannot decide if I should spend the precious time with Aly or if I should go on a date with ys, have tea with my mum or have some me time.

My idea of a perfect day of me time honestly is to do absolutely nothing at all and to just curl in bed in my king size bed and just erm sleep. But of course I cannot bring myself to do that since time is so precious and there are so many other things that I need to do for myself (like have a haircut, go for a facial or shop for clothes – haha).

So anyway, today I decided to take a couple of hours off work and pamper myself. I managed to get some shopping done in 20 mins (I shop like a man now) and squeezed in time for a facial! The husband was kind enough to offer to send Aly home on his own from his mum’s place so I will just need to head straight home after dinner. The result is a happier (and cleaner) me! It is amazing what a few hours of me time can do.

Again, I think it takes some discipline to set aside time for yourself, especially with kids you would like to spend all your time with. But it’s necessary I feel. And a happy mum = a happy baby!

So what do you do during your me-time?

Sleep

I survived today but I wonder how long I can function properly at work if I continue to have my sleep disrupted every night. Aly has been waking up many times through the night. It seems rather odd to me since she has been quite consistent in her sleep schedule for the past two months!

I would have thought that those 15 hr workdays in my early years of practice would have prepared me for this but nope…I am physically exhausted and can only keep my fingers crossed and hope that it’s a phase that will pass!

Can’t wait to crawl into bed tonight.

The bluest Monday ever

That will be tomorrow. The bluest Monday ever. After four months of nothing but diaper changing, breastfeeding, soothing a crying baby, planning hi teas and lunch dates with anyone who is able to meet me on a weekday afternoon, I now have to start getting used to answering email queries, meetings, discussions, and reviewing contracts again. I’m honestly worried that I might have forgotten all my legal concepts. In fact, I hope I still remember my passwords and how to work lotus notes.

I actually have mixed feelings about returning to work. On one hand, I think it’ll be nice to see and hang out with my colleagues and friends again, and enjoy my once in a while lunchtime pedicure/massage. I will have some me time, which I think will be good for me. I also enjoy the intellectual simulation I get from my work.

On the other hand, I feel quite sad that I wont be able to spend as much time with Aly and to be there to witness her “firsts” and her milestones. She has also been having serious bouts of separation anxiety. Just last night, she cried the whole of the four hours i was away for a wedding and would not drink milk or sleep. It’s almost as if she knows I’m returning to work soon! I only hope she does not break her own personal record tomorrow!

Of course there are also the logistics to worry about. I’m sure ys and I will have a lot to get used to since we will be dropping off Aly at my mum’s or in laws’ place every morning and picking her up in the evening. Many have advised us to leave the baby under the care of our parents and only fetch her home during weekend. It does sound very tempting especially since it means we get to sleep in for up to an hour more and spend some quality couple time together in the evenings. But we have both decided to opt for the more tiring option of bringing her home every night. I do think it’s important for Aly to know that this is her home and I am sure whatever little time we have with her at night and in the mornings is well worth our effort. After all, people who drop their kids off at infant care also work around a similar schedule and still get used to it. I choose not to take the easy way out just because our parents will gladly agree to let her stay overnight during the week. So good luck to us! It will be a period of a lot of adjustments but I’m sure we will manage somehow.

I am also worried about my milk supply. I’m hoping to breastfeed Aly until she is 6 months old and am hoping to keep up my supply even after returning to work. This means I will have to deal with the logistics of expressing at work ( and also means I have lots more to sterilize and pack in the mornings and lots of washing up to do at night). This is the main source of stress I think. But I am glad I have the support of ys and a very kind colleague who has offered me much needed advice on expressing at work.

The next few weeks will no doubt be challenging but im sure things will get better with time. Alright i’m off to pack my bag and get ready my outfit for tomorrow!

Be good Aly! Mummy loves you 🙂

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The past 4 months

I will be returning to work next Monday. So this Friday marks the end of my 4 month maternity leave. Just when I have started to get into the groove of things, when I am more confident, when I am truly enjoying motherhood. As I prepare myself to return to work, I have also been reflecting on the past 4 months.

I experienced the highest and lowest points in my life during the past four months. The joy I felt when I held Aly in my arms was soon replaced by insecurities, sometimes anger, other times bitterness and a whole load of other negative emotions. I was happy to have Aly with me but I was too tired and too worried (about many random things, blame it on those hormones) to enjoy her arrival. The first month was honestly a nightmare for me and was nothing like what I imagined life after baby would be. I doubted myself, doubted the foundation of our family, doubted my ability to be a good mum and hated myself for the mean, negative person I was morphing into. I think I had never felt more alone. The only times I was happy were the times I nursed Aly and as I watched her sleep. Those moments kept me sane. And I kept telling myself, these dark days would pass.

Then bit by bit, I found myself again. I can’t quite explain this in words but I really had to make an effort to pull myself out of my depressive state. It wasn’t like things started getting better on their own (as a matter of course). It was really a conscious effort to be happy. I started to let go of those bitter feelings and insecurities and that allowed me to start enjoying motherhood. I went out more, spent a lot of time with my mum, read, learnt how to take power naps and multi task efficiently. I grew more confident of myself, both a mother and as an individual. I found an inner strength that I never knew I had, that has been helping me to stay happy and sane despite the fatigue and sleep deprivation, that has given me the patience to care for a fussy baby 24/7, that has allowed me to be more affirmative in my parenting style. And even though I’m still in the process of learning and finding my way, I think I have become a happier, stronger and more confident person.

The past month especially, has been great. I have been enjoying all my time spent with Aly. I find immense joy in reading to her, carrying her in my arms, having “conversations” with her, bathing her, nursing her…I also feel that ys and I have grown as a couple, as we take on heavier responsibilities as Aly’s parents. We work well as a team and I am glad we have each other on this tough but fulfilling parenting journey.

Let’s just say even though i feel like i have aged by ten years, I am now at a point where I am happy and contented, and thankful that I have grown into the woman I now am.