Saturday, October 22, 2011

And Here We Go Again...

Yes, I'm a terrible blogger. But this time I have a really, really good excuse (REALLY!)...

Since my last post, as if life couldn't get any crazier, fate took it up a notch. 

Some time at the end of July, after a terrible bout of food poisoning that landed me in hospital for three days, I discovered I was pregnant again. I had been pretty sure I wasnt, despite my period being a tad late, because my urine test at the hospital 3 weeks earlier had been negative (and there hadn't been much "nocturnal activity" since then - LOL - due to Naz's mad schedule).  

It's not that the pregnancy was totally unplanned. We had actually been trying for around 8 months with no luck. Month after month of negative pregnancy kits was beginning to get a little depressing, so when I finally did take the test end July, I was honestly expecting the same result. I literally couldn't believe my eyes when two lines showed up instead of one, and I had to shake the test a few times just to be sure. But there they were... two beautiful perfect lines.

With my hands trembling, I dashed out of the loo, stood beaming in front of my bewildered hubby and said "Yang, you'll never believe it...", then held up the kit. Boy, was he psyched! He scooped me up and gave me a giant hug before pulling back with a worried face that said, wow, we're done for! 

A couple of days later, we went to see Dr Alex, the dear old man who delivered Zara. When I walked into his office, he was already standing with his hand outstretched and gave us both a hearty congratulatory handshake. And when he ran the ultrasound scan over my (still flat, though a little jiggly) belly, there the little fella was... Zara's adik - A blob, no less, but with a strong heartbeat that filled me with so much joy!

Now anyone who tells you the second time round is a little less exciting or meaningful than the first has got to be wrong. It's no less wonderful to see the beginnings of a No 2 than it is for No 1. There will always be a little something that's different, that surprises you, even at this stage. 

For one, we had to wait a while, anxiously, for Zara's heartbeat to appear. So to see (and hear) No 2's heartbeat, so strong and clear, at my first checkup was amazing.

Secondly, although the nausea and vomiting did make an appearance a week or so later, I am so blessed now (after 15 weeks) that it was a walk in the park compared to the bed-ridden weak state I was in when I was carrying Zara. First time round, I had to be hospitalized five times for dehydration, once for H1N1. With No 2, I am so proud to say I fought the worst of it and was only admitted once.

With Zara, I survived most of the first four months on only icecream and crackers (being unable to keep much else down). With No 2, I couldnt stomach anything cold (so icecream was out of the picture boohoo), water made me feel ill, plums - though sour - came straight back out, and I was constantly craving fried chicken! 

NOTE: Both my first trimesters shared one thing in common though - an insatiable, unexplainable desire for pineapples! Contrary to the pantangs about this, I went ahead and satisfied my cravings during both pregnancies, much to everyone else's horror. I'm happy to confirm this is most likely just a myth.

The most significant difference about this pregnancy so far though, is that when my symptoms started slowing around Week 11, instead of celebrating I actually got worried! I called Dr Alex and he asked me to come in for a check up. Prepared for the worst, I burst into tears when the scan showed a perfectly formed bouncing and very active critter :-D You cant help but fear the worst when you've had a previous miscarriage (my twin peanuts) and sudden loss of symptoms. But here was the proof, an unmistakable sign that sometimes, God gives you a break and lets you have it a little bit easier:

So here, I am now, at Week 15 (Alhamdulillah!), feeling about 99% fantastic, two weeks earlier than I did with Zara. I lost only 5 kilos compared to the 9 I lost the first time. I'm a lot more positive, knowing what to expect, and so very very grateful to not have been as sick and incapable as I was before. We're actually going for a family holiday in a couple of days, to enjoy Zara as much as we can while it's just us three, although I'll be taking this picture with me so he/she doesnt feel left out :-p

Well, I hope this 'excuse' warrants some forgiveness for my tardiness. My next excuse will be that I'm on holiday, but we'll see, maybe I'll make up for it and cram in a couple more posts before we leave. Hmm. We'll see.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Zara's Progress Report - 16 Months

Mummy's Girl...
Oops... I missed a month... naughty Mummy! I've let time slip by me yet again, and whaddaya know, Zara is 2 months older and I'm sitting here wondering where all that time went!

Zara is more of a Terrible Toddler these days, certainly no longer a little baby. I look back at her photos and videos, and somehow cant remember her ever being that small. Then again, in hindsight, she has always had some spunk this one; I knew at 2 months that she would be both a chatterbox and a go-getter, and every day that goes by now, I'm being proven right! (and I'm not sure that's a good thing LOL!)

She is also extremely funny, has a great sense of humour and a terrible temper. 

Her God-Daddy, Uncle Farez came by last night, and they kept each other very entertained, with Zara pretending to wrestle him to the ground with her signature move, The Fisticuff (i.e. cuffing Uncle Farez's shirt with her fist).  Uncle Farez of course responded with lots of grimacing and dramatic slow-mo TKOs, throwing Zara into a fit of giggles. Believe me, with her underbite and two bunny rabbit teeth, this  really looks hilarious! 

Abah and I were so amused we have bestowed her a Pro-Wrestler name - The ZaraNator.

She has also learnt a lot of new words these last two months, and is getting so much better at playing on her own. She also LOVES to dance, and has some pretty cool moves for a baby. Abah takes credit for this, because he insists I have  NO groove. Anyway...

Zara this month weighs in at over 11kg, and taller than 75cm, and I'm afraid I cant get the exact weight and measurements right now because she's in bed (hence my freedom to write).

 Skills & Quirks
She can now "salam" people when asked; sometimes she gets a little over enthusiastic - like at a recent kenduri when everyone was lifting their hands to doa, Zara thought they were holding out their hands for salam, so she took the initiative and went around kissing everyone's raised hands LOL! 

Still enjoys dancing, and added quite a few moves to her repertoire - she can jig, spin, and so something that resembles the Poco-Poco (not haram in Selangor I believe! :-p )... She especially loves it when I sing "The Hokey Pokey" and will make me to sing it again and again so she can continue dancing.

Loves picture books, she will 'read' in the car and they're also a good distraction during diaper changes!

She particularly likes her animal picture book!

Can go up and down steps without having to crouch, but it has resulted in her falling a couple of times. 

Can kiss Mummy on the lips when I say "Kiss Kiss", and on the cheeks when I point at my cheek. When she's done something wrong and is scolded, she knows she is forgiven when I say "Kiss kiss" and point at my cheek.

When  she's done with her milk at night, she'll put the cover on the bottle, walk over and give it back to me.

Can scribble with a pen or pencil. Usually on today's newspaper.

Or in this case, Tok's business pages!

She likes to climb onto things and balance precariously on them, even tiny little boxes. When we catch her doing it, she looks very guilty.

Still enjoys hiding things. When we went to Penang recently, I couldnt find most of her bangles until we were about to check out. She had hidden all of them under the TV!

She's very very friendly with people. Too much sometimes! She'll waltz up to strangers on the street and put her arms around them or 'salam' them. We hear the lines 'Wah, such a friendly baby' a lot! They have no idea about her temper! (See below: Bad Habits!)

She made friends with a group of Indian tourists in Penang!

Tries to comb her hair - she understands the concept but still cant figure out the right way to hold the comb.

Tries to brush her teeth on her own - she can wiggle the toothbrush in and out and around her mouth but still lacks a bit of dexterity. 
Communication Skills 
We've figured out that "Katakatakatakaiiiiiii....!" means something along the lines of "Kucing Hitam" (her favourite Tickling Game) or the sounds we make when we bounce her up and down. Either way, she's definitely mimicking something we've said, and she still repeats it a LOT.  
New words:
1) "Maam-Maam" (makan) is now "Naam- Naam". 
2) "Maam!" is the sound she now makes when she kisses Mummy on the cheek. 
3) She now says "Abah" a LOT, and knows it means Daddy. 
4)  She finally said "Me-Mi" on my birthday *beam*.
5) During bath time she will 'Wash her hair" and "Wash her tummy" when asked, and when I turn the shower off, she signs "Sudah habis".
6) When she knows we're going home or someone is leaving, she will wave and say "Bye".
7) When she's playing with the house phone or my mobile, she'll put it to her ear and say "Hi".
8) Can say "Nana" when she sees my Mum in person and in pictures, as well as when she hears Nana's voice on the phone.
9) She covers her eyes with her hands when we say "Tutup Mata"
10) Will cover her head  with her hands when we say "Tutup Tutup Panas Panas"
11) Will point and say "Nah-nah" when she sees a Banana, her favourite food
12) Can point at Elmo and say "Ay-mo"

Zara with her beloved Ay-Mo.

Uses words + hand signs for:
1) When she's had enough to eat, as in "Habis" (accompanied by the word "Haish").
2) When she wants something, she'll point at it and say "Nak".
3) When she wants to be carried, she'll hold out her arms, arch her back and bounce up and down.
4) When someone is being naughty, or when she knows she's done something she shouldn't have, she wiggles her index finger the way I do when I say "No".  

Her new love is "BabyTV". She is glued to it for as long as it's on and will happily play on her own if it's on without sound in the background. Useful when I need to reply emails or make phonecalls!

Continues to enjoy Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Sesame Street, her new favourite being "Sing Hoot & Howl". These days, she watches most of her SS and MMCH via YouTube on my Samsung Galaxy Tab because it's the easiest thing to distract her when I'm in a meeting and need to bring her along.

Yes, she takes her 'Tab-Time' very seriously.
Is more confident now in the water and not as scared to try wading on her own.

Loves to imitate what she sees happening around her - she will play masak-masak  with her pots and pans, then put Elmo in her feeding chair and pretend to feed him. 

Really enjoys her Nana and Ah Kong's garden! She will run everywhere and cant get enough of the grass!

She made poor Ah Kong run up and down the hill THREE times! 

Zara has a new fetish - SHOES! She *cannot* resist seeing a pair of shoes, baby-sized or otherwise, without trying them on. Presenting... the Zara Shoes Series:


Any type of shoe... you name it.

Zara is now completely self-weaned from breastmilk and only occasionally now will pull open my shirt in the morning for a bit of a nibble, but I reckon that's more out of habit than for milk.

Yep she scoffs down those bananas alright!
Breakfast these days is usually a banana with a 250ml packet of cold fresh milk, which I alternate with cereal and homemade apple puree, 2 slices of bread and milk, or yoghurt. 

Lunch is a 240ml bottle of warm milk before her nap.

 Dinner is usually anything I can put together with the stuff I have in the fridge. Her current favourites: Tuna & Mixed Vege Pasta, Brocolli/Cauliflower & Cheese, Ikan Bilis & Carrot Porridge with Marmite, Scrambled Eggs with Chives & Cheese, and Tuna & Spinach/Peas. She also adores Potato Chips, but wont touch Mashed Potato. 

For snacks, she'll happily chew on almost any biscuit you give her, but her new craze is sultanas. I've now stocked up on those little boxes of SunMaid Raisins, which she just loves eating on her own. She also enjoys watermelon and dragonfruit but has a love/hate relationship with Mangoes.  Oh, and she LOVES carrot juice - dont ask me why coz it tastes horrible, but she can easily down one glass over dinner.

We've since switched brands to Abbott Gain Plus EyeQ growing up milk, which Zara seems to really love. We used to have issues with her not finishing her milk, but since the switch, she'll easily finish a full bottle and sometimes even ask for more.

 One 240ml bottle of Abbott GainPlus before naptime at about 2pm, and another 240ml bottle at bedtime.
Naptime still once a day, from 2-4pm after lunchtime susu.
Bedtime from 10pm to 9am, or 10am if I'm lucky!

She also finds sleeping comfort in some really weird places!

Has  sprouted countless new teeth over the last month, but I cant get her to open her mouth long enough to check how many. She definitely has two new ones at the front on the lower jaw, another new one on the front at the upper jaw, a couple of molars at the bottom and at least one molar at the top. 
New bad habits!
   TANTRUMS! She can really throw a massive one when she wants to - but mostly only when she's tired and cranky. She'll throw herself on the floor and refuse to get up. Try pulling her up and she will stretch her arms high so that you cant grip her under the shoulders. Yep, the makings of a drama queen. Help!

It's getting impossible to leave her alone for even a minute - not even when I need to pee. While in Penang, I had to dash to the loo and when I got out, this is what Zara had done:

The ZaraNator used her Superhuman strength to wrestle 
The Drawer to the ground!

When you're not looking and don't realise she has poo in her diaper, watch out! I caught her the other day pulling shit pellets out of her pants and squishing them on the floor!

Other Major Milestones
Zara got her first passport!

*   *   *

I am really enjoying Zara at this age, eventhough she is getting to be quite a handful. 

It can be really really exhausting chasing after her everywhere, especially since she likes taking chances and will try climbing/stepping over/running through/going under and/or getting into trouble, if she can. Plus, for all her daring, she's pretty clumsy and can fall flat on her face in a split second. Luckily, she's quite hardy and doesnt cry when she falls unless you fuss over her, so if you say "Alaa takpe takpe", she'll get up and off again as if nothing happened.

But there's an upside to all this, and it's that the more she observes and the more confident she becomes, the more she learns about people, about showing  her feelings and about love. And I can tell you, there's nothing more precious in the world than waking up in the morning having her arms wrapped around me or coming home after a bad day in the studio to a delighted face and warm little hug.
Yeah, I'm easy to please :-) And the terribles are simply more bearable when she points at me and says 'Me-Mi' *melts*

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

When the Going Gets Tough...

... as your Abah will say, the Tough get Going.

Life has been a series of challenges lately, my little one. We often refer to these moments as "dugaan" - challenges that Allah SWT presents to us, tough enough that we know the extent of our strengths, but nothing too much that we cannot overcome. I must admit that at many points over the last couple of months I have felt a little in over my head - sometimes when you're at the lowest of the low, it can be very difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I am still doing my best to swim to the surface of this latest challenge, and I know, by hook or by crook, I must get over and beyond this, not just for me, but for Abah and most importantly, for you. I am convinced that when Allah gave me Abah, he gave me a shot to be a better person, but when he gave me you, he gave me a reason to struggle on, to not give up trying to be a better person.

Yes, there are people who will never want to see us happy, or who won't believe that we are doing our best; there will always be people who'll try to drag us down, call us names, or make us and others believe we are worth less than we really are. Allah knows I've been through all of that. And just when you think you've seen it all, you often get steamrolled by something far worse.

It's these times, Zara, like now - in the wee quiet hours of the morning - that we take solace in our faith and our Creator, and when we ask humbly that He give us the courage to look inward and not be afraid of what we find there, as well as the resolve to look outward and try to improve. Forget about changing others and what they think or say, because that is their own struggle, and they must overcome that on their own. Instead of asking how we can fix others, let's try first and fix ourselves.

Of course, while I'm sharing this with you, (because you will no doubt have to suffer through this some day too)... I'm still learning to do this part, because as your Abah will attest, I'm as stubborn as the most stubborn mule, with a temper that can put even a rabid dog to shame. I also have my own share of misgivings and baggage that I wish I could cast off but can't. I will probably always have to pay the price for these mistakes, long after I've apologized for them. But that's my struggle, not yours.

There will be times in the future when I will be the source of your anger and frustration, Zara, and I hope you will forgive me for that. Try to remember what I'm sharing with you here, and know that I do everything because I love you.

There will also be times when you will drive me up the wall instead. And you will, I know you will, you cheeky little tyke. Then, insyallah, I hope I will be patient enough to be a role model for you.

Remember always that you are Mummy's inspiration; I want you to learn from my mistakes and be the person that I'm still trying to be.

Thank you Allah forever for giving me these reasons to go on.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Zara's Progress Report - 14 Months

I have been a bad mummy for not updating this blog as often as I'd like. With the media launch of coming up in less than 2 weeks time and Abang's wedding reception in exactly a week, life has taken a turn to hectic and Zara's joined in for the mad ride!
Despite it all, my daughter at 14 months is a good sport - definitely a very different baby from the one she was at 4, heck,even 6 months ago! She's good natured, friendly (most days, depending on her mood LOL), loves a good laugh and is cheeky just like her Abah.
New Skills & Quirks
Runs everywhere, sometimes holding her hands back as if about to take off! But she is pretty clumsy (gets that from Abah!) and always seems to walk into something or lose balance and fall over for no obvious reason. She wont cry when she falls though - Tok reckons her head must be immune to all the bumps and knocks she's had!
When she's finished with something, like her bath or a meal, she will sign "Sudah Habis!"

Dances a LOT, and especially loves music with a definite beat that she can jig to.
Can pretend to wash her tummy when asked to.
Has now graduated from the baby bathtub to the shower, and loves it too yay!
Loves putting things on her head - boxes, bowls, and anything that will stay there.
Loves sitting in boxes, and will even squeeze into one that she knows is far too tiny for her!
Can sit on a little chair steadily by herself when asked to.
More confident with steps, often stepping straight down or up one level without crouching first.
Can point out things and people she recognises in pictures when asked "Where's.... Nana / Ah Kong / Nanie / Tok / Abah / bee / bug / frog / tiger... 
Will go through books carefully, pointing out objects she recognises.
Will sing along to Violet, her electronic toy puppy, 'barking' at the right intervals and even scrolling through songs until she gets to her favourites.
Violet also does a great job of sending her to LaLa Land!
Can finally open the peekaboo doors on her toy airplane!
Is still fascinated with doors, boxes and cupboards, and will spend ages opening and closing them over and over again.
Will select a DVD that she wants to watch and hand it to Mummy.
After discovering several DVDs missing from their cases, I finally found them one day UNDER the DVD player! Soon after, I caught her sliding them one by one under the DVD player... She had been observing us inserting DVDs into the player and was trying to copy us!
I discovered Zara's treasure drawer one day after opening a random one and finding an assortment of strange (and missing!) things in there - a bag of coloured stones, a remote control, coloured bread clips, etc. Seems she had been squirreling away these objects all those times my back had been turned.
Sometimes Zara's stash ends up in my handbag!

Communication Skills
New sounds - Katakatakatakaiiiiiii....! / Begum! / Boh! / Degehdegehdegehdegeh... (no idea what they mean either!) 
New words - Maam-Maam (makan). Figures right! No "Mummy" or "Abah" yet, eventhough she knows who is who, boohoo! 
Can understand and follow instructions like "No", "Sudah habis", "Wash your tummy", "Give it to Mummy a.k.a. Thank you", "Minum Susu", "Sit", and "Come here".
Has moved on from Sesame Street's Beginning Together series and started with regular Sesame Street - particularly loves "Playtime with Grover", "Elmo Loves You" and "Elmopalooza". I have spied her jigging away and singing in her seat to particular songs that she likes.
Enjoys being read to with sounds and actions.

Really enjoys running around and playing with her cousins Lara, Ilhan and Mika, especially when they go to KizSports.

Loves sitting on her trike and being wheeled around.

Enjoys playing catching and peekaboo with people.

Absolutely loves slides (both water slides and regular slides).

Fascinated with water and enjoys swimming with Mummy, Abah and Ah Kong.

Has 2 main meals a day and one light meal for lunch after a small 5oz bottle of susu or a packet of cold fresh milk.
Breastmilk first thing in the morning and another bottle (8oz) of Enfagrow A+ or Friso at bedtime.
Will eat anything and everything EXCEPT papaya!
Can feed herself bread, bananas (in their skins), and biscuits.
Can drink fresh milk from a straw.
Naptime still once a day, from 2-4pm after lunch.
Night sleep has more or less settled back into her previous routine, with bedtime at 10pm, waking at 6-7am to move into the big bed, and continuing her sleep til about 9ish.

Has five teeth, three on the top and two on the bottom, but no sign of any new ones.
New bad habits!
  Still slapping mummy hard on the face, even after being scolded many times for it.
Her 'anak burung' impression, where she goes from person to person at the dinner table with her mouth wide open, begging for food!
Loves to water the floor with her sippy cup.
Is a Big Bully and pushes her poor 16mth old cousin Mika around all the time.
Cannot resist tissue boxes and will shred every piece of tissue she can get hands on.
*   *   *
Looking at this list I've just made, I find it wondrous yet scary at how fast babies advance once they hit the big ONE. They suddenly become these little people that you cannot recall ever having been red, helpless, squirmy grubs that only ever poo-ed and sucked your boobs dry.
Zara now has a distinct personality that I find so enjoyable, and she is a treasure to hang out with, even when she decides to throw a tantrum in the middle of my lunch date with Aunty Sofia. Yes, there are days when I want to run and hide from the little critter, but until she turns TERRIBLE TWO, I am planning on soaking up every fabulous moment with my little BFF*.
Love you my little Bunsky! 
*Best Friend Forever

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Zara's 1st Birthday Partaaaayyyy!!!

We may have had just a quiet day on Zara's actual birthday, knowing that she probably wouldnt understand what the fuss was all about, but the truth is I had actually been dreaming up a birthday party for her since she turned 10 months old!

As every new parent will know, your baby's 1st birthday party is usually more for the parents than for the baby :-) The birthday girl (if she has already started walking) will wander around aimlessly amongst all these unfamiliar kids and wonder what the heck is going on, and probably pass out before the party is over. Although this premonition did turn out to be quite true in our case (!), we still wanted to treat our Peanut to a fun do just to mark the occasion, hoping she would make some friends for a future playdate, and have some nice piccies in her album for when she's older. Mummy and Abah also needed an excuse to hang out with friends we hadnt seen in ages (thanks Zara!).

That's why on February 27th, the Sunday after her birthday, we threw our little girl a Sesame Street party at Fitfor2, Bangsar Village II, with the help of our friends at fluff&stuff. The idea was that the kiddos would go and play for an hour or so at KizSports next door. leaving the parents to chitchat in peace, and then everyone would come together aftewards at Fitfor2 for makan and cake. Grand plan right! I'll confess now, that was easier said than done!

We invited Tok and Nanie, Ah Kong and Nana, Zara's cousins and friends of ours who have kids around the same age... and boy, did it turn out to be one heck of a long guest list! The end result was a birthday party with almost 100 guests, 30 boisterous kids high on sugar and 2 very exhausted parents who must've been crazy for organising something so insanely elaborate.

Despite that our daughter did have a marvellous time, so marvellous in fact that she KO-ed right before we were supposed to bring out her birthday cake. And I believe the other kids did too, since so many refused to go home, long after the party had ended LOL.

So, my Peanut did get a party that she probably will never remember, but... at least we have the nice photos! I sincerely hope that when she grows up she'll look back at them and realise that her Mummy & Abah were so excited to celebrate her 1st birthday that they willingly lost their minds in the process.

Mummy & Abah love you Zara. You will always be our number ONE!

Zara's birthday cake, with her beloved Elmo holding court.

Cant have a Sesame Street party without Ernie and Rubber Ducky!

Zara and Cookie Monster share a common love for FOOD.

Everyone who came got a birthday cupcake to take home.

We even had a fancy registration table! Thanks Fluff & Stuff! And Mum for doubling as the receptionist!

Zara with her Ah Kong.

The birthday girl in a rare moment of solitude.

Time Out with Mummy.

Yes, you read right. Ah Kong even had on his special T-shirt.

It may not look it, but she had a blast at KizSports...

...Such a blast in fact, that she began to wilt rather quickly after that...

...And here she is, wilted. Right before her birthday song. Check out that pout!

We had to wake her for the cake, so that the other kids could go home.
Yeah, she wasnt too happy about that!

Grumpypuss notwithstanding, Happy Birthday Zara!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Zara's 1st Birthday!

I have shamefully neglected my blog, so to all those who have emailed me asking why, I'd like to say Im sorry and that I've been really up to neck with stuff since Zara's birthday and all will be revealed soon enough :-)

So before I forget the little details of Zara's birthday I thought I should post up some pictures of the precious moments we shared with our little girl on the day.

It was a quiet day with Mummy and Abah until Ah Kong & Nana popped by with a gift and a carrot cake for their precious. Zara knew something special was happening when she saw the candle coz she had seen the same thing at cousin Mika's birthday 2 months earlier!

She 'blew' out the candle with the help of Mummy and Abah.

After tearing off the wrapper herself, she finally got a glimpse of Ah Kong & Nana's gift - Zara's very own Violet puppy that sings and talks to her using her name! So canggih the toys nowadays! Zara now loves playing with Violet in the car - less stress for Mummy in the driver's seat!

Zara's gift from Mummy & Abah... hmm, wonder what it could be?

A tirke?! Could it be?! Her expression that day cracked me up LOL!

Helping Abah assemble the trike.

Yay! Im a big girl now!