Saturday, January 29, 2011

Zara's Progress Report - 11 Months

She actually walked around with this Nerf pellet
on her head for almost half an hour!

Gosh... is Zara really just less than a month away from turning ONE? I find it so hard to believe that I'm enroute to being the mother of a toddler. I'll probably still be saying the same thing when she becomes a teenager. But more on that in 12 years :-)

The good news is Zara has finally put on weight - she's up to 8.6kg now and my arms are finally beginning to develop muscles.

Anyway, I digress. As is customary, here is Zara's progress report thus far:

New Gross Motor Skills

Can walk fast and steadily; can almost run, but still falls when not focused

Can high five

Can throw objects

Can open boxes and pull out toys

Can empty her toybox by turning it upside down

Can put a bucket (her hat) on her head, remove it and put it on Mummy's head

Can climb down stairs (finally) by sitting on her bum and putting legs down on the next level

Can jig to music she likes, and familiar sounds like ringtones

Enjoys opening and closing doors, cupboard doors and drawers

New Fine Motor Skills

Can use a shape sorter and correctly insert shapes into the right holes

Can empty the shape sorter and repeat the process

Has discovered the joys of nose and ear-digging (!)

Can flip pages of a book

Can snap the doors shut on her peekaboo airplane, but hasn't figured out how to open them again

Communication Skills

New words - Mama (indiscriminate), Baba (indiscriminate), Dah (when she sees Duster the cat). Mummy is worried that her first word might just be Cat instead of Mummy!

Two different types of crying - Aiiiiiiyaaaa (when tired or wants milk/food), Gahhhhhhhh (when she doesnt see Mummy or Abah)

Can understand 'No' better and ignores it less

Can understand 2-step instructions like 'Pick it up, and give it to Mummy'


Has gotten bored of Mickey Mouse and reverted back to Sesame Street, a new video called "Exploring Together"; often laughing when she sees something funny.

Enjoys flipping through and touching the pages of her Usborne Touchy Feely book.

Her new favourite game is throwing toys out of the playpen.


Has started a third meal at lunchtime (around 2pm), followed by a 5oz bottle of formula at 3pm.

Breastmilk cut to 2 feeds a day now, at 6am and 12pm, while formula has been increased to 2 bottles a day at 3pm and 10pm.

Lost appetite for 4 days in mid-January due to mild rotavirus (vomiting and diarrhoea), refused to finish more than 3/4 of her milk or solids. Appetite now back to normal, thank God!


Refuses to nap earlier than 2pm, unless she's in her carseat and the car is moving

Naptime cut to one session from 3-6pm

Sleeps from 10pm to 6-7am, and after a feed will sleep on til 9-10am. In the last 2 weeks she has started waking up at odd hours again, refusing to go back to sleep until Mummy holds her. Will sometimes not sleep until Mummy takes her into the big bed. Mummy getting very cranky from not enough sleep.

New Quirks & Characteristics

Extremely friendly with strangers; will reach out to be cuddled by strangers and approaches them in public places. Very worrying so have started attaching her to a harness!

Still suffers separation anxiety when Mummy is out of sight or gone for too long.

Enjoyed Kiz Sports immensely during her first outing there last month. Was less enthusiastic about Gymboree because she couldnt understand what the heck was going on.


They have appeared finally! Bottom right tooth at 10mths, 1 week and the bottom left a week after. Now sprouting upper right tooth. She looks a bit like a pirate.

New bad habits!
Has started slapping mummy hard on the face, and laughs when told 'No! No slapping, it hurts!' And believe me, it does hurt :-(
Well, nose picking is about as far as my mushy brain can recall at this early hour of the morning.
So far, I'm extremely happy with Zara's progress this last month. It's as if she has suddenly grown up overnight; I looked at her the other day and was suddenly struck by the fact that she suddenly looked less like a baby and more like a little person. It was scary and exciting all at the same time.
Slow down Zara, slow down... Mummy's not done having fun with you yet!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Zara's First Christmas!

My little family is so fortunate to be (almost) truly Malaysian. We get to celebrate almost every major festivity save for Deepavali and my hope is that Zara will grow up being grateful for her colourful heritage in this country we call home.

Although I don't technically celebrate Christmas anymore, my parents still do and Naz and I consider it our duty to ensure Zara grows up respecting other beliefs and the celebrations that come with them. And so it was that this year for Christmas, we found ourselves in Klang at my parents' home, sitting around a lovely, real and very fragrant Christmas tree (thank you Ikea!) with my family and cats, the way I'd always done growing up.

Christmas has always been special to my family, not because we were very religious, but because over the years, we'd developed some special traditions that may perhaps have been laughable to others but were dear to us, and those traditions gave us something to look forward to, to bond over and cherish as time went by.

...Like the little notes my brother has left for Santa since we were kids, along with a glass of milk (or brandy, depending on the mood!) and a cookie or two; of course, not forgetting a bowl full of nuts for the reindeer! We'd wake up on Christmas morning to miraculously discover the glass emptied, the cookies half eaten and the nuts devoured, replaced by a huge bowl of candy! Joy!

...And how every year until our senior cat Teddy passed on, there was always a special tin of cat food wrapped for him under the Christmas tree. There, he would take pride of place next to his gift, outfitted in his traditional Christmas bow, until the present was opened for him to enjoy later in the evening.

...Of course, the necessary procession of gift giving, accompanied by the silly photos my mother would take of our expressions as we registered the contents of our wrapping paper. Once the mayhem was over, the cats would have a field day chasing the wrappers all over the house.

...Christmas lunch would usually be chocolate (!), because we'd been eating them all morning anyway, and be too stuffed to prepare a proper lunch! 

...Christmas dinner was always Mum's homecooked turkey with good old canned Cranberry sauce, stuffing on the side and a variety of different salads that were my responsibility to prepare. Every year, Yean would be put in charge of the table setting and Dad would wash the glasses and prepare the patio.

...Flaming Christmas pudding... the highlight of my evening! Not because it tasted great, but how cool is a pudding doused in Grand Marnier and set on fire!

Finally and most importantly, there's always been a feeling, a special excitement that comes with the season that I can't explain. It's not the gifts, or the carols (anyone who knows me well will be aware of my utter distaste for Christmas jingles!), or even the candy. Heck, it's not even the fantastic smelling tree!

It's just that tingle that I get when I look around me after all the guests have left and realise that although we're all grown up now (and my parents are greyer, their friends older, and their tolerance for alcohol weaker), our Christmas has essentially remained the same, the spirit is the same, the laughter the same and the love, the same! The family may have grown bigger, thanks to Naz and Zara, but so has the bond.

That's why despite all the ho-ho-hoo-hah about how we shouldnt be 'celebrating' festivities other than our own, I say we should just do what ever brings us closer together. It's not about our religious beliefs, or the food and drink that we can and cannot share, it's about keeping the bonds of family traditions alive.

And, in the spirit of Christmas, here's a little collection of memories from Zara's first of many Christmases with her Ah Kong, Nana and Uncle Yean...

Our Christmas tree... no, not the one on the left!

Zara 'helping' to put the star on the Christmas tree.

The tree... dressed and all ready for Christmas!

Christmas eve: Uncle Yean with Duster under the tree.

Christmas Eve: Duster waits patiently for morning...

Christmas morning!!!

Zara gets a Christmas kiss from Abah

Zara surveying the post gift-giving damage.

Zara and Ah Kong share a similar taste in hair accessories!

Flaming pudding!!!

One for the album!

The Whirlwind That Was 2010!

This time last year...

Wow... and there it went. In a flash, one whole year just zoomed past and I have no idea how it happened. I'm guessing a major reason for that was having a baby. Funny how something so tiny can have such a huge impact on time!

Casey and her bridesmaids + one

Around this time last year, I was 8.5mths along and busy preparing for my bestie's wedding reception. Of course, I was excited about the prospect of Zara's impending arrival, but not really knowing what to expect, I focused instead on my duties as Casey's (very heavy) maid of honour. I remember trying on my bridesmaid dress that had to be tailormade specially to cover my ever-expanding tummy. I remember thinking that I must have resembled a big fluffy piece of pink candyfloss as I waddled into the hall, and I vividly recall how I tried to perch daintily (and unsuccessfully) on a chair as I delivered my bridesmaid's speech.

Fluffy pink candy floss !

How my life has changed since then! How trivial my worries were, and how naive I was about motherhood!

Little did I know what labour would feel like, after spending months imagining the sensation... Or how truly overjoyed and overwhelmed I would be upon seeing the tiny face I had dreamt of for so many nights!

How little sleep I've had since then!

How little weight I've lost!

How so very much I've learnt! About responsibilities... about patience... about sacrifice... about love!

Yes, funny how the meagre space of just one year can teach some people nothing, and for others, a lifetime of lessons.

I have a feeling that 2011 - and the years to follow - will speed by as 2010 has done. And I pray that in the increasing rush and tumble of our lives, as our family grows, and the mayhem expands with it, we will not forget to stop and smell the roses, sit back and cherish every moment we have with our Zara before she becomes a young lady.

Here's to 2010 - the best year of my life - and to 2011, that it may be even better yet!

Portrait by Choen Lee @ Bunny + Bear Pictures