Wednesday, February 23, 2011


A special moment with Ah Kong @ 20th February 2011

To my dearest daughter, the light of my life, Zara Aaliyah...

Today, you're officially a year old! Mummy simply cant believe how fast the year has sped by.

I remember, like I'll remember for the rest of my life, the first time I ever saw you. Dr Alex pulled you out and placed you - plop - on my chest. Your eyes were open - deeper and wider than I've ever seen them since - and you stared right at me, alert, unblinking... as if you too had spent the last 10 months wondering about the face behind the muffled voice. There you were, exactly as I had seen you in my dreams. I blinked in shock - and then I gasped "My baby!" - maybe I thought saying it out loud might make it feel more real. And then you blinked back.

I knew then, as I know now, that you and I are forever bound. The cord may have been cut, but my heart is wrapped irretrievably around yours. And though someday you will want your freedom, your independence, there will be times when you'll want to, need to, look to your heart and seek solace. There I'll be, as I've always been, since we shared that quiet unblinking moment on the first day of your life.

I love you, as I always will.

Happy Birthday my darling girl! Mummy will always be proud of you...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Zara's Bread-venture!

Mealtimes have also gotten more challenging as Zara has gotten older.

Heinz bottled food worked well enough until recently, but now that she's turning one, the urge to make her 'proper' meals has overpowered me. So I caved and bought a Philips Avent Food Steamer and Blender, and this last week, I've been experimenting with homemade recipes to great success... and great failure.

My new toy...

Behold my attempt at gourmet Pumpkin and Lentil Stew with Couscous...

OK, so she hated that.

But she really likes my Creamed Rice with Apple/Prunes, Cheesy Brocolli and Cauliflower, and Porridge with Carrot and Marmite.

Despite my great effort in the kitchen though, nothing has held her attention more supremely than....


And all that was left were these breadcrumbs...

Naptime Strategies

Over the last few months, Zara's daily routine has been pretty shaken up by my new business (all that travelling), the addition of an extra meal into her day, and perhaps also because she's getting older and wants to do as much as possible with her awake time.

As a result, her naptimes have gone a little bonkers, and getting her to bed during the day has gotten so much tougher.

I tried using all the methods we'd tried before (rocking, singing, holding her tight and patting her) but to no avail. She would scream for as long as I tried to force her to sleep, no matter how tired she was. She would fight sleep by slapping me, biting me, kicking me, banging her head repeatedly on my chest, while displaying all the signs of exhaustion (tugging at her hair and eye-rubbing). But still she would not sleep!

And so her Abah and I have had to devise new (and rather strange) ways of getting her to bed at naptime. Among them...

Mummy's Sleep Tent - A single sized bedsheet stretched over her playpen...

And Abah's Sleep Cocoon - Put on Sesame Street, ensconce
her between two pillows, and leave alone for 5 minutes...

Another method that has worked pretty well this last week has been to hug her and blast a fan in her face. The breeze from the fan makes her blink, which makes her 'rasa nyaman' and sleepy, and she's out like a light in 2 minutes.  

Failing all of the above, a car ride usually works pretty well, but again, like the trip to Aquaria proved, nothing is ever fool-proof when it comes to Zara!

Zara's Day Out @ Aquaria

KL - much as I love this crazy city - has a dearth of fun places to take very young children out for a day. The roads arent pedestrian friendly, much less stroller friendly... most malls still find the concept of baby-friendliness rather alien (one mall I went to didnt even have a baby changing room), and you really see the worst in KL-ites when you're waiting for a lift with a stroller! (I really lost my temper with a few folks recently after they pushed through ahead of me into the lifts, knowing full well that I couldnt use the stairs!)

One of my dearest oldest friends, Katrina was in town for a couple of months recently with her 7 month old son, Dylan. Now Dylan has an interesting fascination for fish and so when she asked what would be a good place to take the kids out on a playdate to, naturally the first and only place that came to mind was Aquaria! Initially I was a little worried that we'd have problems moving about with our strollers in there, but thankfully the day turned out pretty well, despite how it started :-)

This time, I'll let the piccies do the talking...

In the car on the way to KL...

In the stroller heading out of the carpark...

Upon being released from captivity (Zara, not the racoons!),
the screaming finally stopped (thank GOD!)...

Dwarfed by the 6ft long Arapaima! WHOA!!!

Wow Mummy, look at all the fishies!!!

Hey, how come I cant catch these things?!

Fish are tiring!

One for the album.
Only as we were leaving did we discover why it was compulsory
 to have your picture taken at the entrance...
so they can charge you 20 bucks for this when you exit!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dong Dong Dong Zhiang! a.k.a. Zara's first CNY!

Chinese New Year 2011 was probably the most meaningful CNY I've ever had. Looking back at the family photos we've snapped customarily throughout the years, I've been able to witness my own transformation from cheeky kid to pimply teenager to career woman to just-married and now... to Mummy. Wowee.

The same time last year, I was just over a week from popping (though I didnt know it at the time), and we werent even sure if we'd get to celebrate because we were so worried Zara would arrive early! Of course, I was so huge that buying new clothes was not an option, and my family was so convinced I'd have delivered by then, we didnt even dare to plan our traditional CNY first day get-together.

CNY 2010 - Zara enroute!

(Secretly, Naz and I hoped Zara would come early because we'd been warned that having a Tiger baby - Naz is a Horse and I'm a Goat - would mean we'd be eaten alive! Well, as luck would have it - she is a Tiger, and yes, sometimes I think we are being eaten alive LOL!)

So it was with great merriment that we welcomed the Year of the Rabbit with our almost-1-year-old in tow. She had no blinking idea what was going on but nevertheless sailed through the festivities with little fuss... even managing to 'present' Ah Kong and Nana with a mandarin orange each in exchange for her first Angpau. Yes... an early lesson in bribery!

Heading the wrong way... (she thought the orange was for her!)...

...But managing to get to Nana & Ah Kong eventually!

I won't blab too much as I'm dead tired - God knows how I'm still awake at this hour - so I'll just let the piccies do the Dong-Dong-Dong Zhiang!

Reunion dinner at Bagan, Port Klang - not the best food,
but no pork, which is a lot to ask from my thoughtful family!

Wonder where she gets that cheeky face from!

After THREE biccies, only an ice cube could
keep her entertained!

And then she resorted to terrorizing the restaurant
in her alter-ego Evil LadyBug costume!

CNY Day 1 - Breakfast to start the hectic day!

Ang Pau? What the heck do I do with this?!
Traditional CNY spread @ the Lee Household -
Teow Chew porridge! Oh, and that brown looking
stuff at the bottom of the pic is my Mum's courageous
attempt at making homemade Halal chicken bah-kua!

Zara spent most of her first CNY eating (Ah Pek style too!) -
and we discovered how much she LURVES porridge with Marmite!

Our first customary CNY family portrait!

The extended Lee Family...

By 3pm she was cranky as hell... poor critter.

CNY Day 2 - Mummy and Abah being silly as usual...

See what I mean...

Poor Zara has to deal with these crazies for parents!!!

Looks like that crazy gene slipped through!

Gong Xi Fa Cai everybody!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mummy's New Day Job

... in addition to being Zara's 24/7 on-call Coolie, that is!

Yep, I just couldn't sit still and play SAHM all day long. Although being a Stay At Home Mummy is fun and, God knows, busy enough, there's always been a part of me that's wanted to do it all.

All my working life, I've been an employee; I gave my all to something that was bigger than myself but ultimately something that didnt belong to me. When Zara came along and I left my career behind, suddenly, I was thrust into a completely new role where the investments I made with my time, money and effort started bearing fruit of a more personal nature. I was - I am - shaping a human being! What a huge and risky responsibility that is!

From there, I began to realise that if I could be tasked with something so personal to me, I might just have the courage to delve into a dream I'd cultivated for some time and... gasp!.. Make it a reality! So when the opportunity presented itself a few months ago, I jumped right into it - albeit with the support and financial assistance from a wonderful (and daring!) husband. 

That's how I've suddenly become a despatch girl, an accountant, a professional mover, a stock-taker, webmaster, and ultimately, the owner of an import business and online store selling playpens! PHEW!

Exhausted but satisfied after lifting carton after carton of
playpens and playmats out of the truck and into the house!

 See, from merely loving Zara's magic playpen back when we shipped it in with great difficulty some 6 months ago, we got so many enquiries about it that we realised we had something really, really good there.

Countless phone calls, Skype sessions and emails later - and of course, lots of hard-earned money too - our first shipment of JollyKidZ Majicpanel Playpens arrived last week, and since then, life has been a flurry of orders, deliveries and paperwork!

Despatch Girl... til we earn enough money to hire
someone to do it for me!

Through it all, our Zara has been mostly an angel - playing peacefully (and sometimes not so peacefully) in her playpen while Mummy distractedly tries to develop her website, sitting quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) in her carseat while Mummy drives all over town delivering playpens, and patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) observing Mummy as she pulls her hair out over numbers that dont match up...

I may have a lot on my hands right now, but am I living my dreams or what!

It's true you know, you never really know what you're capable of until a baby comes along. For that, I have a lot to thank Zara for.

As a result, I named my business after Zara's favourite Sesame Street song, in honour of my little peanut who gave Mummy the courage to try something new and the patience to see it through.

Thanks for your readership, support and kind thoughts, everyone!