Sunday, January 31, 2010

What we do on a Saturday morning around here

Sophie vs. solid food- take one.

I'm not sure why organic rice ground down to a powder, then cooked into a puree with milk, counts as a solid, but apparently it is, and Sophie lapped it all up today :) Thanks to her Bumkins bib, two damp towels, an adorable feeding set from Debra, and our sturdy Stokke highchair, Sophie's first solid food experience was as fun (and hopefully satisfying) for her to enjoy as it was for us to watch. We knew our daughter would take to solid food easily, but no one told us how messily- the bib was practically eating as much rice cereal as she was and so our greedy little pumpkin was simultaneously trying to eat out of the spoon as well as off the bib... It was hilarious- you had to be there :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Sophie, meet Isabel. Isabel, meet Sophie.

1. Hey good lookin'!, 2. Smooch!, 3. Coming in for a kiss, 4. *nom nom nom*

Isabel's about 4 months older than Sophie and sitting up pretty well on her own. I think her initial plan was to give Sophie a smooch on the forehead but it somehow evolved into a full-on open-mouth slobber over the head instead... Heehee...

And *that's* what friends are for :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Guess what our daughter was up to in school today?

From the daily note we get from her teachers:
"Sophie had another great day in Cozy Cove! She really enjoyed sitting up in the Bumbo chair and chatting at her reflection in the mirror. Sophie also explored painting with her feet! Sophie mixed paint colors with her toes and explored the texture of the paint as her feet slipped around!"

We actually did see Sophie's "masterpiece" drying in the classroom and we'll bring it home with us tomorrow :) As for the whole talking to her reflection thing, wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation?:
Sophie to mirror: Well, hello. You sure have a big head. And no hair. Wow, you *really* have no hair. I like to sit in the Bumbo too. And I have one at home. Do you? So do you hang around these parts often? Aren't Erin and Sandra just awesome? Did I tell you have a big head? I like to drink milk. And poop.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My loves...

Why do birds suddenly appear
Every time you are near?
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you.

Why do stars fall down from the sky
Every time you walk by?
On the day that you were born
and the angels got together
And decided to create a dream come true

So they sprinkled moon dust
in your hair of gold
And starlight in your eyes of blue.
- "Close to You", The Carpenters

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sophie goes to daycare

I think it was harder on us than it was for her. I held my tears in till we got in the car and Jude admitted that he teared up a little too. It was the first time she would be apart from us both for such an extended period. But Sophie seemed just fine and dandy when we said goodbye- she was being held by Erin, her primary caregiver, had a chew-toy in her hand, and was probably too curious about her new surroundings to realize that she wasn’t going to see Mama and Daddy till 5pm.

After dropping Sophie off, Jude and I went for breakfast- Date #2!- and in between mouthfuls of pancakes, all I could think of was if she was ok, whether she’d play well with her teachers and new friends, whether she missed us, or had any idea what this whole daycare business is. Then I got a phone call from Sandra, the other teacher in Sophie’s family room who just wanted to update us on how Sophie was doing: she assured us that Sophie was doing fine, snuggled with her teachers for a bit and was down for her nap already, right on time as if she were home. It was a welcomed phone call and reinforced in us that we made the right choice in sending Sophie to Gretchen’s House. I can now see why they come so highly recommended and why everyone we know who has had some experience with them loves them so much. They’re really committed to making both the children and families feel safe and comfortable. Like how we were greeted with a little poster welcoming Sophie to daycare and that reassuring phone call in the morning.

And when we picked her up in the evening, we saw on the door of the classroom a collage of pictures of Sophie throughout the day!

We even got a little report on the number of diapers she went through (1 wet, 4 poopy), how she drank her milk (finished all her bottles), and how her naps went (three 45 minute naps). This is what else her teacher wrote:

Sophie had such a great first day! We really enjoyed getting to know her and it seems like she really enjoyed her time here. Sophie snuggled her teachers and made sounds with the other babies. Sophie also explored the classroom toys and even went on a stroller ride through the school. See you tomorrow!

Sophie was in a great mood when we arrived, playing her Erin and rolling on the floor with her new friend, Lucy. We were told she did good on her first day and that after a little bout of anxiety waking up from her first nap and going slow with her first bottle, everything went smooth-sailing all day. We missed her so much and it was just wonderful to see that she was fine and happy while we were apart.

Like our friend Wendy said, it was an emotionally complex day- feeling sad and guilty for leaving her there, but also glad and comforted that she’s in such good hands and doing well away from us. At the end of the day, we think this is a good thing for everyone- Jude and I can get work done and graduate soon, while Sophie gets the developmentally appropriate interaction and stimulation she needs. We saw how much the month-long trip home and all that interaction with family and friends really helped Sophie’s maturity, especially her verbal skills, and we’re sure the awesome care she’s getting Gretchen’s House will be really good for her too.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

So it's 3.10am on a Sunday...

We've been back in Ann Arbor since Thursday night although it doesn't quite feel like three days. The days have sort of melted into each other with loads of sleeping (Sophie especially) blurring our nights and days. The little one's actually doing remarkably well considering the circumstances- the flight home was looooong (we calculated, door to door, with two connections, it took us just under 30 hours to get from my parents' in Singapore to our place in AA) but Sophie slept through most of it (in our arms again- she has deemed the bassinet such a thing of the 2000s...). Our daughter was a real trooper, barely crying throughout the flights and was even forgiving enough to let us eat our meals (most of them anyway) fairly successfully (grilled chicken with linguine- good; yakisoba- not). We even managed to watch a couple of movies while she slept soundly (All About Steve-ok; Four Christmases- not so much). She didn't even fuss during our frantic mad dash to make our connection in Atlanta or when we had to wait at the Detroit airport for an hour because Delta had inexplicably put our luggages on THREE separate flights (we only got all our bags on Friday morning...) All in all, I would say Sophie's on her way to being quite the international jet-setter :)

The house is pretty much the same as we left it, albeit tens of degrees colder. Right now, our bags are understandably still unpacked and we only managed to do a grocery run today (while surviving on take-out, frozen food, and believe it or not, black sesame premixed paste the last two days). After tomorrow's trip to Target, and when Sophie starts daycare on Tuesday and we can properly unpack, I think we'll be able to get a better hold over things. It still feels a little odd not having family hovering around us, offering to watch Sophie while we eat or shower or read the papers, having the grandparents coo over her all the time, or the aunts and uncle showering her with their affectionate attention. Remarkably, when we Skyped with my parents and sis today, Sophie seemed to recognize them and was more than happy to smile and squeal at them like she's been doing the past month back in Singapore. I was afraid that something about the computer would get in the way of her remembering them, but nope, she responded to their chuckles and calls as if they were right in front of her. It was really sweet to watch :) We're going to keep the Skyping up just so Sophie will always be aware of family in Singapore- just because we are thousands of miles away geographically doesn't mean she shouldn't always be reminded of how much she's loved back home...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I will remember

In sixteen years, during a bout of adolescent rebellion and hormonal upheaval, when Sophie tells me she hates me and accuses me of ruining her life because I refuse to let her go to the prom with a boy named Spikebomb or leave the house in whatever inappropriate attire teenagers in 2026 deem fashionable, remind me that there was a time in her life when I was the center of her universe, when afternoons spent cuddling and snuggling with me was the highlight of the day, and when her reaching out and drawing me into her kisses was one of the most beautiful and profound things her mother has ever experienced.

If I loved our daughter any more, I think I might fall apart...

Friday, January 08, 2010

Our sick bunny

Sophie's sick :( And I hate it. I hate that I can't do anything to drain the phlegm from her windpipe, I hate that I can't soothe her throat that must be hurting from the coughing, and I hate that I can't communicate to her that the medicine she resists taking will make her feel better.

More importantly, I'm incensed at the first pediatrician we visited on Wednesday when Sophie first showed signs of a cough. She prescribed a whole cocktail of medications that made me feel like our daughter was deathly ill and used a bunch of obtuse medical terms to describe a condition I'm quite sure Sophie didn't have. We were nervous enough as it was, and really didn't need to be made more anxious by the doctor's need to show us that she can use big words. Our daughter expresses one cough every three hours- does she really need an antihistamine? And not only did Sophie not get better, it's almost as if her cough got worse after. After a full day of hacking, phlegmy cough and several bouts of crying yesterday, we decided to get a second opinion this morning. Lo and behold, we were told to literally throw away half the medicines we now have! It turns out that Doctor #1 is quite the alarmist and prescribed meds more suited for a chronically asthmatic child with allergies. Our daughter just has a cough!! Today, we got just good ol' cough syrup and something for her phlegm, were told she'll continue to cough over the next couple of days to expectorate the phlegm and clear her throat, and were thoughtfully and sensibly assured that she'll better on the mend in no time. Thanks Dr. Hew- you were always good with Sam and now Sophie loves you too.

In the meantime though, we've had to postpone our flight back to AA. We were supposed to leave on Monday but it would be 1) tough on Sophie, and 2) nerve-wrecking and socially irresponsible of us to travel when both Sophie and Jude are ill. Also, in light of tighter TSA regulations, who knows if we'll be able to bring Sophie's meds on board so we'd rather her be well before the flight. We're crossing our fingers that this 27-hour journey will be as relatively painless as our last...

Having a sick child at home is no fun, having a sick child and a sick husband, even less so. But at least we're with family and there's plenty of care, cuddles, and homemade barley water to go around... :)

[Oh, and world, Sam says hi! :)]

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

2010 New Year resolutions

1) Eat more vegetables (I think I've made this resolution every year since I was 12).
2) Get a jogging stroller and re-start some kind of running routine (The last time I ran was a week after I completed the Half. These days, workout is rocking a 5-month old to sleep).
3) Not freak out when Season 1 of Glee and the entire series of Lost ends in May. I may be inconsolable.
4) Be better about bringing our own bags to the store, recycling, and taking the bus.
5) Not hoard library books.
6) Practice yoga again. Mommy-baby yoga :)
7) Finish writing my dissertation (Please self, please...).
8) Love this little person with everything my soul can muster.

Monday, January 04, 2010

"Us" time

In the end, it was definitely well worth our while. Jude and I were planning our first date night in 5 months (yay for parents and sisters!) and it was a toss-up between Avatar in 3D (there's no way we'd be able to make it to the theatres for this in AA and watching it on video would have been pointless...) or Bodyguards and Assassins, a Hong Kong movie about a little known assassination plot against Dr. Sun Yat-Sen (it'll be next to impossible to catch this anywhere else but in Chinese-speaking Asia.) We eventually went with Avatar and Mr. Cameron did not disappoint. The plot-- while a little predictable-- was actually stronger than expected, and the CG and special effects, truly (and literally), other-worldly. After a while, I almost forgot we were watching it in 3D (but only just almost since we were 3 rows from the front and I had a throbbing head and neck ache from watching through those glasses) which I guess is testimony to how seamless James Cameron made the medium and its subject. I really felt I was watching movie history in the making, and some new frontier in film production being carved...

I enjoyed the movie a lot, but was also very conscious of the phone in my pocket, anticipating a buzz from home any minute telling me that Sophie's having a meltdown and that we needed to race home stat. But that never came. Instead I get messages from my dad and sis about be how soundly she was sleeping. Such a relief :) But my heart still wasn't a hundred percent on the film nor on the supper we had after (which partly had to do with how sub-par it was...)- I was missing our baby so much... When we finally got home and I was holding her in my arms again, it was like homecoming even though it had only been 4 hours since we left. I needed to see her cherubic face, needed to nuzzle in her scent, kiss her sweet cheeks, and feel her snuggling in my arms. I almost didn't want to put her down and told myself it was because if I did she would cry. But on hindsight, it was probably more for my comfort than anything else.

Looks like going on a date will never be the same for Jude and I anymore. It was really nice to get out for some long-delayed "us" time, and now, even nicer to know that a different kind of "us" time would be waiting for us when we get home... :)

Friday, January 01, 2010

Our year in Sophie

1. Sushi!, 2. Yew(s) are..., 3. Yew(s) are pregnant!!!, 4. Ultrasound, 5. Journaling to Baby before bed, 6. @ 23 weeks, 7. 30 secs in this world, 8. First of many family portraits, 9. Is that a smile?, 10. The doting grandparents falling in love, 11. This is how a one-month old looks like :), 12. Hanging out with her new friend, Moosey, 13. In Daddy's arms, 14. IMG_7080, 15. IMG_7140, 16. The whole family!

A year ago tonight, I celebrated New Year's Eve 2008 with Jude and our friends over copious amounts of spicy tuna sushi and champagne. The next day, on New Year's Day 2009, we found out we were pregnant. And my first thought? That I had irreparably poisoned our unborn child with all that alcohol and raw fish...

A year later, Sophie is a delightful 12lbs bundle, with lungs of steel and a smile that can put a song in your heart. And none the worse for wear from her mother's indulgence 355 days ago. From that day on, Sophie has been the gift that keeps on giving. Whether it's the gift of nausea when she was a 2-month fetus, her first kick at 4 months, intestinal acrobatics at the Sonic Youth concert at 7 months, rendering me practically immobile at 8 months, or the 23-hour labor leading up to her birth, we knew Sophie was going to be a feisty one, even as a fetus. And now, as an almost 5-month old, she brightens up our days and (literally) livens up our nights. Our peanut is no longer a peanut, her cries, no longer whimpers (not that they ever have been), and when she looks into your eyes, it's not with the blankness of a mere creature in need, but with a deep human awareness and desire for communication and affection.

Our lives will no longer be the same because of her, because of our love for her, and hopefully, her love for us. She's the most precious, special, and profound thing 2009 has bestowed on us and we will always remember this past year as the most beautiful 12 months of our lives.

Thank you 2009, you've been great :)