Archive for February, 2018

Last night in Kuching

So my holiday in Kuching, my hometown, is finally over. We’re flying out to Singapore early in the morning then heading back to Perth in a few days.

The weeks have flown by. I have really enjoyed this retreat back home. It was exactly what I needed to reenergise my body and recharge my soul.

Both kids are asleep so my parents and I shared the last bowl of Sunny Hill pandan ice cream. I think I have successfully converted ah Ma to be a fan of this ice cream.

My parents went all out to make sure I was well rested and enjoyed my holiday. During the brief periods when Saitaoha was napping, ah pa would stay home to tend to her while ah Ma would drive us out to go shopping or food hunting. I didn’t even request to go anywhere, but she would drive to Sunny Hill even though she was unsure how to get there, because she knew I loved the pandan icecream there.

Yesterday I went to 拜 my gung gung. I apologised to him for taking my parents away from mah mah but said that I knew he would understand. I told him that Mah Mah was well looked after, but in a way I wish her suffering would end because she no longer recognises us or is aware of her surroundings. I don’t know that she is happy and I can only imagine how sad my father is when he sees her in this state. During Chinese New Year, I told ah pa that Mah Mah turned her head towards me because I was holding Saitaomei and she was crying loudly. A few days later we were with Mah Mah in the garden and Saitaomei started crying. Instead of asking me whether she’s hungry or hurrying me to tend to her like ah pa usually would, he asked me to hold the crying Saitaomei nearer to Mah Mah. So I put Saitaomei on Mah Mah’s lap but Mah Mah didn’t even flicker. After a while ah pa sat back resigned and motioned me to go soothe Saitaomei ‘eh sai liao (可以了)’ he said. My heart broke.

I said goodbye to Mah Mah this afternoon, I asked her whether she remembered how whenever I visited her during uni holidays she would hug me and say ‘Mah Mah ju lai ju eh, lu ju lai ju kwang (Mah Mah is getting shorter and you’re getting taller).’ It’s been almost a decade since my grandparents’ home was sold and they moved in with us, but I always look out for their house whenever we drive pass it. My lasting memory is of Mah Mah standing in the porch waving and shouting ‘bye bye!’ to us. We would roll down the car window and wave and shout ‘bye bye Mah Mah!!’ I wish we could return to those days.

I have savoured staying in my family home. R and I are from the same hometown, so for the past years when we’ve been home, I’ve stayed at his house.

This time there are so many things that I noticed about our house that I took for granted. Like our extra high ceilings. And lights that have been changed. And walls that seem to be of a different colour from what I remember. I asked my parents about these changes and they tell me all these little improvements were made when my sisters got married or before my brother’s wedding. I’d never noticed how much effort my parents put in to make sure our family home looked good for these occasions.

I will miss our lush and green garden with the graceful trees that are now so tall. When I was young these trees and their branches were still within arms’ reach.

I took photographs of Saitaoha on this swing. This swing means so much to us because this was where my grandparents sat every evening when they visited us. When my siblings and I were kids, this swing was our imaginary train and ship.

Ah pa’s organ which he still plays. When we were young, ah pa would play on the organ while waiting for us to get ready to go out for Sunday breakfast. We grew up with music played by my father.

I will miss our collection of books. Some so old and worn the covers are taped up. Some are new and brought back by my sisters and myself whenever we returned home from Uni.

I had a really good look at the many photos around our house this holiday. This caricature of my parents was drawn at Sanrioland during our family trip to Japan during Sakura season. Most of our family photos are taken at famous landmarks around the world. My parents brought us for family trips every year. We travelled to Europe, US, Japan, South Africa and many other countries. It was only when I was older that I realise how expensive these family trips were and how much my parents sacrificed (not to mention the work!) to ensure we could see the world.

I love these stickers on our bed frames. We bought them during our US trip to Disneyworld. When I was young, I would touch these stickers and believe that they were magic and bring us luck.

I love my family home. It’s my sanctuary. When I was struggling in Perth, I kept dreaming of my home. Some day this house will be sold, but the memories will remain. I hope my parents will eventually settle in Australia and I can help to create a home for them that will bring them as much happiness as our family home in Kuching.

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Saitaomei is 3 months old

Saitaomei is three months today. Has it only been three months? I feel like she’s been part of our lives forever.

It’s been really tough juggling two kids even with my parents’ stupendous help. They’ve had to run quite a lot of errands since we’ve been home so I’ve had some bouts of looking after two kids. Wah mummies who have two or more kids and no help, I don’t know how you do it!!

I feel terrible because I feel like someone always gets neglected when I’m taking care of the other. And as life would have it, Saitaoha will tell me she needs to go potty when I’m feeding Saitaomei. Or Saitaoha will be fast asleep and then get woken up by her sister’s wailing. Or both kids will be crying at the same time. At one point I was rocking Saitaomei to sleep and I could tell Saitaoha just needed some patting to fall asleep. I was contemplated patting her butt with my foot!

Anyway I’m sure I will eventually get better at this. I am thankful for my beautiful girls and happy that they are growing well. Happy 3 months Saitaomei💕💕

Aiyoh

I don’t know whether I should stop blogging on Dayre! At first I thought I would continue till the last day of 28 Feb but now they’ve extended the closure date for a few weeks?

I should really just bite the bullet and stop. Or else my sister will be like ‘eh we still have to save for you ok!!’

It’s our last few days in Kuching, sigh I’m going to miss home so much.

The glorious food, gosh I will miss this bak kut teh.

Their pork leg rice is so good too.

We had a good chat with the stall owners today, it’s surreal to think we’ve known them for at least 20 -30 years?? Gosh time really flies. My babies, please don’t grow up too quick. Saitaoha is already growing way too quick for me, I miss her baby days.

This kid ah, is really enjoying a holiday a bit too much. Diet totally gone out the window. She’s most comfortable when we’re back home eating home cooked food though. But glutton mummy has to indulge so err baby has to come along for the ride. Never mind, detox when we go back ok?

We finally had good news today, the five minutes phonecall in the car was nerve wrecking. I was crossing my fingers and pretending to be all cool and calm while ah Ma went ‘ya? Ya??’ on the phone. But it’s all good so hooray!

This feels like a year where we have to jump through a few hoops and obstacles to get where we want to be. I guess it’s not that bad because although it’s a longer route, we always get to our destination in the end.

Cuddles

Since we’ve been home, ah Ma and I have been alternating kids. Some nights she takes Saitaoha and I’ll take Saitaomei, on other nights we will switch kids. I have to admit I’m enjoying my daughters so much more with the added help here (not having to cook and do housework helps a lot!). I enjoy the winding down time with both kids before they fall asleep. It’s especially fun with Saitaoha because we have a lot more interaction. But she’s also a terror for refusing to go to sleep because she’s having too much fun!

Sometimes I get angry with her because she’s so naughty. But during these winding down times, when she just wants to play and cuddle with me, I am reminded that she’s not yet 2 and I’m expecting too much from my firstborn. Lately she’s been climbing on my back and walking on me, but I actually encourage it coz I have such a sore back and find it soothing. Haha using my child as a masseur.

It’s also lovely watching my parents with the kids. Sometimes Saitaoha will crawl into my ah ma’s arms and both will lie on the couch together watching tv. If her gung gung mah mah have been out, she is delighted when they’re home and greets them with giggles. Tonight when ah pa and I went out with her without my mum, she kept saying bye bye mah mah in the car as we were driving off.

Saitaomei is getting her share of attention too. My parents love talking to her which did responds to by cooing and smiling.

This sweet smile. Melts hearts.

Totally bias but gosh she’s a cutie.

Dealing with anxiety

Yesterday Ah Ma received an email from authorities that set out a few tasks to be completed within a short timeframe. It meant more paperwork, dealing with various authorities and lots of shuttling back and forth. Mind you, it was a positive email because it meant our application was moving forward. But as I read the email and thought about all the upcoming appointments to arrange and forms to fill, the familiar tension and stress which had gradually subsided during the holiday came rushing back. It was completely selfish but at that moment I thought ‘my holiday is over’. It didn’t help that the scanner broke down and we couldn’t scan some documents that were required. It brought me back to the horrendous day that I was rushing to get documents for Saitaomei’s passport and both printers at home stopped working. I broke down that day, thumped my fists on the desk and yelled out loud. I called my sister sobbing and howling ‘I am so tired’. I probably terrified the poor thing 😓.

Anyway, yesterday I convinced myself to stop stressing and complete each task step by step. Don’t procrastinate and make a mountain out of a molehill, just breathe in and out and get organised. This pep talk helped and we were able to tick off a couple of things from the to do list. We also bought a new scanner haha. Today I am going to email the authority to ask for an extension to the deadline. No point stressing and killing ourselves over impossible timelines, it’s not unreasonable to get an extension and I know we will be given one.

In the end I felt much better and was able to enjoy a shared froyo with Saitaoha after dinner. The slow pace of Kuching and the comfort of being in my family home has done wonders for the heightened anxiety that I have been experiencing since Saitaomei’s arrival. If I have to be completely honest, I was already very stressed and probably on the brink of a meltdown during my difficult pregnancy. It was tough going through hour by hour fearing the worst but trying so hard to keep negativity at bay. It didn’t help that we were facing a major upheaval at work during that time. Everything in my life felt fraught with uncertainty and negativity.

I sometimes wonder whether Saitaomei is a high needs baby or whether I’m just not coping as well because I’m struggling with my inner demons that were built pre pregnancy which makes everything feel extra hard. I suspect it’s a bit of both.

I really am thankful that despite all the difficulties to leave the country, I was able to have this holiday. Deep down I know the likelihood of being able to stay at the family home in the future is next to nil. I have enjoyed telling people that I don’t know my return date because we haven’t bought tickets yet. Being at home, I have been able to look at things in a more positive light and get some much needed clarity. I feel rested. I enjoy my kids and my parents and treasure my time with them. I love holding Saitaoha’s hand and walking down the stairs with her ‘slow slow’ I remind her, ‘slow slow’ she repeats after me.

So I am dealing with my anxiety. I think the first step was admitting that I was struggling to family and friends. I hope to go back to Australia recharged and refreshed. I have to remind myself to take things ‘slow slow’ and step by step.

Happy birthday ah pa

Happy birthday to the best ah pa and gung gung ever. I am so lucky to have been blessed with the most kind and considerate ah pa ever. I hope the kids will grow up to appreciate and love their gung gung who showers them with such love and care.

I was always a bit of a daddy’s girl. But when I grew older and especially during my rebellious teenage phase, I caused my father much angst and worry. I remember when I was young I loved sitting on my father’s lap and feel his big hands patting my head. It is heartwarming to see these tender gestures now doled out to my kids, ah pa warming Saitaoha’s hands with his big hands during winter, carrying Saitaomei and giving her a kiss.

May you always be happy and healthy ah pa. Happy birthday.

Fireworks

I love this traditional 民国 outfit that ah pa bought for Saitaoha. This Chinese New Year I’ve been having fun dressing up the kids. I am slowly getting sucked in to the joy of dressing up daughters. So many pretty and cute dresses…

This little girl is such a bad sleeper but such a sweetie pie. She’s in a sailor dress gifted by her yee yee. I think my girls are mostly dressed by their grandparents and aunties.

Saitaoha’s matching dress, also a gift from her da yee. I love this dress too.

Jiejie kissing meimei, but meimei doesn’t look impressed. Saitaoha is actually pretty good with her little sister, she comes running to me with her sister’s dummy if she hears her crying. There are times when she demand for my attention when she sees me carrying her meimei, luckily that’s not too often.

Saitaoha is really having a great time this holiday. So am I. I’m getting to spend a lot of quality time with my daughters and my parents without the stress and exhaustion. I’m starting to miss R and we’re talking a lot more online across the ocean than when we were face to face under one roof.

Tonight Saitaoha was accompanying me in the kitchen while I was warming up her milk. We both heard the sound of fireworks going off and she gasped. I carried her up in my arms and we looked out the kitchen window to see fireworks bursting in the air. For the next minute, we just stood there admiring the pretty sparks as they fell in front of us. It was bliss and I felt so happy to be able to share that magical moment with my baby.


February 2018
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