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Friday, July 31, 2009

Bad Report Card

After work each day, my parents will report how Elyssa has been that day. For the past few months, it has been along the lines of "She was a GOOD girl today except she cried a little when it was time to sleep" etc.

But for the past week or so, Elyssa has been getting plenty of "red marks" on her "report card". Here are some of the complaints -

1. She'll protest a lot when it comes to bathing time. (A little surprising since bath time has never been a problem before and there was no change in routine) These days, she'll start screaming and rolling on the floor when it's time time to bathe. If she's carried to the bathroom, she'll sit down on her bare bum bum and wail on the bathroom floor!

2. Very territorial at times. If she's reading a book and cousin Justin comes close (just close, not necessarily touching the book) , she'll scream and push him away.

3. Very aggressive when she doesn't get her way. Once, she was trying to get down from the chair while facing forward. My mum tried to adjust her to a safer position to get down. She didn't like it and starting the screaming routine on the floor. Another time, she was playing with a toy and someone took it away from her. She started protesting, but when the toy was returned to her, she just angrily threw the toy on the floor.

*Sigh*...... there's actually a lot of other scenarios as well. The fierce side of her is nothing new, but just that it's happening more frequently than it used to.


The thing is that when she's happy, she's very happy indeed. She'll go around babbling, smiling and flashing her sweet little dimples. All the protesting & screaming happens only when she doesn't get her way. Can't give in her all the time, so there's bound to be a few meltdowns a day. Maybe she's at the stage where she wants to assert her own view of things. (It feels like she's saying its MY way or the highway)

Gosh, I dare not even imagine what the Terrible Two's will be like.

Some of the crying moments -

Monday, July 27, 2009

Flashback - About a Year Ago

Looking at the date today, I decided to write a flashback post about 2 main events that happened about a year ago.

1) I returned to work after my 3 month maternity leave
I felt that my life had changed completely after I had Elyssa. When I was on leave, all my thoughts and time were 100% on Elyssa. I still remember one day when hubby announced happily that he managed to secure a lower interest rate for our home loan. That hardly caused any reaction in me. Instead, the highlight of my day was that Elyssa pooped after not having pooped for a few days !!! Through the 3 months, what she did and did not do practically dictated how I felt.
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Anyway, back to my first day of work on July 15. That morning my father came to pick her up. Baby Elyssa didn't cry when I passed her to her "Ah Kong". Instead, I was the one who was bawling my eyes out!!!. After being with her practically 24/7 since she was born, I just couldn't bear to be away from her.

Things didn't get better when I arrived at my workplace. One of my close colleagues (AA) started chatting with me and when he asked about the baby, I felt tears rolling down my cheeks again. (2nd person I shocked that morning. I think he panicked for a while before grabbing some tissues for me !!!) I said I was ok and that I needed to get water from the pantry. In the pantry, I met some female colleagues who naturally asked me about the baby since it was my first day back. Again, I started crying! They smiled understandingly while I muttered something before dashing off to the ladies. At the ladies, I bumped into another colleague and yup, she didn't have to say much before I cried again !!!!
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Ha hah....... what a day. Luckily I managed to pull myself together after that.


2) I started my blog
It was pretty unusual circumstances when I started work. My department was still going through a major reorganisation which started just before I went on maternity leave. My line manager had moved on to another role, new manager was not appointed yet, and the temporary manager just said "be patient". Since the work was project based, that left me with nothing much to do. I wasn't too happy with the arrangement since I wanted work to keep my mind of baby Elyssa. Besides, I needed some solid stuff to justify the promotion I seeked.
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The silver lining was that I had time to surf the net. I read some mummy blogs, played around with e-blogger and voila....... elyssachong.blogspot was created. He hehh...... pretty impressive for an IT-unsavvy person like me. At that time, I didn't know anyone who had blogs at all. My first entry was about our first holiday in Kuantan. Deep down, there was always a thought that I may abandon the blog after a while.
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Now, after slightly over a year, I'm proud that I'm still writing regularly. Not as often as the initial months but I try to make 2 entries a week. Ha hahh..... not strictly enforced either since I want it to remain a joy to write and not a chore. I just love having this blog - I love it that it gives me an incentive to regularly write down Elyssa's developments and to take pictures. I love it that it is an avenue for me to create something of my own. I love it when I get comments. I love it when people tell me they like reading my blog. Heck, I even love it when I read my older entries and see how much she has grown up.
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That's all for today. Since I like photos with my posts and since it's a flashback post, here are some photos of Elyssa during the initial 3 months.


2nd night at home. (yeah, she was so chubby that she didn't look like a newborn) -

Fast Asleep. I just love this photo! -

On the Bouncinet at home -



Outing at the Curve when she was 2 months+

Monday, July 20, 2009

Good Samaritan Home

Hubby and I have our usual runts and grunts about life. But when things get a little down, we try to remind ourselves of the blessings we have - each other, our precious Elyssa, our families, our jobs (tho that's often where the runts and grunts come from!), our home etc etc.

After a frustrating day at work one day, hubby considered what we have and suddenly said - "Hey, why not donate to an orphanage?". Next statement was "I'm sure our friends would like to help out too".

So with that thought, he called some of our friends who were more than eager to help out. Hubby drafted an email to a wider circle of friends while another friend YP helped to provide a shortlist of orphanages.

The response to the donation drive was just overwhelming. Friends and family were very quick to stake out what they wanted to donate. (The selected orphanage was Good Samaritan Home in Klang. The pastor running the home gave us a list of what they needed). In addition, some friends had connections in companies and managed to get some goods sponsorship. Interestingly, when hubby contacted his cousin who was working in a milk company, his cousin mentioned that he did receive hubby's mail from someone else and yes, he was working to get some sponsorship !

So, the idea that sparked out from an after dinner conversation about a month ago resulted in this -
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Amazing huh? We lost track of the full list of items (as a lot poured in at the last minute) but here's some of the major items:

1. From Fonterra - 4 cartons of milk powder ; each carton with 12 packs of 1 kg milk.
2. From GSK - 12x 1 litre bottles of Ribena, Scotts emulsion, Zentel, Drapolene, Eyemo etc etc.
3. From Malaysia.com - KFC ; From F&N - carton of oyster sauce
4. From friends and family -
- > 10 packs of diapers
- > 10 packs of Dutch Lady 1,2,3 Growing up Milk
- Stand fan
- Toys
- Writing pads and stationery
- Pasta sauce, pasta, tomato sauce, margarine, peanut butter
- Deodorant, mosquito spray
- Milo, Biscuits, cakes , doughnuts etc etc


Here are some photos taken during our visit on July 18th to the Good Samaritan Home in Klang.


Briefing by Pastor Ong on the background of the home -

Elyssa "listening" intently to the briefing ;) -

Photo session with the kids. (note: some who donated couldn't make it that day)-



One of the bedrooms-


Kitchen -


Part of the study area -

Random facts about the home:
1. There are 27 kids with ages between 1 and 19. Either kids who are orphans or have single parents unable to take care of them. (eg. prison, drugs)
2. Running costs are approx RM 16k per month. Minimal government grants. The home relies mainly on donations.
3. Monthly rental is RM800. Low cos it's a haunted house! Even to this day, there are occasional strange noises and sightings.
4. During Pastor Ong's briefing, we all had a good laugh when one of the boys cheekily hit another boy with his shoe! The pastor later mentioned that the boy was brought in late last year after being found chained for months in his own home....... gosh.
5. We personally feel that the home was very well run. The kids were clean and happy. Overall, it feels like a big extended family rather than an institution.
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We left when the kids were enjoying their KFC. Next activity for the day?? Food !!!!!
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Dinner @ Coconut Flower Restaurant, Teluk Gong -


I must say that I felt really touched with this whole event. Most people didn't even hesitate for a split second when asked whether they were willing to chip in. And we're not even talking about religion. Although the home was run by a pastor, most who donated were not of the Christian faith. So we're talking about basic human generosity and big loving hearts. Truly amazing. And yup....there are plans in the pipeline for a second round !!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

1 Year, 3 Months old

A slightly belated 15 month update due to her fever encounter.

About her -

1. Weight : between 10.4 to 10.7kg (my weighing scale keeps giving me a diff number!) Teeth : 4 at the top, 2 at the bottom with 1 more peeking out.

2. She's easier to manage these days. For eg, I used to dread it if she wakes up and cries when I shower in the morning. (hubby goes to work earlier than me so there's no one else to pick her up). These days, she'll just get down from the bed herself, walk to the bathroom and either play with my toiletries outside the bathroom or walk around in the bathroom.

3. She likes to walk around when we go out. We've stopped bringing out the stroller for quite a while now. The downside is that she doesn't let us hold her hand or listen to instructions of "walk this way". So the end result is her walking anywhere she wants with hubby and I trailing a few steps back, watching her like a hawk. We've bought her a pink butterfly backpack/ harness but have not used it yet. I know it's practical but I'm still a little reluctant. Maybe when she starts running.

4. Instructions that she can follow:

a) "Clap your hands"

b) "Shake Shake"

c) "Where's your tummy?"

d) "Where's your ear?"

e) "Where's the fan?"

f) "Put Up your Hands"

g) "Dance"

h) "Blink"

i) "Open your mouth" - She'll open both her mouth and her eyes really wide ! This one is really useful when feeding her since this greedy girl has a tendency to request more food even when there's still food in her mouth. So these days, when we suspect she hasn't swallowed everything, we'll say "open your mouth" to make sure it's empty before giving the next spoonful. I don't know whether it's coincidence or not, but last week, she did open her mouth wide when I asked her but she turned away so I couldn't see inside. When I stood up to have a better look, sure enough there was still food. Cheeky gal!

i) "Keep your Toys" (tho not always, especially if I'm around)

j) "Take your Book"

5) She seems to like things in their proper place. If she sees the main door open, she'll go and close it. And when she takes or puts back a book from the tv cabinet, she'll always close the cabinet door as well. Ha hahh...... my mum is happy that she's so unlike me when I was a kid !!!! I like to watch her keep her books. If there are 5 books, she'll open the cabinet door, put in ONE book, then close the door before proceeding to repeat the open/close routine FOUR more times. Hmmm.... I wonder whether this happens to all kids too. Cannot close the door only after the last book??

6) When she drinks her milk, she'll usually dig her own belly button. Before she sleeps at night, she must dig and dig mine. As a result, I think we both have the cleanest belly button around!

Fever

Elyssa turned 15 months old on Sunday. Not a very good start to the day since she woke up with a fever :(

She started being slightly feverish on Saturday night. I gave her some fever syrup before she slept. I woke up twice during the night to touch her forehead but noted that her temperature was back to normal. So I was disappointed when her whole body was very warm when we woke up on Sunday morning. Temp went down after mid morning, but was up again at night.

Monday - Body still warm. My father and hubby took her to the clinic in the morning. Temp went down but up again in the afternoon (almost 39 degrees) Super paranoid hubby wanted to go the clinic again but we convinced him otherwise since doc already gave medicine and said that to come back only if fever is consistently high even after medication. Also, she was eating and playing like normal. Luckily, temp went down after the rectal suppository.

That night, she was super fussy and sticky. (altho no fever) Took almost 2 hours to get her to sleep. She woke up screaming less than 2 hours later. It took almost another hour before I got her to sleep again.

Tues - Ok in the morning, but slightly warm again in the afternoon. Again, mr paranoid hubby wanted to go the clinic. But again, luckily temp down after fever syrup.

Another difficult night. (altho no fever) Getting her to sleep was alright but she woke up screaming twice. I was on a late night telcon with my boss. The first time, hubby managed to calm her down, but the second time I could hear she was really agitated so I finished off the call with my boss early. At around 2am, she started another screaming session. I tried all ways to pacify her and ended up walking up and down the living room until she fell asleep.

Weds (today) - So far, fever has not returned. When I left her at my parents place this morning, she was happily running in the patio with her cousin Justin. She even turned to wave bye-bye to me then continued playing :)

I hope that's the end of the fever episode !! Since birth, this is the first time that she has a fever > 24 hours. I always feel that she's as strong as an ox. (in the past 15 months, I think I've been sick twice, hubby three times and Justin once, but this strong little girl breezed through everything). So I hope she'll continue to be my strong little ox again after this.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Gymboree

So far, Elyssa has attended about 6 or her Gymboree classes. I'm pretty happy with the progress so far. At least she no longer sticks to me like what she did in her trial class back in May.

But of course she doesn't normally follow instructions from the teacher, but neither do most of the kids anyway. Ha hahhh...... not easy for a teacher when the "students" are kids 10-16 months old who either don't have a clue what you're saying or choose to completely ignore your words !! When it's time for the kids to go through a play equipment routine (eg. climb up the mini ladder, then walk the plank, then throw ball, then slide down) it's very common to have "human traffic jam" with one kid standing right in the middle and refusing to budge an inch.

My main intention for the classes is for Elyssa to be comfortable with kids her own age. So if she refuses to do certain things (she hates the parachute session) , I just let her be. I also want her to enjoy the classes, and not see it as a session where she's forced to do things.

One of my observation is that she's not a "groupie" sort of person and that she likes to do her own things. Like during the "busy box" routine where the teacher brings out a box full of toys. Some kids will immediately go towards the box, take out the toys and play at the centre. Elyssa tends to stay at the side, eventually pick up a toy then walk around the area rather than sit in the centre. Hmm.... wonder what that means? Good sign of independence? Or bad sign of her having difficulty paying attention in class next time? Well, I guess I should resist the inclination to analyse too much at this stage !

Anyway, here's some photos taken during last week's class.


Sitting in the rocking boat -



First slap from a boy? -



Practicing balancing skills -


Pushing the Air Log -

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pool Time

Last Wednesday around 6pm, I got a call from my father "You're working from home today right? Why don't you come over earlier. I'm setting up the pool for the kids in 10 minutes".

Yipeee yay.... I missed the first pool session (2 days before that) and I didn't want to miss it again. So I rushed to finish up some emails, grabbed my camera and dashed over to their house.

Luckily I wasn't too late. Elyssa and Justin were still in the pool - and they were both having a great time.

Some photos:








They were both enjoying themselves very much. The difficult part was trying to get them OUT out of the water. Justin kept negotiating for "extra 5 minutes". And Elyssa? She screamed, struggled and kicked when she was taken out of the pool ! :)