Taipei 101

This week’s episode on: Sam colonises our lives.

Vacation to Taipei!

if you fail to plan, you plan to fail Your plan goes out the window anyway

We had been rather nervous about how Sam would react during the ascent / descent of the plane. We heard numerous horror stories of wailing children and embarrassed parents.  So, like all good parents we planned on giving him his bottle during these times, prepared toys, assigned roles for the worst case scenario…Mr Wong slept through the entire process of ascending and descending (I wonder if his ears popped). He woke when the plane stabilized. Now, us sleep deprived parents and grandparents were left with FIVE, unplanned hours of entertaining a very rested (AND RESTLESS) child. OH JOY!

Your idea of enjoyment shifts – drastically

What would previously have been a whirlwind tour of the destination city, has now regressed to relaxing long strolls (in lovely cool weather) to the destinations (for this a stroller is essential – a moving rice sack is rather heavy). Also, a nap (for the WHOLE family) in the afternoons are a great way to spend a holiday.

In spite of our leisurely pace, we managed to hit some of the recommended places to visit:

Unagi Rice Bowl at 肥前屋, DTF 鼎泰豐 at Taipei 101, visited 士林夜市 Shilin and 饒河夜市 Raohe night markets. SO MUCH FOOD!

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On this trip we also found pre-packed baby food to be really convenient but also produced really smelly poo, probably more intense than the 臭豆腐 (stinky tofu)we ate at the 夜市 (night market).

Sam the tour leader

Our plans had to be fluid and were dictated by our little tour leader. We ended up abandoning our plans to Jiufen to roam Taipei instead. The timings for the transport were not favourable and would have affected Sam’s bedtimes.

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All things considered, it was a really enjoyable first plane ride and trip with Sam and Grandparents! Onward to the next adventure! Perth!

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Post-Offspring-Spontaneity

Last weekend: When we proved (to ourselves, at least) that post-offspring-spontaneity is not dead.

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So here’s the scene, diaper and milk powder supplies were running low. Like any Singaporean family, we had to make a quick dash in to JB to stock up for the impending apocalypse (i.e., a catastrophic* event where cloth diapers are involved).

*  10 months in, Sam’s poo now smells like the zoo, specifically the zebra enclosure – if you’ve been there specially to appreciate the aromas. Some days, tardiness in taking out the trash results in… fermented Sam’s poo. 

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Mid-way through lunch at Nando’s (because Singaporeans can’t get Nando’s in Singapore), we decided, on a whim, that it was an excellent idea to stay the night in JB. We had with us our diaper bag^ containing (aka Surviving-JB-with-a-child guide):

  1. The clothes on our back + 1 extra top (but hey, never mind what the parents have / need)
  2. 2 milk bottles
  3. 2 rompers (we keep handy in the diaper bag)
  4. 1 baby hoodie
  5. some baby snacks

^stroller and baby carrier not included in the bag.

We had no choice(I know right!?) but to book a premium room at the Renaissance hotel (which we highly recommend by the way – there’s also plenty of street food in the immediate vicinity). WHAT A LAST MINUTE DECISION IT WAS! The free food and drinks (including wine and beer) at the lounge were a nice bonus!

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Photo of irresponsible considerate parents hiding in the lounge to play with phones cos the baby was already in bed.

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Photo showing responsible parents having supper in the toilet so baby is always supervised.

We enjoyed this trip thoroughly and even learnt a few things along the way. Specifically:

  1. Hotel toilets ARE decent places to have supper – flush before use.
  2. We require surprisingly few things to make things work – excess only temporarily allays your worries/fears
  3. Always pack an extra phone charger with you – saves the hassle of charging from the TV’s USB port
  4. Your life doesn’t have to, and should not revolve around your offspring (or does it?)
  5. This new generation will probably NOT know why we ‘pick up the phone’ what a telephone is.

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We are headed to Taiwan next weekend. See you guys on the other side…

Look Ma… My Hands

Sam recently realised he has these two very useful appendages sticking out from his torso. These things are called arms / hands, and are useful for:

  1. sucking on – tasty treats
  2. grabbing on to larger, encroaching fingers
  3. smacking unsuspecting faces

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He has also found his voice, much to our dismay delight! most times, he will try to hold a conversation with anyone he sees, using his recently acquired language skills – cooing, and gurgling. this just makes our day. every. single. time. BUT…One scream can leave our ears ringing. especially when he’s HANGRY (hungry + angry = Hangry).

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Sam seems to be developing well as a human being. Hitting his developmental milestones, and surprising us all the time with new actions.

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I pray that Sam will develop into a fine young gentleman.

I’ll end with a bit of a poem that has stuck with me since I was 6. I hope that one day, Sam too will appreciate these words. To God be the Glory, The Best is Yet to Be.

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!”
Robert Browning

 

 

Sam = Daddy + Mummy?

We have constantly been asked the question: “who does Sam look more like? Mummy or Daddy?”

Most friends and family tend to lean towards daddy. 

We think that Sam looks like both of us really. 

i’m linking the article below, although not a journal article, it provides an easy to read summary of some studies that have been published on this. you can read more (also links the journal articles) in the link below.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/babies-paternal-resemblance/

it’s interesting to note that the literature is mixed on this issue. some claim to have found baby looks like one or the other parent in the first x days/weeks of life. While some others  claim that the baby looks like both parents. 

what really caught my attention is one of the reasons that the evolutionary psychs gave as to why people tend to attribute similarity to the father. 

well, you see the baby is surely the mother’s but this certainty can’t be said for the father. hence, similarity is attributed to the father to give an assurance of paternity. 

Next time you visit a new born, take a moment to observe what people comment about who the baby looks more like. 

So… does Sam look more like mummy or daddy? 

I’ll let you decide. 

CNY 2017

CNY on any other year is already hectic and tiring on its own. This year was a blockbuster CNY for us, we had a special little someone tagging along.

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It was a fresh new experience for all of us, new routines, and schedules with Sam. New homes, environments, and people for Sam. It was being outside for more than 4 hours since hatch day; for this we brought along a truckload of supplies just to be sure.

We did notice a few things as we went visiting.

It seems everyone, already born, got promoted this year. From brothers to uncles, aunties, to grand aunties, from grand parents to great grand parents. All figuring out their new titles (e.g. 太婆,太公,姨婆).

Great grand parents are particularly proud of this 4th gen offspring.

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Most wanted to know:

Who Sam looks more like – We actually have no idea, but it seems Daryl has the majority vote.

Whether he’s breast fed – Sam’s been drinking the good stuff bottled for freshness (also see post titled: “Milk”)

Whether he sleeps through the night – Sam’s been a good boy only waking at specific times to replenish his blood sugar levels. 

Who is taking care of him – Everyone is keeping a keen eye out for his wellbeing (for that we are thankful). Our Parents (Sam’s Goong Goong, Ye Ye, Por Por, Ma Ma) are the main caregivers when we need a break. 

This CNY, the Wongfoks are thankful for all the stories shared, the advice given, and the love showered upon Sam, in this, his first year of life. We pray that he’ll continue to thrive in this wholesome, loving community.

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新年快乐, 万事如意  everyone!

Lessons from a Bottle

I was washing bottles (the 9649792863 bottles needed to keep Sam alive) the other day when i came to the realisation that my hands were getting rougher and more seasoned. Perhaps it was because i hardly had to help with the dishes all these years, mostly done by my parents.

It is one thing to know (in your head) that parents sacrifice (not just doing the dishes) so much for their children, but totally another to experience and internalise this in your proverbial heart.

Standing there, i think i experienced a ‘Circle of Life’ moment.

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Some part of me felt proud of that I / We will be able to provide for this child. While another part of me felt grateful for our parents that taught us enough to provide for this child.

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We may not be the lions or the wildebeests in the Serengeti running in circles, but for us the circle of washing, cleaning, packing, folding, cooking, feeding, teaching, nurturing… goes on.

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1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

Pro Tips for Contented Adults

Have you ever felt gassy?
Had some indigestion perhaps?
Need to burp or fart, but don’t know how?

Follow these steps to find the secret to calm and confident adulting:

Step 1: Pick up baby (any baby within arms reach, really)

Step 2: Prop baby up with one hand, and cup the other imagining yourself as a 5 year old being an escavator.

Step 3: Hit the baby, gently, with your cupped hand, using consistent repeated motions.

Note: it is at this point where you will find relief from your symptoms. You will either burp, belch or fart.

Note 2: baby will need another 30mins to achieve what you have done.

Step 4: Repeat as necessary.

Picture below shows alternative methods of pacifying a baby. Example shows how the ‘suck on the nose technique’ is applied.

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