So it’s been 11 months since I last updated and I’m determined not to abandon this space just yet. Here’s a quick update on what has happened in the last 11 months. Of course, Robin has grown into a mischievous little toddler. He is tottering around everywhere and is oh so busy every day. The first thing he says when he wakes up is MAMA and the last thing he says is ALSO MAMA HAHA. Robin is not exactly talking yet. He knows about 50 words, some in English and some in Chinese. Just this week, he has started mimicking my words. I’m pretty sure I heard him say “Damn It” today after I cussed at forgetting to buy carrots. He also surprised Bowen and me when he screamed for NANA. We had no clue what he was talking about until Bo carried him and he pointed to bananas omg. BANANA!! Needless to say, he devoured it.
I come from the tropics; right smack on the equator. My year-long attire comprise sundresses, daisy dukes, and more sundresses. For a long time, all I knew was the merciless sun, the rumbling of monsoon thunderstorms and sudden mid day showers.
Winter has always been nothing more than a vacation to me. 10 days in Japan, a month or so in Korea, 2 weeks in New York. Winter vacations offer a respite from the tropical heat. They’re also long enough to daydream about winter wonderland without feeling the drudgery of .. well, everything in winter.
This winter is my first winter in USA and it is also the first winter of Robin’s life. First snow fell early this month and I was so excited to take him out in his cute snow bunting. The bunting is a bit small so Robin’s movements were restricted to tumbling around like a dumpling *squeals*. I was admittedly quite awestruck and obsessed with the idea of making Robin’s first winter awesome.
Where did all the time go. Once a baby who seemed perpetually sedated, Robin is now 6 months old, 8.5kg and 69cm tall. He rolls from his belly to stomach and back, laughs at everything and even orders his grandparents around. A few days ago, Robin starting sit up unassisted (although it is only for a few seconds). That’s when I decided to finally start him on solids.
Starting a home is difficult. As first timers, we made some mistakes and they are coming back to haunt us in the smallest ways. Our Target ceramic bowls, despite having won our hearts for being quirky and pretty, aggravates the carpal tunnel that comes with parenthood. The whimsical looking furry carpet sheds more than my cocker spaniel does and so I am enslaved to the vacuum if my wish is for our beautiful hardwood floor to remain somewhat visible. Lol I exaggerate. But these are the small things that Bo and I live with. They get to us, probably more me than him, but still, us. We’ve rolled away the carpet several times and even thought of tossing it but neither of us have the heart to take it to the rubbish chute.
Had I been in Singapore, a place I know at the back of my hands, these mistakes would have been easily rectified. The items would be on sale on my Carousell or dropped off at the closest salvation army. But here I am in the political heart of America with no idea what to do with a horrible carpet, trying to bring up a child and get my home in order. This is me, learning everything again.
My mom, who has been kindly helping me with the household chores since Robin’s birth, is returning back to Singapore this weekend. To thank her for helping us, Bo and I decided to bring her to New York City for a short holiday. We left early Friday morning on the AMTRAK (rail train) from Union Station to Penn Station New York. Since it was going to be Robin’s first holiday, we had in mind a leisurely, relaxed city holiday for ourselves. A relaxed itinerary and a good hotel was chosen to ensure his utmost comfort. Little did we know, NYC had a different idea for us.
The past 99 days went by in a flurry (has it really been 3 months already?) All moms will tell you that time flies when you have a child and boy, it does. I used to think moms were preposterous when they said things like “I miss my small baby” even though their baby was still evidently VERY SMALL. But now I totally get it, Robin is such a different baby than he was before and I do miss the times when he was really really small, like 4kg small and not 8kg small. In just 99 days, Bo and I have witnessed Robin’s many firsts. First flight, first burp, first pee, first poop. We’ve celebrated without waning enthusiasm, his mini milestones, when his poop changed from brown to yellow and when Robin flipped from his belly to his back.
But I don’t think we actually got to properly celebrate him together. When I mean celebrate Robin, I really mean celebrate him as a being and not his milestones. In Asia, it is custom to celebrate the first month of baby’s life because of high infant mortality in the past. Though babies generally get through their first month now, the tradition stuck. In Singapore, Robin had 2 first month parties but that was more for my parents. And to be very honest, at one month old, I was too busy, frustrated, self-conscious and sleep deprived, figuring him out to even really celebrate him.
At 99 days though, Robin had already grown to be more interactive and it was really then that our relationship began to blossom. Now the kiddo only wants me to put him to sleep and smiles so sweetly at the first sight of me every morning. That’s when I decided to really celebrate my son with our friends here. Furthermore, I wanted to thank Bo’s friends and colleagues who helped cover his work while he was on paternity leave to be with me and baby.
There were many things that worried me when I found out that I was pregnant. Where was I going to give birth, is the baby healthy, what should we name him? But the one thing that never bothered me was how Bowen would fair as a father. Bowen loves children and gets along very well with them. He even babysat his cousins! Most of the children (I dare say all) I’ve seen him interact with absolutely adore him. I, on the other hand, am the most awkward turtle around little humans. I have no idea how to play with them, interact with them whatsoever.
With great reluctance, I must admit that Bowen is a better Dad than I am, a Mom. He’ll probably be gloating after he reads this post but I truly admire his involvement. Bowen is actually really interesting to watch when he handles Robin and I have been subconsciously replaying these scenes in my mind. Fatherhood from a mother’s perspective is infuriating yet endearing and hilarious all at the same time. Sometimes it tickles my toes, sometimes I question my sanity when I married him. Well, mostly I’m reaffirmed that we are doing kinda alright, or at least we’re really trying. Lest I forget these moments, here are anecdotes of Bowen, my husband, as a father.