Nitpicking

Looking at how awesome Little E is, how proud we are of him, and of us for being able to raise such a well-mannered, happy and healthy little boy, Mr E and I would wonder what we did right. How did we do things to have him as he is now. We weren’t (and still aren’t) book-readers when it comes to parenting, we mostly trusted our gut feelings and consult with other parents. We wished that we had written down what we did, as we obviously want to repeat with our next one.

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What is interesting, however, is that we both remember what we did wrong (in our minds). Things that we wished we had done differently, and will next time. Things that we will do more, and things that we will do less.

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For me, personally, I will stress less about timing. I most probably won’t be as strict with nap time, meal time, etc. I would probably carry him more, adopting the “baby wearing” philosophy, instead of relying on the pram. I would be more patient with him over his sleeping patterns (or lack thereof). I would not use adult washing detergent, even the sensitive ones, on his clothes. I would care less about mess from day dot. I would let him share our bed, even if only for daytime naps. I would burp him more (or at least, take longer time to try to) after each feed. I would express a little bit before attempting to feed him so he wouldn’t be as overwhelmed (or gassy). I would express and introduce the bottle so that Mr E gets the chance to feed him. I would not hesitate letting him sleep on his vibrating chair earlier if it means we get some sleep.

These are the things I could think of so far.

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The problem with reflections like this, is that I invariably end up nitpicking over what I did. Things that seemed right at the time, starting to feel wrong now that I thought about it again and again. A few parents have told me that you make mistakes with your first child that you tend to learn from and not repeat with subsequent children. Parenthood is such a learning curve, each child is different and so parenting ways need to be flexible and adaptive to such child.

If you’re a parent of one, what would you do differently next time? If you are a parent of more than one child, did you do things differently each time you have a baby? Were there things that worked on all kids?

PS. on a totally unrelated note, all photos are taken at the Mercure Hotel in Liverpool, Sydney. It has THE best playground and pool! The room was so spacious and the service was great. Can’t recommend it enough if you ever need accommodation in Western Sydney :)

Child friendly restaurant: The Austrian Australian Club

The Austrian Australian Club
Ph: 02 6286 5793
Heard St
Mawson ACT

I first went to the restaurant with my Mothers’ Group mums for our first dinner get-together sans kids. It was such an awesome night and I thoroughly enjoyed the occasion. I wasn’t sure whether the food was good because I had loads of fun or because the food really was good. I did remember that the chips were amazing though.

Anyway, hearty German/Austrian food is definitely up to Mr E’s alley so I had to take him there and reconfirmed its awesomeness And I did, a fortnight after ;) with Little E in tow, hungry and ready at the door at 6pm (their opening time).

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The decor is a little tired and could do with a bit of refreshment, but it did bring us back to the lovely restaurant we went to in Austria

I had the chicken schnitzel with chips, bread dumpling and pepper sauce on the first visit. On my second one, I ordered the pork schnitzel, again with the amazing chips and mixed vegies (had to order this because Little E was there and I wanted him to have vegies). Oh, and a side of gravy.

A little side note, am I the only mum who ordered healthier food when the little one is around, just so that he eats better too? That just by having him around is actually good for me? Heh.

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Yummy golden freshly deep fried chips...

I digress. Mr E ordered the lamb schnitzel with red cabbage, sauerkraut and an extra side of spetzels (which is noodley pasta thingies). The serving size is very generous, with us three sharing the two orders and we had more than enough. Little E would have eaten almost the entire serve of red cabbage, preferring it on top of everything else, so weird!

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Digging for red cabbage

Just as I remembered from the first visit, the chips were amazing. I would just go back again and again for it. I didn’t like the pepper sauce nor the gravy, but I thought the schnitzels were really yummy. As per the order of prices, the lamb was the best, with the pork coming last.

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The cake was moist and rich and was just delicious!

Though we were really full already, I couldn’t resist not getting dessert as I didn’t get any the first time I was there. We shared a black forrest cake with ice cream, Little E eating and scooping faster than I’ve seen him done before. We think he liked it lol

It took a little longer for our meals to arrive the first time I went, but I would imagine it was because there were 7 orders on our table. The second time around, our meals didn’t take long at all to arrive. I had the same waitress on both occasions and she was really friendly. She was patient with Little E, waiting for his response when she asked him if she could take his plate away. Which he didn’t give for almost a whole minute, out of shyness. When he finally did, she just laughed and didn’t seem to be rushed at all.

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Austrian and German beers are available

We were the first people there, but the place did fill up as the night progressed, mostly with families. The mum friend who suggested the place did tell us that we should book as they get pretty busy. I would recommend the same, most especially if you need a highchair as I could only see one available. Mr E said to me as we left that we’re definitely going back there for their other meals and I have to agree with him :)

Singleton

Things I learnt from a recent brief stint of single parenting:

When the only thing that could distract your 2yo while you make dinner is letting him line the entire floor of the kitchen and dining room with all cooking tools and tupperware you own: YOU LET HIM.

At the end of the day, when he’s finally asleep, on his bed, and you can’t be bothered packing up all mentioned items above, then DON’T. You need him distracted while you make breakfast anyway.

When you’re really late for work and he’s only on his second mouthful of breakfast, SIT BACK and ENJOY your coffee.

When he wants to go in with you while you have your “quick” shower before work, DON’T LET HIM. It’ll turn out to be the longest shower you have since the day you had him 2 years ago.

At the end of the day, when he looks at you sleepily and he tells you that he loves you, PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK. You did it all yourself and he still loves you! Well done, mummy.

You start to realise that occasionally-annoying man you married, isn’t all that annoying after all. That you want to keep him around, if only so that you can stop being 100% alert 100% of the time and not wake up at the slightest noise at night (turns out, broken flyscreens and wind make the weirdest screeching noise).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, big kudos to single parents out there.  You deserve a medal!

Lemmings: Longchamp Le Pliage Cage aux Oiseaux

It has been awhile since I’ve done one of these posts, mainly because there haven’t been many things that I have been wanting. Then I made the mistake of “let’s just check what Longchamp’s special edition bags are this season” instead of checking when I should start doing uni work this week. Behold!

Le Pliage Cage aux Oiseaux

Ermerghed!!!

The spiel on the website, describing the design:

Le Pliage Cage aux Oiseaux conveys joyful messages like “be happy”. On the front of the bag, birds escape from an open cage, while a heart appears on the back. This unique Le Pliage collection is an expression of freedom and love.

Emerghed!!! Hey, Mr E, my birthday is coming up! And I have been soooo awesome lately ;)

The wheels (of life) goes round and round

Things are looking mighty swell in my life at the moment. I feel like the stars are lining up, and my ducks are all in order.

I am healthy, my whole family is healthy. Our house may be small, but it’s ours and we’re sheltered. I have (loads of) food on my table, I am rarely without. Mr E and I have not squabbled for a long time. Little E is as perfect as we could ever hope for in a son, bringing so much joy in our lives. I have a gaggle of mum friends I am going through “phases” with. I have many good friends I can count on for advice or just keeping me company. My efforts at work have recently been acknowledged, both verbally and monetarily.

More significantly, perhaps, is that I have recently shared a part of my life to a few of my closest people. I feel like a whole lot of weight had been taken off my shoulders and I can walk lighter since then.

I am sure I have mentioned this before, but someone told me years ago that for someone to be truly happy, the three things in life must align:
– home life (family, marriage, love, etc)
– friends life
– career (study) life

As you can imagine, it would be very rare for all three to line up. The wheels of life move all the time, sometimes you are down, sometimes you are up. The positive thing out of it is that when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, you will surely be on your way up again. You will not stay stagnant. That is just the fact of life.

So, right now, I can’t really ask for more. Sure things will go awry again in my life, something will happen to knock my stars out of whack, but those times will make me appreciate times like now.

If you’re having a hard time at the moment, please remember that it will not stay that way forever. I hope you find your ray of sunshine soon :)

Girls

I have an irrational, illogical fear of having a daughter. For many reasons, I feel like I am just not equipped or even made to be able to raise her properly. The first is my body issues, something that is unhealthy and definitely does not need to be pass down to another person. Another is, what if I am made to not have daughters and so if I do, I am repeating the relationship I have with my own mother. It might be a genetic thing because she loves the ground that my brother walks on, but seems to despise everything of me.

As I said, it is illogical and irrational.

When I think about it with a clear mind, and actually saying it out loud, I know how stupid I sound. But I just can’t help it.

I have been reassured many times by many different people, both qualified and life-experienced, it all depends on nature and nurture. The nature of a person is something that I don’t have control over. However, I can control how I nurture her, that I will have some sort of say how she hopefully grows up to be.

Maybe.

Mr E even goes to say that God will not give me a cross I can’t bear. For a man who isn’t very religious, to use that argument with me? He must really be desperate :P

And really, when I go to the shops and see how adorable girls’ things are, it’s kind of hard not to want one to buy stuff for. To play dress up with. So I must be at least okay with the idea.

It might just be the kind of baby girls I’ve been exposed to so far, but they do seem calmer, less boisterous, happy to play independently than the active ball of energy I have at the moment. Plus, apparently, they’re easier to toilet train ;) That would be a nice change.

I cuddled an adorable one yesterday, and I did have to fight the urge to not run away with her and keep her as my own….

But then, when I really think about teenage girls, how catty they can be, the monthly hormonal changes? *shudder* they’re scary :)

Luckily (unluckily?), it is not something that I have any control over. Gender choosing seems a little way off in the medical world, and really, when it comes down to it, all I want at the end of the pregnancy, a healthy perfect baby. Regardless of the gender.

Also, if I do end up getting a daughter in the future, I have a myriad of friends with girls, who I will have to consult with when things go awry. Mr E also promised me an almost unlimited budget for clothes if we do end up with a girl. I can’t say no to that ;)

If you have a girl, and was scared beforehand like I am, what is your experience like now? Please share!

Ps. Sorry for the random bursts of rambling. I am still waiting for uni timetable to come through, but hopefully I have set times soon to blog properly in the future :)

Happy CNY!

As I prepare for the Chinese New Year tomorrow, I feel a little sadness. CNY is probably the one time that I wish I still have my blood relatives, to have a CNY party to go to, to expose Little E to the quirks and fun of the festivity.

Then I remembered the first CNY with him.

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Little E's red pocket for tomorrow :)

My MIL came to visit, along with a very close family friend (pretty much like Mr E’s second mum, really). They insisted that they cook dinner one night, which happened to coincide with CNY. I love my MIL’s cooking so I was too happy to accept. What they did, it really touched my heart and made me forever grateful to have these amazing women in my life.

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Red velvet biscuits with flowers

For CNY that night, they surprised me with Peking Duck san chow bows and egg tarts for dessert. A little CNY celebration of our own ♡

Again, life has proven to me that Little E is never lacking. He may not have the Asian blood relatives that he should have, the family members from my side, but he certainly have a lot of love from everyone else. I am thankful.

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Inside the small hamper I put together for Little E's day carers

Happy Chinese New Year to all of you who celebrate the festivity. May “the year of the horned animal” (in English, it is goat/sheep/ram) brings you joy, love, prosperity, peace and comfort.

Gong Xi Fat Choi!