Monday, 25 December 2006

Merry Christmas for 2006

Merry Christmas

I hope your day is full of happiness, peace, sharing, family and friends. We know Isabella is keen for today, her first Christmas, so she can finally get her hands (and mouth) on all those brightly covered packages under the tree, yes I think she just wants to eat the wrapping paper.

Jason, Marika & Isabella

Saturday, 23 December 2006

Christening and Long Winded Stuff

It’s been nearly a month since out last blog, yep that long you’ve had to go without our words of wisdom, or is that Dom of our Wis Words, err whatever I hear you say. If you plan on reading this blog please go and put the kettle on, you may need the coffee injection to stay awake, cause I’ve got that feeling the fingers are going to be running across the keyboard for quite a while on the blab, well maybe limping slowing across the keyboard in an ad-hoc fashion requiring the aid of both spellchecker and the backspace key. Life has been busy (my excuse for not bloging for the past month). Logic is needed in writing this blog, something that seems to go out the window at Christmas time; I guess that’s why some call it the silly season, so how about we go from oldest to newest news.

It’s December, just is case you were not sure. It’s winter time in Singapore and the rest of the Northern hemisphere. Yes it is winter time in Singapore, you can tell that because the average temperature is 31 degrees Celsius, not 33 that you get during summer. I’m guessing the shopping centres are a hive of activity with Christmas on the doorstep, not that we can tell as we are in Australia at the moment. Oh yes Isabella second trip to Oz, this time for her Christening last Sunday (17th Dec 06) and of course Christmas with the families.

We Christened Isabella Greek Orthodox in Sydney. I’m getting use to the Orthodox version of christenings but I think some of my friends and family were a little surprised. Preparing for an Orthodox christening was like planning for a large wedding except there is only one guest of honour and they usually don’t care for what is going on around them as long as somebody feeds them then lets them sleep it off, and maybe repeat as these events can go for half the day and into the evening. Anyhow Isabella survived OK, some tears were shed, Isabella even cried a little. She received many nice gifts (thank you all); sadly most will need to say in Oz for now, our luggage limit is going to be so abused as it is, I’m a little worried what Christmas might bring for her and our luggage limit.

We are adjusting to Sydney weather again, mostly cold at the moment, that is below 30 degrees with low humidity i.e. less than dripping sweating like I just hoped out of the bath. Bella had her first bath, well first bath in a full sized bathtub, I was happy about that as she was getting too heavy to hold. Yesterday she met and had her picture taken with Santa, along with four of her cousins, she hadn’t slept much so the expression ‘not happy Jan’ summed up her feeling. She was good with Santa; she just didn’t want to be held by anybody but daddy. She has been clingy to both Marika and myself this trip, so different to how she is in Singapore. I guess Singapore is her element and she is comfortable there.

I guess I should finish up there, I’m sure you are happy I’ve only given you the short version of events for the past month.

Sunday, 26 November 2006

Tanglin Mall Christmas Display

Marika & Isabella - Tanglin Mall's Christmas Tree
Tanglin Mall Christmas Tree & Falling Snow, Well Flying Soapy Foam

Concert in the Botanic Gardens

We had been talking about going to a concert in the Botanic Gardens for the past year, we even tried once, but the torrential rains forced us to abandon that attempt, we even went as far as taking the bus out there, waiting for half an hour then deciding to head to a drier environment, a Thai dinner at Tanglin Mall with soggy feet. Back to the story at hand, we finally made it to a concert, well kind of, rain and a sleeping Isabella delayed our departure, then the taxi driver had a little trouble, but we were able to help him out. Not sure if he was trying to play us or really had an IQ of two and a half house bricks and was unsure of where the Botanic Gardens were, he knows now, well until he picks up another fare that looks like tourists. Oh how I get sidetracked, when I said we made it, the concert was from 5pm to 7pm, we arrived about 6:30pm and it finished up ten minutes later, at least we saw some and had a nice walk through the misty botanic garden, funnily enough we ended up again at Tanglin Mall for dinner and to check out their Christmas display for this year. Sadly it not as good as last year though they still had the snow, well soapy foam that the kids like to run around in and play. The monthly Tanglin night markets were on, I had heard they were good, I must get my hearing checked. It was a few dozen stalls selling mostly pre loved or hated stuff people no longer wanted. I don’t think I’ll bother going to these market again, well maybe I will if the weather is good and I have another reason to be at Tanglin Mall, maybe the rainy weather kept all the good stalls away.

To top out the markets visit last night we headed out to a new market, the bazaar at Clarke Quay. Yet again we were sadly disappointed, the quality was great, the quantity wasn’t with only about a dozen stalls, in its defence it is only the second time these market have been run, it’s a great spot for a market so hopefully it grows into a success.

Saturday, 25 November 2006

One Year Living In Singapore

Today marks one year of living in Singapore, it seems like we have been here longer. I guess a lot has happen this past year, mostly relating to the birth our daughter Isabella, who is growing so quickly, but I guess we have a while before she asks for the keys to the car.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Our Scooting Bella Is On The Move

Look at a few of the places we have found Isabella over the past week.
Under the Dining Room Table
Under the Single Sofa
Under the CoffeeTable
Thankfully she is not climbing yet! But I guess that is coming.

Friday, 17 November 2006

Six Month Immunisations & Check-up

Bella had a visit to the doctor’s today for her check-up and six month immunisations. She is now 67cm long and just over 8kg, so our tubby little nubby is growing well. Just to make your day she is sitting on my lap helping me write this blog, grunting like a trouper and filling her nappy with the oh so smelly stuff, I’m thinking it might be time Bella had some mummy time. As for the immunisations, I just can’t not watch the big needles go into her little legs, she takes it well, a little screaming for 60 seconds then she’s OK. Her mum only screams for about 30 minutes, just kidding. Yes I do question my grammatical skills, can you have ‘can’t not’ together?

Orchard Rd is really starting to bring to life its Christmas facade. We might have to do the tourist thing this year and ride on the ‘Christmas Lighting-up’ tour bus, then again maybe not! I’m a recovering retail worker (RRW) also know as Christmas shopping centre syndrome (SCS). Years of working in shopping centres and the whole Christmas deco and oh so repetitive Christmas music can send any sane person postal at the first sight of holly or the first line of a carol. I’ve been a RRW for about 6 years so I’m doing OK, I’m even aiming to enjoy my first Christmas as a dad. Two years ago I decked out some of the front of our house with lights, and survived! Last year I skipped the house lighting as not to push my luck, this year I’m even planning on going into a shopping centre during December, after all Singapore’s national pastime is ‘shopping’. I wonder if you can get valium in Singapore!

Sunday, 12 November 2006

Singapore Zoo Night Safari

Well we made it to the Singapore night zoo, well the ‘Night Safari’ as they like to call it. It was the Friday the tickets were to expire and like most of the month it rained lots that day from lunch until dinner. It stopped and cleared so we decided what the heck and were in a taxi 15 minutes later (that’s damn quick considering the baby factor). As for the Night Safari I wouldn’t really call it a safari, now our safaris while in Africa were excellent, this was more a stroll in the dark with occasional animal noises and jumping for your life to avoid being hit by the Night Safari tram, wouldn’t it read great, on an animal safari and taken out by a tram! As you might guess, being it was night, it was dark out there and the light was very low (I guess to help your eye adjust for seeing the animals in the dark, now we did see some animals, mouse deers, a tiger, some lions in the distance, pigs (mmmm bacon, oops this is a zoo for the preservation of animals, where did I see that sign for Kudu steaks and chips), mosquitoes (well we didn’t see them as much as feel their lovely sucking of our blood). Like all the zoos I’ve been too, the food was overpriced and under quality, however the food court just outside the gates looked really nice, not sure about prices. We didn’t take the tram. Maybe if there is a next time we should take the tram to enhance the visit.

Friday, 10 November 2006

Isabella is Six Months Old Today

Look world, I’m six months old today! Hooray

Look Mum; I’m just like dad, if only I could reach the keyboard

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Oh No, Christmas is Coming

Well I went into the office today, first time in nearly a month, me so bad. Anyhow it’s the first of November and Christmas is coming ready or not. This morning they were setting up the big Christmas tree outside Raffles City shopping centre, and the street decorations along Orchard Road / Bras Basah Road are starting to go up. Students were even setting up a tree in the university’s common area this afternoon, maybe we too should start setting out Christmas deco up, well maybe not this month, come to think of it we won’t even be home for Christmas, visiting family, the Christmas thing to do! My favourite Christmas movie is Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation, just call me Clark, mmmm that reminds me I need to buy a few thousand more Christmas lights. It’s a Wonderful Life is also a great Christmas movie but doesn’t satisfy my need for illumination like Vacation does. I noticed Christmas lights were on sale at Mustafa’s. I think our visitors a few weeks back enjoyed their three trips to Mustafa’s.

It poured down rain again this afternoon, as it has done for the past few weeks and continues to look menacing, we have been wanting to go to the night zoo but the dang weather just hasn’t been in our favour, we have tickets that need to be used before the 10th. Hopefully the zoo venturing gods will be kind to us before then. Rain Rain Go Away, Come Back Another Day, hey its Singapore, of course the rain will go away and come back another day, most likely tomorrow afternoon about 4pm.

Isabella has learnt a new trick, grabbing and pulling hair, so Marika keeps her hair up and I’m considering the swimmer style shave, just the itchiness as it grows back is putting me off. The funny thing is she hasn’t tried pulling the hair on my head or even my beard; though she is rather fond of cranking on my chest, arms and legs hair. She is eating two serving of rice cereal a day; we have been meaning to cook up some mash for her, maybe this weekend, I’m guessing she’ll like spuds, well mashed spuds, her mother loves baked spuds.

Sunday, 15 October 2006

Roly Poly Bella Eats Solids

Life for the Aussies lost in Singapore continues along quite hectically. Bella is growing quickly, Jason is also growing too quickly and Marika is bucking the trend and shrinking. Little Bella is about seven and half kilograms, Jason is about, lets not go there, and even though Marika is losing weight I know better than to mention statistics. It’s been a month since my last post, thankfully Marika kicked in with one a few weeks back. So what’s new I hear you asking, mmmm or is that the little voices in the back of my head messin’ with my mind.

It was another big day for the Bella Nubben; she had her first solid food, well maybe semi-solid, well gooey runny rice cereal. She took to eating like a fish to water, we figured she might, she has been keenly watching us eat for the past month or so, I offered her a hot chip the other day and she opened her mouth ready for it, alas her mother intervened like a goalie and the chip didn’t reach the nets, maybe another day, well another year or two. A few weeks ago she decided she likes to sleep on her side, though she usually ends up in her usual starfish position (feet and arms spread out). In the past few days she has learnt a new trick, that is rolling over, she is getting rather quick at it, the only problem is she doesn’t like being on her tummy, but she is getting use to it! The other downside of her new trick is that she now likes to roll over in bed then gets upset and it usually wakes her up, sometimes she will fall back to sleep, fortunately she knows to turn her head to the side so she can breath safely. We took her for another swim this morning; she seems to enjoy the water, even kicking her feet a little bit. This time we had proper swimming nappy so she didn’t have the extra large floating nappy making her bum float and her head dip.

We’ve had a few visitors this past week, my buddy Darrell and his other half Carla stayed for a few days before heading off to Thailand for a week, they’ll be stopping by for a few more days on their way back to the back of Bourke. I’ve arranged a few day leave from work so I can play tour guide on their return visit. Yesterday we caught up the Marika’s uni friend Maggie and Colm and their two kids; they were on a quick two night stopover on their way back to Oz from Europe. We gave them a visit to the local Kopitiam for a drink and then a stroll down Orchard Road and a little shopping before heading back to our place for dinner and the city skyline view; however the damn smoke from the fires in Indonesia all but blocked out the skyline. I have some video I’ll upload at some stage when I have more time. This smoke haze is an annual event for Singapore and its neighbours, it lasts for about a month and has been connected to shipping accidents and even one serious airline crash in Indonesia. The fires are usually started by farmers during the dry season to clear land for agricultural purposes like planting crops. I guess the hole in the ozone layer is getting bigger. When will we as members of this limited world get our act together and work on saving the planet before it’s too late, excuse me while I go and turn up the air-con and see what other high electricity using appliances I can find to turn on. Burn more coal, burn more oil we all love our luxuries. I’m guilty I like my air-con and my computer. I think Singapore would grind to a halt if all the air-con was disabled, specially the shopping centres that like to run them on maximum so you freeze when you mosey in from the lovely 34 degrees outside temperature to about 16 degrees indoors. In my defence I do walk or catch public transport most of the time, I don’t own a V8 petrol guzzling vehicle, although the country boy in me would like a bush bashing 4 wheel drive, sorry to all the little electric car owners, kudos to you!

Thursday, 28 September 2006

Bella’s First Swim and Marika’s Birthday

Well today was a memorable day for two reasons. It was Marika’s birthday (25 again I hear you say!!) and Isabella took her first swim. She wore her brand new swimsuit, courtesy of Aunty Sandra and Uncle Derek, and braved the warm pool. She took to the water like a little duckling with her special nappy floatation device. Mum and dad paddled around with Miss Bella then it was time to get out and get ready for dinner. We went to an Indian restaurant not far from our place and while there Bella showed us her vocal capacity. She is starting to talk more and more – Jason thinks she takes after me – and likes to chat to us whenever she can.We had a great day.

Friday, 15 September 2006

Random Thoughts for a Rainy Day

Yet again it’s been awhile since our last blog update, life with a little one is usually busy. I was going to say newborn but I assume she is no longer considered a newborn, not sure when they stop being a newborn and move onto being a, mmmm what are they called next, I wouldn’t call her a toddler as she doesn’t toddle yet, maybe its just baby, but to us she not a baby but a little person. No disrespect to short people, hobbits and others that maybe considered vertically challenged. As I can type this blog with Bella on my lap then I should be able to do the same with work, but alas I don’t feel I’m doing enough work. Speaking of Bella and sitting on my lap, it’s just weird when she is sitting there jabbering away the her face starts to go red and grunting sounds begin, oh yes she is poohing on my lap, well hopefully it all stays inside the nappy and doesn’t escape onto my lap. Damn that lightning and instant thunder was just outside the window, made me jump and scared the crap out of Bella; thankfully she had already poohed today, don’t worry she is okay now. It rains regularly in Singapore, but it is usually heavy and quick, over and gone in half an hour or so, but lately it’s been heavy, with big lightning shows and can go for hours, even days. Mmmm, what’s that smell, maybe the lightning & thunder really did scare the crap out of Bella, damn there it goes again, and even the windows are shaking. Maybe I should save this draft blog and shut down the PC for a while.

We’re back, the lightning seems to have finished but the rain is still pouring down. Yes there was movement at the station, little Bella had filled her nappy for the second time in an hour, surprising as she rarely poohs more than once in a day, I know you all wanted to know that! With all this rain we have a leak in the apartment; strangely it’s just below where they have been working on the windows in the apartment above ours this morning, champion workmanship! To be politically correct I guess I should have written workpersonship, but Mr MS Word spellchecker is telling me that this is not a word, doesn’t matter they were both males so workmanship is okay.

Binski the cat that adopted us then had her babies on our bed in the early hours of the morning; well her babies are now one (human) year old, I’m not sure if there are cat years, I vaguely remember that there is an expression of dog years. Her babies are no longer those fluffy little bundles of speed and little claws I remember climbing up my bare legs and across my back, it’s amazing how those little claws could even be felt through my clothing not to mention all the little scratches on my legs, anyhow those little kitten are now fully grown cats and don’t look anything like they use too.

The traffic on the expressway I can see from our apartment is almost a parking lot in both directions due to all the rain, how I don’t miss the commute to work, one of the joys of working from home, let me say that again, I don’t miss the commutes to work, especially the sardine packed train commutes.

Bella got her latest lot of immunisations last Wednesday, tears for a short time then she was okay, unlike last time when she mostly just slept, this time she has been grumpy and not sleeping much. Speaking of sleep its time I put her to bed so I can get some lunch and do a little work (if she sleeps). Our tubby little Bella is now 6.8kg and 63cm long and is now four months old. Anyhow I think I’ve ranted on enough for now, see ya later and enjoy your day!

Tuesday, 5 September 2006

Crikey Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter taken out by a Stingray

The King of Australian cultural cringe, the ocker in the khaki has met his demise at the hands, well barb, of a Stingray. I think to many Australians his behaviour made them cringe, mainly because he embraced the ocker within while many of us tried to leave it behind in favour of the world’s mono-generous persona, sadly based on that of American TV & movies. To honour his life’s work maybe we all should start using ‘crikey’, it’s a good word, I’ve used it before, I’ve even used it a few times here in Singapore. If we dig deeper perhaps some other lost words will surface, struth I reckon a good ol’ Captain Cook at our past will spotlight some Aussie expressions quicker than a rat up a drain pipe, tomorrow arvo perhaps I should sit down and work on this idea if I’m not flat out like a lizard drinking, fair suck on the sauce bottle this is becoming all to much to handle.

Once you get past the cringe of the lad in khaki, you will realise he has spent much of his life promoting and protecting Australian wildlife and more recently wildlife world wide. His fame overseas has helped him promote this cause to a much larger audience and to promote Australia as a tourist destination. Hopefully his legacy of protecting the interest of wildlife will go on. Being a new dad my thoughts go out to his kids and wife.
Yes I admit while in Singapore I have watched 'the Crocodile Hunter' on the Discovery Channels.

Sunday, 3 September 2006

Work & Motor Skills

Life goes on, Marika is adjusting to being a working mum, and I’m slowly adjusting to my daddy day care role with work on the side. My first two weeks were successful with looking after little Bella however I can’t say the same for my work, I didn’t do anywhere near enough work, however Bella and I have started to develop a better routine so I’ll be able to have good Bella time and manage to work when she is sleeping, however my work day starts around 7am and finishes usually by 10pm, but you can’t argue with three hour lunches and extended morning and afternoon tea’s.

Bella is developing well, her motor skills seem to be improving every day, I think back to the early days she kept getting whacked in the face by these pudgy white things (aka her own hands), then she realised that she could somewhat control these pudgy white things and use them to slap the bottle out of her mouth when she was done drinking, then she realised the pudgy white things had little individual moving parts and that enabled her to pick things up, Woohoo! Her latest trick with the pudgy white things is to grab your hand (well maybe just a finger) that is holding her bottle and pull it away when she is finished drinking, and she is becoming a strong little tyke. Her other new trick is to take something in one hand then pass it to her other hand, I guess we knew her dexterity was improving after her finger up the nose trick.

Saturday, 2 September 2006

Future Nouna Comes to Visit

Isabella’s soon to be Nouna (Godmother) Kathy stopped by for a few days on her way back from Europe to little old Melbourne. I think Nouna & Bella hit it off well, there were many smiles and laughs on offer from Bella for us all to enjoy, she is becoming quite the giggler; however her giggles sometimes become screams or hiccups.
Nouna & Isabella

Sunday, 20 August 2006

100 Posts, Who Would Have Thought I Could Say So Much

Well we have reached 100 postings on our Blog; I guess I’m moving from laconic to loudmouth, then again maybe not! Friday was a sad day for Marika; it was the last day of her maternity leave and that evil thing called work was biting at her mind. For me on the other hand is a different story, Friday was my last day in the office for a while. I was ready to quit work to look after Isabella when my boss remembered there was a way I could work from home for up to six months, so we appealed and received approval from HR for the flexi-place work agreement and thus I’m not in the office but I still have to work, fortunately we were able to reduce my required hours and make them flexible, but alas my pay too was reduced but not so flexible. I think working from home is feasible, I’ve done a little before; my major concern is having the time. I’m thinking my little time waster will chew up the hours with her smile, chatting (some times known as screaming), reading books, going for walks and generally being a baby. Time will tell! I guess we’ll give you updates on how we are all progressing in the near future

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Magical Moment, Precious Advancement, Dexterity to Admire

Last night when I was getting ready to feed Isabella we shared one of those magical moments, those precious advancement in her growth, such a special instant in her follow her father's habits, maybe it’s her way to tell us she is ready for solids. She was in my arms, looking up at me, smiling and making weird noises, I looked at her little hands, clenched in a fist, slowly her left hand index finger stretched out straight and she moved her hand towards her grinning face and then the true magic started, her outstretched finger gracefully probed the inner sanctum of her left nostril, yes she was hunting for snot, also known as snackies for those who don’t wish to waste edible products from the nose. I was so proud of her, my emotions swelled and a single tear rolled from my left eye, OK really I accidentally poked myself in the eye while also hunting for snot, I guess Bella has better dexterity than I. I’m sorry I didn’t have the video camera handy so I could share this special moment with you all in living and moving colour.

Wednesday, 9 August 2006

Happy National Day Singapore - 41 Today

May the rain stay away, the parade be enjoyed and the fireworks light up the sky. It’s impressive when you realise that every year people from the far reaches of the country all travel to the National Stadium for the National Day Parade celebrations, there wouldn’t be many other countries that could have that as a clam to fame. Oh how the patriotism just warms the cockles, well the sub-cockles of the heart. NB The far reaches of the country aren’t that far reaching, the country’s two furthest point are 42.8km apart (at low tide).

Funny Food Friday OK it's Tuesday

I’ve stumbled across an odd variety of food since we have been living here; I thought I might list a few for your viewing pleasure. I guess the first food surprise I was faced with was actually a drink, a Star fruit juice drink; in point of fact Star fruit’s real name is Carambola from surprise surprise the Carambola tree, I’d tried this fruit and found that it didn’t have much taste and was rather crunchy, I’ve been told Passion fruit can be rather crunchy if you scoop out and toss the seeds then eat the rest, I haven’t tried this personally. Anyhow back to the story at hand, it was a very hot day and we had only been in Singapore a few days, so this nice cold Star fruit juice drink sounded just right, how wrong could we have been, this drink was disgusting, I couldn’t finish it, I really tried but it just had to be tossed. Now to describe the taste, imagine taking a fruit with no discernable taste then adding way too much sugar, mixing it up then adding roughly the same amount of salt, then mix again and serve. I’ve heard of sugar soap, but sugar salt, forget it! Maybe I should have kept it for cleaning the walls. As you might have guessed I haven’t purchased either the fruit or the drink since but that of course is my personal choice, (and the choice of all sane people with taste buds). Something I spotted the other day but didn’t try was Wasabi covered Soya beans; I’ve tried Wasabi Ice Cream, that was different! There are a few foods, I’m using the term ‘food’ lightly here, that I’ve seen but am not keen to partake, for example fish with head including eyes like in fish head soup, pork floss buns (yes that is bread), fluoro coloured bread ice cream sandwich. Fruit has been the most interesting, but taste has not been to my liking, Dragonfruit’s appearance is very interesting but doesn’t have much flavour, I found out that Dragonfruit is not the official name, fancy that, well its true name is Pitaya, also known as Pitahaya & Strawberry Pear and it grows on a cactus (of genus Hylocereus), again fancy that! What else is there, oh yes yellow watermelon and other odd looking things I don’t know the names of and of course last but not least is the Durian, yes I think I’ve mentioned this fruit before, imagine walking into a supermarket and being greeted by a smell that could be mistaken for a pallet of overly rotten potatoes beside one of overly rotten meat, voila you have Durian.

Friday, 4 August 2006

Baby Thermometer Rant

Again many days have disappeared between blog entries, Little Miss, work and of course sleep, seem to consume most of our free time. Bella is still sick with what we have been calling the Sydney Flu; she is congested and is learning to love the smell of Vicks and other similar products. I think Marika checks on her and freshens up her Vicks every hour during the night, needless to say, but said anyway, she is getting a little run down, it won’t be long before she is stuck in bed with her flu. I look at pictures from her first month and realise how much she has changed and grown. She’s kinda goofy looking now as her head starts to take on normal(ish) shape, causing her ears to stick out, even more so than her dad’s. But she’s still gorgeous to us, hey I like goofy look at her mother! I guess it’ll take a while for me to live down that comment! We finally found a baby bath that thought was suitable, strangely enough it also fitted well with in stinginess at reasonable price of about ten dollars. When I say reasonable I talking in respect to buying babies stuff, if that same baby bath was referred to as a plastic bucket the price would have dropped to about two dollars. You know the story; you walk in the chemist and say I would like to buy a thermometer, sure here’s one for $4.95, then you make the mistake of saying baby thermometer and all of a sudden that thermometer is whipped from your sweaty little hands and with divine force another baby friendly thermometer is thrusted into your hands, this time with the new and improved baby ‘not so friendly’ price of $94.95, doesn’t matter that both thermometer looked the same except the packaging and price. I know thrusted is not a real word, it just sounded better than thrust, lets call it a Jason word. I figure if lecturers can make up words, then so can I, another Jason word I like to use is disbalanced, it just sounds better to me than unbalanced. There you go sitting on your bookshelf you can have your Oxford, Webbers and now the new and always improved Jason’s Dictionary. Considering I spelt dictionary incorrectly at first, maybe I shouldn’t start my own! Spell checker can be handy once in a while.

Saturday, 22 July 2006

The Congestion Battle Continues

We had a little trip to the doctor’s a few days ago, Bella’s cold seemed to be getting worse and her breathing was really getting laboured. We had been reading about an outbreak of Bronchiolitos in Sydney about the time we left, so our fears were working overtime, thankfully the doctor informed us that her lungs and chest were clear; she basically just has a blocked nose. We were given a decongestant that you shoot up her nose and she’s not overly keen on that idea so it usually involves her testing out her lung capacity, yes she is starting to lose her newborn cry. I miss the newborn cry; it’s almost soothing compared to her cry, and a few decibels lower.

While at the doctor’s we had the usual growth measurements, Isabella is now 58.5cm long and weighing in at 5.4kg, she is getting quite the round belly, just like her daddy. She is completely out of all her 000 clothing and most of her 0-3 months sized clothing is too small, mostly in the length. Some of her 00 & 0-6 months clothing seem a little short, maybe it’s the round belly making the clothing seem shorter.

On a good note she has been sleeping longer, a few nights ago she went to sleep at 8pm and I tried to wake her at around 11:30pm for her usual last feed, she woke up, eye balled me and showed little interest in feeding. I gave up after about half an hour of struggling figuring that there was enough milk spilt on her bib and clothing and my arm. So I changed her and straight back to bed and she sleep through to 7am. Sadly we didn’t get the benefit of her long night’s sleep as we were up to check on her regularly due to her laboured / troubled breathing. She is still struggling with her congestion but we are hopeful the drugs and lovely Singapore humidity will clear her up quickly.

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Back in Warm Humid Singapore Lah

We’re back in Singapore lah, hello warm weather, good bye cold weather. It was great to catch up with family and friends, but damn leaving the warm temperatures of Singapore to the middle of a Sydney winter was a bit hard on the senses. Our bodies were accustomed to the 30 plus temperatures and humidity that we now enjoy, Sydney’s low temps in the sub 10 degrees range was just too too nasty. We all ended up with colds; little Bella is still struggling, she can’t breathe normally and starts screaming when it gets too bad. She’s not sleeping much in her cot during the day and is getting spoilt by us letting her sleep on our chests or in our arms, which is OK by us as we can keep a close eye on her breathing. When she is not near we are always getting up to check on her, hand on the chest to check her breathing, touching her head, hand and feet to make sure she’s not running a fever. I wonder if all new parents are like this, most likely, even when their babies aren’t sick too! We are hoping the hot humid Singapore weather will clear up her cold and quickly.

I was just getting accustomed to the cold weather when we left, so the past couple of days back in the heat and humidity have been a struggle. I now understand why visitors sometimes complain about the weather, you need to be here a week or so to get use to it, and then you start to enjoy it. I longed for this weather while battling the Sydney weather. Marika and I also missed our own space, I’m not saying staying in our childhood homes with family is bad, it’s more we are use to having our own personal space and things, it’s great to be able to walk around the house in your underwear if you want. I’m not talking naked room approach (watch ‘Failure to Launch’ for reference) just space to be free. We do miss having the extra hands to hold Bella when she’s unsettled; yiayia had a good knack of settling her with the yiayia turbo rock.

Wednesday, 5 July 2006

The Lake & Back

We’re back in Sydney after spending a few days up the coast with my folks, sisters and their families. Isabella was freely giving away cuddles to her grandparents, the aunts & uncle also got in on the baby cuddles action. While up there Isabella managed a few six to seven hour night time sleeps, bring on the all night sleeps! We parents were very happy with this new sleeping habit and are encouraging her to experiment more with this longer sleep concept. So now Isabella has meet most of her closest family, it’s time she meets the friends. Our weekend is already heavily booked catching up with friends, hopefully little Miss is up for the challenge. She is getting more smiley everyday so I think she’ll win over the friends like she did family, mind you family have no choice, they have to love her. Isabella has been making fashion statements of late, showing off all her new winter clothes, we have been topping off her fashion prowess by discarding the mitten we purchased in Singapore in favour of her new woolly socks, yes that’s right she is trend setting by wearing socks on her hands, at least her hands stay warm. She’s still not keen on wearing a hat but she’s coming around to the idea. We have plenty of pictures of her rugged up, just like her parents. I’ll upload some pictures later in the week.

Thursday, 29 June 2006

Cold Sydney Homecoming

We’re back in Oz, arriving yesterday at 5am into Sydney’s Kingsford Smith. Let me tell you Sydney wasn’t kind to us, the outside temperature was 7 degrees, Marika & I spent the day shivering, even when the temperature reached 18 degrees. Little Bella didn’t know what to make of the change, she struggled with the concept of wearing more than one item of clothing, she now knows what socks, bootees, mittens, hats, long pants, shirts, jumpers and jackets are and that they can all be worn at the same time over her usual Singapore skimpy one piece suit. And yet the cold feeling still creeps in so we wrap her in the thicker wraps then get her big blanket, now she seems warm. Yesterday Bella achieved some milestones, they include her first flight, meeting her grandparents on daddy side (as they so kindly picked us up from the airport) and last night we had a major sleeping break through, yes she slept for nearly six and half hour straight, of late she has only been sleeping three to three an a half hours stints, Marika & I also managed a six hour sleeping stint at the same time.

Bella was very good during the flight; I think she likes the noise. She slept two stints of two to three hours and the rest of the time she was happy in the crib. The only noise was a quiet-ish scream when she was hungry. We were very happy with how well she travelled; I think the big guy upstairs was looking out for us. She was good with all the relos that came by yesterday and today, she happy to play pass the Bella parcel giving away smiles freely to all, also showing some how good she can fart too! We’ll be in Sydney with Marika’s family until Friday arvo then we are heading north to the lake to visit my family, my sister will also be joining us from Hawaii on Friday night. Hopefully the Bywater clan is ready for the influx of guests.

Tuesday, 27 June 2006

On the Frog & Toad to Downunder

Our trip Downunder is almost here, our bags are packed, well mostly packed, some clothing is still in the dryer and some baby stuff still in use. Singapore weather lately has been cool, getting us ready for a Sydney winter. OK by cool I mean the temperature has been below 30 degrees, the estimated high in Sydney for tomorrow is a warm 13 degrees, I guess when we arrive at 5am it will be a little colder than that. Maybe we should have set our air-con to 10 degree for the past few days to get us acclimatised. Little Bella doesn’t know the meaning of cold; I guess tomorrow she’ll get a quick lesson. Theia Penny left this morning for Bangkok, we’ll be meeting up with her back in Oz in a week or so. Let me tell you it was nice to have an extra set of hands for the past week and a bit, I think I only cooked once, maybe twice and my washing up duties were limited too, mmmm maybe we should do the Singaporean thing and get a maid / nanny. We tried to talk Penny into doing it, but she didn’t seem keen, poor pay but great company and free food and board, you would think we would have people lining up for the job.

I guess we are just about ready to leave; our trip preparation over the past week has involved cooking meals that use up the perishables in our fridge, freezer and cupboards. The fridge is bare, we had to go and get some lunch from the local shopping centre. A single chilli & some ginger sit in the near empty vegetable crisper, destined for the garbage chute, the milk is finished and the juice almost gone, (I’m drinking it now). There is some cheese left, but I’m thinking I haven’t undertaken any science experiments lately, so the cheese will stay, it’s locked in a special chilled box at the top of the fridge meant for meats.
Packing for travelling with a newborn is interesting; so much more planning is needed. I’m glad I ended up taking the day off. We would have been awfully rushed otherwise. I started this blog several hours ago, and things just keep coming up that need my attention, one last thing has come up, catching a cab to the airport, being that rather important I should sign off and hit the frog and toad.

Sunday, 25 June 2006

Photo Updates

I thought it was time for a few photo updates

Cuddle Time With Theia Penny
Mum & Baby Bjorn Baby
Feeding Time With Daddy

Isabella's Magic Carpet Ride

I uploaded a new video tonight of Isabella on her playmat, just wiggling and making sounds, attempting to swipe the noise makers attached to her mat.

Saturday, 24 June 2006

Day of the Jab, Immunisation Fun

It’s been a while since my last rant, such is life. Isabella had a milestone day, but not a happy one; it was her first lot of immunisation jabs, one in each of her chubby little thighs. All the screaming she has shown us up until now was just warming up. The pain from the jabs sent her screaming oh so loudly, not that newborn whimper anymore. I was wondering when and how baby migrated from newborn to full blooded baby crying, aarh the power of the doctors jab. Her sad little eyes were looking up at me when the doctor did her nasty work, yes I was suckered into holding her. Hopefully she doesn’t remember that it was me holding her when the pain struck as she has many years remaining to be daddy little girl. The good news is she didn’t scream for long, only a few minutes (I figure it was daddy's exceptional rocking that settled her). She has been a little upset since then when awake, fortunately for us and her she has been sleeping more than usual since the attack on her little legs. Fingers crossed that all continues to go well; we don’t need to experience any of the side effects other than maybe the sleepiness one!

We saw a new newborn today, she was so little. You don’t realise how quickly they grow, it’s only been 6 weeks and she has already grown out of some of her clothes. 0000 clothing is long gone, not sure if she ever fitted into that size, her 0 to 3 months (up to 4.5kgs) suits are heading to storage, we’ll be saying good by to her 000 clothing soon. I’ve noticed that baby clothing has different sizing description, i.e. the zeroes rating I remember from Australia, then here in Singapore they use month rating, or weight rating or a combination of both. The month rating is good for buying for other people kids where the weight rating is good for buying for your own. Yes Isabella did get weighed today, she is now 4.815kg and 55.2cm long, I didn’t note her head size but it is still bent, we have to be more proactive about turning her head, she favours one side about 90 percent of the time. She usually likes to resist when I try to turn her head the other way, and she’ll complain loudly if I don’t let her turn it back. Stubborn little girl, yes she gets that from her mum’s side. But I have to admit the bent head is most likely from my side.

I have a bunch of photos to upload; I just haven’t had time to pick and choose. Not to worry for our Australian family and friends as you’ll be able to meet her in person next week. Our Australia trip is almost here, boy how time flies when you have a baby in the house to keep you occupied. Speaking of, she’ll be wanting a feed soon so I’ll finish up now and get ready.

Saturday, 17 June 2006

Theia Penny Arrives – New Video Added

Isabella’s Theia Penny arrived tonight, half an hour later Isabella was showing her how she likes to be a noise maker. Penny is feeding her at the moment, freeing me up to blog and Marika to check the cooking lamb roast (its smells yummy and my tummy is waiting to meet it).

Isabella’s surprise three hour sleep this afternoon enabled me to edit some more Isabella video, I’ve already uploaded it for your viewing pleasure. I was playing with some new editing software, the video is OK, but again the audio is a little out of whack, music is ok but the voice is a little slow.

Friday, 16 June 2006

Red Eyes & Magical 40 Days – Religion Oops Bella

I’m starting to think my eye are permanently blood shot, NO I haven’t been drinking it’s from baby enforced lack of sleep blood shot! So why aren’t Bella’s eyes blood shot? The magical 40 days mark is just around the corner, people keep telling us that things should get better after 40 days, we’ll see. Speaking of 40 days, with the Greek Orthodox religion you can’t enter a church for the first 40 days, on the 40th day you have to get the baby blessed then the priest will lead you into the church. This is the story as I have been told; also I heard that it’s different for boys and girls. Is this sexist or are there different special religious needs that newborn boys and girls have? Based on how old this religion is I would assume this is sexist. Sadly many religions are sexist i.e. alter boys, male only priest, marriage services and protocols, Hijab (female Muslim head scarf), maybe I shouldn’t delve to deeply into these differences as I might be missing something, like Muslim female might wear the scarf's because they can grow beards, just kidding but I do recall reading somewhere that some religions require the men to grow beards or not cut their hair. Come to think of it, most Orthodox priests I’ve seen have beards. When I have some spare time I should sit down and read different religions manuscripts so I’m more informed, I hope you can get the Russian Orthodox guidelines & the Qur'an in English. I’ve read about the Druid’s and their beliefs, I watched all the Star Wars movies and read some of the books so I’m up the Jedi religion. I was raised initially generic Christian then Baptist so I have an understanding of liberal Christian religions. I’ve had some interaction with what I call the stodgy Christian religions that is the one’s that are steeped in pompous ceremony. It makes me question the real meaning behind some religions when I see the material wealth contained in their churches, temples, mosques, synagogue, building etc and realise how poor yet how much their parishioner give in the name of their faith. I guess this is a reflection of my church up bring were the only gold thing in the building was a thin ring edging on some donated dinner plates. Yes I am bitter & twisted, but not about any of this. If I have offended anyone with my above topic, it was not meant that way. At times like this I look to my good friend Desmond Tutu for advice. What he would say, the first thing that comes to mind is his South African accent saying ‘Tough titties’. I think more sleep is required for me to return to coherency.

Talk about the running wild dribble, I’ve bounced from one subject to another today. Maybe I should move onto my number one topic at the moment, Miss Isabella. She’s good, her motor skills are improving. She knows how to spit the dummy and how to stop you putting it back in using head movements and forceful hands. She has given up on feeding the natural way and only takes bottles. Her little hands try to hold the bottle but she really doesn’t have fine motor skill required, she’ll whack the bottle away with her hands if she’s had enough. I’m starting to think she might be a stubborn one, I figure that comes form her mother’s side, her mother might disagree. She’s not the best burper but her farting skills are up there with the best in age group, another thing I think she gets from her mother’s side, again there may be some disagreement there. To confuse Isabella even more we have given her an (American) Indian name, roughly it translates into English as ‘Loud of Lungs’. We considered ‘Howls like Wolves’ but that name was already taken by ‘Dances with Wolves’ son. I just received an IM from Marika, ‘Loud of Lungs’ is at it again, yes where did I leave those earplugs.

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

Information Underload – Bath Time

I think I must be one of those gushing parents that always talks about their child and how beautiful they are and all that other dribble. When I think about it, I don’t know what gushing means in this sense and generally I don’t like to talk (to anybody). Marika’s a smart cookie, she’s always asking me questions, she knows that’s the only way to find out what I should have told her, you know, stuff like ‘Joe Blow called the other day, OK it was five weeks ago! He wanted me to tell you Jane had the baby’, upon hearing something like this there is usually follow up questions ‘What did they have’ typical response ‘I dunno, a baby I guess’ people always want details, was it a boy or girl, weight, length, shoes size, annual belly button lint intake, etc. On the opposite side of the coin, I can be far from laconic when writing / typing something out. Why is this so, I just don’t know. Maybe it’s just me trying to keep up with the crap rolling through my mind in a documented manner. Lucky for you people reading this little story that my typing speed is not very fast, I top out at about thirty words a minute, if I could touch type look out the dribble would be flowing everywhere.

Marika just told me Bella has been a screaming baby today, just what she needed being she’s not feeling 100 percent today, something to do with my cooking so I’m told! I guess when I get home Bella will be sleeping. When she wakes I’ll give her a bath then a bottle and she’ll most likely want to go straight back to sleep, she’ll be tired after all the screaming generated when I dip her in the bath. She likes part of her baths, she enjoy being in the water when I’m holding her facing down, maybe she enjoys watching the air bubbles coming out of her mouth (just kidding I hold her head out of the water). When I turn her over she starts to whine then usually scream, needless to say, but I will, I leave turning her over until the last possible moment. Maybe I should use my swimming ear plugs to reduce her screams, well her screaming entering my ear drums. Our baby bathing skills have definitely improved from the first week. It won’t be long before Isabella is to big to be bathed in the sink, I guess then we can start bathing her in the kiddie pool, even better idea is down the other end of the pool where the spa is, those jets would be great for cleaning her bottom, belly button and ears. People that know me well might just be wondering how seriously I’m considering this option!

Well I should finish up this blog now as damn MS Windows keeps popping up an ‘Updates Installed’ message, ‘You must restart your computer’ and there’s only two restart options ‘Now’ or ‘Later’ where later appears to be 5 minutes time. There should be a ‘Bugger Off’ option that will allow you to restart when you’re ready, i.e. when you go to lunch or home!

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

Isabella’s Website Pictures & Video Uploaded

Amazingly I found time to update our website over the weekend. OK I managed to do it late Sunday afternoon; the rest of the time was taken up with Isabella & Marika. I’ve added some pictures of Isabella’s first month and a video of her time in hospital. The video site upload function was offline until late last night, so if you looked before then you would have only got the cats. The video ' s a little dodgy, I need to work on my sound editing and some of the footage looks like it was taken during one of the earthquakes that have hampered parts of Asia in the recent months. I have some post hospital video for your viewing pleasure, however finding the time to edit is the catch stopping me from uploading it. I’ll try and do this later in the week. I may need to invest in some better editing software to improve the overall presentation. I think the video camera came with some; maybe I should try that first!

As for the Little Miss, she is growing well, or as my sister said the other day ‘like a weed’, yes she can be a little obnoxious at three in the morning but it’s not nice to call her a weed! She is sleeping better at night, we usually get one five hour stint from about 11pm to 4am, and some times another three or four hours after her 4am feed. Not today though, she stayed awake till 6:30am and was ready for her morning feed less than an hour later. Her awake time is expanding, mostly between early morning till early evening. When I’m at work so I get to see her sleeping, Marika get the joy (sometimes challenge) of awake time to herself. I think Isabella’s already living on Australian Eastern Standard Time, which will be good for when we are there later this month.

Friday, 9 June 2006

Fencing Singapore – Fighting Fit 4.33kg

This weekend the University I work at is holding a Fencing competition, called Fencing Singapore. Being a country boy at heart that has travelled around the would a little bit, I’m intrigued by the competition title, other countries have tried that, East Germany or was it West, China, USA and others, even Australian states have tried it, Rabbit proof fence, Dog fence, mmmm maybe they are the same fence. I was also intrigued that they would hold a fencing competition inside a building; hey then again I’ve seen fences inside building at the Royal Show and many Government and bank building to corral patrons into an orderly fashion. So I guess it’s not so strange. Getting back to the point at hand, I’m not sure why Singapore needs to build a fence around itself, it’s an island after all and has its on natural fence of sorts, maybe they could train sharks to patrol the waters! Arriving at work this morning I could here this twinging of wire hitting wire, I figured some of the competitors must have been training for the wire fence event, again intrigued I started to wonder what events they have on offer, like palling or picket fence, barbered wire etc, so I wandered over to see what was happening, lo and behold all I find are some pansies dressed from head to toe in white tights, whipping and poking at each other with metre lengths pieces of wire. Here’s me thinking these guys have no idea, no tool belts, no tools and they’re barking up the wrong tree if they think they can build a fence with such short pieces of wire and those lovely white jumpsuit will get rather dirty, hope they remember the OMO.

We had a trip into see the lactation specialist, little Miss has been refusing to feed the natural way; she’s fine with the bottle. None of the specialist’s tricks worked, so the feeding fights will continue, supplemented with bottle when needed. While at the hospital Isabella and I went for a walk to the paediatrician’s office for a weigh-in, she a fighting fit 4.33kg, so we guess that she is eating enough as she continues to grow, both mum and dad enjoy playing with her chubby little arms and legs.

If I have time this weekend I’ll try and update Isabella’s website with pictures and maybe video’s from her first month as a breathing, screaming, feeding, poohing baby.

Thursday, 8 June 2006

The Cost of Pins & Needles

I’m sitting here at my computer reading the paper (SMH online) with my formally restless baby girl sound a sleep in my arms. The problem is the arm I was rocking her with has also gone to sleep and the tingling pins & needles feeling is starting to hurt. So what is the catch, why don’t I just put her down and free my arm? Well I don’t want too; I’m enjoying watching her sleep so peacefully so I’ll live with the tingling for awhile. Maybe I’ll just swap arms, why didn’t I think of that before!

Tuesday, 6 June 2006

06/06/06 Nothing Evil About This Date

Today’s date is 06/06/06, no matter if you’re from the USA or the rest of the world you shouldn’t get today’s date confused. Yes those people, who like to put the horse on the jockey, won’t confuse those who follow the day/month/year style. Being a document nerd these days I think we should be using the reverse in full, 2006/06/06 with the leading ‘0’ when needed. Why you ask, well it helps keep lists of dates in chronological order, keeps the pattern the same and finally because I said SO! When I was living in the USA, I was asked what kind of birthday cake I wanted, to which I responded; ‘FRESH and preferably in six months when it’s my birthday’.

Isabella Files – Well Little Miss has been testing our abilities to live on minimal sleep, we are surviving. She has learnt a new trick; it’s called waking up screaming and continuing on and on until she runs out of energy, usually about 6 hours later. I think I’ll slap the next person that tells me baby sleep most of the time! Yesterday we moved Isabella’s cot out of our room into her own, Marika wasn’t too happy with this move, and I wasn’t sure about it either. However we were following recommendations from friends and experts. She’s going to need her own space as she gets older and we get better sleep as we don’t wake up every time she makes a noise, and she makes lots of noise when she sleeps. Last night’s experiment was successful, Isabella slept well and so did we, well I slept solid and Marika woke up a few times when Isabella bellowed out her sleeping sounds. Is it a male thing to be able to sleep through a baby' s cry?

I wasn’t planning on getting up at 06:06 this morning to write this blog, and thankfully Isabella allowed us to sleep past this time!

Friday, 2 June 2006

Knee Defenders & Tazers - What Fun!

I was reading SMH this morning and I found and interesting article on airplane Seat etiquette & head space, as I’m not the shortest stump in the field, I usually find that either my feet or head sticks out. When flying cattle class (a.k.a. economy) as I usually do! I join the ranks of the bruised knee traveller. And I usually upset the person sitting in front of me trying with much force to get their seat to recline, oddly enough they don’t cotton on to the fact my screams of pain from knee caps being crushed coincide with them ramming the seat back. Maybe I should consider turning my verbal pain release into a physical one and donk them on the head every time they try to put me in a wheelchair. I’m thinking the twenty odd dollars for the Knee Defender is much cheaper than knee replacement surgery.

The little screamer has been up to her usual tricks last night and today, we figure it must be a growth spurt as she seems to be hungry more often. We booked our flight to Australia yesterday, so will be there in late June early July to show off the little screamer, p.s. remember to bring your earplugs. She’ll be about two months old at that stage; hopefully we’ll have a better grip of the parent role and understanding of her screaming motives. We can always dream!

It’s a nice sunny day here in Singapore so I decided to go for a walk at lunch time, there’s The 16th Annual PC Show (expo) on at the convention centre about a mile away, it not just PC’s, it’s many things geeky. I wanted to check out the portable all-in-one ‘Photo - Movie - MP3 – Radio’ players. There are many nice toys, if only I had the time and money to explore them. My visit was rather short, slap me silly and paint me pink, I should have known better than to go to a techy type expo in Singapore, especially at lunch time, talk about crowds, a cattle prod or tazer would have come in handy for moving around and getting to see products, it would have helped keep the sales people at bay too! I wonder if Isabella has been blessed with my geek gene. I call it blessed Marika may call it cursed.

Thursday, 1 June 2006

On Our Own Again - Office of Homeland Scepticism

Nearly a week has past since our last posting, yes little Isabella is taking up much of our time. She is sleeping a little better during the nights, the day are a different story, her awake time seems to out strip her asleep time, here’s me thinking bad sleep most of the time. Our girl prefers the struggle against sleep and screams over the peace on snoozing. Marika measured her this morning and she’s now 55cm's, not sure if that normal growth, but we now know she is getting bigger.

We bid farewell to our house guests last Tuesday evening, Marika’s mum & sister winged their way back to Australia. So Marika had her first day at home on her own with Isabella, like a trooper she powered through it, even taking a trip into her office to drop of some paperwork for Isabella’s immigration pass. Our house guests have been sadly missed, I’m using the term guests lightly as they had to work for their keep, cooking and baby duties kept them both busy. In celebration of having to cook our own food again, we decided our first meal without help should be enjoyed at the local food court. It’s nice when other people cook for you!

My parents were due to arrive early next week; however they have been grounded due to an incident where my father has been accused of trying to cut the hand of a national icon, himself! The Office of Homeland Scepticism has deemed this an act of terrorism and him the key terror suspect in this whole disfiguring of an Australia Icon. As a result he has been placed under house arrest, with a side order of bed rest including raised arm on pillows torture. He is keen to get this whole misunderstanding sorted out so he can get back to work. The unsubstantiated incident has left the icon with all fingers intact, still unknown is the level of pain endured.

Friday, 26 May 2006

Enter Sandman

You know in your mind having a newborn is going to be challenging, you really just can’t fathom it until its smacks you in the face. It’s amazing the joy that one, well two can get from seeing their baby sleep, OK picture this still awake 5:30am thinking that I should be getting up for work in two hours, then six o’clock rolls around and sweet little Isabella is no longer screaming, but sleeping contently, and has been for more than fifteen minutes, 6:01am and both parents are asleep, its about 8:50 and she is awake, Woohoo almost 3 hours sleep. Mmmm and I’m going to be late to work, that’s life. Little Miss likes to fight sleep, thankfully she gives in once in a while. Like last night she slept for five hours, had a quick feed & change and slept for another three hours.

I’ve found a new trick for getting her to sleep. I take her for an elevator ride to ground floor and one walking lap around the pool and she’s out for the count, I figure the traffic and other outside noises lulls her to sleep. I usually take a second trek around the pools to make sure she’s deep in conversation with the Sandman. We are three for three with this trick, hopefully it keeps working for our sanity.

Again we must thank our guests; I use the term guests lightly, as they are work hard for their board. I can’t image how we would have survived without their assistance. I think ‘No Doze’ would have been in high demand.

For all you shopping freaks, you know who you are! Today marked the start of the ‘Great Singapore Sale’, this is the sale they say is worth waiting for (guess who’s been reading the marketing paraphernalia?). The sale officially runs for eight weeks with different specials all the time. Guess what, I went shopping today, yes I braved the crowds at lunch time, purchases include work pants for me and some baby stuff, I broke down and purchased this cute little baby suit. Baby stuff can be damn expensive, and it’s so dang small, go figure. However my baby suit was a relative bargain at about four dollars Aussie. We are planning on hitting the shops tomorrow too, Mum, Dad, Baby and Aunty. Should be fun, yes I do need my head examined, I’m blaming it on lack of sleep!

Monday, 22 May 2006

Long Live the Dummy (They Call Them Pacifiers These Days)

Sleep deprivation has hampered our ability to update our blog, our little angel has continued on her plight to fight sleep, last night she had one good sleep of about three hours, the rest of her sleeps ranged between five & fifteen minutes. So our day started rather early, about 3am, so getting to work early was on the books, surprisingly enough I have been able to function at work and have already completed my goals for the day. Now I have to wait for others to reply before I progress onto the next stage. So blog updating time it is.

At lunch today I purchased bottle sterilising equipment, new born formula and two pacifiers (actually they were part of the ‘Free Gift with Purchase’ for the steriliser). I wasn’t keen to give our baby a pacifier, didn’t want her or our dependence to start. However after a few days of a relentless crying child we gave in and lo and behold she was quiet and Marika just told me she been sleeping for three hours, but starting to stir now. Woohoo we might get some sleep tonight! We’re going to hold off using the formula, it’s our emergency blanket in case we need it at 4 in the morning. Marika’s one tuff cookie, but I fear the sleep deprivation may impede her ability to stay awake enough to feed our always hungry little girl.

I think the last few days have been tiring for our guests / helper. Thankfully Marika’s mum & sister have been there to help out; it’s nice when somebody else cooks for you. Especially when you consider how I like to cook, you use cinnamon & mixed spice when making spaghetti, right? The two second rule still applies in this sterilized world we live in, correct?

P.S. Did you know when you’re really tired walls jump out and hit you and all my comments above make sense, including the cooking tips, you should give them a try!

Saturday, 20 May 2006

The Getting Bigger Rant and Other Stuff

It was a big day for Isabella; we picked up her citizenship certificate. It reads ‘Rip Snorter, you’re now a true blue Aussie, fair suck of the sauce bottle’ well maybe it doesn’t but if it did that would make for interesting reading for people taking up Australian citizenship. We applied for her Passport, mmmm, which created a little running around for all. The passport people didn’t like our first picture, something about fuzzy around the edges and the didn’t fit their head positioning standards, to which I remarked, she is a little fuzzy around the edges, it’s only fine baby hair, as for the positioning, well her head is a little bent so it not going to fit into your oval shaped template until her head recovers from being squished in the womb. Anyhow I was given my marching order to go to a particular photo developing place up the road and they would take a new photo to suit the Australian standard. Time is against us so we wander on down to this photo place, do you know how hard it is to wake up a deeply sleeping baby without upsetting them, if so please share this knowledge with me. Anyhow she's now awake after only about an hours sleep, eyes open (as required), mouth open (as required for screaming), it was a struggle to get this dang photo, square on showing both ears, shoulders & neck, eyes open, mouth closed. I think the eyes open and mouth closed at the same time was the hardest task. The picture looks very much like my original photo except the eyes are stunned mullet open and the lips tightly closed, Isabella recovered OK from the whole experience.

More big news for the day, her umbilical cord came off this morning and all looks good. It was suggested we should keep the crusty bit of shrivelled dried out human skin pipe thing, not sure why, maybe I should Google it.

The best news for today comes from our doctors visit, little Bella has gained half a kilogram; she was just under 3kg when leaving hospital and approximately 3.5kg today. So she is eating well and growing, just what we wanted to hear, the doctor thought her foot, head and neck were getting better, it just takes time to sort itself out.

As for my working day, well there wasn’t much of it. I worked hard while I was there (thought I better add that in just in case the boss is the other person that reads my blog). I was talking to one of my colleagues and she wasn’t in a happy mood, so my usual rather incessant sporadic erratic conversations I have with fellow workers was driving her up the wall and she decided to vent how bad her mornings usually are starting with the fact that she has to get up at 5am to get her boy ready for school etc. OK maybe it’s the fact that sleep is not scheduled in my calendar for this week, but I retorted, 5am! I didn’t get to bed until 5:30am and I still managed to beat you into work by half an hour. Needless to say the topic was put to rest and work started again. I’m a people person; I have a special way with them. I think it’s called the sledgehammer personality with a twist of sad humour. Who noticed the oxymoron in this paragraph; mmmm or maybe it’s just the moron writing this long rant.

Good night, I hope you recover well from reading this blog, any psychologists invoices can be sent to Santa Clause, care of the North Pole for payment.

Friday, 19 May 2006

Isabella’s a True Blue Aussie

Our little Princess really doesn’t like to go to sleep, when she is asleep she wiggles and waves her arms and makes all sorts of noises, from both ends. I would hate to think what she would be like if Marika was eating baked beans & eggs. I don’t know if babies know how to smile, but Bella spends a lot of time smiling, frowning, serious, ‘What you talking ‘bout Willis’ looks and so many more. A gal of a thousand faces. If Isabella was to be deported she now has a country to be deported to, she is now a true blue Aussie citizen. Tomorrow I’ll pick up the citizenship paper and file her passport application. Tomorrow she’ll also have her first trip outside the home to go and visit the doctor to make sure she is growing well, fingers crossed all is good. It looks like her umbilical cord is read to fall off, it was pointing the other way when I cleaned it tonight, I resisted the urge to crank it off. Bath times are still a challenge, a mix of crying and contentment, much more crying though. We are still bathing her in the bathroom hand basin, maybe we’ll look at getting a baby bath tomorrow on our big trip out. Anyhow sleep is calling; Isabella will be awake in an hour or so.

Thursday, 18 May 2006

Minutes to Midnight, Still Awake Again

Well its getting towards midnight and I really need sleep, however the little Miss is upset and will not sleep, so here I am rocking in my office chair and typing this blog one-handed, we’ve tried the usual, feeding, changing, rubbing & rocking. Rocking has settled her, but she will not give into sleep. She slept well last night, 11 to 2:30 & 4 to 7:30. Marika said she didn’t sleep much during the day. She’s looking up at me at the moment; you can’t help but love a little face like hers. At this moment I would love it even more if her eyes were closed and she was sleeping. I might log off just in case it’s my one-handed typing keeping her awake.

Wednesday, 17 May 2006

Work for One, Bonding for Two

It was back to work for me today, however sleep deprivation and wanting to be with my girls hampered my working ability, fortunately I don’t use heavy equipment as that could have been rather dangerous for myself and everybody around me. As it was I almost walked into the wall a few times. I did manage to walk into some fool who was under the delusion that I would climb over the handrail so he walk beside his friend. My size and the fact I was carrying a bag of heavy groceries was a helpful force in showing him the correct side of the pathway, with a little thud. Sharing the walkway and allowing people of exit elevators & trains is just not the done thing here. The worse offenders are usually teens and twenty something’s, my mistake I keep forgetting the world owes them for all their sacrifices, mmmm there is something wrong with this statement, maybe my grumpy old fartness is kicking in again.

On to more interesting matters, our little Miss was up to her usual tricks in fighting sleep and keeping us awake most of the night. Night & morning she’s not keen on sleep, but afternoon & evening you can’t wake her. I guess we need to move eight hours west so that she sleeps the night. Yia yia & Theia Andrea helped look after her today and started their bonding time. Anyhow our little girl has just fallen asleep in my arms so I should sign off and put her to bed.

PS My spell and grammar checker is back online, past entries will be reviewed later when Isabella allows her.

Monday, 15 May 2006

Bella Welcomes Yia Yia & Theia

Little Miss Bella had a busy day, starting early about midnight and keeping us active till about 3:30am then we all managed about 4 hours sleep, let me say Woohoo! Then Bella decided that she would fight sleeping after her 7:30 breakfast until around 10:30, aarh then glorious sleep took over for the next 4 hours. Time for some house cleaning in readiness for our inbound guests, yes Isabella gets to meet her Yia Yia (Grandma Socratous) and Theia (Aunty Andrea) for the first time. I tried to explain their arrival to her, however we are not currently on the same communication page, but we are working on it, usually in the wee early hours of the morning when mum & dad want to sleep and she wants for something else unknown to us. Hopefully little Miss will want to sleep more tonight, as one of us has to go back to work in the morning.

Sunday, 14 May 2006

4:09pm, 5 Full Days Old

I’ve just sat down at the computer and noticed the time is 4:09pm, little Isabella has just turned five days old. The time has flown by and at the same time it seems we have known her so much longer. I said this to somebody earlier today and they responded, ‘it’s like you’ve known them since birth’ to which I responded, ‘I have, I was there and saw it all’, but I won’t go into details about that! Our first night at home as a family of three was an eye opener, that is, we didn’t get much sleep. Isabella decided to cluster feed from about 11pm until 3:30am, so sleep wasn’t an option. The good news is she slept from 3:30 until about 7:30, but then it was all hands on deck for the next few hours. I’m assuming you get use to lack of sleep, well I hope so! Going back to work will be difficult on 4 hours sleep a night. Sounds like Marika and Isabella are just about finished browsing the dairy section making it Daddy burping time, Belch! Oops sorry sometimes I get mixed up about who should be burping.

Saturday, 13 May 2006

Isabella's Home for the First Time

The good news is my girls came home today, little Isabella’s first time out of the hospital and I think she likes her new abode. She tested out her bed, provided me with a dirty nappy, then she provided me with another dirty nappy as I was finishing the first nappy change, aarh the endless cycle of life! Now its time for a feed and maybe a nap, Isabella might do the same!

Another Day with the Five Fingered Funny

Home early today, well about ten. I figured I should leave so Marika would try and sleep, but I was wrong, she just called as Isabella is back for food. We didn’t get much baby squeezing time today as our little yellow jaundice one was getting some blue light treatment, she was looking better tonight at her nine o’clock feeding. If all goes well with her treatment my girls will be coming home tomorrow (knock on wood, cross fingers / toes and all that other superstition good luck stuff). I have a few more pictures, hope you like our little yellow five fingered funny. Please ignore any spelling / grammatical error as I’m too tired to bother and my spell checker is not working, actually the spell checker is a she, and she is in hospital on maternity leave. Well its time to make Isabella's bed in readiness and for me to go to bed (woohoo an earily night).

I have removed some photos and added then to Isabella's website
The Little Yellow One

Friday, 12 May 2006

Day 3, Yellow Baby, To be Aussie

Another exciting and long day at the office, well at the hospital with my lovely girls. Marika is doing well, feeling the pain now the good drugs have worn off, but she is up and about, attachments and plugs gone. Isabella was cluster feed earlier today but finished the day out with a couple of good feeds. She has been sounding a little congested and is jaundice, as you can see by our yellow baby photos. They were to come home tomorrow, but the jaundice might make her hospital stay a little longer. On a different note, I ventured onto Aussie soil for the first time in about 6 months, well I visited the Aussie High Commission, thankfully their security was efficient, the line up at the US Embassy was down around the corner. One and a half hour later the ball was rolling to make little Isabella a certified Aussie. Currently she is without nationality, hopefully is will change within the next 10 to 15 days so I’m informed. Then we have to get her a passport, her Singapore visa and then book flights to Sydney to meet her extended family and our friends. The washing about to finish then I can go to bed, woohoo before midnight, I might even get seven hours sleep tonight. Alias midnight came and I was still up.
I have removed the photo and added then to Isabella's website

Thursday, 11 May 2006

Day 2 Baby Photo's

Well it’s after midnight, and for the second night running I’ve just arrived home getting ready to upload some new picture, maybe not, sleep is calling, so I’ll just add a few to this blog entry. Isabella had a good day, she showed us how strong her lungs were, proved that she can make her whole body go red when she cries, showed up the local baby wrap expert by freeing her arms in about 2 seconds. She loves to move her arms; she’ll turn her head and sleep on her hands. I was ‘lucky’ enough to have 3 poo filled nappies to change, mmmm what and odd colour but let not good there! Feeding the natural way is proving not to be so natural. Have you ever wondered what a lactation specialist dose, well DON’T! Good news on the new mum front, Marika is recovering very well from the caesarean or as I like to call it the Julius Caesar-ean. She is now fully unplugged but still has one needle thing in her wrist, let call it a port for better living through chemistry, which she was very happy to hear would be removed at 6am, (about 5 hours away now sweetie). She was very happy to get out of the lovely Hospital Blue butt revealing gown and into something a little less revealing. Anyhow 1AM is quickly approaching so I should wrap this up for now.
I have removed the photos and added then to Isabella's website

Wednesday, 10 May 2006

Should I Sleep or Should I Go - Go Win's!

I woke up a little before 7 this morning thinking, I could get up now and go see my girls. Then it dawned on me, I haven’t even in bed for 6 hours, what am I doing, I should be making the most of my home alone time and sleep-in. I guess once Isabella’s home sleep will be at a premium. Twenty minutes later and can’t sleep, too much on my mind so now I’m up and I’m ready to go see my girls. Then the geek factor kicked in, check my email and write a short blog. Now I’m off to see them, See Ya.

It's a Girl - Isabella Maki Bywater

Jason & Marika would like to announce the arrival of their first child, a baby girl named Isabella Maki Bywater. She was born on the 9th May 2005 at 4:09pm Singapore time with a length of 50cm and a weight of 3.25kg (7lbs something). Mother and baby are both well, Dad’s doing great too! (Thanks for asking). Isabella has a proud Bywater – Socratous nose, dark hair, dark gray eyes (I’m told they will most likely change colour over the next few months), a great smile (I don’t think it’s gas just yet) and she has a knack for making funny noises with her months (I’m thinking it ‘feed me Seymour’ noises)
Isabella Maki Bywater (A Few Hours Old)

Monday, 8 May 2006

39 Weeks and Counting the Days

Today it’s officially the start of week 39, only a mere seven days to our due date. Considering how Junior is moving around I think s/he wants out and NOW! The way Junior was pushing at Marika belly I think s/he was planning on pushing their way out via the belly button. The kid is quite an active little wriggler. Watching the belly moving reminds me of those special scenes in the Alien movies, just before the Alien appears. I hear that having a baby is a little alien at times, however I’m sure Junior is human looking most likely with the big family nose. We’re in the final straight, top of the ninth, 1st and goal, minutes to midnight, and all those other silly last moment staying and our excitement and terror are in overload. We think we are ready for the pooing, crying, eating machine to be on the outside to bring us joy and test our sense of smell!

Sunday, 7 May 2006

Damn Big Snails

We have been getting regular rain fall here over the past few weeks, oh it’s raining, it must be 4pm, my mistake it’s only 3:42pm. Anyhow the rain bring out the snails to play, and damn are they big snails! You hit one of these suckers while riding your bike and you’re toast, well maybe not but they are rather large. Cook two of these snails and a Frenchman will think Christmas has arrived early. So how big are they really, I guess you could fit one and a half in a normal sized coffee cup, mind you I would want to use the coffee cup afterwards! I wonder how big the frogs are here; maybe the spitting cobras eat the snails bypassing one food chain level!

Thursday, 4 May 2006

Week 38 (Only Two To Go)

Our 11:50am appointment didn’t start until 1:15pm. I had to go on a snack run to tide us over, you know, waiting is hungry work! Anyhow all is well with mum to be and Junior, Dad to be is doing OK, not that anybody asks, sob sob. Maybe I should bring snacks for next weeks Doctor’s visit. Hopefully the wait is not as long! I’m getting excited, the closer we get the less doctors visit we have. Don’t get me wrong, the Doctor is very nice and it’s great to see Junior and know s/he is OK. I figure in the last 9 months I’ve increased my doctors visit quantity 20 fold, I guess that’s a reflection of my concept “If the limb’s still attached, the Doctors not needed”

Uncle Terry Our First Overnight Guest

We bid farewell to our first overnight guest, well over several nights actually. It was good to catch up with my uncle Terry. With Marika not very mobile at the moment I played tour guide for a day of shopping, yes don’t adjust your monitor, we boys went shopping (for electrical toys of course), and we found a bargain or three. Thanks for the fudge.

Tuesday, 2 May 2006

Accessorise Your Phone Lah

I've talked about Singaporeans and their addiction to mobile phones. As part of their addiction they like to accessorise their phone. You can get the usual and unusual cases, in just about any colour, pattern, fashion, some even use rock climbing caulk bags, go figure! Some of the other accessories I've seen include various dangling flashing light thingies, teddy bears, compass (handy), little pens, keys, building & transport passes and other forgettable crap. Anyhow back to the story at hand, I was at lunch today and this group of young locals sat down near me, and the usual playing, SMSing and even talk on the phones started but no talking to each other. You know that mobile phones aren't designed for talking on these days. Try buying one;

(Sales person) "With this next generation phone you can take video, surf the net, email, send multi media messages, toast bagels, make coffee ...
(Customer) "Good battery life?"
(Sales person) "Great battery life, one month on standby" (small print, "Battery life about 2hr 37min with normal use, will need to be replace after 100 chargers")
(Customer) "Really I just want to make phone calls"
(Sales person) "I'm sorry you can't make calls on this phone, you need to upgrade to the Gadget 3000 to have voice capabilities, do you have a gold credit card?)

You get the idea, anyhow back to the story at hand, this one girl had an enormous amount of crap dangling off her phone and she liked to display this crap by dangling it over the edge of the table. Well the crap was heavier then phone and physics kicked in ... 'SMACK' went the phone onto the marble floor. Well the phone was quickly retrieved and carefully checked then placed back on the edge of the table ... physics then 'SMACK' again, retrieved & checked, tables edge ... 'SMACK' ... a little later on 'SMACK' mmmm some people just don't learn ... and they're the future!

Saturday, 29 April 2006

April Sunset Out Our Back Window

I wasn't very successful with my storm / lighting photographing last night, but the sunset photo’s turned out OK.

Thursday, 27 April 2006

Week 37+

Junior’s Log: Day 262 (approximately), Doctor’s Visit 957 (slightly over exaggerated).

The Doctor was happy with Marika’s and Junior’s growth. The Doctor seemed quite happy that the belly was hard and causing discomfort, (translation: Baby is nearly ready to venture into the outside world). Junior is kind of in a squat position with the back facing up and the head to Marika’s left side and baby bottom and feet poking at the right side. Leg length was indicating due date of early next week; so we guess Junior will have long legs at birth. All of the other measurements were giving us another two and half weeks or so. Due date is still around the 15th May.

Sunday, 23 April 2006

Greek (Orthodox) Easter

We celebrated Greek (Orthodox) Easter today with one of Marika's University day's friends. Peter & family and a group of their Greek friends helped us enjoy Easter with good conversation and all the lovely food I'm now accustomed to. Desserts like baklava, galaktoboureko, koulourakia. Lamb on the spit and the usual onslaught of salads, rice's, roast potatoes (I can still hear Marika stomach going 'yum yum') and other sides. We missed out on the souvla being served at the family gathering in Australia, oh how we miss good souvla, thinking about it is make my full stomach hungry for it!. And of course there were the traditional red & green dyed eggs, which the kids made quick use out of leaving cracked and shattered eggs all around, not sure if any were actually eaten. I was reading the other day that the Chinese give out red dyed eggs one month after the birth of their child. I don't think we'll be doing that, mostly because Marika doesn't want me to eat that many eggs, something to do with the safely of the ozone layer.

Thursday, 20 April 2006

Week 36 and a little bit

Another Doctor’s visit has come and gone, Junior is growing well, moving lots giving Marika some interesting feelings, some funny, some not so funny. Junior has been continuing with his/her growth spurt, saying goodbye to little ole 2kg baby and a big hello to 3kg baby, for those interested Junior’s weight is estimated at 3102g. We are now on weekly Doctor’s visits and playing the waiting game with more intensity.

Sunday, 16 April 2006

Good Easter to You All

We hope you all have a happy and safe Easter. For the not so orthodox 'Orthodox', Happy Easter for next weekend.

Saturday, 15 April 2006

2 Whole Centimetres in a Week

Two whole centimetres of belly growth in one week, Junior has pushed Marika’s belly to 112cm. There has been some discomfort this week due to Junior’s growth and new found interest in stretching and pushing out arms, feet, head and of course its little bottom, Marika’s belly takes on very odd shapes with these little body parts pushing out.

Thursday, 13 April 2006

Pods & Tods

Well I’ve just finished making my morning coffee, again trying a different brand of milk, this one described as ‘Plain Flavoured Milk’ ‘Made from Fresh Milk’ and guess what, it was plain flavoured milk, in fact it’s the closest I’ve come to finding real fresh tasting milk, but it leaves a funny after taste, I guess you can’t win ‘em all!

I’ve been told by the powers that be, I didn’t mention Junior’s weight in the last blog, well then Junior is about 2.6kg now :-)

Strolling to work this morning, I like to stroll, I find it reduces the sweat factor in the hot and humid environment, mind you it was windy and cool this morning. Hang on a minute I'll just check the current temperature . . . OK by cool I mean 27 C. Anyhow back to the story at hand, I was watching this grounds person for the Hotel I was strolling by sweeping up the falling leaves with her little broom and dustpan, a few seconds after she cleaned a little area and moved on, the little area was again covered by falling leaves, vicious cycle, the poor woman will spend all morning cleaning the front courtyard only to still have it covered in leaves and her boss chewing her ear about slacking off all morning. The blog today and her morning remind me of the movie “Groundhog Day’. Did I mention I like to stroll . . .

Monday, 10 April 2006

Week 35

Well the countdown is really on now, a month or so to go and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse, oops got side tracked again. Our Doctor’s visit went well, Junior is still enjoying the breech position and slithering around making mum-to-be feel good. If the kid doesn’t move much Marika likes to give Junior a jab to wake him / her up, but Junior has the upper hand (or foot) of being able to whack her back from the inside.

Saturday, 8 April 2006

Now 110 Centimetres

Well the belly has reached 110cm mark and the finishing line is in sight!

Wednesday, 5 April 2006

The Stool Has Arrived & Others

For those of you concerned, the stool has arrived so Marika can continue to make my dinner. Alas it’s not height adjustable or have wheels as I wanted, though it is sturdy, light weight and easy to move. Sturdy and light weight might be considered an oxymoron together. Anyway I was keen for the wheels so I could roll back and forth across the kitchen and out into the living room. I couldn’t find any with wheels, but now I’m thinking about it, maybe I should have ‘borrowed’ one from the local hairdressers; they sometimes have wheelie height adjustable scooting stools.

Along with the stool we had a sofa bed and reading couch delivered. The sofa bed flattens into a (double) bed as the name implies, quite a decent bed in the realm of sofa beds. I’ve slept (well tried to sleep) on a few in the past, so I was keen to find one that I felt I could actually sleep on. The reading couch also folds flat to be a single bed, comfortable as long as you don’t like to sleep on the left edge of the bed.

The final piece of furniture to be delivered today was Junior’s cot, part of the delivery was installation so they kindly put the cot together. I was looking at the cot when I arrived home wondering why it didn’t look like the one we ordered, then it dawned on me I'll be busy this weekend dismantling the cot and rebuilding it correctly. I should have realised as soon as I saw the leftover pieces that something was astray!

The good news in all of this is we have beds for our soon to be guests and Junior when s/he arrives, now we just have to get mentally prepared if that is possible for Junior’s arrival!