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Welcoming Hugo :: One

Hugo turns two months old this morning three days ago (and I meant to post this on Monday, but then I went ahead and broke my big toe, freaked out about a broken, noxious-gas spewing AC, and caught the flu, so hi...one day I'll get the hang of this blogging thing and post with punctuality, maybe?) To mark the occasion, I thought I’d post a few reflections on our first week together before these memories vanish along with baby Hugo’s newbornness.


In the weeks leading up to my due date, I was growing more uncomfortable and increasingly impatient and uncomfortable. 

I was besieged by false labour (which I moaned about in great detail here, and on Twitter. And Facebook. Instagram. And basically to anyone who would listen.) I was having regular contractions that would last hours and hours, leave me more or less incapacitated by discomfort and is-this-labour-anxiety and then suddenly vanish with nothing to show for all the suffering. 


Those last few weeks of pregnancy were slow, and my parenting lax. Afternoons spent watching documentaries about midwives and trips down to the pool were about all I could muster. I was spending more and more time in bed, curled up with the laptop playing pirated DVDs of The Good Wife, hoping that each day would mark the beginning of life as a foursome.



My due date came and Mr. Chef took some time off. The due date went, and so to Mr. Chef back to work.


I kept waiting, false labour coming about every other day, convinced that this time, it really WAS something.


I must have known, deep down that I wasn’t in labour, but a couple of days after my official due date, I called my doula to come over. I was hoping, somehow, just by calling her, she could declare braxton hicks official labour. But alas, she came, and announced I still had a long way to go. 


The night of Chinese New Year I was up all night with braxton hicks contractions. Mr. Chef was off work because of the holiday, and so to provide some solace for my suffering, he took the three of us out to my favourite restaurant for pizza. 


We ran into a group of our friends at the restaurant. The grownups chatted and ate, the children ran amok as children in Asia are wont to do, and I quietly suffered through contractions. 

The contractions continued all day, through a walk around the Jakarta streets, a lazy afternoon with friends, dinner and bedtime. As the night grew darker, I became quietly hopeful that labour was establishing. 

By midnight I was sure. The doula came, and she was sure as well. 


I laboured at home for a couple of hours, before heading to the hospital at around 4 AM while Stella stayed behind, awake and excited, with her babysitter.


(Aside: if you’re ever planing on going into labour in Jakarta, may I suggest heading to the hospital at 4AM? Zero traffic! And, PS, one of my biggest fears about this pregnancy was being in transition in the back of a taxi in a driving rainstorm while traffic stands still  and horns blare and contractions…gah!!!!)


On the way to the hospital Mr. Chef and the doula were cracking jokes about how long it would take to deliver the baby, sure that he’d be here by 8 AM. I wasn’t convinced, based on the 23 hours of pitocin induced labour last time around! However, I did appreciate their optimism!


My labour was great. I had strong contractions with nice, solid breaks between them that allowed me to catch my breath and gather my energy (unlike last time, pitociiiiiiiin!!! *shakes fist*). Two hours after arriving at the hospital, I was ready to push, and Hugo was born fifteen minutes later, a few quiet mewls announcing his arrival.


He was placed on my chest, warm and perfect, and there he stayed for an hour or so, peaceful and calm. Feeling this fresh baby on my chest, his soft weight and warm body, this brand new little being, settling into me was perfect. 


After a few routine checks, we were moved into our recovery room. Mr. Chef went home to get Stella (who was beside herself with excitement about her new brother) and do a little snack shopping for me as I was ravenous and the hospital breakfast of two pancakes was not quite enough to replenish my energy. 


I was charged with getting some rest. Unfortunately that proved impossible as I could not keep my eyes off my sweet baby’s face. 


A few hours later, Stella arrived at the hospital, and asked, her voice full of wonder, “Is dat my brudder?” And immediately jumped up on the bed to hold him. I was officially chopped liver; she only had eyes for Hugo. She delighted in wrapping him up, and was fascinated by the hospital-issue mittens that he was dressed in. After lots of cuddles, and a few games of midwife-midwife, she and Mr. Chef went home, and again I was instructed to “get some rest,” which AGAIN proved to be exceedingly difficult because OMG fresh baby perfection heartsplosionsetc.


While I was in the hospital, we packed full Stella’s days to somehow make up for my absence. This proved to be an ill-advised strategy. Stella went from pre-dawn wake ups to breakfast out, to gym class, to playdates, and on and on until she succumbed to a nasty cold virus on Hugo’s second day of life. And of course, Hugo came down with this cold five days later. 


We stayed in the hospital for a couple of days. In retrospect, I might have stayed one more day in the hospital to recover (day three marks a massive hormonal crash, I reckon, and better to crash at the hospital, than at home) but I was eager to get home to Stella, who was really missing me, and also keen to start settling into our new life as a family of four.





"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014."

One black, one white this week. 

Stella: Milk mustached, which round here, is major. On a recent trip to see an allergy specialist in Singapore, we were given the go-ahead to reintroduce milk to Stella's diet. To say that this kid is please about her reunion with dairy is a bit of an understatement. A certain small person may have woken up three times during the night to remind us that she could eat yoghurt for breakfast. So. Yeah.

Hugo: Yawning. Always. This kid continues to be an expert in the sleep department. And maybe my standards are just really low re. all things slumber (see elder child who never, ever slept ever ever ever), because he still wakes every two hours during the night, and doesn't nap much longer than 45 minutes unless strapped to my body. But he does nap! And he takes only 10 minutes to go to sleep! And today he slept through tantrumpocalypse, so OKAY! I'll take it!


I loved the light streaming in from these portraits. And here's a sweet little progression. And isn't   l protrait enough to drive the rains away?

Linking up with Jodi.


Kid Life 365 {Week Seven}

Fifty-five // Playing in "fairy land".

Fifty-six // tiny, sleepy fingers.

Fifty-seven // He's never in his crib. This picture is just for show.

Fifty-eight // We spend a lot of time like this, baby boy propped up on my knees, head in my hand, staring/

Fifty-nine // Sunny pool days have returned. And this big girl can now climb up the rock all on her own!

Sixty // A Saturday afternoon nap. Probably shared by Muma. 

Sixty-one // Walking back home with papi after exploring the streets on car-free day. I love these two together. 


A master stroke of parenting genius. Or Something.

So, this morning. This morning I fed one kid. Bathed one kid. Got the little kid dressed. Made breakfast. Fed myself and the other kid. Showered. Got myself dressed (makeup!!!!) Put the little kid down for a nap. Made the mis en place for dinner. Got the big kid dressed, hair done, teeth brushed, medicine taken. Packed snacks and school bags. Cut up some fruit for later. Picked up some toys, and wiped down some surfaces. Nursed the baby, then off in a taxi by 8:30 for school drop off. 


No tears were shed (well, a few baby tears, because come on, let’s be real here), no threats uttered, no shouty mummy moments endured. We got out the door and got to school on time like we’ve been doing this our whole lives. 


And I mean, it’s not a big deal, right? It’s just a mother caring for her children, meeting their daily needs with a reasonable degree of calm. Millions of mothers do this day in and day out. Feed the kids, get them dressed, and off to school.


But for me it feels like a master stroke of parenting genius.


Last time around I had such a hard time coping with the daily demands of a colicky, sleepless newborn, while transitioning into my new role as an at home mother in a new country in a new language. I never felt in control of our days. I really worried about doing it all again, but this time with a high-need big kid in the mix. 


But here I am, handling mornings, or taking both kids to lunch in a restaurant, or walking through the mall carrying one kid in the sling, and one on my hip and feeling like, yes. I am doing this. I’m competent and confident in basic childcare. My children are happy, And I’m happy. And I’m doing this. And it’s totally major.


(Please note, while we can successfully get through the morning or eat lunch in a restaurant, this is not a bragpost. My beds are always unmade, I haven’t vacuumed in donkey’s years, my email inbox is about to explode, there are toys everywhere, and I have yet to leave the house with an adequately stocked diaper bag. So.?) 



"a portrait of my children once a week, every week, in 2014."

Stella: One pouting.

Hugo: One smiling.


Stella got hit by a massive virus this week. I only realized how bad it was until after the fact because this kid! She just goesgoesgoes overdrive x infinity when she's sick. 

I was recovering from wisdom teeth surgery (which I thought would be an easy two day affair, but turned out to be ongoing lo these ten days later. And PS, I may or may not have cried in the dentist's office yesterday when I had some of my stitches removed.) Anyway, this sad state of affairs coincided with a preschooler-lead attempt at a coup d'etat, a series of NO! NO! NO! a, collection of shouty mummy moments, and a crisis of conscious re how I raise my children poor behaviour is a harbinger of doom and woe what will become of us all etc. etc. etc.

I really do hope that one of these days I remember to remind myself that a sick kid is not a well behaved one and a over-tired, sore mother is not a patient one. And that these sick, shouty days do end. Life returns to normal. We rediscover equilibrium, such as it exists. 

(Oh, and Hugo? He was his normal, charming self despite a very congested nose and two nights of minimal sleep. But fear not, your day of rebellion and boundary pushing will come, Hugo M. Bear. But until then, I'm sure enjoying your sweet disposition and easy compliance!) 


Some favourites from last week include these sweet little sibs (and, PS, it appears as though Kate and I share similar feelings re. our youngest children); these portraits in green and gold; this freckle-faced sunflare gem of prefection; and this one just knocked the socks right off my feet. Can you believe how talented some people are????

Linking up, as ever, with Jodi


Wisdom re. The Wisdoms

I had two of my wisdom teeth out last week. And can I just tell you it was exactly as terrible as I thought it would be. I actually said to myself during the procedure, “I’d rather be in piton induced labour right now!” And considering exactly how fresh those memories are, I think we can all conclude one thing: OMG OUCH EVER AGAIN. 


Anyway, this whole ordeal left me with a few new nuggets of wisdom, which I will impart here. You are welcome:


If you are going to have two of your teeth yanked out of your head and you also happen to have two very small children at home, make sure that your mother is visiting because you will not believe the shortness of your temper when you’re on day three of an all liquid diet and the kids just won’t stop touching you, and the baby bashes you in the face  for the fourteenth time due to his wobbly neck. You’ll really need a nap. Grandmothers can facilitate that. 


It is best advised to not go to a gallery opening the night following wisdom teeth extraction. You will be terrible at small talk (ps tales of wisdom teeth extraction do not make for effervescent anecdotes), your face will be gigantic, and you’ll feel compelled to explain to EVERYONE about your wisdom teeth just so they don’t think you’re naturally fat faced and lopsided.


The one up side of oral surgery is that you can drink milkshakes three times a day with impunity. FAnd when you order a smoothie for breakfast only to discover that it’s actually a vanilla milkshake with strawberries thrown in, just dump in a whole lot of chia seeds and call it a health food. 


Do not get your wisdom teeth out when you are breast-feeding. You will want the good drugs. Tylenol just does not cut it. 


Despite the fact that the dentist and dental assistant converse in a language you don’t speak, you’ll be able to tell that things are going South when the assistant exclaims, “unintelligible unintelligible OH MY GOD!!! unintelligible” and then the dentist follows a short time later with, “ITS A MONSTER!!!” (I am not even joking. This happened. And then I had to have a bone graft. And the dentist said, “Next time you’d better be unconscious.” And I cried actual tears because see above re. tylenol. 


One Month

Hugo is six weeks old! How? I’m just going to go ahead and join ranks with every other mother blogger who’s ever written and say, “Weren’t you just born yesterday? / Haven’t you always been here? / Where does time go etc etc etc?”


These past six weeks have been a total dream (punctuated with a few overly hormonal crying spells, a lot of fluids, and a pair of mastitis episodes. Let's just keep things real life here, shall we?)

When I was pregnant I worried about the transition to two kids. I had a difficult time going from zero to one, and wasn’t sure how I’d manage the logistics and emotional weight of adding a whole other human to my list of responsibilities.


It turns out that I shouldn’t have worried. Not one bit. While it is true that dinner most nights is outsourced, my three room apartment is a perpetual disaster, and I have yet to leave the house without forgetting some vital piece of baby equipment, things are going really well. 


This guy! He is the easiest of babies. He sleeps! He willingly sits in his bouncy chair! He believes that most of life”s problems can be solved with a pacifier and a cuddle. Best of all, he does not have colic! So, he makes babyhood feel like a walk in the park. 


Also: his sister! Her exuberant and interminable love for her “brudder”, her willingness to share parental energies and attention, and her patience with me have conspired to make this major transition smoother than I could have expected. 


So, month one! You’ve been a treat. Now, what’s up with Hugo! (I feel it should be noted that his sister calls him HEgo and the neighbours call him Bubby Dadu, and I call him Gozie. We all call him adorable.) 

Growing :: One Month and Two Weeks

5.8 KG or 12.7 pounds (though how many ounces that is, I have NO idea, but suffice to say, big.)

59 cm (he’s grown 6 cm since his birth day, can you believe that?? Cell division like holy cow!) 


Learning :: Smiles!

Hugo gave up his first ever smile to his big sister way back in week one? Maybe two? And it was probably a gas smile or something, but I’m one for reading signs, and I’ll take that as a sign of sibling harmony to come, okay?

Since then he’s been real life social smiling for the past couple of weeks, and now, at six weeks, he’s officially throwing gummy smiles all over the place. It’s the best. Really. Especially since there’s an emerging dimple on his right cheek.  


Eating :: Milk. 

So much. SO SO MUCH. Which accounts for his impressive weight gain. But then again, that’s partially my fault since my super power is MILK and I’ve been trying to manage an oversupply situation. Not necessarily related: Does anyone smell cabbage? 


Sleeping :: Just fine! Mostly. When he's touching a human. Though we do have the occasional night of fussy wakefulness, which usually heralds the onset of some serious rocket toots and then everything is alright again. 

Without any prompting from me (because if there’s one thing that I can’t do it’s consistency), Hugo has settled into a lose rhythm. He’s waking up at 7 AM, going down for two quick cat naps in the morning (usually at 9ish and again at 11ish) and then after lunch he’s been taking monster naps. He’s down for the night around 7 or 8, and wakes about every 2 or 3 hours. Though a few nights he’s shown promise by powering through four or five hour stretches! And then I wake up and declare EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!! 

Also, my mum just demonstrated that Hugo can put his own self to sleep. Soother. Crib. ZZZZZzzzzzz. (I'll never have the fortitude to keep this going, however, so for the sake of sleep, she should probably just move in here, I think.)


Enjoying :: Mama Time

We had some quality time together, Hugo M Bear and I. With his sister away in Singapore with Mr. Chef and my mum, we hung out for three days doing not much more than napping in the golden afternoons, watching pirated DVDs and cooing at each other. Second (and subsequent) children never get that intense one-on-one attention that firstborns enjoy, so these few days were a lovely, peaceful treat for both of us. I’m telling you, I did not cook or clean one bit, and it was like being on the most delicious vacation.    


Loving :: 

Milk. His hammock. His bouncy chair. His sister. Feet jiggling and leg bicycling - this always elicits some nice smiles, and the occasional toot. Snuggles. Especially of the Mama variety. Napping the afternoon away curled up on his grandmother’s chest. The pacifier / soother / dummy (about which I have mixed feelings, but I’m thinking that HAPPY BABY wins out over hippie parenting dogma.) 


Loathing :: 

Burps and rocket farts (please see oversupply issues as mentioned above.) Hep B injections (oh, MY did he ever scream!!!) But that’s about it. This guy! He’s easy to please!

And now for a million Hugo pictures:

FYI I was inspired to structure this post thusly after reading Berlin By The Bay, which is a great little blog.