Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ear's the thing

As one of our many baby-related purchases, we bought a Braun ThermoScan ear thermometer thingamijig.

It's one of those where you stick it in an ear and I think it uses infrared to measure the temperature... or maybe it measures our infrared waves to figure out our temperature... or something. Er, I'm going to blame baby brain for the lack of research on this one. 

Anyway! Because it's very scientific to repeat experiments, I measured both my ears, only to find there is a very consistent temperature difference between the two. 0.6 degrees. My left side is usually warmer than my right.

Not sure what this means. Maybe I'm left-brained? Maybe I walk with a slight tilt to the left so that there is slightly more blood on that side? Alternative theories welcome!


The other news is that the "B" in Bjai might now stand for "butt", considering that it's his favourite past-time (besides hiccuping) to stick his little butt out to the left of my belly button. Occasionally he sways it to the right side--and watching that little bump slide across is very odd--but most of the time he prefers the left.

We've started giving it a little pat or a rub whenever he pokes it out, and I think he rather likes it... it'll poke out more when we stop. I guess we'll know how to soothe him when he comes out at least.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Grrratuitous belly photos

This is what happens when I accidentally wear my top inside out so that my belly becomes a what essentially amounts to a big green hill. 

Grrr, roar!

By the way, I have a university degree and never have I felt so satisfied as when I was colouring in my dinosaurs.

Scientifically accurate colouring!

The entire set up rivals the production values of a top Hollywood movie studio, I tell you!

Academy Awards 2012, here I come.

I'm guessing Bjai didn't mind too much, seeing as he didn't kick throughout the whole thing. Did you know that babies hiccup in the womb? This one has several rounds of hiccups a day. Maybe I'll see if I can video him shaking the dinosaurs next time.

In the meantime, Bjai gets his closeup...

The next subject will be the Grand Old Duke of York!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

To model a swaddle

As part of my parenting preparation (ie. mildly panicky reading of various 'how do I look after a small human'-type books), I've been reading "The Happiest Baby on the Block" by Harvey Karp. This book talks about how to calm fussy babies using a variety of techniques that are supposed to activate a baby's calming reflex.

Apparently in the first three months of life, babies are happiest when you create conditions that mimic their time in the womb. So you keep them compressed into a tight space (swaddling), put 'em on their sides or tummies, make loud constant noises, swing/shake them around and let them suck on something that stays put. I'm trying to keep it quite general to encourage any parents or future parents to buy this book to get the details--because I think Dr Karp deserves the royalties if this works!

The book contains instructions on how to swaddle using the Down-Up-Down-Up (DUDU) method. The instructions are reproduced here from the Happiest Baby site, so I guess the publisher is happy for that information to be out in the public domain.

Anyway, I had a go, and boy was it fun man-handling our Mr Rabbit--who by the way, was one of my not-too-ridiculous purchases. He's a rabbit with a removable scented lavender pouch in his belly, and he is very nice to cuddle, while the pouch can be warmed in the microwave so that he becomes a hot cross bunny without the cross, considering his generally blissed out expression.

I've discovered that I like to straitjacket things. This may be my calling.

I was so happy with my first attempt that I went to show Kevin, Mr Rabbit clutched oh-so-maternally basketball-style in one hand.

Holding him up by the back of the swaddle, I declared, "Check it out! I just swaddled the baby! He totally can't move!"

Kevin made the appropriate sounds of approval (approviate sounds?) and I felt mightily chuffed until Mr Rabbit popped out of my basketball grip and landed face-first onto the floor. We looked at each other. Kevin spoke first.

"Oh, the baby just died."

I collapsed into giggles, which, looking back, is a somewhat inappropriate response.

Sorry Mr Rabbit!

It'll be okay though. Babies bounce, right?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Preventing GFC2, one ridiculous purchase at a time

Gravity is overrated.

It's been a while since I've updated with a ridiculous purchase. We found this bean-filled penguin while wandering around Mongkok and thought its softness, malleability and most importantly CUTENESS would make it perfect as a belly support. 

Mr Penguin proved too rotund to fit under the belly, so he ended up being sandwiched between my legs (You'd be amazed how much buttressing is required to keep a pregnant woman comfortable. Soon I'll be able to build a pillow fort on my side of the bed). 

Sadly, the weight of my legs proved too much for Mr Penguin and his lining stretched out. He used to stand up tall and handsome, but now only looks like his old self--ie, the first picture--when lying flat on the bed with the beans spread out across his whole body. 

Usually he looks more like this:

(That's after being posed strategically. He actually tends to look like this:)

I'm sorry Mr Penguin! 

Monday, October 31, 2011

View from the top

Foot visibility good on the Hong Kong MTR

Quick anecdote: Little KFP (now more frequently known as B Jai) often starts up a little kicking frenzy that stops the moment I talk to him. 

Today I told him it was okay for him to keep moving, and after a slight pause, he sent forth a kick that jiggled my entire belly. Glad to know he listens to his parents.

Also, today his grandparents got to see him on ultrasound. The little showoff waved!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Meet the belly

Because it apparently really wants to meet the entire world.

Apologies for the dirtiness of the bathroom mirror.

Baby says 'Hi' from the Maldives.

Taken today.
Photos like these may explain why 
my Aunt thinks we're going to have twins.

BTW, I cleaned the bathroom mirror! 
Oh, and I got a haircut... though
getting a real job is still forthcoming.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More on love

Met a wonderful new lady yesterday, and saw this posted on her facebook.

"We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love." -- Tom Robbins

I could probably agree more, but that would break the law of percentages. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How it feels

Two weeks ago, a little fish began swimming around inside me.

It really does feel like a goldfish who has swum into the side of a plastic bag and bounced off in a panic when you move your fingers near.

Kevin's spent the last couple of nights with his fingers glued to my belly, and may have felt the tiny movement last night. The baby (I'm calling him Kung Fu Panda because his first ultrasound showed him in a flying kick pose) seems most active in the mid afternoon and also when I first lie down at night. Oh, and also when I crank up Leo Ku. He is SO like his father... pure Hongky!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The answer most likely

Thanks to The Beach Boys

This sort of song makes me so aware of the passage of time, and how a life well lived is just full of the joy of mundane moments. When I look back at my old family photos, I most love the grainy shots of us all awkwardly posed at the beach. Dad is smiling proudly, Mum is wearing her polite smile (she only began really smiling in photos much, much later) and the kids look cranky and annoyed. It's their sheer reality that makes them what they are. Dad is proud of his family, Mum is awkward in front of the camera, the kids are cranky when the have to wait while dad sets up the camera timer. It's life, and life contains awkwardness and crankiness. It's rarely pretty as a picture, but it's beautiful in other ways.

I think that's why I love the grainy, amateurish nature of this video as well. It's just life, and truly, a poorly composed and low-definition shot of little kids running randomly toward the camera won't have any significance to many people. But in another way, it all matters very much in someone's heart, mind and memory, which makes it uniquely beautiful and joyful to watch.

I think I've always had a bias toward the beauty that doesn't strike you in the face, but takes some effort to find, because the effort increases the reward of finding that beauty--so that the end experience is richer and deeper. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

To prayer and back

Just a quick anecdote...

This is not me, but if I ever got a tattoo, 
it would be spread across my back like this

A few nights ago, I was lying in bed and twinged my spine as I turned over. I've done this before and knew that I was up for several days of pain--and for once it occurred to me to pray immediately. So I asked God, if it was His will, to help heal my back. Then I settled myself into a more comfortable position and went to sleep.

Come the morning, it still hurt, but not nearly as much as it usually did. That night I got the idea that we should sleep sideways across the bed instead of the usual 'up and down' position (our bed has a slope toward the middle, so we're constantly rolling down the slope and waking up in the little hollow). My back thanked me for it, and the next day, did not hurt at all. Night-time brought a bit of the pain back, but it healed remarkably quickly compared to the other times I've done this. One day compared to the usual three or four. 

So of course, much thanks was given to God. 

This got me thinking about the power and role of prayer in our lives. I think as Christians, many of us have a tendency to pray for help and wait... and wait... and wait for the prayer to be answered, and often the lack of any developments we take as a 'no'. Sometimes I wonder if God is trying to speak to us and tell us what we can do to change the situation, but the buzzing sound of our waiting is blocking us from hearing His voice.

Somewhere in my mind, the formula that 'makes sense' for prayer requests is:
Request + God's willingness + God's call to action + Our obedient response to this call = Prayer granted (often not in the way we want--but in a way far more beneficial to us and to God's greater glory.)

And at another level, I think God grants our prayer requests for a change to our circumstances by asking us to change. When we change, our perspective changes, and thus though the outward circumstances might remain the same, our view of them is entirely different. Thus our circumstances have been transformed by the renewing of our minds (if you don't mind me taking that verse out of context). This often naturally leads to the idea of a very appropriate and beneficial course of action appearing out of nowhere. My own (rather mundane) example being that I could have kept sleeping as normal and the slope of the bed would have lengthened the healing time, but instead I answered the idea planted into my mind that I should just alter my sleeping position. 

There was a time when I kept asking God to change others, and nothing seemed to happen... only when I started looking at myself and my own attitudes and realised how much needed to change in myself, did things begin to change. Perhaps this is why Jesus told us to look at the plank in our eyes before we could clearly see to remove the speck in others. Of course hypocrisy is the main point of that verse, but it's curious that Jesus chose to illustrate this hypocrisy by pointing out how our vision of others is obscured by our own sin.

Each time I find myself judging others and wanting them to change for my own selfish reasons, I hope and pray that God will remind me of this plank, and that a change in position might be all I need. Even the most mundane, quiet and invisible change can lead to great help and healing. 

And now that my back is better, perhaps I can even do some planking. :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Love is...

What you can do to benefit another person, not what they can do to benefit you.

It's as simple and as complicated as that.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Brick walls

"Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things." 
- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Monday, July 18, 2011


So, pregnancy. Usually represented by softly-focused and warmly-lit pictures of beatific maternal types, gently cradling their round bellies while smiling a secret smile.

For me, it's been more like this:

Without the rainbow joy!

Seriously, I have worked out that I've thrown up more in the past month than I have thrown up in 26 years (I can't vouch for the first 5 years of my life... I'm pretty sure I was there, but have no memory of it). 

Pregnancy is a wonderful teacher, and today's lesson was that there are different shades of puking--one is basic heaving, which I've been doing proficiently for the past few weeks; and the other is projectile vomiting, which I managed for the first time today--luckily into the toilet bowl. *pats self on back*

For those who also undergo this unfortunate experience, I recommend a makeshift neti pot and cotton ear buds (inserted somewhere besides your ears), because your sense of smell is worth rescuing!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

That sinking feeling

A young man felt that he couldn't break up with his girlfriend despite the fact that she'd cheated on him and stolen $1500 from his father because "I've spent too much time and energy in to this relationship."

We urged him to consider the current and future situation, but the bottom line for him was that because he'd put in so much time, effort and money in the past, he couldn't let it go now, despite the fact that what he had now, was bad. 

This is the sunk cost fallacy. Thinking that the amount you have invested in the past somehow justifies putting up with the current (bad) situation.

I's like refusing to leave your burning house because you've spent a lot of time and energy on decorating it and you have a lot of memories there. 

It's like continuing to invest in a company that's gone bankrupt (and the CEO has gone to jail for fraud) because you originally invested $10K in it and you don't want that $10K to be for nothing.

It's like continuing to eat an apple that is riddled with worms because you spent 50c to pay for the apple and you don't want to feel like you've wasted 50c.

I don't understand this reasoning at all. Why throw good after bad? I understand not being able to see that you're in a sunk cost situation, but when it's pointed out, to choose to stay in it... it beggars belief.

Or maybe this song expresses my point of view better.

You gotta know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run

The fact that muppets are involved just makes it all that much neater.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

If this blog were a horse

You would have heard some cries of, "Whoa, Nellie!"

You see, I started off on the wrong path. I'm not one for many adventures, more one for introspection and mulling over my thoughts, questions and rankling criticisms about what in the world is wrong with what is in the world today. In short, I would be an amazing producer of mulled whine.

And while I appreciate the people who bring sunshine into my life, and have tried to be the bringer of sun to others, it's clear to me at least, that it's not entirely natural for me to play that role. If I was to be the bringer of sun, that would also mean heat, an extreme heat that would burn you right up and leave you extra crispy, your head gently sending smoke wisps into the sky as you looked at me in shock.

But things have been changing here, so much so that I am tired of censoring my thoughts for fear of losing my friends through sudden combustion. I'll just have to trust that you will trust me (and remember to wear your fire-proof suit).

This morning, God told me to "Honour me with your thoughts." I interpreted that not as a rebuke, but as a call to service.

We've been going through lots of roadblocks and obstacles here, the latest of which is a game in which my health has been made the wager. If you think I have not been bitter or angry about this latest development, then you know some far sweeter version of me that doesn't exist.

But the me that does exist has finally stopped her horse and said, "Enough." I'm turning to ride on another path, one which isn't merrily populated only with photos of food, street photography and purchases. There will be dark, there will be light... it's life after all. If you wish to ride with me, you are very welcome.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

When life gives you lemons...

.. make lemonade.

Similarly when life gives you interminable stays in hotels, make hotel food!

Hotels don't offer many cookery options. You can order room service, eat the instant noodles or drink the minibar dry, but after a while, the genes that are responsible for the drive to COOK will be pinging loudly.

In such instances, it's time to turn to the wonders of the internets, and learn how to cook in a hotel!

All you need is an iron, foil, a kettle and food that doesn't need hours (or even minutes) of heating to become edible. We made macaroni with luncheon ham (okay, Spam) and quail eggs.

Step 1: Wrap Spam in foil.

 Step 2: Apply iron while humming a housewifely tune. 

 Step 3: Unwrap toasty hot (and wrinkle-free) meat-substitute!

 Step 4: Crack quail eggs into rinsed out Spam can, then scramble away.

Proof of cooking.

 Step 5. Pour boiling water on macaroni, let sit until macaroni is mostly cooked. 
Remove water and refresh with new boiling water before adding soup stock.

Step 6: Tilt head sideways and eat!

It was surprisingly enjoyable, though I suspect we will be investing in some sort of electric griddle in the near future.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Only a week and a half late

So I could start this blog with a poignant post about the meaning of life, the joys of leaping into the (partly) unknown, musings about the things I will miss about Australia, the concept of living life to the fullest and explorations into what that means, how happiness is a state of mind, not the state you're in, yadayadayada.

But instead, I'll begin by showing off my first ridiculous purchase in Hong Kong.

This photo was in landscape, but blogger wants it profile and dog-tored the shot.

Some would say it's a dog of a bag, even pugly. That's a bit of a ruff assessment... and I would think they're barking mad because I'm awfully glad I bone it.

You're welcome. :) 

I think what really brings this bag into the realm of MEGA-AWESOME (or should that be mega-pawsome?) is that on the reverse, the same puppy print has little diamantes glued onto it so that each pug is wearing a necklace. The princesses of the pug world are parading their paws on my handbag and I wouldn't have it any other way.

The penguin (ridiculous purchase #2) approves. 
(Diamanted dogs not shown.)