Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chapter 6 : Our First Chill-Out in Brussels

Last two weeks on Saturday, after returning from airport, (assisting somebody from Ministry, who're on the way back to Malaysia) my husband took the opportunity to take both of us for a nice fresh air, hehehe and also buying some new winter outing gear for our little one. And with the help from the Belgian driver, we did find some nice baby winter outfit, which were far cheaper than in Malaysia. We managed to enter the Premaman shop, only, as our only intention were to buy a proper baby winter clothes. And then we went straight away home.

That night, my husband decided it was time to take us for an outing. He said so many nice thing about this 'Grand Place', and he did drew a very ingenious plan through after a very in-depth researches on the best possible way to get there via public transport. And I did carried away with his innocently enthusiasm about going to this bespoken place in Brussels, and I did imagined us, there, taking lots of pictures, and enjoying the view. And guess, it turned to be something else. One funny moment, we were almost getting ourselves nowhere! To think back about it, it must be quite a bit embarrassing for not doing a little bit more extra researches about the place that we were intended to visit. The Grand Place. We went via metro train, and before we set our foots to the Grand Place, we pull a stop at Rogier station, and there we were, just in front of the City 2, the newest shopping complex in Brussels. And then we continue our journey to the Gard du Nord station, (my husband said that is the nearest station to the Grand Place).

Upon reaching that particular station, we took some pictures just outside the building, trying to find a sight of the so-called nearest station to the Grand Place.

Well, of course there's nothing so grand nearby, but we maintained positive thinking. It may be hidden between the buildings, and maybe just a few blocks ahead of us, or maybe that Grand Place is not a very tall building. My husband then took the pride, practicing his ability to converse in French to one of the ticket manager. From my understanding, it suppose to be only about 'deux minute', or 2 minutes walk from Gard du Nord station. My husband said, it could be 5 minutes of 'my walk' to that place (I do find that the Belgians walk faster, to be compared with us in Malaysia).

After what I believe the most farthest distance and the quickest almost running walking effort I ever did non-stop in those very chilling and biting air and took us almost 20-minutes, finally....unexpectedly...there were we, passing the Rogier station, again? Say...the suppose to be shortest route to the Grand Place turn to be the other way round... And how I manage a big laugh to my husband, even though my foot really aches, plus I was a bit worried with the chilled air touching my baby's face.

My husband in his uplifting spirit maintaining his positive thinking, and he encouraged us to continue a little bit farther. 'It must be nearby, and we must be almost there', I believe that was what ringing in my husband head. We did stop at one of the bookstore, and my husband again asked the shopkeeper about this 'Grand Place'. And she said it's just another 5-minutes walking. And again, upon calculation on 'my walk', that should take at least 10-minutes walking.

Then, after almost 5-minutes walking, we decided it was time to pull over. Maybe next time, when the air is warm enough and not as biting as that air. And that afternoon, we took tram to Avenue de Tervuren, to my husband office. By the time we reached Embassy, my baby has crying for food. Poor Umair, he must be hungry, as we took almost 4-hours doing some trial-and-error journey to this Grand Place. And he must have somehow digested all the food remaining after I feed his in the morning before we went out. Quickly, I took my place on my husband couch, in his office and nurse my baby. And he was hungry! Well, babies do need fresh air sometimes, right? And what an adventures, yet to be experience.

And what a big laugh I have after, that very day...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tips for New Moms 2 : Baby, time to sleep!

The order is not important here:

1. White/background noise.
Some use a the sound of rain or a hairdryer sound on continuous repeat while your baby is daytime napping and at night. It's a supporting approach that helps baby sleep well while parents sleep well. There don't appear to be any bad side effects, and it makes sense to gradually lower the volume and move on from white noise after a few months.

2. Swaddling.
If you are a parent then you have probably already heard about this technique. A tight swaddle in a comfortable blanket keeps your baby from swinging their hands around and waking themselves up, it is a key to good sleep. You may want to spend the money on a Miracle Blanket but a tight swaddle from a normal blanket can work fine. Again its a good idea to transition out of this technique as the months go by because you don't want your child becoming dependent on the swaddle for sleeping.

3. Don't react to everything.
Small noises should be ignored at night. Often first time parents are ready to jump up and feed or comfort their child on the basis of any sound at night, this can be fine in their early weeks when the child isn't a good sleeper. Remember that a baby will really tell you when it needs something; peeps and snorts can be safely ignored because babies will rise out of heavy sleep into light and back into it many times a night. Better to wait for real noise--not minutes of screaming, but a real "wah wah". It's tough but you will find that you can suddenly start to have some real sleep, making more quality time available when your baby needs it. From all reports it doesn't damage the child whilst if you leap up every time he or she peeps, you're disturbing his or her sleep.

Some have suggested using a clock or watch and really waiting for that 10-15 mins to go by - one minute of crying can seem like half and hour to a heart struck parent and the use of a clock or watch can help deal with the pull of the child's sounds.

4. Make night-time feedings, changings, and comforting "dark, quiet, and boring".
There is no need to sign and rock late at night to get your child to sleep. You can see instant improvement from this technique and can apply it pretty much straight away. If you really need to rock your baby back to sleep at night, then perhaps do it rhythmically in a glider chair in the almost dark with perhaps a few nightlights. Avoid the daytime "play sounds" or singing too much as your child will think it is time to wake up fully.

5. Sleep/Baby Positioner.
Consider a foam positioner that elevates your baby especially if you have issues with some reflux which is common among infants. Positioners with side sections can also restrict rolling around and make for quieter nights.

6. "Vitamin A&D ointment" with nightime nappies.
Then don't change unless you really have to overnight. You may find that you do need to change your baby at some point during the night, but often you may find that 6 to 8 hours can go by before a change is required. The Vitamin A&D Ointment prevents diaper/nappy rash. As infants get older their nighttime diapers/nappies may shift from being a mix to almost entirely wet and not very. Check whether you can wait until morning but probably best to be cautious early on or the cot/crib can become a real mess.

7. Consider a Co-sleeper crib/cot.
Basically a co-sleeper is a bed sidecar. It means parents can keep their bed as the adult bed whilst keeping your child nearby for nursing and other nighttime needs. Your baby will get used to sleeping in his/her own space, without being too far off. Arm's Reach seems to make the only co-sleeper and it may be tough to get your hands on one if you are outside the US. Some may not like this idea as your baby's every move/grumble is likely to wake you. Another more high-tech option is to buy yourself a baby monitor (which monitors sounds from another room) and then you can listen in or tune out depending on your preference at that time.

8. Daytime naps every 90 to 120 minutes.
Babies should generally take a nap from every 1 1/2 to 2 hours during the day. The nap can last from 30 minutes to 2 to 3 hours, but should be in a normal room: maybe a crib/cot with all the general noise and light of the daytime. Remember this is a nap, not nighttime sleep. Start this only after about 6 weeks and remember to put your baby on their back not just allow a sleep in other positions, also try to use the same cot as you use in the evenings so that your baby is more used to this space for sleeping. Infants may fight the nap for 10 to 15 minutes but with a little rocking, singing, or bouncing on a ball your child can nap well thereafter. These naps can help a lot for the nightime stretch.


Tips for New Moms 1 : Tired Signs

Basically, your baby cannot communicate in words, and so she is designed to use body language (and crying) to convey her needs and wants to you. She will smile, babble and look content when she is well rested. But when she is tired she may display these behaviours:

Clenched fists
Jerking movements of the arms, legs or head
Rubbing eyes
Scratching eyes or face
Grimacing, Yawning
Crying or grizzling

If she is displaying any of these tired signs, this is your cue as the person she depends on to take action. Wrap her up, calm her and get her into a regular settling pattern. It may take some time to notice these signs, and to get them under control. Tired sings may appear any time after waking, feeding and playing. This varies from baby to baby. But you will eventually get to know her rhythm, and respond accordingly.

Missing tired signs usually results in an overtired, over stimulated baby who is difficult to settle. Once you get a handle on tired signs, it will change your life. Believe me! This knowledge was the only thing that made me feel confident enough to have three more children!


Friday, February 6, 2009

Chapter 5 : What A Night...and forgive mommy...

Oh what a night. My baby was very cranky last midnight. And I didn't have any idea why. I already fed him twice (in a row), changed his nappy, burped him, sang to him, held him. I was so distressed. The peak was when my husband almost tick-off (I mean in a positive way, as he never raises his voice to my baby, and when he started to, I was pretty scared) as he was very tired after a very hectic and busy day in the Embassy. Trying my best to act as an understanding wife and caring mother, I need to handle that matter very delicately. What I did last night was I took my baby to the living room and I slept with him clung onto me, on the sofa. We moved back to the bedroom at 6am. I do feel and still feel guilty to my baby simply because I did scold him at the living room last night. I was really tensed last night, as I was having a quite severe headache, plus with my husband discomfort during the night. Thankfully, after taking a Panadol this morning the pain somehow lessen. And thankfully, my husband was in a good mood this morning, and did kiss us both. And Umair woke in a very cheerful mood.

And now, Umair is napping on the bed, after I played with him this very morning and fed him, and changed his nappy. Looking at him, so peacefully sleeping, a very angelic features... lovable one... how could I come to scold him last night. What a shame...

This morning I promised myself, I'll dedicate my free time to play with Umair. He is really dependent to me these days. He want to cling on me every time he is awake. And another fact here, healthy babies do grow rapidly and steadily, and we never realized it as they grew in our very own eyes. And that really put me through a workout sessions, only by holding him on my shoulder while busying myself doing some of the daily chores.

But no matter how angry I am, how tired I am, now I came to realization, a mother's love is eternal. I couldn't help but trying to beg for forgiveness to my son, even though he's too young to understand my doing. I couldn't help but to love him and care for him, as he is a gift for me from God. He teaches me to control my feelings, to be more mature, to be kinder and gentler, even during his uncontrollable anger.

Honestly here, sometimes I do mad at my baby, but to tell you the truth, I never love someone as much as I love my baby...the mother's love...although I love my husband soooo much, that would fall to another category (sorry dear... but I am all yours, and the baby is ours...)

The weather outside is very nice, and I can see the sun is shining through the window. I do hope today will be a better day for us. There's always a first time, and it's never too late to learn, and there's always room for perfection... Well, nobody's perfect, am I right?

Mommy is so sorry... mommy got headache last night... Umair, will you forgive Mommy for scolding you last night? I'll try not to do that again, no matter how tired I am... Sorry dear...Mommy loves you so much!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chapter 4 : New Experience, Living in Brussels, Belgium

It's been a week (10 days to be exact) since we arrived in Brussels, Belgium. What an experience. I was having a slight fear on how will my baby react during the long hours flight. But then again he did make me proud on his behaviour during our first flight together to Kota Kinabalu. Not even a single tear shed, (except for nappy changing and hungers) and even the passengers played with him all along the way. He did adjust to the changes of altitudes by simply gulping himself some air, to ease the pressure off his ears. And he did not sleep all along the way. Even his daddy was impressed! And still, IS IMPRESSED!

That was my first 'balik kampung' after almost 2 years being in Semenanjung Malaysia. And yet, now I am here in Belgium, and most probably wont be in Sabah for at least the next 4 years ahead. My feelings? All mixed-up. And I prefer not to talk about it... as the subject could be very touchy. To be here for at least 3 years, requires a lot of sacrifices. As a career woman, it's hard to part with job. But, I manage to pull it through. I took unpaid-leave, leaving my career as a student's counselor back in SMK Cyberjaya, which had kept my brain working... (guess I need to find alternatives to workout my mind) I leave my fellow friends, which shared all the joy... not to mention my own relatives... My nation...

But then I keep a positive thinking. I have a new family on my own. With my husband and my baby boy, that should make a difference to my entire life. Trying my best to be an obedient wife and loving mother, I wish to help improvring our family lifestyle. I am trying my best to polish my soft skills as new mother, practice some singing lullaby, practise my speedy cooking skills, using a few basic French language with the cleaning-maid here in Ambiorix Aparthotel...and taking care of my beauty (what?)... again... I need to look good to give people good impression to my husband...

Back to Umair story again... he did proved to us how well-behaved he was during our 13 hours flight from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam. (a 4 hour transit before Brussels). It has been a very long night travel, and I did confused a bit, as we were departed at 12.00am, midnight at KLIA, and to arrive Amsterdam in dawn, when in Malaysia was already past midday. My husband did some talk with the stewards on board to Amsterdam, and they praised Umair! One of the stewardess from Kedah said there was one baby boy travel to China, he was crying all the way on board, which they secretly thought very annoying to other passangers, and the mother couldn't do anything to help him.

At first we do have some problems in adjusting to the new timezone here. Being used to Malaysian time, and the difference, -7hrs in Brussels, really makes me almost doze-off every time I nursed my baby. Luckily enough, by this tenth day all of us are almost settle in. For the first week, Umair was a bit cranky, maybe because of the dryness of the air that we inhale here, or the dimness lighting in this apartment...he was quite tough to handle at the beginning. Thank God by today, I believe Umair has almost settle down, he always smile to me when I feed him, and that really melt my heart! He even chuckled! And that really cute!

Can't wait to hug my husband. He's been quite busy this week. Poor my husband. He got cold just a few days after arrival, by his exposure to the extreme cold (well, -2c is considered extreme, isn't it?), just to buy us some groceries to stock up the kitchen. Anyway, he's getting well, but recently he always exhausted when reaching home. The top-person of the Ministry is right now visiting Brussels, and there's lot to be done in the Embassy. Last night he reached apartment just after midnight. And tonight, he'll be home quite late. Tomorrow, he'll go to Netherlands...for a day-round trip, with some of the Embassy officers. And again, I'll be alone with my baby.

Another new experience today, I bathed with Umair in the 'jacuzzi' (the apartment claims)... and that was a very happy moment for both of us. Umair loved paddling his little feet while I balanced his body in the water. And by that, I managed to get Umair's father jealous... hehehehe... (sorry darling... you are busy, so Umair has all the chances with his mommy...)

This afternoon, I "SKYPE"ed with Umair grandparents, and they really delighted to saw him. I did get them to some tour around this aparthotel, and everything went smooth.

Well, it's getting dark here. And I think Umair need changing. I love my husband, I love my baby....wish us all the best here...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chapter 3 : A New Life Experience

Alhamdulillah... my dearest Umair Iskandar has introduced himself to the world on 26th November 2008. And guess who is the happiest person on earth (except me, of course the most most most happiest person)... his daddy of course! Well, he said Umair was playing with bubbles, eyes wide open, and silently stared everybody upon his arrival to meet him... hehehe... I gave birth to Umair by ceaserean, due to some problem, and i really think that kind of birth method is very helpful, though I really wished I could experience the normal labour.

This is my newest joy, after 2 miscarriages that took away some of my breaths, and really cried my heart away. And my dearest sweetheart.. you always melt my heart.

Hopefully with this new company in my small family, the love and connection that ties between me and my beloved husband will tighten as time goes by. And dear Umair, mommy loves you so much! My little angel!

Monday, February 2, 2009

From Umair's Cot

Assalammualaikum Chacun!

Hi... bonjour! Je m'appelle Umair Iskandar. J'ai 2 mois. Je suis de Malaisie. J'aime ma mère et père. Je suis à Bruxelles d'accord. Mon père travaille ici pour cela quatre ans. Je manque ma grand-mère et grand-père et mes parents en Malaisie.

Mon père est Shahril Nizam et ma mère est Dewi Manja. Mon père m'a dit d'être fort, intelligent, brave et gentil. Ma mère m'a dit d'être une personne agréable, sympathique et douce.

Je veux être le meilleur. J'apprends maintenant. Attendez jusqu'à ce que je devienne plus vieux, je m'avér à mon père et mère.

Bien a fini aller. J'aime mes parents! Aimez-vous la maman et le papa!

Au revoir! Bonne journée!