Browsing Category

Hayley

Hayley

Almost all done

Ask me 9 years ago when I just had Truett and I’d tell you that breastfeeding and I just aren’t meant to be. I had zero technique, insufficient milk, boobs that refused to cooperate, and a baby who hated those boobs. I remember sitting on the bed struggling to feed this angry, screamy baby who would only calm down with a bottle of formula. I had decided then that I was not the breastfeeding sort because you don’t get to have everything you want and that’s ok.

9 years, 5 babies and too many hours of tears later, I’m here nursing baby Hayley, feeling grateful for an experience that I didn’t think I’d get to have.

And you know your relationship is on a whole new level when you go from “what is the least number of months I need to breastfeed this baby without having to deal with that overwhelming mom guilt?” to “how long can I nurse this baby before it starts to get a bit weird? Until she’s 5? 8? 10?

***

When Hayley was born, my breastfeeding goal was nine months – right around the same time I weaned Kirsten, Finn and Theo. All the other babies had transitioned really well at nine months and I was happy to give myself a pat on the back for a job well done. Besides, it was always a relief to have my boobs be all mine again, no more of this mi casa su casa all day open bar boob access arrangement kthxbye.

But when Hayley got to nine months, I knew that I was far from ready to wean this last baby.

Let’s get to 12 months before we decide,” I thought. After all, 12 months is the magic number recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics. What kind of mom would I be if I didn’t constantly strive to outdo myself? And more importantly, who am I to stand in the way of pediatrics and science? It was my job, no, my duty to provide this baby with all the nutrition she needed.

As baby Hayley’s first birthday drew near, I found myself dreading the 12-month mark because it also meant the end of something really special. Something that I’ve come to cherish so much more than I thought I would. I couldn’t do it. The thought of weaning this baby made me want to cry.

She’s not ready,” I told myself, knowing that I was the one who couldn’t let go. “A little longer. Maybe just another few more months.

13 months came and went. 14 months. Then 15. We’re closing in on 16 months and I think it’s finally time. I know she’s ready because she’s eating solids like a champ (she’s basically Theo-level kind of food enjoyment). And every time she spots Finn or Theo holding a bottle of milk while she’s nursing, she immediately unlatches and charges towards them, yelling “MILK, MIIIILLLLLK!!” She’ll gladly take a bottle till she’s full and once she’s done, she’ll pull at my shirt and demand for more milk but we all know that what she really wants is a human pacifier.

I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to wean this baby but at this point, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. I feel like all these extra months of nursing has been a gift for this momma who had such a hard time letting go. I’d be happy to nurse this baby forever but this is already more than I had hoped for and for me now, it’s enough.

The process of weaning is easy enough – gradually reduce the number of feeds until you get to 0. We just went down to 2 feeds a day, soon it’ll be 1 and then sometime over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be all done.

This baby will crawl into my arms and settle in to her spot on my chest the way she’s done maybe two thousand times before. I’ll kiss the top of her head and inhale her delightful baby smell and play with her hair and feed her one last time before crying my eyes out.

I’ll miss this. I’ll miss this an awful lot.

***

Had a chat with this baby about what’s about to happen and I think this means she’s not on board with the plan.

Hayley

The best cure for sadness

One of baby Hayley’s favourite things to do is to watch videos of herself. Videos like this one.

 

Last week, she made me play this for her on loop and she was having a good time, smiling to herself while watching and then without warning, her eyes suddenly started filling up with tears. It’s a happy video and I didn’t know where all this sadness was coming from so I was like “What happened, baby?? What’s wrong?” but she just looked sadder and sadder.

You don’t like this video? Should mommy turn it off?

She shook her head.

Is everything ok? Do you miss kor kor Theo?

She nodded.

It’s ok, he’ll be back soon. He misses you too. And you get to have mommy all to yourself now, isn’t that nice?”

No,” she said very clearly. Okay, I’ll pretend like that didn’t hurt my feelings at all. She just learnt to say “no” and it’s adorable so sometimes, I’ll ask her questions like “do you want to nap?” or “would you like some celery?” just to hear her say “no.” This wasn’t one of those times.

“How about I go pick him a little earlier today? Would you like mommy to go pick kor kor now?

She nodded vigorously, trying hard to blink back the tears. The thought of seeing her littlest big brother seemed to cheer her up considerably.

Poor baby, I didn’t realise how much she’s been missing having Theo around to play with in the mornings. The house is strangely quiet without all the big kids around and it must be a big change for her, having to spend her mornings with no other kids to play with.

I got all the kids to smother her with group hugs once they got back from school and she was so pleased that it’s a thing now – after school group hugs and before bed group hugs and because it’s fun group hugs and it’s been a while since we had a group hug group hugs. :)

Hayley

Girl babies are ❤️

I’ve forgotten how nice it is to have a girl baby. It’s been 8 years since I’ve had one of these sweet little things and having two boys back to back has ruined me. I’ve been conditioned to be in battle ready mode at all times, which is necessary when one has to react swiftly to avert calamitous situations daily but this intensity makes it hard to dial it back and just enjoy the process. Having a girl this time around is like being home after spending a considerable amount of time living in a war zone, and my brain is struggling to readjust to the ease of things.

My brain: It’s ok, you can relax a little now, everything is going to be ok. 

Also my brain: You can’t relax. What if she runs into the store and destroys the beautifully stacked pyramid of apples? What if she flying kicks a random person in the shin while simulating a zombie battle? What if she wriggles out of my grasp and suddenly sprints onto the road right onto the path of an incoming vehicle??

My brain: She won’t. She’s a girl baby. That part of her brain that makes her do insane compulsive things doesn’t exist. 

My other brain: Okay fine I can do this. Just act normal. Stop fidgeting involuntarily. Do you even know how to relax??

I suppose I don’t. It’s been too long since I’ve been able to relax while being in the presence of a small human that I’m responsible for.

All this is to say that Hayley as a toddler is such a dream to have. After almost 15 months of being all high maintenance diva as an infant, she has made the jump to the adorable toddler phase. This is unquestionably my favorite baby age – from just over one to about three years old.

For starters, they stop being so needy. I don’t have to hold her like a sack of rice and walk around all day. Sometimes I would try putting her on the baby mat and phone it in by being the sack of rice for a bit but she did not stand for it. Im glad to say that she can now entertain herself by trying to fix things that are not broken while I lie down beside her and say encouraging things like “Good job! Very nice fixing, sweetheart!!” every few minutes.

When she’s not busy fixing things with screwdrivers and other tools, she’s spending her time putting batteries into her shirt.

And you know what they say about communication being the key to a healthy relationship? It’s true. Having only 6 words in her vocabulary has not stopped her from becoming an effective communicator. In fact, she’s very good at nodding, pointing at stuff and making random sounds, which is the 3 things every person needs to communicate, really. It’s basically what I do with the husband when I’m all out of words at the end of a long day.

Like when she poops in her diaper, she points at it and says mmffff. If she sees a millipede in the house (she hates them), she points at the offending bug and shouts ERHHHHH. When she wants food that her siblings are eating, all she needs to do is point and it magically makes its way into her mouth.

Okay guess what’s baby Hayley’s favorite thing to do? Cuddle. Which also happens to be MY favorite thing to do. That right there is one of the biggest perks of having your very own baby, to have cuddle time whenever you feel like it (and I always feel like it!).

*Unless you have one of those boy babies who prefer sending you a karate chop to the face instead of cuddling, then your mileage may vary on this.

I mean, I love my boys but this last baby has been a breath of sweet, girly, baby air. Now to enjoy whatever’s left of her babyness for as long as I can.

Hayley

The end of co-sleeping

As part of the move to the new place, the plan was for baby Hayley to transit out of of co-sleeping with us. She’s been sleeping on our bed since she was 3 months old, right around the time where she decided that she was having none of that baby cot nonsense. And I let her. Because a sleep-deprived parent always takes the path of least resistance, however misguided that path might be.

Since then, I’ve grown fond of having her sleep on our bed.

For months, this baby slept like a tyrant who would immediately wake up if I breathed too loudly, but she has since realised that it takes too much effort to get all screamy. Now, she just scrunches her face into a pout to communicate her displeasure. Sometimes, she starts to pout but then decides that even pouting takes too much effort, so she gives up halfway and flops back onto the bed. It’s adorable.

I like being able to inhale those chubby cheeks as I drift off to sleep. Even though she’s all warm and snug in her jammies + blanket, her squishy cheeks get super cold because of the aircon and by the time I get into bed, it’s at the perfect temperature for munching. Falling asleep as you munch on deliciously cold baby cheeks is as close as it gets to a taste of heaven.

Technically, baby Hayley can go a whole night without milk and she’ll be fine, but she still nurses 2-3 times a night. I’ve been planning to wean her since 3 months ago but we couldn’t quite get there and I’m starting to think that it’s because I’m enjoying this sleep nursing sessions as much as she does.

//

Last week, we transitioned her out of our room and I was totally hovering, all ready to swoop in and take her back if she showed any signs of distress.

She didn’t. She adjusted like a champ so for the first time in a long time, I went to bed without having to tiptoe in or regulate my breathing. I could turn on the lights to read in bed if I wanted to. I could watch the latest episode of GoT without having to whoop into my pillow. My brain was telling me that I should celebrate. This is a good thing, my baby is growing up and I’m getting my freedom back.

That night, I didn’t do any of those things. I went to bed feeling sad, much sadder than I was prepared for. I was full on going to cry big ugly tears level kind of sad.

Just writing this makes me sound insane. My baby was literally in the next room, just a few steps away. I could go in to kiss her anytime I wanted – she’s still here and she’s ok, but I felt this deep and profound sense of loss.

I think I’m slowly having to come to terms with the knowledge that this is the end of baby road for me. I mean, the ligation was a big moment, but it doesn’t hit you then because there’s this beautiful baby and you’re just basking in the newborn baby glow. But now that Hayley is getting bigger, it’s starting to sink in that this is my last baby. After this, I’m done. No more sleepy cheek munches. No more night nursings. No more middle of the night scrunchy baby pouts.

It’s such a cliche and I’ve spent 14 months trying to prepare my brain to deal with this but still, I cannot. I took the baby back to my bed on the second night and we’re easing into this with alternate-night transitions because mommy can’t adjust.

I’m going to be such a mess when this last baby turns 3, or 4, or 5, or 18. :(

Hayley, Kirsten

Girls team!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

It’s no secret that I think girls are awesome. <<Okay, hang on, here’s a disclaimer for my boys who are reading this/will eventually read this: Mommy adores you and hand on my heart, I love you guys all the same, I promise.>>

But having a decent sample size of 3 boys and 2 girls, I’ve can definitively say that boys and girls are entirely different.

How different?

With girls, you’re basically getting an iPhone – gorgeous, sleek, well thought out, user friendly, pre-loaded with all the necessary apps – just have fun unboxing and you’re good to go.

With boys, you’re getting an unreleased beta version of the galaxy s7 – excellent potential, possibly a better processor, faster speed, more space, but unstable and very likely to set your house on fire. Boys are like incomplete downloads that glitch every now and then, and you have to constantly download patches to keep them stable.

Impulse control issues? Boys. Sensory issues? Boys. Difficulty expressing feels issues? Boys. Roughhousing until someone gets hurt issues? Boys. All manner of odd behavior issues? Boys. All of the epic meltdowns in my 9 years as a parent? Boys.

When I’m out with my boys, I have to be on high alert mode every microsecond because the chances of them destroying stuff at a store or getting lost or eating leftover food from tables is very high. Once, we were at a playground and there was a piece of half chewed/trodden on pandan cake on the floor. Baby Theo went straight for it and put it into his mouth. AND ATE IT. So these days, I also have to flying tackle food scraps out of his hands when we’re out.

Which is why I really enjoy these girl team outings with Kirsten and Hayley. We were out for a quick lunch last week and I was about to go buy our food with the baby in one arm like I usually do but Kirsten was like “don’t worry mom, I can watch the baby while you get the food.

So I did. It was so relaxing to be able to carry food with both hands and not worry about destruction of public property while I was gone.

Best of all, I got back to the table to see this.

Hayley

A snapshot of 10 months

This is baby Hayley at 10 months. :)

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

I’m trying to be more diligent about these snapshot posts because the moments just hang around for a bit and leave so quickly. In my day to day, all these minutes are floating by like little clouds of smoke and I try to catch each one and hold them in my hands a bit longer but I can’t catch them all and most of them get blown away like leaves in the wind and years later, all that’s left will be faded memories of these babies I used to have. When these kids are all grown up, I’m gonna need more than a few faded memories, is what I’m saying.

10 month old baby Hayley is like fluffy cotton candy sprinkled with popping candy bits. She’s mostly sweet and gentle and all delightful babyness. And she’s got the loveliest baby dimples, which are like the finishing touches on that adorable face. I used to be just ok with dimples but now, I can definitely see the appeal.

Most of the time, her idea of conflict resolution is to be sweet and docile, which is strangely effective in a disarming sort of way. All the other kids are like “ok ok whatever you like baby Hayley, kor kor and jie jie will give you.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Unless there are beverages involved, then all bets are off. When she’s in the presence of any sort of drinks, she turns into an angry flailing monster who will destroy everything standing in her way. It doesn’t matter what the drinks are either – milo, milk tea, juice, yakult, soursop with sour plum, soya bean milk – she wants in on all of it.

She will have it in a mug

She will have it on a rug

She will have it on a chair

She will have it anywhere.

Nothing makes her quite as happy as when she’s sipping on a delicious beverage treat.

She still sleeps like an infant at night, in that she naps for 2-3 hours a stretch, then wakes up and demands to be babied back to sleep. During the day, she doesn’t sleep at all. She’ll take a 30 minute snooze at noon, then stays awake for the rest of the day till bedtime at 8pm. What kind of baby does this? The kind that delights in the misery of her momma, I suppose.

She’s also got the most bizarre sleep quirks. Instead of holding a blanket or soft toy like normal babies, she needs to hold her toes in a full stretch like one of those baby Chinese acrobats while feeding, which is a most ridiculous move because once she drifts off, she will involuntarily let go of her foot, causing her to twitch violently and wake up. I keep telling her that this is not sustainable and very poorly thought through but does she listen? No.

Developmentally, she’s more of a freestyler. At this age, all the other kids were proficient crawlers and they could pull themselves up to a standing position. But not baby Hayley because she does not care for such milestones. She can sit up and crawl very slowly with tremendous effort (and grunting), but as for standing, she refuses to even try. Zero effort. She just enjoys lying down and rolling around, and I totally get it. If I could, I’d spend all my time lying around too. All this standing and walking is so much effort and not even that enjoyable.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

The best part about 10 months is that this is gradually getting easier. In a year or so, I’ll be done with this demanding newborn stage forever and I’m not sure if I’m ready for that. While I’m looking forward to sleeping a full night the way humans are intended to, I’m really, really going to miss this chubby baby face.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Hayley

6 months, I’m glad to see you

Look who turned 6 months!! Yeah, this little schmoopsie-poo.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

I’m generally a fan of 6 months – you still get the overall babyness but 6 months also comes with juicy baby cheeks and juicy baby thighs, both of which are my kryptonite.

6 months is great for fun developmental milestones. Baby Hayley has learnt to flip, which she does often and with much delight. She’s able to sit up unaided for 3-5 seconds; just enough time to look pleased with herself before falling over on her side. The big kids think its hilarious so they prop her up and cheer for her as she sways precariously before falling over, which sends them into giggling fits. She can also bat things and hold things and put them in her mouth. And thanks to Theo, she can say “mmm…mmmm…mamamama” when she’s upset.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Typically, 6 months is when babies adjust to sleeping on their own but not this baby. She knows I’ve been all like “This is my last baby and I’ll really miss having a baby to hold” so she’s been making sure that I get to hold her ALL THE TIME. Awake or asleep, all day, everyday. So thoughtful and considerate, this baby.

Speaking of sleeping, in the past 6 months, these are some of the methods I’ve tried to get her to sleep on her own.

1. Blitz attack (Success rate: 0%)

This used to work splendidly on Theo – once he was fully asleep, I would lower him down into the cot in one swift and decisive move without hesitation, then walk away. He’d continue sleeping like it never happened. With Hayley, it has worked exactly zero percent of the time. Every single time I do this, she wakes up and looks at me like “Nice try, mom. Amateur move.

2. Pat and shush (Success rate: 0%)

Let’s just say that this baby is not a pat and shush kind of girl, that would be far too easy. I personally find this to be very calming and relaxing (as do all my other kids) but baby Hayley will not stand for it.

3. Slow-mo side roll (Success rate: 25%)

Okay, we’re getting warmer. This is a very complicated move that requires absolute precision. Once the baby has reached a state of deep slumber on my chest, I will very gradually roll her onto the bed while using a bolster to kiap her head and back.

Fairly effective but it’s extremely difficult to hold the position without twitching because any sudden twitch or quick movements = wake up and reset.

4. Ninja nursing (Success rate: 50%)

Unlike Theo who will take the boob every single time even when he’s full, baby Hayley gets upset if I try to nurse her back to sleep when she’s not hungry so this has to be done selectively. If she is in a nursing mood, she will doze off next to me on the bed and once she’s asleep, I just need to extract my boob like a ninja and done!

Except that about half the time, she will wake up during the boob extraction process and we’ll have to start over. So it’s about 50-50 here.

5. Play dead (Success rate: 20%)

This is a bonus move where I lie next to her and pretend to be asleep when she twitches and wakes herself up (which happens A LOT, basically every 10-15 minutes after she’s successfully asleep on the bed).

Her eyes will suddenly pop open like one of those creepy doll movies and if I try to pat and shush her, it just sends her into a fully awake frenzy. Instead, if I stay really still and close my eyes, there’s a chance that she will look around, get bored and then decide to go back to sleep.

//

Few nights ago, she was exceptionally fussy during bedtime and it took about 90 minutes to get her to settle on the bed. As she finally fell asleep, I could feel a sneeze coming on, which I tried very hard to suppress. I ran through the available options in my head.

I could hustle out of the room quickly to sneeze, but she has a strict no sudden movements rule and the chances of waking her up is very high. I could ninja my way out slowly but risk sneezing before getting out, which would also definitely wake her up. I could suppress the sneeze some more but I’m not very good at it and also, I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO LIVE LIKE THIS I WILL SNEEZE WHEN I WANT TO!!

So I did it. I sneezed. It was a muffled, very unsatisfying half sneeze but that was enough to make the baby open her eyes.

I try not to have many regrets in life but that moment for me was one of profound regret.

It was already almost midnight and I knew it would be another hour of walking and bouncing at least. So I froze and waited for her to cry but she just looked at me like she was trying to process the information and instead of her usual annoyed cry, she broke out into an enormous grin, like “It’s ok mom. You woke me up but I’m glad to see you.

We partied on the bed a little and it still took a full hour before she went back to sleep but I’ll take it.

6 months is pretty rad. :)

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset