Sunday, August 10, 2008

Introducing our Kate...

After 40 weeks and 3 days - I thought I had to wait much longer! - our daughter Kate Elizabeth decided it was time. She was born on Saturday, 2nd August 2008 at 10.41am. It was a beautiful, blue sky morning here in Beijing and the last we've had since which is a pity. At birth she weighed 3.1kg, birth length was 49cm and head circumference was 32cm. My first thought when I first looked at her a minute after she was born was she didn't look anything like me!

Unlike Tom, Kate is born with some hair which is the same colour as Tom's and is a little curly. We were home the next day as I could not get comfortable and was really bored. Kate has settled into home environment really well and Tom has been brilliant with her. A week since she was born and I think she is settling into some kind of routine.

Monday, May 19, 2008

feeling their pain...

At precisely 2.30pm there were loud sounds of sirens mingled with car horns from outside. I went to look out of our balcony window and saw all the cars, bicycles, carts and even pedestrians were standstill. Didn't know it was 2.30pm but looked at my watch and realised that that was the exact time the earthquake struct in Sichuan Province. It was a moving scene. I don't think I can even comprehend how the victims feel especially parents. They're only allowed one child and put so much into that one child.

It was my first earthquake experience. At first I thought it was my pregnancy hormone - why else would I suddenly feel as though the world was moving apart from me? Then I realised the lights above the dining table were swaying just like our apartment building and then realised that this isn't pregnancy hormone but is either builders were messing about in the basement or an earthquake. I did think that if the swaying went on for another minute I was going to get Tom (who was having his nap) out pronto but as it was the swaying stopped so I called our landlady Jenny and asked her if she could call the management office to see if they were doing any work in the basement. [They put notices up but can't read Chinese so it would go unnoticed if they were]. Anyway, Jenny called back to say that it was infact the aftershocks of an earthquake perhaps from the one that hit Taiwan the day before. I switched on CNN and there it was the breaking news saying that China was just hit by a massive earthquake.

We were lucky that we are 950miles away from the epicentre - James and even our landlady who worked on the 3rd floor of her building didn't feel any movement. Only us who were on higher floors felt it. I could only imagine then the kind of damage there must be nearer to the epicentre and we now know what the people in Sichuan had to and are dealing with.

Friday, May 09, 2008

of strawberries and cream & Tous Les Jours...

Yippeee I am now in the third and final trimester - fingers crossed only 10 more weeks to go (ever willing my baby to want to be born in my 38th week). My weekly pregnancy newsletter from tells me that I should gain about 5kg from this week onwards - yikes! Last I checked I've only gained 8kg so fingers crossed at Monday's check-up the nurse will tell me I've gained only another kg more.

This is, of course, me having wishful thinking. I am devouring huge amounts of strawberries topped with yummy fresh cream from Jenny Lou's (essential expat grocery store) and can't seem to stop eating Tour Le Jours' (bakery) melt in the mouth sponge cake and cream filled bun. Bought more cream filled bun lastnight as had to pop over to get bread - resisted the sponge cake though was very, very tempted - and J's eyes almost came out of its sockets when I was into my third portion of the bun (which is about a foot long and cut into 5 portions). May I add that this was after a scrummy Korean meal complete with BBQ'ed beef sirloin, grilled mackerel, cuttlefish rings, a huge amount of salad and a whole bowl of the best ever kimchi plus when we got home I had a banana too! Will this eating ever stop??

My baby girl is getting more active by the day - wonder if all the cream and sweet things are getting her all hyper and of course my belly is getting bigger - and my son tries as much as he can to get me to carry him especially when we have to walk to somewhere. After 5 minutes he will say "cannot do this (walk) anymore. mummy carry?"

And speaking of Tom, school this week has been more fun as his class were given a new music CD which coincidentally has his favourite theme songs - Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam that is. As I write this I am also experimenting to see if I can view my blog again as think I have been censored due to last blog post. This is not the first time mind. J says he's not surprised :-P

Anyway, here are more latest pics :

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Weird weather...

This is our first experience of such weather in Beijing so thought I'd record it in my blog...

Yesterday we woke up to a bright albeit very polluted day in Beijing - so polluted that we can't see pass 200 metres or thereabouts. Nothing new to us Beijing laowais. Anyway, at 9.30am-ish it began to get dark so I thought great finally the rain comes. Then it got darker and darker and lo and behold it was night time again. Called J and asked him what was going on but he told me hurriedly (he was teaching someone - whoops!) that there was nothing to worry about and will speak to me later. Then 10 mins later the sky just poured it down. By 11.30am the sky was back to normal daytime rainy day i.e. gray and very cloudy.

This weather phenomenon is the work of great Chinese weather wizards who seem to have magical tools/powers that can induce rain, wind, storm and even snow. It's no wonder that Beijing-ren can predict weather spot on - they obviously have inside information! Amazing? Call it govt control. Can't complain though as today is a lot less polluted and we can see and feel Mr. Sun's rays upon us again - hurray!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

School days at Ivy Bilingual

The weekly journal entry for Tom's first week at school was lots of pics showing my son having lots of fun. If you asked him what he'll be doing on the way to school in the morning he'll say "play"! Hopefully learning something at the same time. Anyway, think pics speak louder than words so enjoy :-)

Baby announcements...

Also, some congratulations are due to be mentioned. Firstly to Tom's godfather Simon and Erin on the arrival of Kota Kimmel Hoskins on 10th March and to Mike and Celine who welcomed their new baby boy Cameron Matthew on 4th April. Waiting for Nick and Anna's baby's arrival next month and ours in July.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Thinking of having Tom go to school on the school bus. The driver of the taxi we were in this morning moaned for the 20 mins we were stuck in traffic. Why can't the drivers just be calm and get on with it I don't know. It's not as if this isn't a daily problem.

Anyway, I promise not to moan about taxis next time I write! Tom was good about going to school and when he got to his classroom, he was greeted with a chorus of 'Hi Thomas' from his classmates and his Chinese teacher, Julia, was there yet again with her cheerful welcome. And this time we managed to say goodbye and he was good about that too.

Then off I went for my 24th Week doctor's appointment. I had the one off blood tests and I have to say the nurse who took my blood was excellent - I didn't feel any pain and she made no mistakes. Ultra sound scan showed baby is 610g, active (I suppose I won't like it either if I was trying to sleep and someone kept poking at me) and healthy. My weight is 60kg which is good news - at this same stage when I was pregnant with Tom I was already 64kg with 4 months to go - and the doctor thought it was a good steady weight gain (I only gained 1 kg since my last appointment). Spent all morning at Amcare and my assigned nurse (I am assigned a nurse as she is one of two who can speak English) Sherry was very helpful. After the ultrasound scan I had an ECG then they took my blood for the second time (this time for glucose which I had to drink up an hour before hand), had a glass of warm milk curtesy of Amcare then went to fetch Tom.

He looked tired when I got there and I think seeing that the rest of the class were already in their little beds ready for naptime he was sleepy too. Today, he ate half his lunch and was good apart from throwing sand, some of which landed on his classmate Alex's face. Friday they are going for a half day field trip to Chaoyang Park and I've decided to go so I can meet other mums and hopefully make some friends.

Just got a call from nurse Sherry and apparently my glucose readings is a little high so I have to go back on Sunday and do another round of blood test - this time they'll take my blood 4 times every hour. Why I didn't have to go through all these tests with Dr. Lim I'll never know!...Just called Dr. Lim and he doesn't think my glucose results are high. I'm just going to do the tests on Sunday to make sure although I think I am normal.

Anyway, back to Tom and school. I've now got username and pasword to get into IBS childcentre so I will be able to see the teachers' comments and see some pics of Tom and his classmates. Hoping Friday will be as nice and warm a day as today.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Tom's first day at school

Sending Tom off to school on his first day was a lot easier than expected. Managed to get him changed without much argie-bargie but couldn't get him to have even a spoonful of his breakfast. Did I mention that he woke up before 7am?! I heard someone 'playing drums' (which in Tom's language is him giving his tummy some very loud smacks) in the living room and told James that T was up and it was only 6.50am! Don't know exactly what time he woke up.

The only hardship getting to Ivy Bilingual School was the taxi ride. The driver, being as some taxi drivers here are, was irritating to say the least as he didn't know the way! Had to call the school twice to give him directions. Perhaps there are too many new roads in Beijing that they can't keep up. Anyway, James came for the ride and moaned most of the way about the driver's incompetence.

Upon arrival at the school, which btw is only 15 mins away when there is no traffic jam but took us about half an hour in the morning traffic, it all went rather smoothly. Tom was greeted by a boy from his class with a big hug and James tells me that he got another hug from another classmate whilst I was talking to his English teacher, Erin. I didn't get to ask the Chinese teacher her name but managed to tell her that Tom ting bu dong he bu hui shuo zhongwen. But she was delighteld to see him none the less and I'm hoping that she can get him to speak some Chinese before July when the school ends for year 2007/08.

Apart from changing him into his new indoor shoes and seeing him being taken into his classrooms by his new classmates I didn't catch another glimpse of my son until after school! James on the other hand was observing Tom's every move and was happy to see that our son was well into his friends and environment within 2 minutes of being there. I was rather sad that Tom didn't even say bye-bye to me but we thought a quick getaway would help in that he wouldn't have time to think about where his mum and dad were.

Anyway, when I picked him up they had just finished cleaning up after lunch and I had to call out to him 3 times before he recognised my voice - perhaps he thought that I wasn't coming to get him just yet! Asked if he enjoyed his first day he said he did. Told me he played a lot and had rice for lunch though I couldn't make out with what, that he'd used the toilet and not potty (they have proper kids sized toilets and sinks). Erin told me that he helped clean-up after lunch and cleaned himself up too. He also told her that dad and mum were at home and were coming to get him later. She also said that he wasn't so good about sitting down for more than 5 mins during circle time (their lesson time) or during lunch but she said that this was normal for 2 year olds and couldn't expect more from him (this is of course the same at home so we are hoping the teachers can teach him to keep still for a little longer!). Other than that he seemed to have enjoyed himself very much and was rather sorry to leave! Wanted to play in the outdoor play area but I told him it was time to go and as I expected he was well into his afternoon nap 5 mins into the taxi ride. I notice that his top has been changed and can't find the other in his bag...hope they still have it - perhaps I'll get it back nice and clean on Wednesday...

He's now awake from his 2 hours nap, full of energy and here I am finding it difficult to stay awake - pregnancy symptom! Couldn't take a nap as the ayi now comes to clean the house at 1.30pm instead of 8.30am and my morning was spent just lepak-ing doing nothing and before I knew it I had to leave to pick Tom up. I have to say that though I missed my son, I enjoyed the peace!

I am looking forward to the school's weekly report on Tom's progress and I am told that they include pics of the kids so I can see how my son is behaving at school. Lets hope Wednesday will be as smooth running as today and am so glad that Tom likes his school.