Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lucas Goes Botak

Lucas was born with heaps of hair (compared to Xavier which had close to none). Over the four months his hair grew to a very untidy state. I often joked that he looked abit like Chairman Mao.

And so, we decided to shave him botak (bald) so that his hair would be even when it grew again. We went to Junior League and he was very well behaved surprisingly, no crying no fussing.

And he became an instant auntie magnet with his cute level maxed out.

Even Xavier couldn't help but love Lucas even more.

I usually recommend parents to bring their kids to Junior League to have their hair cut at least for the first time. Yes its expensive but the staff there are very friendly and experience and the TV playing Barney or Thomas The Train often distracts the kids from the taunting hair-cutting experience. Then when they become comfortable with hair cuts, you are switch them to the cheaper barbers.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Lucas the Superbaby

I saw this swimming costume for babies at one of those pushcart stalls and couldn't resist buying it for Lucas.
It look so cute, even comes with a cape and a swimming cap. No red underwear outside though.

Lucas must be wondering what's all this fuss about with the suit. Xavier tried to guess what superhero Lucas is dressed as.

"Don't lean over, I'm falling off!"

So what does Lucas think of the superboy suit I got him?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Xavier and Lucas

So far Xavier have been a very good brother I must say. He don't exhibit jealousy in a violent manner and we feel he do love and care for Lucas.

This evening, we asked Xavier if he wanted to carry and hug Lucas and he became very excited. Time to take our my camera.

You can see how exited he is in the video.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Lucas Flips!

Lucas can now flip from his back to his tummy via his left very well. Way to go boy!

Looks like we gonna be very busy now as we can't leave him alone at a spot and assume he is still at the same spot the next minute. He has been trying to flip at every chance, even as you are giving him a bath on his back or when you are trying to change his diaper. Seems like the fun has just began.

Friday, December 02, 2011

The Chairman Legacy

If you are a parent of a young child and you haven't heard of Bumbo chair, you are missing a great invention. This is a chair made for babies. As long as the baby can support his own head, the chair can help the baby sit up. It comes in handy especially when you want to play with your child while he is in a sitting position or when you want him seated while she wean semi-solid food.

But it doesn't come cheap and in the case of Xavier and now Lucas, they do not get alot of mileage from it as they are big-boned by nature and tend to outgrow the chair fairly fast. The chair quickly becomes too tight for them at their thunder thighs area.

So what we do it we borrow from friends who own one. The other tip is to get second hand as these chairs are fairly durable and lasting and easy to maintain. So the condition of 2nd hand Bumbo are fairly ok. We manage to borrow one from Lilian's friend Christy for Lucas to sit.

He seems fairly comfortable in it but it wasn't long before he started to make noise as he prefer one of us to carry him. And to be frank, I'm getting aching lower back from prolong period of carrying Lucas. I posted a similar photo on Facebook and commented that we have a new chairman in the house. But Johnson replied that nobody can replace The Chairman. He nickname Xavier The Chairman as he has the big boss look.

Do you agree with Johnson?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lucas Is Sick, Big Time

One of the major concern about sending your child to infantcare or childcare centers is that they will fall sick. In fact, I once read an article about Japanese childcare center where one of the reasons Japanese parents send their kids to school is to fall sick (and build up their immunity).

Lucas started his infantcare on 14th November and we were fully prepared for Lucas to fall sick, or so we think. Lucas did fall sick soon after and is still sick. I'm not saying he got it from the center though there were a number of babies on medication at that time. I mean he could have caught it anywhere and from anyone.

Being mentally prepared still doesn't ease the heartache when you see the little boy coughing his lungs out like he was doing crunches on the bed. And how he couldn't sleep at night as his whole nose was blocked and breathing through his mouth irritates his throat further. Oh and that yo-yo fever that would not go away for 3 days. It's things like these that makes us wonder if we should not have sent him to infantcare at such young age (as if we had a choice).

I was actually thinking how to take a photo of how sick he was when, as if he knew what I was asking, he gave a squeeze and I got my shot.

His pediatrician Dr. Tan says its probably a viral infection, since his mucas is clear. What this also means is that he would not need antibiotic as that is only effective for bacteria infection. Hope he gets well really soon. The cranky baby just got crankier...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Xavier Sings and Lucas Coos

Many peers have commented that being parents nowadays are alot more difficult. Some days you get hair-pulling moments but once in a while, you get heart warming moments too, like this clip that happened on Sunday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Xavier The Attention Seeker

Xavier's teacher told Lilian that Xavier been out of sort recently. And he has several disturbing incidents with his classmates (where he was the aggressor) and he is not as cheery and bubbling as before.

Lilian and I notice it too and we think he is more attention seeking since Lucas came along. He is not having those ill-jealousy towards Lucas where he would try to hurt his little brother but he has been noticeably more attention seeking. 

Many a times he would do silly and meaningless things just for the sake of getting our attention. And with a difficult infant like Lucas on hand, we were alot less patience and forgiving to Xavier's silly behaviours. Thinking back, maybe we were a little to harsh on him. And that could have led to his recent behaviours in school.

So we are gonna be more mindful now on and be extra patience and forgiving to Xavier. Let's see if we can turn this around and bring back bubbly Xavier again. Hope Lilian and I can stay sane at the same time...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lucas Starts At The Infant Care Centre Today

3 1/2 months fly by and it's time for Lucas to go to the infant care centre. I didn't believe its so soon that when Teacher Mala commented on last Friday that she would be seeing Lucas coming Monday, I told her "Not so soon, think it's the following week". Blur sotong...

I remember Xavier's first day at the Infant Care was a lot more drama. Lilian and I both had separation anxiety and were wondering to ourselves if it was the right decision. Xavier on the other hand was all cool and relax, looking around curiously as they placed him on the rocker.

Lucas's first day was the other side of the coin. Lilian and I were all cool and relax as we had gone through it before, but Lucas was restless, very restless. He wouldn't finish his milk in one sitting, constantly needed attention and the teachers had a hard time putting him to sleep. Actually these were his usual behavior and probably not due to change to environment. I hope the teachers can train some routine into Lucas's life.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Filco Yellow - Adding Sunshine to My Desk

Just replaced my keyboard with a dose of sunshine to brighten up my desk.

Filco Yellow Limited Edition. It's still the same Cherry MX Brown switch mechanical keyboard but with sunshine yellow keycaps. The LEDs are yellow too and the Filco logo is gold in colour. I feel so bright and cheery using it now.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Dinosaur Live! NOT!

Lilian had gathering with her friends and she was gonna bring Lucas along. So I thought I'll have some bonding time with Xavier. And what would be more fun for boys than looking at and talking about BIG things. How BIG? DINO BIG!
Image from Science Centre Singapore
I been looking for an opportunity to check out the Dinosaur Live! exhibition at Science Centre Singapore and this seem to be a perfect opportunity since only Xavier and I would be going and it would probably take max about 1 1/2 hour before we pick up Lilian and Lucas.

I got Xavier all excited too. He had this DVD about Dinosaurs as a Christmas present last year and he enjoyed that cartoons introducing the different dinosaurs. And he was repeating to Lilian the whole trip that he is gonna see Dinosaurs and boasting that he is "not scared".

But the moment he step into the Annex at Science Centre Singapore, he froze and his jaw dropped for 5 seconds. Standing right in front of him was this huge skeleton of a T-Rex, with jaws open and as if looking down at him.

The next moment Xavier was clinging on to me like a koala bear, whining and crying that he wanna go home. No amount of coaxing and pacifying could make him change his mind. I didn't even get the chance to take a photo of the T-Rex skeleton as he was clinging to me really tightly. The only consolation was that I have not bought the tickets yet. In the end, we adjourned to MacDonald at West Coast Park for McHappy meal which we didn't get a toy for as it has run out, #$%!*\, and outdoor playground fun.

I didn't manage to take a single shot of the exhibits. But I did find the above photo of the T-Rex Skeleton on Flickr taken by coolinsights (Walter Lim). You can see more see more Dinosaur Live! photos from him here.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Happy Meal Addict

Even since getting Xavier his first Happy Meal, I couldn't stop getting Happy Meals whenever I can. It seems so fun surprising your kid with a new toy from Happy Meal. Below are my loot so far.

The largest collection would be the Kungfu Panda 2 series. The recent collection of mini "pinball" toys are pretty cool. I like the Plarail series of train heads that lights up too.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Corner Delights Prawn Mee (at The Arcade)

There are quite a number of yummy food places in the CBD area that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. One of them is the delicious prawn mee nested in the middle of The Arcade in a eating place call Corner Delights.

Run by two sisters, this place serves quite a range of food from porridge to laksa to chee cheong fun and yam cake to desserts like barley ginkgo. But the main fare is prawn mee.

My usual order is prawn kway teow dry. I do not really like soupy noodles but the soup here is thick and full of flavour. The prawns are de-shelled and sliced halved, and the chilli is excellent. Mix it with the other ingredients and seasoning and this is one great tasting prawn mee. Of course if they served it with big, fat, juicy whole prawn, it would be even better. But for normal office lunch, de-shelled halved prawn will do.

The chee cheong fun is also a must eat. You can buy them for breakfast or for tea break.

11 Collyer Quay
#01-31, The Arcade
Singapore 049317

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tomato Photo Shoot - Part 4: The Photos

It took us quite a while to select the photos, too long in fact. We never seem to be able to find time to choose the photos together. Plus the fact that Tomato Photo had all the shots in both colour and black & white to choose from, as you can see from Part 3.

In the end, I shortlisted the photos I like and Lilian does likewise on different days. We then choose those photos where both of us shortlisted. Here are the ones we chosen.

My favourite is the black & white shot of Xavier kissing Lucas. I have updated that as my blog header. What's your favourite?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Xavier's First Visit to the Dentist

Xavier had his first visit to the dentist today. There wasn't anything wrong with his teeth. We just wanted him to get a feel of going to the dentist and having his teeth checked.

I brought him to my usual dentist at ToofDoctor. He was apprehensive at first but the mention of watching Barney videos were too good to pass. So they gave him a pair of sunglasses, set him down on the dental chair and checked his teeth.

He is still short of two teeth but they should come soon. They did polishing for him. No scaling needed as they do not have tartar (so lucky). And the dentist even gave him a medal for being so brave and cooperative. He was so proud of his medal that he insist on wearing it to school the next day.

And he can't wait to go for his next dental checkup, as he kept asking when we gonna go again. I on the other hand, dread going to the dentist...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Second Kid Is Ever More Life Changing

I asked an old friend, who has 5 kids, how difficult is it to raise 5 kids. His reply was, "From one kid to two kids, it was tough, really tough. But the effort is quite similar for one to three, four or five kids."

His bottomline was the transition from managing one kid to managing two kids is two totally different ballgame. After 3 months with Xavier and Lucas, I totally agree. Here are some thoughts:

- No two kids are the same (even if they are twins). I had the expectation that all babies are similar in their first few months. That expectation grew into frustration for me, as I kept asking why Lucas is not doing this and that like Xavier. So the earlier you recognise this point, the less frustrated you would be.

- Communication is key. As the saying goes, "Assumption is the mother of all f*** ups." or "You think, I thought, who confirm?". Communicate with your spouse what you expect of each other, how you want to split your tasks on hand. Do not assume your partner knows what you have in mind.

- Pay more attention to the older kid. Or at least try. The older kid had all your attention before the newborn comes along so the suddenly need to share your attention will affect him/her. Xavier is fairly good so far as he doesn't show "ill-jealousy" (the kind that involves hitting and bullying) but that doesn't mean he do not try to seek as much attention from us as possible. Like shoving a toy in your face asking you to look at it when you are carrying the newborn, or asking if you can put the newborn down and play with him.

- You would really have close to zero time to yourself. If you thought you are managing your time well with one kid and having some of your own "me" time, be prepared for no more of that and ever lesser sleep. In fact I do not even have much time to blog nowadays, preferring sleep.

Right now I'm just grinding my teeth and hoping time pass faster and they grow up faster so we can pass this phrase, though I would probably miss this stage later on. But its really really tough now. So if you are planning for a second kid, be prepared. Be Very Prepared!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lao Ban Soya Beancurd 老伴豆花

We frequent Old Airport Road Hawker Centre quite often as there are many wonderful food stalls under one roof.

We been seeing crazy queues at this particular stall selling Soya Beancurd and Lilian heard of raving reviews on how smooth and different the beancurds are here. But the long queues usually put us off. It was only recently when a colleague bought them to give away in office did I get a chance to try it.

The beancurds served here are extreme smooth, and different. The usual fresh beancurds you buy are scoped layer by layer into a bowl or container before serving to you. Here stacks and stacks of beancurd are pre-packed and chilled in the fridge. The flawless beancurd greets you when you open the lid, inviting you to make the first scope and send it into your mouth.

And oh how the beancurd melts into your mouth. And if you use your tongue to "play" with it, you would notice just how smooth as silk the beancurd is. So smooth its almost unreal. In fact I have friends who relate it to eating custards. And not everyone is a fan, with some preferring the usual beancurd texture.

For me, I'm a fan. I didn't ask if I there is a "less sweet" version but the original sweetness is just right for me. And business seems to be booming. They now have two stalls in Old Airport Road Hawker Centre and one at Maxwell Food Centre. If you are wondering why there are long queues for it since it's pre-packed and served pretty quickly. The reason is because people tend to buy in 8s and 10s to give away and share with their friends and family. And when I have to queue for sometime to buy something good, I tend to overbuy just so I can giveaway too. It's a vicious circle.

You can "Like" them at their facebook page if you wish.

Blk 51 Old Airport Road
#01-127, Old Airport Road Hawker Centre
Singapore 390051

Blk 51 Old Airport Road
#01-107, Old Airport Road Hawker Centre
Singapore 390051

1 Kadayanallur Street
#01-91, Maxwell Food Centre
Singapore 069184

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Thank you and Goodbye Steve Jobs...

I had a shock this morning when the radio announced the death of Steve Jobs. The visionary legend that gave us beautiful typography on computers, the one who's company pioneered computer animation with Toy Story, the botak that got almost everyone going gaga over "i" this and "i" that, the magician that revive Apple from a USD13 per share company to now above USD380 per share and the best salesman in the world. I salute you.

One of the best speeches that made an impression in me was his speech at Stanford University in 2005.

There may never be another person like Steven Jobs again. Like other geniuses, they will always be unique, like the unreleased Apple Think Different commercial.

Here's to you Mr. Steve Jobs. Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish. Thank you and Goodbye.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

McDonald’s Monopoly Singapore 2011

If you been to McDonald's recently, you might have observed the crew donning red tee with a black bowtie printed on it. Yes  the McDonald’s Monopoly Singapore 2011 is back for the third year and it's on now till 2nd November 2011, or when all game labels are gone.

This time round there are three ways to win the prizes. Instant Win are those tabs which gives instant prizes. Collect To Win are tabs where you have to collect all same colour tabs to win the prize. The most interesting would be the Chance Card where you get $100 cash and a chance to win all unclaimed prizes (from Collect to Win) in a lucky draw.

You can visit the official visit for more information and have a read on the FAQ.

Some tips that might not be obvious:
1) A meal give you 1 label. Upsize the meal and you get 2 labels. Do that on a weekend and you get 4 labels.

2) McValue Lunch meals also entitle you to labels. So a McChicken or a Chicken McNuggets meal upsized on a weekend between 12-3pm would give you the most value per label.

3) Each Collect to Win colour area has a "rare" tab. I have identify them in the collarge below.

 If you get these rare tabs, you would probably be winning that prize of the colour bar, since the other tabs for the colour bar are usually very common.

Happy hunting...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Should We Really Be So Kiasu?

How many of us flash cards to our babies before age 1? Or bring them to extra classes by age 2? I'm sure many parents in Singapore do. It's become second nature to us to be kiasu for our children, trying to give them what we perceived as advantage.

I'm guilty of this myself. So when a friend linked this blog post call What Should a 4 Year Old Know? by A Magical Childhood on Facebook recently, it felt like someone hitting my head on the back saying, "What the hell were you thinking?".

I have re-posted it as it such a good read for parents, especially Singapore parents. We live in this society that is so competitive that it consumes us. It seem inevitable that we as parents behave this way. So sometimes its good to just take a step back, take a deep breath and have a look at what's going on.

I believe that every kid has their own learning pace and it is important to let do them do things or learn at their own speed. Right now I'm just concentrating on teaching him the rights values. Just today when Lilian was trying to apply moisturizer to his feet, he used my name to reject Lilian. He actually said, "My daddy say cannot put cream." I was right outside and came in after hearing it, gave him a very hard stare and told him off.

Anyway if you are a parent of a young kid, I strongly encourage you to have a read at the blog post.


Lilian decides to let Xavier try the new training chopsticks today. Naturally Xavier was very excited as the training chopsticks had Percy the green train from the Thomas and Friends series.

The training chopstick has one end that is attached and three loops where the thumb, index and middle fingers go through. This guides and helps the kids get a better grip on the chopsticks. What is left now is for the kid to open and close his fingers to "use" the chopstick.

I'm quite amazed how fast Xavier grab the concept of using the chopstick. Good job Xavier.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sharks, Tango Yankee. Out...

Ever look forward to something and when you actually have it, you have a tinge of sadness? I'm experiencing that now and it's a strange feeling.

Today marks the stand-down of 650 SIR (Singapore Infantry Regiment) and more importantly my status change to MINDEF Reserve (MR). I would no longer be called back for In-Camp Training (ICT) and Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) but am still liable for NS (till age 40, the current statutory age for non-officers). Almost every Singaporean males look forward to this day, except for some like my platoon commander (PC) who have volunteered to continue his NS tour of duty for another 10 years or so.

On the flip side, we would not be able to go through the ups and lows that we have experienced together as a platoon, for over a decade, unless the unlikely button is really pressed. What we do have are bitter-sweet memories to savour. As age catches on, I hope we could still meet at least once a year to refresh each other of these bittersweet memories.

This is the final march of 650SIR. As our Platoon Sergeant Danny says, "The last march out was sweet but sad."

If you are wondering what the title is about, it's coded message which just means "Scouts, thank you. Out.".

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lucas: Sumo baby in the making

Just pass one month and Lucas have shown signs of following his brother footsteps, to be a Sumo-Baby. Check out his progress: Michelin arms, thunder thighs and double chin forming...

And he also have the potential to be future parade commander for NDP (National Day Parade). His crying is so bright and forceful that I had to use these.

And I never thought I would need to dig these out other for use at the range during my reservist.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Boys and their jungle hats

I was packing my army stuff for the upcoming reservist next week when curious Xavier came to "supervise" my packing. He was armed with all kinds of questions like "Why you wear this?" while pointing to the pair of army boots. Think he was having fun rumbling through my army stuff.

Then he found my old jungle hat (aka condom hat) and he asked, "Can I wear hat?". "Sure." I replied and it was photo time.

While he was having fun smiling to the camera, I was wondering how would he view the greens when his time comes??

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Xavier's Mandarin Has "kang tang" Slang

We been trying to speak more Mandarin to Xavier. He can repeat after us but he has this "kang tang" slang, like an Ang Mo speaking Mandarin. ಠ_ಠ

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Grilling it up...

I have always resisted installing window grilles. The sight of grilles makes the house looked caged. Plus my living room has almost full length windows, so it seems down right ugly to install grilles on them.

But alas the time have come to sacrifice for our boys, again. While it was manageable for two of us to watch over Xavier like a hawk to make sure he doesn't do silly things like attempting to climb onto a chair and look out of the window, its impossible to keep an eye on two boys 24/7. So I reluctantly agreed to Grill It Up, for safety reason and Lilian's piece of mind.

I got quotations from three companies. One of the companies, Legate, offers a "invisible grille" concept. Its actually very thin stainless steel wires which looks almost invincible thus you still get the view and the protection. However it's alot more expensive compared to the traditional grilles. I would definitely consider them if its for our new place next time.

The quotes from other two companies were similar and we settled for Pang Giap since I seen good reviews from the forums. And it so happen our shower screen glass doors of both toilets broke down and we got them to install new shower screens as well.

The installation was surprisingly fast and alot quieter than we had anticipated. And there you have it, Grilles...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lucas's Lip Sucking Sound

Nobody taught Lucas how to make that sound but he does it whenever he wants milk from mommy.

Or maybe he wanna befriend with girl across my block??

Mechanical Keyboards

After contemplating for a long time, I finally got myself a mechanical keyboard. What the hell is that?? Well it's like going back to the old PC days when each keys under the keyboard has a key switch.

So what difference does it make? I was been told it suppose to improve the typing feel, since you do not need to "bottom out" each key to register them, allowing your fingers to "dance" while typing. I'm still getting use to it but it does feel better to type on. Maybe it just physiological. Maybe it will make me type and blog more.

Seems like the only readily available key switches are made by this German company call Cherry. There are a number of switches available from them, colour-named as blue, brown, black, red, etc. Each switch has it's own characteristically like clicky/non clicky (think typewriter sound), tactile/non tactile, and the force need to actuate (register the key).

This Mechanical Keyboard Guide contains very useful information about mechanical keyboards and the VR-Forum has a easy to understand table to help you decide which switch is suitable for you. However the best way to know which to get is to actually try out the keyboards with different switches.

The other really cool thing about mechanical keyboards is that you can change the individual keycaps and customise the way you want your keyboard to look. Of course not as power (or over!) the Optimus Maximus keyboard but good enough for me to have some fun spicing up the dull keyboard. Below is my first. :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Daddy Bloggers Get Together Organised by Julia Gabriel Centre

I got a surprised facebook friend's request recently from my university's course-mate's sister. It's surprising because we haven't kept in touch since year 2000 when she went to visit her sister in Sydney.

Actually she found me by chance as she was looking to invite daddies who blogs about parenting to a Daddy Bloggers Get Together organised by Julia Gabriel Centre for Learning. I said yes but didn't really know what to expect as I have never been to such get togethers before. I even had thoughts that it was for Julie Gabriel to promote their services since their principal director Fiona Walker will be there.

It turned out to be a great, informal and very relaxed sharing session about parenting. Andy (Sengkangbabies), Kelvin (Daddy NiVleK) and Pete (Aussie Pete) were the other bloggers who attended and together with Fiona and William from Julie Gabriel, we talked about a number of things from reading (to children) to sneaky kids who will melt your hearts (just before they get punished).

I picked up a number of useful tips and insights from the night. Here are some of them:
- Reading to your child is important, even when they can read on their own. Its a different skill set to read and to listen and often, reading to them allows them to enjoy the story more and let their imagination run while they listen to you read.

William's tip: Continue to read till they don't want you to read to them anymore. NLB has been running a program call 10,000 & More Fathers Reading and this year marks the 5th anniversary.

- Jealousy among siblings are quite common and Andy's experience is that it affects all four of his kids, usually at different periods.

Andy's tip: Explain the privileges of being older or bigger and to empower the older kid with responsibilities so he/she feels important.

- Raising a bilingual is not easy. I find it hard to consistently speak Mandarin to Xavier, even though I came from a Mandarin speaking family. Xavier only replies in English and after a few sentences, I would unknowingly reply back in English too.

Fiona says it takes a whole lot of persistency and the success stories she sees usually involves one parent speaking to the child solely in one language and the other speaking in a second language.   

Fiona's tip: Set a specific time each day (e.g. dinner time) where we would only converse in the particular language.

I totally enjoyed the session and hope I can join more of such informal sharing sessions.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lucas is One Month Old!

Lucas just turned one month old and we would like to thank all relatives and friend for attending the full month celebration and for their wonderful gifts and hongbaos.
Both Lilian and I have never seen so many hongbaos before.There were also a few very thoughtful gifts, like the "cake" from Rick and Zhen Zhen.They ordered from Baby's 1st Cake and it's baby gifts packed into the shape of a 2-tier cake.

Xavier was very quick to "chope" the big blue truck on the top of the cake and readily announced it's his and the smaller purple car below is for di-di.

We had three sessions this time, as we didn't want to accommodate too many people each session in our tiny house. This also allows us to interact better with our guest. Lilian ordered from three different caterers. Kim's Kitchen failed as their Mango Sago dessert went bad barely after we started the buffet. YSL Catering was not bad, guests liked their "Braised Pork w/ Bun". We find Angeli Catering (bottom left in the photo) tasted the best among the three. Mum also made her own glutinous rice and it was covered with mushrooms.
For friends and colleagues whom we were not able to invite, we ordered cakes and cookies for them instead. The cakes were from Pine Garden's Cake, the cake shop we got Xavier's 1st year birthday cake from. Lilian liked the message "Of all life's miracles, the biggest ones come in the smallest packages". The cookies were from Happy Bakes.

Lucas is growing well, hitting a weight of 5kg and a length of 52cm now. Looks like he become a sumo baby too, just like Xavier.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lucas's Delivery is a Different Experience

As a second-time parent, I thought I am fairly experienced and prepared to welcome Lucas. I had my hospital bag packed and ready, my mindset tuned for sleepless nights ahead and more chores to be done. But it's different this time, very different.

Lucas was delivered via voluntary C-section (Caesarean section) as recommended by our gynae (gynaecologist) for valid reasons. This also meant we can choose the date and timing we like to welcome Lucas. This sort of took away the surprise element, and waiting time, that natural birth has. It's really fast but not as "fun" (to me).

Then after birth, the PD (pediatrician) explained he wants to put Lucas under NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for observation as he seem to be grunting. When the PD tells you something like that right after birth, almost all parents would just go with whatever the PD says. Thankfully Lucas went back to the nursery after half a day as they found he seems okay after observation.

Then came the news that Lucas has G6PD deficiency. While people with G6PD deficiency can lead a normal life as long as they avoid the ban list food and medication, newborn with  G6PD deficiency and jaundice are usually treated with extra care. I heard stories of friends who are only allowed to bring their newborns home after 1-2 weeks in hospital doing the photo treatment, for fear that the deadly combo can lead to Kernicterus.

So we were fairly surprised when the PD allowed us to discharge Lucas after two days of photo treatment, with no need to continue the treatment at home (like the case of Xavier). We were to go back to the clinic for a follow-up check 4 days later and if the "yellowing" becomes serious we should bring him back earlier.

When we went back for the follow-up check, his jaundice level shot up higher than norm and he was admitted back to the nursery again for photo treatment for another 2 days. Thankfully again we was able to be discharge after a 2 days stay.

Next shock was when I got all the bills together and how much more this delivery and hospital bill this was and compared to Xavier's delivery. Most of the increase was the doctor fee of our gynae, the NICU 1/2 day stay and the additional two days re-admitted.

But when you see your baby smile, you would feel that all the effort (and money) was worth it.

Here are some tips to help you "fight" and save on the bills:
1) Choose a gynae wisely: The gynae you choose usually determines the hospital you will deliver in. Also check on her likely fee for check-ups and scans before delivery as well as the fee for delivery. Some clinics do have package which was generally cheaper than pay per visit.

2) Choose your ward wisely: This would determine the cost of your bills. Some actually charge higher for the same item/treatment received/done when you are at higher ward. There are also other restrictions like if the daddy wants to stay by the wife during the whole stay (as a lodger), it is only allowed if they take a single bed ward.

3) Choose your hospital wisely: We should have done that when Lucas was re-admitted for photo treatment. The nurse from our usual PD told us that we could actually admit Lucas to a less expensive hospital for the same treatment, given that the PD attending to Lucas also goes to the other less expensive hospital.