Monday, March 16, 2009

Fabulous

Thump..Thump..THUMP! THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP Wahhhh....!!!!!

A shrill chuckle ensued as I pounced on our baby daughter who is lying on our bed, still giggling.

Hopping back a metre or so with both hands stretched out T-Rex style, I began the exercise all over again, thumping my left foot followed by my right, quickening at very step and finally pouncing on her like an over-aged Barney less the hideous purple dinosaur suit. The anticipation in her eyes coupled with a cheeky smile is absolutely too tempting to do this over and over again.

I peeped into my watch and told myself I should be leaving for work in 15 minutes time, but then again that was what I said exactly 15 minutes ago.

“You know, you love your daughter more than your wife now”, came the occasional tease from the missus.

“No lah, where got?”, I would massage her shoulders and then sped off to work, sneakily.

But its always so hard to let go after a hearty weekend together. Knowing you have to spend most of your time at work and then come home to a sleepy daughter on most weekdays. Perhaps to add oil on fire, its also because its a Monday. Yet another long wait for the weekend to spend your entire time with the family.

Don't get me wrong. I love my work. I do not have the usual Monday blues. I am one of those who like to work their sorry ass off even after the working hours are over. But I still have my Monday blues, largely felt while I am still holding baby Angel when I am supposed to be heading off to work behind the driving wheel.

Which is why weekends have been more precious than ever. Which is why the OTs on weekday nights to make room for Saturdays and Sundays. And also the reason I try to squeeze out every minute I have on these two days.

It had been a great Saturday with much activity going on. We met up with two of my friends and their lovely one and half year old son at Vivocity for Tim Sum. This meet up have long been overdue and I was looking forward to it. Their lovely son named Issac with dimples so deep you simply want to hug has grown so much taller since we saw him. Nevermind the shyness because whenever I approached him he would smile and glance away either saying “Papa there, or Mummy there” even though both of his parents might not necessary be in the direction that he is pointing.

He is just so adorably cute and so shy.

Hui and Willson have been our long time friends since our NAFA(Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts) days. Seeing their friendship blossoming into a courtship is like traveling time through a spaceship. In a snap Issac had been born, and is now a healthy toddler walking on his feet. Time flies, and its true.

Time also passes by swiftly especially when you are enjoying yourselves. We had to bid them goodbye as they had to head back home for Isaac's nap. And promised to meet up again soon.

In an effort to squeeze time dry after the meet up, we met up with another friend of us, Steve, who gamely followed us to our second mission by the order of the missus to bring baby Angel for a swim. Before you ring the “Report The Abusing Parents” helpline to MCYS, please hear me out. Its a controlled environment where you dunk your baby in a water filled tub as opposed to dumping her into the South China Sea swimming with the sharks. Although the swimming float wrapping around Angel's neck does come close to those movies whereby prisoners are dug beneath the mud with only their heads sticking out.

But still it is not a cause for concern. Because Angel's mum is more concern with hygiene issues.

“Did you bring a towel along?” ask an elegantly aged shop assistant, “Here, use this one.” and then produced a dull green color towel with mouldy prints when viewed at certain angles from afar.

“And this is clean?” ask the missus.

“Oh yes, these towels are used only once and then throw away,” came the reply.

Call me cynical, but the towels looks like it's been washed at least 50 times. It looked like it's previous life had been a bright lime green piece of soft fabric. Currently it looks like an SAF(Army) no.4 uniform.

Well, I don't really care because the swimming float around my daughter's neck looks more menacing and may I add, suffocating. Well, what the heck, its a little too late to back out now because the little one is about to dip into the pool.

There could have been a better interior designer to engage, but apparently the shop owner favors the open concept à la “Ding Tai Fung” restaurant style which people can peep through transparent glass from outside to have a kaypoh look at what you are cooking, or rather, doing. I can't help but feel like monkeys in the Zoo because there must have been like more than ten kaypoh sods outside the shop with popcorns in their hands waiting for the next matinée. And when baby Angel is plonked into the basin of water, the oohs and ahs from the crowd followed suit and they immediately rushed forward smacking their faces onto the glass panels.

From where they are standing, they can see our baby Angel's little performance of aqua aerobics. But when they realized this is hardly Michael Phelps or the exotic north polar bear somersaulting in the water ripping off fishes, they left the scene only to be replaced by a newer crowd of kaypohs.

“This is like the Singapore Zoo”, suggested my friend.

“No, its more like The Singapore Night Safari,” I said as it is almost close to 8pm in the night.

Whichever case it was, one thing was clear. Baby Angel was totally immersed in her world of water kicking and tremendously enjoying the dip. An average first time swim usually lasts about ten minutes, but she was soaked in the tub for more than twenty. It also helped that the missus kept on shouting words of encouragement such as “Well Done Angel!!”, and “Keep it Up Angel!!”, and then more “Well Done Angel!!” and “Keep it Up Angel!!”

Seeing my wife going gaga at this for a lengthy twenty minutes, my heart was beaming with warm feelings. The missus is a fully transformed mum, she doesn't care that she looked like a lunatic shouting words of encouragement while the kaypoh crowd watches on. Her mind was focused only on caring for our little girl, and showering her with the best love she can give. I almost wanted to hug her. Well almost, because the shop assistant popped over before I could.

“Some babies can go like this for one full hour.” she said.

Wow. Baby Angel could probably have no problem keeping it up for an hour after the tenth visit. But can the missus do it? Going gaga for one bloody hour? I cannot imagine further.

The last mission was to have a hearty dinner to wind down the day. Now, I must stressed that I am not a cheapskate, but to have two meals paid for in a day is still a welcome gesture under the current economic climate. Steve ended up paying for the dinner, and so did Hui and Willson on the Tim Sum meal. Thank you guys for the meal. We really should meet up more often.

The night ended on a less jovial note after the Japanese dinner. Sleeping in her pram, baby Angel started to wail out of no reason. I had to carry her out of the pram and pacify her with my fatherly skills honed in the past months. It did not worked. The most disadvantaging aspect of a loving father would probably be the fact that he cannot breastfeed. When the milk bottle does not work, and everything else fail, the missus had to be called in.

And in the breast feeding room provided by the mall, away from the crowded noise, I sat beside Angel's mum watching over them. Life had never been better. We could have married later, or learning to party hard like there is no tomorrow, or we could have a kid later. But nothing comes close to this, just the three of us enclaved in the warmth of each other.

One day down, Sunday awaits us. I still have time to treasure this.. before the Monday morning today.

And outside the baby room, a patient friend awaits. It was time to go home.

It had been a fabulous day.


*I would like to dedicate this post to my lovely wife, and all the mothers out there. The baby might have been born. But we(the fathers) have not all forgotten about you, because you are simply fabulous!!





Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Twenty Six February Two Thousand & Nine - The Curious Face of Baby Angel

26th February 2009.

Today is a historic day.

Not because Obama rolled out an audacious $3.55 trillion budget set for reform. Nor is it because I finally see a lump on my stomach after weeks of trying to gain some weight (It is not a pleasant sight, I think I prefer to be slim despite the missus's constant effort in strumming my ribcage for obvious reason).

Today is historic because baby Angel made a hamster face. Yes you hear me, a hamster face. The type of expression that suggest heaps of nuts have been deliberately stored in both cheeks, complete with gigantic innocent eyes almost exploding while she is trying to compress her upper and lower lips into one lump of a sausage.

She has grown up. Faster than I can imagine. She is 4 months and 5 days old today. She weighs a healthy 6.53kg and covers a length of 62.5 cm. The figures probably doesn't mean a lot except for potential 4D betting inspiration because in another week or so she will be taller and heavier, hopefully just a tad heavier because I have been having sore arms and a disproportionate back lately. But that is not the point, the point is; she is starting to pick up new learning examples and slowing moving away from the territory of a new born baby.

I am almost weeping.. she has finally grown up.

“Don't be silly, she's still a baby, its not like you are marrying your daughter off or something.” I can imagine my missus sneering at me.

But who can blame me? My silly tricks of hoaxing my daughter have not been working of late.

I will go, “Huah Wah Wah Wah Wah” with my mouth wide opened and Angel will maintain indifference.

Or:

“Angel girl girl girl girl GURL!!!” I will squeal in a melodic high pitch yet disgusting tone. The little one simply frowned and attempt to suck at her fingers instead. I can almost sense what she's thinking, “Dad please.. I am 4 months old, stop embarrassing yourself”. And then more hamster face for the whole bloody day.

I had no idea where she learned that from. But the fact is she is starting to explore new things and making faces because she is fast turning into a toddler. In another few months or so she will be crawling all over the place tearing down the house, doodling on car leather seats and probably reading pictorial books with fat hamster illustrations in them.

I braced myself ahead with mixed feelings. Here's one father who doesn't have a clue on how being a parent is like barely one year ago. He has grown accustomed to a new born daughter, living a life of sleepless nights and no longer finding human poop smelly, which is well... a cause for concern. He has also learned to communicate in baby speak but only to find the language now obsolete because baby Angel cannot grow up learning to speak gibberish. Proper pronunciation must be enforced, a conducive growing up environment must be provided and so forth and so on. The anticipation of my daughter calling me 'Dad' and standing on her feet is exciting, however her moving away from a cuddly new born will be something I will dearly missed. To be honest, when she made the hamster face for the first time today, I was totally thrilled and happy. So yes, things are going to get more and more exciting with this little girl of mine. I will have to teach her how to poop properly on a toilet bowl sometime later, and I will have to teach her manners and ABC in time to come. But the feeling of cuddling her as a new born will not go away either, it will always remain fresh in my memory and in my heart.

The first challenge currently though is to concoct new tricks to communicate with her.

Yeah... I am learning how to make that hamster face now...