Wednesday, October 6, 2010

hello mini - the community sweetheart

hello mini,

Mama loves to walk you to the park. And we’ve been doing that every morning since you were about 2 months old. People are quite amazed by how I can wake up so early, walk you, and still manage to get to work on time. Apart from it being my tiny commitment to spend more time with you rather than the pillow, I also enjoy the walk myself. Mornings are just so welcoming – the clear air, the waving trees, the skin-warming sun … and having you keep my company makes it all the more meaningful.

Our friends now not only include the natural surroundings. Over time, we have discovered that we live in such a friendly neighbourhood. The regulars include an elderly couple who speak some Chinese dialect we don’t understand; the Filipino maids who walk all different types of pet dogs from quiet Golden Retrievers & noisy Chiwawas; full-gear hiker ladies in groups, the garbage guy, the sleep-in taxi driver…. etc.

Actually, before your arrival, they were just fragments of the same community. They’d walk past each other without any eye contact. They’d notice the weather turning cold but won’t bother to remind each other on warmer clothing. They’d want to reach out to the pets but dare not do so as it might feel intrusive … at least, it was my feeling of the community as I took the morning walks months ago.

And it’s all different now with you.

When we manage to take 1 hour walks, there would be at least 30 minutes when we’d be stopped by our friends. Why? Because you, our little angel, is so curious about everyone. So curious to the extent that you, with your small eyes expanded to its biggest size, would be staring at every passerby. When they find your stare too irresistible, they'd turn to your direction, and you'd immediately greet them with your biggest smile.

"O-O-O baby smiled at ME!"

As I have witnessed, everyone was melt by your sweetness. You made them feel like the most special person on earth, and for a second or two they were even up in heaven.

Now, when you see the elderly couple even from afar, you would greet them with your biggest grin until they come hold your little hands. And the dogs, they’d sit very still listening to the irregular rhythms of your delightful squeals, and the maids would be laughing at your craze. And you are so interested in the sweeping noises created by the garbage guy, that he has to stop sweeping for a moment to say hello to you.

Mama is overwhelmed. You are not only bringing happiness to the family, your positive energy is actually extending to more. I feel so proud of you. Keep it up baby!

lots of love,

mama ak

Thursday, September 9, 2010

hello mini - 1 year ago ....

hello mini,

it's 0909 today. this morning as mama walk to work, i suddenly remember that it was exactly 365 days ago when i found out about you!

i had not been feeling right for a few days. but i was not too convinced that i would be pregnant so soon, because we have only just started casually trying and we have a trip to germany planned for the following week ... on 0909, i thought i might give those pregnancy tester stick a try. when i got to the drugstore, there were so many brands, prices from $30 to over $100. for split of a second, i wanted to go for the cheap one, me being so famous for my price consciousness. but NO - i ended up at the cashier with the $30 one PLUS the $100 one, hahahaha. when i got home, i rushed into the toilet, sat there, idle and blank. do i wanna find out???????? i didn't know. i felt confused and lost. is it too soon? are we ready to be parents? will we have enough money to give our child a good future????????

i didn't open the pack. i avoided thinking by watching tv and reading books all afternoon. i did this from 2pm til around 730pm. then i was at the toilet again, this time ripping off the package and following the instruction before i change my mind..... on paper, it says it takes 10 minutes for results to show. so tick-tock-tick-tock and after just ONE MINUTE, a red line came rushing out. A RED LINE. POSITIVE. CONGRATULATIONS YOU ARE PREGNANT!

i didn't know what to think. i can't believe i wasn't particularly happy or excited. i then recall all the sashimi and beers and sake that i crazily had on a trip to tokyo the previous week ... o gosh ... i might have just made this baby an alcoholic ... and all the germs that might be inside the baby already from the raw fish ....

then your papa came home - he's home a bit late that day 'cos he was on a business trip to Guangzhou. as we started having dinner, he was chatty as usual about the happenings of his day. normally i love his stories. but i wasn't really listening. i didn't know how to share the news with him. i wasn't sure how he would react....

then, not by my will, i started crying at the dinner table, and i lost my voice. i couldn't say a word. i led your shocked papa to the toilet. i opened the drawer. and i showed him the stick. he looked at it, then looked at me confused, asking "what is this?" gosh he's so stupid! so i had to dig out the packing from the bin and pass it to him. then he started SCREAMING and held me very very tightly in joy. "i cannot believe it's happening so soon! I am gonna be a father and you are gonna be a mother! we are so blessed!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

it was then that i started laughing, and somehow i got my voice back. why did i have to wait? why did i have to avoid? it was all about the reassurance from your papa that WE are going to get to a different stage of life together.

then 365 happy days went by. and you are almost 4 months old now.

feeling very blessed to have your papa and you with me.

lots of love,

mama ak

Friday, August 6, 2010

hello mini - to hold or not to hold

hello mini,

the past few weeks was quite a challenge to mama. first your papa got sick, fever high as 38.9C for quite a few days. and so much i tried to bar him from going close you, i couldn't allow myself to be so harsh, and finally the virus got to you. your nose was very runny and blocked, and you were coughing and sneezing non-stop. you couldn't sleep, and sometimes your whole body just go shaking as if something just scared the hell out of you. when we had to give you medication, you would swing away with full force and cry your lungs out. it was all very heart-breaking ....

what is a mother suppose to do in this situation?

of course we have tried everything in the books. but what else? what else can a mother do in this situation?

i decided to go back to the very basic. i held you in my arms for the whole night. though you were still waking up every 10 minutes and none of the symptoms seemed to have gone better with my hug, it just felt like the right thing to do.

then i suddenly recall - when we first brought you home, we were told that we should decide how much we wanna hold our baby, 'cos too much holding would mean spoiling you .... then whenever i was holding you, i would be thinking if it was too much holding, and does it mean i m ruining your life, because you will lose the ability to be an independent person????

mini, as you grow older, there will be things in life that you just oughta deal with on your own, like getting sick and getting healed. all mama can do is to be there for you when you need me. i don't know if i can give you sound advice, or offer any practical help. but i assure you my hugs will be unlimited.

lots of love,
mama ak

Monday, July 19, 2010

hello mini - our little private hour

hello mini,

you have just turned 2 months, and you have learnt to recognize our voices and smile at us. yes, there's a big team of care-takers behind you, and your mama plays only one part in it. there's mama, papa, grandma, grandpa and auntie. all of us love you very much, and we often fight over who to hold you, feed you or put you to sleep. and very often, i lose. or should i say, i feel like i should let others have their turn. your grandparents come all the way to see you, so they should have their share of time with you. auntie will be taking care of you after i go back to work, so it's necessary for her to establish some sort of closeness with you ...

it's a constant battle i have to fight with myself. on one hand, i feel so blessed that you are loved by so many. but at times, i must admit that i feel jealous. it seems like you are smiling more at auntie. and you better enjoy being held by your grandma. that leaves me to being your secretary, only to take care of your administrative matters, like your photo album, your wardrobe, your pee & poo counts, your vaccines, your insurance ... etc.

when this thought creeps into my head, i will tell myself that this is part of motherhood. my love for you isn't measured by how much time i get to hold you physically. i will be doing a lot for you and i cannot count on returns ....

mama will have to go back to work very soon. and the thought of having to leave you to others puts me into tears. so i have set up our little private hour - you wake up sharply upon sunrise everyday, and that's when we get to be by ourselves, no fight over from anyone else. i clean you, i feed you, i play with you and i put you back to sleep. an hour is never enough, so let's make the most out of it :)

lots of love,

mama ak

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

hello mini - moon river

hello mini,

my little man, you have already turned 6 weeks old at 11.5 pounds! how come it's so hard for mama to lose the extra pounds when it's such an easy gain for you?

i love to feed you, i love to check the color of your shit when changing your diapers, i love 'coo coo talking' with you, and i love singing you to sleep. and i have to sing endlessly too, because you just never seem to want to fall asleep. you are obviously training me into being a karaoke queen.

i don't have a songlist prepared. but somehow 'moon river' always comes out spontaneously. okay, moon river isn't a lullaby. it's actually quite a sad song, because it reminds me of 'sex and the city' season 4 when mr.big left carrie this song and an empty room of loneliness.

among the girls, there's always the 'who are you in SATC' chat. then there'd be the 'which SATC boyfriend do you like most' chat to follow. i certainly don't want you to be mr.big, no no, he's too much an asshole in how he treats women. steve is sweet, but not tough enough as a guy maybe? and not jerry smith ... i can't picture you to be a male model. trey? berger? harry? i think my vote will still go to aidan. but then he gets dumped and heart broken ....

ok i sound like a control freak mum. and i hate to be that. so i better quit now.

lots of love,

mama ak

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

hello mini - mini me?

hello mini,

zachary michael cheng is your full name. but no one seems too interested, as they have all been calling you 'mini'. where did mini come from? hmmm ... when i realized i got pregnant with you, i started doing research on the net and i had to name a folder to bookmark all the links. instead of lamely calling the folder 'baby', i casually typed 'panda mini' - i didn't even know if you were a boy or a girl yet, but i might somehow wished you were as happy as your father the kung-fu panda, and hence panda mini. you have been called 'mini' ever since, and we just cannot quit!

now that you are born, people are all saying you are a clone of your papa. yes, that round face and that piggy nose are quite signature. and i'd be too tired to fight for a look-alike eyebrow or ear-lobe.

then, around the 3rd day, as i was feeding you, you showed me a magic. your toes, yes, YOUR TOES! you can actually do the 'spread-out-all-5-toes' trick just like me. and it's from me for sure, as your daddy was always amazed at how i could do something like that with my toes that he cannot. so finally a trait from me, your toes!

one day, i looked up your birthday. you are born on the same day as a few celebrities i truly admire. first, there is chow yun fat, probably the most charismatic actor in HK. then there's tina fey from the sitcom '30 rock', she is such a subtle comedian-writer! and then there's jack johnson, a musician who spreads happiness and positive vibes through his work. and fred perry, one of the best tennis player of all times and how we can't wait to play with you! actually there's john paul II as well, though i won't exactly put him on my admirable list ...

so it's all silly, trying to own a piece of you. you will be your own individual. be happy like your papa or be stubborn like your mama, it's all ok. just remember to stay positive. we all love you no matter what.

lots of love,
mama ak

Friday, May 21, 2010

hello mini - mama's first tears

hello mini,

you were born on a tuesday and on the thursday we went home together. before we got discharged from hospital, the paediatrician told us you have been pee-ing and poo-ing all very well and therefore ready to go home.

then for 10 hours after you got home, you didn't show us a single wet diaper - 10HOURS! we started to get very worried. no pee or no poo, yet you have had all those milk! i started to call the hospital, the paediatrician, our baby helper .... all agreed that it's abnormal but we should give you another half day til we take you to the doctor. HALF DAY? would everything be stuck in your little tummy and make you suffocate? would there be some other things that went wrong? would all be too late by a half day later?

these thoughts keep swirling in my mind. after 20+ hours there still wasn't a wet diaper. i dropped on the sofa, looked out the window, and tears came pouring out of my eyes. my first tears for you, my darling boy.

the whole house fell into dead silence. everyone was scared. i could see that they were all afraid i was suffering from post-natal depression and would jump out of the window anytime. i hate that i was making everyone worried for me, but i just couldn't control those tears. then the whole house decided they would put me to sleep to lessen my worry. ok, i thought i needed some time by myself.

when i was wiping my face in the toilet, i suddenly heard a loud call from auntie: "FINALLY HE DID IT". i rushed out to the baby at once. as the baby was laid on the change table, all of us eagerly waited for the diaper to be undone. 5-4-3-2-1. that greenish yellowish baby waste that made all our eyes glowed. this first shit that we have waited for 24 hours! your dad and i hugged in great relief. how we never imagined shit could make us so thrilled!

since then you have been wetting diapers non-stop. and you drag on forever while you are being breast-fed. and you can be quite a crying potato too, especially timed to interrupt our dinner. but none of these annoys me at all. it's all part of the journey. it's all part of the memory.

lots of love,
mama ak

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

hello mini - you are finally here!

hello mini,

you finally arrived, right on your expected due date, but in the most unexpected manner! i still remember how the doctor told us you have been so comfortable inside me that you will probably stay in for a few more days, as there was not a sign of you being ready just one day before you were born. did you hear my call? that night, i kept thinking i want you to stay a taurus, and not a gemini boy. i know it's silly. but it's that click between 2 people, right?

i actually think we have clicked since we first bonded. we have put together such a smooth and enjoyable 40-week pregnancy, as i cannot remember a day when i felt sick. some tiredness maybe, but i know it's because you want some quiet time with me. and the labour and delivery too, you basically gave mommy a cruise! we did it, the both of us.

the first sight of the real you, i laughed. yes, i know people usually cry, but i laughed, just like the first time i saw you on the ultrasound screen. it felt all too crazy. if that ultrasound moment was when 2 people first feel the lover's heartbeat, then your birth moment felt a lot like the last scene in 'when harry met sally', when 2 long-lost-friend-lovers can finally meet and get together! yes mini my darling boy, i just found that i am obsessed with you, and i cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with you!

it's one of mama's favourite movies. will you watch it with me soon?

lots of love,
mama ak

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

final week ... or is it?

today marks the 40th week in my pregnancy. technically it's the final week ... or is it?

mixed feelings really. on one hand, as one of the pregnancy books says, i feel like i have been pregnant forever and wish i can get it over and done with soonest possible.

on the other, i really don't know whether i m ready to handle all the changes that are gonna come. like if i will ever be able to feel the kind of peace and quiet i am enjoying right now, sitting by the window typing my thoughts away.

nothing compares to this waiting, it is quite a test. everything else in life seems to be more scheduled. like when a tv program runs, when you get your exam results, when your paycheck arrives ... even things like when you fall in love is more predictable than this.

meanwhile, we can only keep ourselves entertained. here's how your dad decide to practice holding you in comfort. see you soon honey boy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

photos by bobby & ruby

i love photos. they are magic. they capture that specific moment. and you can add your own spice in everytime you review them. to me, photos are way more sexy than video recording.

these pics were taken on a sunny afternoon in our home. photos by bobby, using his antique grandpa camera. and art direction courtesy of ruby.

it's not just the pics. we spent some fun 2 hours together.

thank you for capturing this special moment for us.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

the mini evolution

hi mini, only maybe 2 more weeks to go until we finally meet in person :)
thanks for such amazing experience you have given me over the past 9 months.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

new camera for mini

finally! one new item we bought for mini! A NEW CANON DSLR CAMERA!

i have always loved my ricoh snap shot camera. i have had the GRV since film days, then moved onto the digital one. but a new camera with faster shutter and continuous mode seems to be a necessity to catch a few good shots of active kids. so we've decided to get it now, get trained on using it, then welcome mini with our amateur skills :)

mini, we enjoyed the silly portraits so much! and we'd love to have you in the pics soon!

ak & mini @ week 33

Sunday, March 21, 2010

3.21 1st anniversary

since i have my whole wedding album loaded to my iPhone, i would review the photos every so often, and here's a picture i really like.

the smiles on our faces not only told of the joy we felt on our wedding day 365 days ago, it actually sums up what we've been feeling throughout these 365 days too!

the sunshine today already sent us a warm welcome to the next exciting 365 days to come.

and a little ad-hoc "breakfast art" spices up our morning even more!

we spent the day strolling around cheung chau, eating junk food while exercising with mini in my tummy.

next spring, we will bring him with us on his stroller.

by the following year, we should be walking with him while he tries to find his balance.

in the years to come, maybe we can be biking around the island together.

then we will be chasing behind him, slowing down while he takes the course of his own life.

i will keep our wedding pic with me. i will keep that big smile with me no matter what.

ak & mini @ week 32

Monday, March 8, 2010

mini's wardrobe

as mini's D-day is approaching, we kept being asked if we have been shopping alot. the truth is, we have not bought a single item for him at all! it sounds hard to believe, i know. how can i suppress my shopping desire, especially when it's our first kid??? but somehow, people around us all have pass-it-down items they wanna get rid of. and it become such a good idea to try to take in unwanted items by others, so they can free their house space for their new items.

by now, we have a baby bed, a stroller, a toilet trainer, a walking trainer, and a bunch of toys.

so his room naturally feels quite decorated and cosy already.

then yesterday, via email, we received a super-mega-giga-surprise - mini's wardrobe!

yes, a whole wardrobe is received via email !!!

Billion thanks to our wardrobe mastermind - mike's mum and mini's grandma-to-be!

All these clothes are still in the US and will be shipped back together with mini's grandparents when they return in a few weeks' time. And the wardrobe will only be growing in the coming weeks, as grandma's been enjoying the weekly mall visit hunting for cute outfits for mini!

I can't stop reviewing each piece of clothing over and over again, with a big big smile on my face!

Not only am I so excited picturing mini in each of these fashion masterpieces, I also feel that mini's such a blessed boy~!

Moreover, it feels like mini's a centre force of happiness to all those around us even before he's born. There's grandma and our family in the US who's very involved in the wardrobe. Then there are other aunties and uncles who are happily donating their pass-it-down to him. It's magical! Everyday we think we adults have to make effort to make others happy. Yet this tiny to-be-born can have such power just like that!

thank you mini, for teaching me a lesson on happiness.

Monday, February 15, 2010

our tiger mini

as we welcome the year of the tiger, our lunar new year eve was surprisingly spent in the hospital - and it just couldn't be better!

with help of a obgyn friend whom's identity i must kept confidential (big thanks!), we sneaked into the ultrasound room of the hospital, and we were able to say hi to mini and celebrate chinese new year eve together as a tiny family! and a few sights were really memorable.

first, i couldn't believe mini's already turned heads down at week 27 - i read that most babies won't do that til week 32! no wonder i have been feeling the attacks at the very bottom of my belly ... so it's mini practicing his thai kick boxing moves ... and all these time i kept thinking those were toilet calls though they felt fake ... u naughty boy, already fooling your mama!

throughout the ultrasound, mini's been facing his daddy. and when we said hi to him, he actually returned the greeting by punching his fists a few times - when i was seeing it on the monitor and also feeling it LIVE on my belly, it felt way more sensational than the 4D AVATAR movie! it's our interaction as a family for the very first time!

then, as we were reviewing mini's every body part, another amazing scene came to sight. after several moves, this little creature has decided to take some rest, and he actually folded his little feet one on top of each other! how very comfortable that looked, and we felt he really knows how to have a good time!

upon entering the year of the tiger, i also just realized that i am now into my 3rd and final trimester. our tiger mini will be born in 12 weeks' time. as my heartbeat quickens, i wish to record this moment of excitement.

thank you mini!

ak & mini @ week 28

Thursday, February 11, 2010

lady gaga

a colleague of mine is a mom with a 13-year-old girl.

i think it was last summer when she and her girl were crazy about High School Musical. they became such big fan that they were following a specific cast touring in the US, and they flew all the way there to see the live show. i must say, to me, having to go that far to impress your own kid is quite extravagant!

last week, i bumped into her in the office lift. another colleague was casually chatting with her about updates on the High School Musical.

"you know what, High School Musical is so 2009 for my girl. she's now into Lady GaGa."

interesting! so i started listening ....

"i don't get it, is Lady GaGa a man or a woman? I asked my daughter one day, and she simply said - MOM, you don't get it, do you?" this was said in a slightly depressed tone.

then it was time to step out of the lift.

i was laughing at her at first, but not long, i started to wonder if i will get the "you don't get it" soon ...

Lady GaGa is kinda like Anita Mui back in my 13-year-old days. if i remember right, 壞女孩 did cause some social controversy, but it was never of my concern. as a mui fans, it meant cool, that's it.

did my parents ever worry if i would turn into a 淑女 or a 壞女? i can't remember them asking me anything about anita mui. maybe they were too busy with work. i guess if they had asked me, i would also say "you don't get it, do you?" and dismiss the whole question all together. afterall, i was only following a trend, what's there to explain?

how far does a parent have to go to "get it"?

what's so bad about "not getting it"?

i better stop playing the 13-year-old me vs the 34-year-old me ... or i will go crazy!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

the kicks

you've heard it all before, but it does feel amazing when you get the kicks from your baby for the first time ... it feels a lot more real than any of the ultrasound or heartbeat amplifier ... those infrequent ripples in odd rhythms over my tummy ... blub blub ... blub ... blub blub blub ... i laugh whenever i get it.

actually i was wondering why i didn't get the kicks til now. i think i read it weeks ago in the 'what to expect' book, but i wasn't really checking out for it. after i felt it for the first time, i went back to the book. it actually mentions that you won't feel it when you are all busy, that you're more likely to feel it when you are all calm and settled at night ... so work has kept me so busy that i wasn't even feeling my own baby's kicks til now??? i felt kinda guilty for a second.

over this weekend, i actually watched 2 movies - án education' and 'whip it'. these are random choices really, but it turns about to be of similar subject matters - teenage wanting to get out there and experience the bigger world, with parents hurt but relationships amended along the way. when i used to watch movies like this, it usually brings reflections on my own teenage years. but this time, i can't help but to fall into the role of the supporting cast - those playing the parents!

in the quiet night as the movie rolls on, i feel my baby kicks again and again. the kicks ... it suddenly feels like a sign ... it's the physical kicks now that brings me the laughs ... then it will grow into emotional kicks as the years go by, and those will be much stronger, bring me bigger laughs or hurtful cries ... and if i don't calm myself and pay enough attention, the kicks might just go pass unnoticed, and i would have missed it all ...

so here i record this moment of the kicks.

and i promise myself i will treasure more of the kicks to come.

ak & mini @ week 25