I finally had time to go through last year's posts and realized that I did not write a 2011 summary. Oh boo! What a bad mommy! Can't blame myself too much because who has time when you have two young children (with one just born)!
1. My energizer bunny, Nate
We welcomed Nate to our growing family in November of 2011. We (actually it's just me) were really hoping that he would be born on the 11th day of November (due date was the 13th), but my little guy couldn't wait to meet us and he was born pretty much a few days after I started my maternity leave. Whew!! I was worried that I would give birth in my own classroom!
Nate is pretty easy. Very mellow baby. He doesn't like to cry much and pretty easy going. We had our 100 day celebration dinner with our family and friends.
And Nate is also baptized as a Catholic. He is so lucky to have Uncle Ron and Auntie Maria as his godparents.
In terms of taking care of him, the things that really, really bug me is the fact that A) he does not eat well, B) he does not sleep well. Oh boy, oh boy! Don't want to generalize this, but it seems like boys are so much more difficult than girls. (Or that my girl was super easy to take care of as a baby!) On a bad day, he could skip all his feeding (except night time). So mommy has been sleep deprived for pretty much the whole year. So tired!!! It didn't help with the fact that Nate started teething super early. He has 8 teeth by the time he was 8 months old! His canines are coming out right now and they put him in a really really terrible mood. He got so angry and frustrated that he would arch his back and started to swing his arms and legs around. It is almost impossible to hold him steady. I honestly felt like I am like carrying a super active puppy that would not stop moving. OMG!!! Lately, his mood has improved, let's just hope that he would continue to stay in the "angel mode" a bit longer.
If you have ever met Nate, you know how active this little guy is. He just does not stop. He started crawling when he was around 7-8 months. I thought he would start to walk before his first birthday, but that did not happen. He loves to walk with his shopping cart/chair/stool. Nate has taken a few first steps on his own, but crawling is still his preferred way to "commute". It is super fun to see him growing so much and so fast. (Baby's first year is SO AMAZING!) He loves to play. His most favorite things are balls and cars (and we did not intentionally give him these toys, he is just drawn to them!) Oh, let's not forget the kitchen! Nate loves playing in the toy kitchen and loves to open/close doors, taking things out of the containers, removing all the books from the bookshelf. He could also climb onto the couch, ottoman and the kids' table quite easily. He could also get down by himself too, really fascinating to watch how babies grow and develop. He is learning to draw with crayons and loves to play with stamps (opening and closing the lid).
Feeding is an ongoing battle. Nate needs to be distracted or entertained in order to eat. We swore that we would not let our kids play while they eat, but he left us no choice. We tried to feed him, but he took a few bites and would not continue. This has been going on for a few months before I realized that he needed to be entertained. We were so sorry about his appetite and weight that we have been seen the family doctor a few times, but nothing really helped until I started to give him a few toys to play with. He ate a lot better after that. Lately, he is learning to self feed and often, he would want to feed himself. Nate can drink from a cup (again, self feed), use a straw and learning to drink from a regular cup. He is still super skinny (but very very active), but I have been reassured by many other mommies that it is quite normal for boys to have this kind of weight issue. Even my pediatrician could not find any problems with him, so I guess I will just have to keep on trying to feed him and hoping that one day he would turn around. His current faves include cheese, congee, yogurt, puffs, fruits and crackers. He is still allergic to egg whites, but he is okay with cow's milk. In fact, he very much preferred cow's milk than formula.
2. My hilarious girl, Ali
My little Ali has grown up so much in the last year. It is truly amazing to see how much more articulate she is and also to see her personality develop. Ali is still a great eater, so mommy can't complain too much there. She can be easily distracted with her surroundings tho. That seems to be a common complaint from her teachers. So sometimes, she would skip a meal at school because she was distracted by some other things that were happening in her classroom. Ali is more willing to try other foods now. She used to hate potatoes, but now she is starting to like fries and tater tots (all the yummy stuff). She is starting to like desserts more and more, but she has a fairly low "threshold" still. She can only do a small amount of dessert at a time.
Ali loves to read and play "dressed up". Her current obsession is being a pre-school teacher. When she gets home from school, she will pretend to teach her imaginary friends. Quite hilarious to watch. Sometimes, she would forced us/others to be her students (gee, I wonder where she got this from, haha!)
Ali is much more articulate this year. She can communicate her thoughts effectively most of the time. She also LOVES to help. Not kidding. We threw our good friend, Auntie Koo, a baby shower back in March and boy, was Ali on top of things of what! You can count on this little girl to get things done. And she is not shy about telling people what to do or give them orders. Oh my little bossy girl! It is always fun to hang out my silly and brutally honest girl. Ali's comments always make us laugh!
I have to say Ali is very outgoing and does not take long to warm up to people. She loves to hang out with her friends. Allison is still her No. 1 best friend.
3. Taking care of both kids
Ali went to school full time for the first three months since we had Nate. She then went part time for 2 days a week. Taking care of both kids on my own was a daunting task. I was seriously worried, but it went really well. It was a bit difficult at first, but very soon, I figured out that Ali really needed some "going out" time. As long as I kept her busy, she seemed to have less behavioral problems. So we signed her up for:
a) music classes/dance classes
b) gymnastic classes
c) a heck lot of playdates with her friends, while Nate was usually in the sling. Man, I would not have survived without the sling (thanks Kai mama!) this year!
d) Strong Start program
e) story time at the library
f) hanging out in Science World
We also signed up the whole family for music classes together. It was a bit expensive, but I think well worth the money. Quality time spend with the whole family is always great and besides, the kids just love music time!
Going back to work is quite a bit harder this time around. I guess I did really enjoy spending time with the two monsters and also the fact that I went back 2 months into the school year. (And it also did not help that I did not do any prep during maternity leave.) I felt like I am a substitute teacher over again. Things are finally settling down and the kids are getting more comfortable with the idea that mommy is not always there 24/7.
Ali LOVES school and her teachers. She is doing well in her pre-school and generally, always look forward to go to school, eager to learn and play with her friends. She loves to share and volunteer her mommy's time to make food/things for her friends. When I baked her something she likes, she would immediately asked me to make some more to bring to school the next day. Arrrr....mommy does not have that much time, honey.
Ali was uber excited to hear that Nate is always going to school with her. Nate, on the other hand, was not happy to go to school. He was crying so much. And of course, he got sick and had to take a week off, so we had to start gradual transition all over again. We are really really lucky that Por-por here to save the day. Without her around, I bet we would have to take a whole month off for Nate.
Thank you Por-por!!! We are lucky that por por pretty much prepared dinner for us on the weekdays so we could have an easier time. I don't want to think about what is going to happen in February. Mac n cheese every day?
We took a short trip to San Francisco back in April and we had a blast hanging out with our kai family. Ali still talked about Kiki and Hayhay almost on a daily basis. Can't wait to see you guys again in the summer!
And of course, the crazy trip to Hong Kong. What on earth were we thinking?? I mean, it was really great seeing everyone, but the trip itself was...so...painful! Seriously, we are not going back again until Nate turns 5.
We are thrilled to meet our baby niece, Maddy Dou for the first time. In fact, they had so much fun that their parents decided to bring her over to Vancouver to hang out with us in October!
7. Loads of "firsts"!
a) first time for the kids to go to HK
b) first time having a cousin that lives within 15 minutes car ride = lots of playdates (oh yeah!)
b) first time growing tomatoes and sugar peas in our garden
c) Nate's first hair cut (done by daddy)
d) Mommy's first time making tees for the kids and making "baby art" (I love love love my cricut!)
8. Sibling love
Nate loves to do whatever his big sister is doing. He just adores Ali! If we woke him up in the morning, he would be so cranky. But if Ali woke him up (with her super loud singing), he would laugh and clapped. Similarly, whenever Ali gets really tired or hurt herself somehow, the first thing she would ask for is Nate. She would want to hug him whenever she needs comfort. It is just so so precious to see the bond between the two. Hubby and I really hope that they will continue to love each other as much as they do now (if not more!).
My two "dynamic" duo!
We wish everyone a very happy and exciting 2013! May you and your family have a joyful, healthy and prosperous year ahead!