moments

The nights are long.

I did not write this. It is a beautiful piece extracted from “No Mama’s Perfect“. I wanted to reproduce it here so that I will always remember that the nights are long but the years are so very short.

When you’re finally home, hospital bracelet still on your wrist, and your sweet infant girl cries all night. When you try everything you know to soothe her and nothing seems to work, and eventually the tears of joy you expected become tears of exhaustion and frustration.

The nights are long.

When you rock, soothe, and sing lullabies all to no avail, and that bassinet you chose with such care sits empty, while you walk the length of your home, shushing, and swaying, and praying sleep will come.

The nights are long.

When the fever is high, his eyes usually dancing with delight, are dull and weary. When his little body is wracked with sickness, and you don’t know what’s wrong. When you call the 24-hour nurse line, or research symptoms online, only to end up terrified.

The nights are long.

When we lie awake at night wondering if our babies, now children, are making friends at school. Our bodies are exhausted from the day, yet our minds still churn with questions: are they adjusting, are they happy, have we taught them enough to navigate these new experiences?

The nights are long.

When the ones who once filled our backseat with more questions and songs than our ears could digest, now, a few years later, scroll their phones quietly instead. When the eyes once filled with amusement and laughter are now rolled skyward more often than we’d like, and we sit there wondering if all is well in their world. We try, but at times feel unable to find our way into the heart of things.

The nights are long.

When she’s out on a date, and you wonder if all the things you’ve taught her, and all the conversations you’ve had with her, will be enough. When he’s out with his friends, and you hope he’ll be a leader rather than a follower, and that the heart to hearts will be lived out now that the decisions are his to make. When the car is packed, and your eyes hold hers through that window one last time as she pulls away.

Yes. The nights are long.

But the years?

Oh, the years are short.

When the little bundle that once wouldn’t sleep in the bassinet is now too long to fit, and you lay her gently in the crib instead.

The years are short.

When the tiniest hand that once clutched your finger so tightly, releases your hand readily and walks towards the first day of Kindergarten.

The years are short.

When our babies, who were just cooing, snuggling, and filling their fists with our hair are now curling, straightening, and styling their own.

The years are short.

When the one you thought would never sleep, would now sleep until noon if you let him.

The years are short.

When you see the hand, that just yesterday learned to wave while you encouragingly said, “Say bye-bye,” waving goodbye as she drives away.

The years are short.

When our littles become our bigs; When our way becomes their way; When our love is stretched to the point of aching…

We will remember…

That the nights were so very long. But the years are so very short.

Written By: Ginger Hughes

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me myself and i · moments · the twins · thoughts

Closing a chapter

The chapter on breastfeeding, that is. I wanted to write an Instagram post because it’s faster and more instant but I have so much to say that I decided a blog entry is the way go. Also, I would like to remember this chapter many years from now (don’t close down on me, WordPress) so that hopefully, one day, the twins will get to read about it.

With Elliott, I breastfed him for close to a year. 21 days shy of a full year, to be precise. I know this because I wrote about it here. It was quite a different journey with the twins.

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Right from the get-go, we supplemented with formula milk for the twins. I remember our lovely PD telling me at the hospital, when he came round for checks, to “please go ahead and supplement ok? You’re feeding two. Don’t be too hard on yourself”. So yes, Edith and Everett took a mixture of breast milk and Karihome infant formula milk from the start.

With Elliott, I was truly blessed to have been able to give him 100% breastmilk for the first 6 months. I had no issues with supply then and I knew that with the twins, the body will automatically know what to do.

And it did.

I was able to nurse them from the start, at the hospital. I have videos of their little mouths suckling and having to stop briefly to rest because they were so tiny and having to work for their milk was exhausting for their little bodies. I am very glad I captured those moments on video because it will never ever happen again. Not in this lifetime anyway. I’m done having kids, and I am done with breastfeeding.

Quick note to new moms: I know it’s all hazy and scary when the new baby arrives and you’re trying your darnest to keep the kid alive but please record videos of yourself trying to nurse, or nursing your baby. It will be a treasured clip in years to come. 

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Other than supplementing with formula milk with the twins, I also decided to pump and get other caregivers to give them their feed via bottles. I tried to nurse them directly but it wasn’t very efficient. Edith was pretty good at latching but Everett was too impatient. He’d get extremely frustrated if he couldn’t get his latch on (i.e. milk wouldn’t flow properly) which translated into very loud and angry screams. Think thrashing about, cry-until-face-red type of situation. It was too stressful for me.

I even tried to latch them at the same time and boy, it was DAMN CHALLENGING, to say the least. When I finally got one twin to latch one, I’d have to gingerly try and get the other twin to latch. And this involved twisting my body into weird angles. And more often than not, by the time I managed to get other twin to latch, the first twin would have unlatched because of my twisting.

TOO MUCH EFFORT, people! And I did not have the brain space or energy to keep up with the let’s-nurse-them-together feat. Twin mums who do this regularly has my utmost respect. I don’t know how you do it, man.

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During the first 3 months, despite my best efforts, I wasn’t pumping out enough milk and we always had to top-up with formula milk. No matter how much milk I had, I always tried to divide them equally. However, I was slightly biased towards Everett as he was the smaller twin so if I had a bit extra, I’d always ensure that it went to Everett.

However, by the 4th month or so, I managed to pump enough milk to feed both almost exclusively on breast milk on some days. Not every single day but some. Those days felt good. Despite convincing myself that it is entirely ok to use formula milk, there was always a tiny niggling doubt at the back of my head that I wasn’t giving them 100% breast milk. It’s crazy, isn’t it?

The breast pump and I soon developed a close relationship. I pretty much stopped latching directly and pumped exclusively. I used the same pump as I did with Elliott, the Unimom Forte. It’s a hospital grade, double pump from South Korea which is supposed to “effectively stimulate your breasts to adequately raise your hormones which increases your milk production and output.” I’m not sure about all that but I just know that it worked well enough for me in extracting milk for the babies.

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Using bottles to give the twins their feed also meant that we could all tell how much they were drinking each time. We faithfully recorded how much they’ve drunk into a notebook as it is easy to forget what time they drank, or who was already fed! This was something taught to us by our confinement nanny. I guess with twins, I did not have the luxury of time (and energy) to latch them on demand. I’m not saying that this cannot be done. Many twin mums do it. It just wasn’t for me.

We followed a 3-hourly schedule and when it time for their feed, their caregivers would warm up the breastmilk in the fridge and gave it to them via bottles. We started with glass bottles from Nuk but soon transitioned to Hegen bottles. We used the latex Nuk teats that would end up going “flat” after one too many rounds of sterilising. This led to us having to stop feeding the babies to “unflatten” the teats which led to Very Angry Babies. Aiyoooo.

Tried the Hegen bottles and they were WONDERFUL. No issues with the flattening of teats and we can see exactly when the bottle was emptied out. Also, the square shape means the bottle opening is HUGE – makes it easy to pour milk/formula in. I also like the one-snap-to-close and one-twist-to-open method because when you have 2 angry and hungry babies, SPEED is critical. We now have 4 Hegen bottles that we use for the twins.

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Weaning off the babies this time round was pretty uneventful, to say the least. They started on solids once they hit 6 months old and they are WONDERFUL little eaters. For now. I hope I don’t jinx it by typing it out. Now that they’re 7 months old, they’re eating 2 meals a day (lunch and dinner) along with Karihome Follow-On formula milk. They don’t seem to need, or miss breast milk very much! When I try to latch Edith, she suckles for a minute or so before being distracted by whatever that’s happening around her.

So yep, this entry is to commemorate the end of my breastfeeding days. I do not know the exact day we stopped but the fact that our formula milk runs out really rapidly, I think it is safe to say that we are done with nursing. Forever.

Does it make me sad? Not really. I was quite happy to be selling off my pre-loved maternity/nursing clothes on Carousell and as weird as this sound, the fact that I can now take any type of medicine if and when I’m ill pleases me. I also love that I no longer need to worry about leaky boobs at 3am or lug 10,572 pieces of pumping paraphernalia whenever I head out.

I am just glad, and thankful, that I got the opportunity to breastfeed all my 3 kids, no matter how long/short the journey was.  Like I have always believed, breastfeeding isn’t the only way to bond with your child. There will be a gazillion other ways to build a close bond and we have our entire lifetimes to do so.

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note to edith and everett

Note to Edith and Everett – 03

Dear Edith and Everett,

I don’t know how it happened. I blinked and suddenly, you’re six seven months old. This note sat in my drafts folder for the longest time (as you can tell by me having to change six to seven!) I totally meant to write you a note earlier but you know how it is. I mean, it only took me 6 sittings to complete this entry.

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The both of you no longer look like newborns. You are now older and…wiser. You both can now flip onto your tummies easily which means you can no longer lie in your rockers. You have also discovered your toes and hands and love sticking them into your mouth. You both have also started on solids (at the 6 month mark) and it is heartwarming to watch you both eat. You eat with such relish and joy! Such a marked difference from your kor kor who used to spit out everything I made him. Keep going, babies! Your love for eating inspires me to keep making new food for you to try.

Edith, you break out in the sweetest of smiles when you recognise your caregivers. You try and have conversations with us and it makes me laugh how your expressions gives away exactly how you’re feeling. Just like Mummy. When your brothers play a tad too rowdily, you turn your head and give them a “What’s up, bro? So noisy for what?” look.

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You do not like strangers carrying you or being too close. You reserve a special “separation anxiety” cry for those moments. You cry hard and loud which works magically because said stranger will pass you back to your usual caregivers in a nanosecond. Well played, my child.

You get startled by loud noises and sudden movements. Even a sudden sneeze from Elliott will make you jump. Speaking of your kor kor, you guys are fast developing a bond. Elliott will always (ALWAYS) greet you first, even when Everett is right beside you. “Hello mei mei!“, he’d chime, and proceed to rain kisses and hugs on you. We’d have to always remind him to say Hi to didi too. This is also the very reason why you fell sick after catching the bug from your kor kor. Everett managed to escape the bugs because, well, kor kor didn’t really go near him. Ha!

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You can make “ahh” sounds and “pfffft“. I wish I can bottle up all your cute little sounds because they are so fleeting. You have also discovered the ability to screech at the top of your voice. I call you a bird because you will be right at home at…The Bird Park. Some days, it sounds like you’re practising your screeches to see exactly how loud you can go. It’s quite different from what we are used to with Elliott. Your screeches are high-pitched and really loud. You also enjoy looking at books which warms my bookworm heart so.

We also started you on helmet therapy when you were 6 months old as we noted that the back of your head is a little flat. We were assured by the orthotist that there is no developmental issues in your case so the therapy is purely for cosmetic reasons, i.e. having a nice round head shape. I must say that you’ve been an absolute trooper so far. I am also thankful that Singapore has been experiencing a spate of crazy cool weather (22 degrees!) so that helps too. I’m absolutely biased but we all think that you look adorable in the pink helmet. Daddy calls you Princess Magneto which is rather apt, me thinks. I personally think you look like a rather cute, pink watermelon.

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Everett, you are, thankfully, no longer that little Angry Little Bird. Ok, you still cry more easily than Edith but at least, I do notice that you smile and laugh more readily these days. You used to go from zero to a hundred when you’re hungry or the pacifier fell out of your mouth. Your smile is different from your sister’s. I call it the “shy smile” and this smile doesn’t come easy. I love that you smile when I greet you in the mornings as your smile is so very rare!

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But oh, when you laugh, it makes everyone around you laugh as well as it is rather infectious! I love to blow bubbles against your neck as it makes you chuckle. You anticipate the next move and will usually giggle first before I even go close. SO SO CUTE. You also do this rotate-both-your-ankles move that really amuses me. You tend to do it when you’re excited/happy and it’s super cute to watch. Your sister doesn’t do it though! It’s almost like you discovered your ankles and decide to keep moving them because LOOK MA! MY ANKLES! I CAN MOVE THEM!

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I have to document your love for food here. When we first started on the solid foods journey, you were the one who showed lots of enthusiasm. When you’re in my arms and I’m eating, you stare intently and your gaze will follow the food from plate to my mouth. It’s pretty amusing to watch. You have also been a great eater, trying all sorts of foods that we give you. From purees to yogurt, you eat them all. Edith is a bit more cautious when it comes to new foods. Not you. You happily open your mouth and try them all.

You’ve been on some sort of growth spurt too, eating and drinking LOADS. You were about a kilogram lighter than Edith but at the last weigh-in, you were only lighter by 200 grams! Your face is rounding out and your thighs! So nom-able.

You also seem to be putting all sorts of stuff into your mouth so it makes me wonder if you’re starting to teeth. We don’t see any sign of any tooth yet though. I’m just glad that the many teethers we prepared have come in handy! You’re also the one who uses up the 10,572 pieces of bibs that we bought because your kor kor did not drool as much.

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You get extremely grouchy when you’re sleepy or hungry. You wail and cry and will continue to whine until you eventually fall asleep or get your milk fix. Your caregivers put you in the baby carriers (LIFE SAVERS!) and take you out of the house because it’s almost the only way to calm you down. Perhaps that’s your little way of making us take you outdoors! You exhibit FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and it’s funny because your eyes are fast closing but they’d fly open the moment you hear a squeak.

Popo is now staying with us so she does the night shift to care for the both of you. For that, we’d always be grateful as I have returned to full time work. This also means she’s usually exhausted by about 4am and that’s when one of you (or both) choose to wake and sing at the top of your voice (that’s you, Edith).

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Being at work the entire day also means that I barely get to see the both of you. I try to wake up a little bit earlier so that I can at least spend 5-10 minutes with you before we all hurry out of the door. You’re both growing really quickly and it makes my heart ache a little that I am not there to witness some of your milestones. I was told that you’re both starting to learn how to sit unaided so hopefully, in the next few weeks or so, we get to witness it.

Grow well, grow healthy, my little patooties. Mummy loves you very much even though you may not see very much of me these days. Sniff.

Always,
Mummy xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cooking · food glorious food · reviews

Review: MarketFresh

Psst. A giveaway and a promotion code at the end of this entry!

I used to love tagging along to wet markets with my (late) grandma. I remember the chatter of aunties haggling with stall holders, the mix of smells from the various fresh produce on sale, the huge crowds jostling for the best bargains. I also clearly remember the wet and rather funky-smelling slippery floors of the market because I’d usually end up with damp toes after a visit.

How times have changed.

The wet markets are no longer wet. In fact, many wet markets these days are dry and clean. And to take it a step further, the wet market has also gone (gasp) online!

I used to buy all my supplies from the supermarket but after I discovered the joys of buying fresh meat the wet market, I try and do our household marketing there instead. Unfortunately, having twin babies and a toddler doesn’t leave me with much time to head to the wet market.

This is why I was pretty excited when I was contacted by MarketFresh. In a nutshell, instead of you heading to the wet market, MarketFresh brings the wet market to you, via their website! You just pick out what you need from their website (in your pyjamas, or 3-day old, milk-stained tee shirt – no one cares) and MarketFresh will deliver it to you.

You can choose from 4 delivery time slots (in 3 hour blocks) so you can choose whichever suits your schedule best. And if you purchase $68 and above, you enjoy free delivery! Otherwise, delivery is a flat rate of $6.

In other words, just click-click-click and MarketFresh will do the shopping at the wet market on your behalf and deliver it to you. To ensure freshness, MarketFresh is not open on Mondays, just like the wet market. This is to ensure that whatever you are receiving is truly fresh from the (wet) market.

My MIL (who comes over to help with the twins on weekdays) was amazed that such a service existed and lamented that ‘in her days, she has to do marketing on her own and lug it home all by herself’. She also looked at the prices of the items and remarked that even though they are a tad more expensive as compared to the wet market, this slight premium is for having someone else do the marketing on your behalf and delivering it to your doorstep at a time convenient to you.

I tried out their services and picked out a couple of food items. I picked out some lean beef for stir-frying beef (more on that later in this entry) and I love that you can choose how you want your beef (or other types of meat) prepared, i.e. cubed, sliced thick, sliced thin, minced, etc. It’s just like being at the wet market without actually being there.

I don’t have a picture of it but all the items arrived in plastic bags, just like how they’re packed if you bought them yourself at the wet market.

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Here’s something I found interesting.

I ordered some lotus root to make lotus root soup (our family favourite). Check out how “raw” it looked before we scrubbed it clean! I joked that perhaps this piece of lotus root was freshly dug out from the muddy ground that very morning and delivered to us FRESH.

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As part of their campaign titled “Modern Mummies in the Kitchen”, I will be sharing a recipe created from the groceries we received from MarketFresh.

That’s not all.

miss ene and the boy has 2 x $50 vouchers to giveaway to 2 lucky readers and a promotion code for first time purchases. Details at the end of this entry.

But first, let me tell you all about this super yummy and easy-to-make dish called ‘Daging Sapi Lada Hitam‘ which basically translates to ‘Black Pepper Beef‘. The recipe is tweaked from ‘Step by Step 25 Resep Chinese Food‘ by Sisca Soewitomo who is supposedly the Queen of Indonesian cuisine. It is easy to whip up and best of all, Elliott loves it too. What we do is to omit the black pepper for his portion.

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Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 500 gram sliced beef (we used these)
  • 3 tablespoons of cooking oil for frying
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 7 pieces of garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 piece of white onion, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons of grounded black pepper (individual taste)
  • 100 ml water
  • 1/2 red capsicum, diced (optional, for colour)

Marinade for sliced beef (for at least 30 minutes)

  • 3 tablespoons of kecap manis
  • 1 tablespoon of light sauce
  • 5 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grounded white pepper

Method

  1. Heat frying pan with oil and sesame oil.
  2. Add minced garlic, fry till aromatic.
  3. Add sliced beef with marinade into the frying pan. Stir-fry till cooked.
  4. Add water (100 ml), allow water to evaporate.
  5. Throw in diced white onion and mix well.
  6. Scatter grounded black pepper into the dish and stir well. Note: If you are making this for children who doesn’t take spicy food, separate the beef before adding in pepper.
  7. Serve hot. Optional: Garnish with coriander and red chilli. We love it with steamed rice as there is a bit of sauce that goes perfectly.

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This dish is on our dinner menu at least once a week as it is super easy and delicious. If your household does not take beef, you can easily substitute it with lean pork slices.

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Giveaway

MarketFresh is giving away $50 credit to 2 readers to use on their website, Market Fresh.sg. To enter:

  1. Follow ‘missene‘ (@missene) and MarketFresh (@marketfresh.sg) on Instagram  and/or ‘like’ our Facebook pages – miss ene and the boy at https://www.facebook.com/youdecidelor and MarketFresh at https://www.facebook.com/marketfresh.sg.
  2. Leave a comment on Facebook and/or Instagram to share what you’d cook on my giveaway post and tag at least 3 friends. The more you tag, the higher your chances! 1 tag per comment please.

2 winners will be chosen randomly and this giveaway will end on Saturday 2 December 2017 at 2359 hours.

This giveaway is open to all residing in Singapore only, and it is not affiliated or endorsed by Facebook and/or Instagram.

Promotion code

If this is the first time you’re hearing about MarketFresh and would like to give them a try, use the code ‘missene10‘ at checkout for 10% off!

Let me know what you think and if you do make the recipe I shared, do tag me, ok? I’d love to see how your version turns out.

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Note: miss ene received shopping credits in return for this sponsored post. All views and opinions expressed are her own.

elliott says

Elliott says – 9

Elliott is flipping through a Lego catalogue (his FAVOURITE thing to do, other than playing with his cars) on the sofa. Suddenly, he speaks up:

E: Mummy, my head is so tired.

Me: Oh, why is that so?

E: I play everyday at school, so my head is very tired.

Me: *laughs* Ah I see. What should we do then?

E: I think we need to take my head out and put inside a box.

This kid. He makes me chuckle.