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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Callum is Ten Months Old

Our little boy has grown leaps and bounds since the last update. His eczema is finally under control and he started crawling! We had to babyproof the house in a day because he was following us everywhere. He is also pulling himself up all around the house. He bites things and lately us with such intensity that we are pretty sure some teeth are going to finally make their appearance.

He still squeals as loudly as ever. #pterodactyl

He knows who Papa and Mama are now. He knows when we leave the room or when we are about to. He also knows a lot more things around the house and looks for them when we ask him like the wooden horses, mirror, wall pictures, balls, his toys, water etc. He also loves spotting aeroplanes, birds, dogs etc.

He laughs and smiles a lot as per usual. He is very cheerful and sociable. The cutest thing is when we open the door to go out. The stairwell has an echo so he ALWAYS makes a very loud noise the moment we open the door. He loves to hear the echo. Very fast learner too. He is getting real cheeky, learning how to bang things. His latest obsession is throwing balls and anything he can get his hands on.

He eats really well now and is a big boy. Cue backaches and all kinds of aches for Papa and Mama. Without his eczema we can finally see his cute face and it is adorable!

He has also started waving, albeit looking a tad unsure about it.

We go to the parks lots and also have started bringing him swimming! He also sat on his first swing in the playground and loved it.

He is looking so much like the Asian Jack-Jack because of his cutie-patootie hair and sweet face. I couldn't help myself......

We had some life changing news in the meantime. Our little family has been super busy processing this new stage of life. Lots to do and lots to prepare. Callum may begin daycare soon too.

Happy Ten Months, Callum!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Callum is Nine Months Old

Callum has been making progress in communicating. Who would have thought that his first words would be 'Potato' and 'Water'. :) He said it a few times but mainly says 'Neh' and 'Ti/Teh'. Lately he has started saying 'A' as in the alphabet 'A' many times at a go. He started saying 'A' when we were out on the balcony pointing to things. Now he says it when he is thinking and discovering something. 'Neh' is his way of complaining.

He also added new things to his tickle words. He laughed at his grandparents saying 'Chee Puah-1/2' and 'Pid-geon!' at the park. He also laughs at being tickled and just yesterday laughed hysterically at his grandmother swinging his toy car. He laughs and smiles quite a bit. However, he still struggles with itching and that sadly makes him very irritable, whiny and restless.

He is growing more hair! No teeth in sight yet. Where be those teeth? :) He is sort of in a phase of rejecting food. He usually gets restless after 3 mouthfuls. Even with toys. We have had to carry him and distract him to feed him. Can't wait for this phase to pass. He has been on a restrictive diet especially after learning about his allergy. Adding teeny bits of mild seasoning seems to help.

We also think he is going to go from sitting to walking skipping past crawling since being on his tummy triggers his scratching reflex. He can't spend enough time on his front to learn how to crawl. He also doesn't enjoy sitting very long.

He has fun gnawing on cucumber, pear and honeydew sticks. He also enjoys bread these days.

Our first visit to Whitstable Castle.

 Callum enjoying a day in the park. He really loved the birds and swans.

Callum had his first trip to Rye and had a lot of fun watching seagulls and discovering new things.

 Happy Nine Months Callum!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Callum is Eight Months Old

It wasn't until today that I realised our dear boy is turning 8 months! The past month has just flown by. Not an easy month given that I have been drafted to do some urgent summer academic work which requires a full 8 hours of sitting down and reading everyday. Between trying to keep Callum's hands away from his face, trips to the GP, carrying and distracting Callum from his itch, reading up on eczema, trying out new remedies for Callum, sleepless nights and keeping the house running, (and my husband with his full time job), we were struggling to cope when the work came in. We were close to burning out from sheer exhaustion. It was heartbreaking for us to see Callum struggle with the itch and pain.

Thankfully, Ye Ye and Ngen Ngen were able to come offer us two much needed, capable, helping and loving hands on an incredibly short notice. Callum was able to go out for lovely walks and enjoy playtime with Ye Ye and Ngen Ngen while I hunkered down to finish the work. Thank God that they are strong enough to handle a squirmy Callum when his itch strikes. We also thank the Lord for wonderful friends and the church family who have been keeping us in prayer, sending us many remedies (A steam vacuum included! Thanks Leigh!) to try, giving us caring advice and encouragement. The sermons also provide much needed spiritual nourishment to us in this trying time.

Allergy test to common items came back negative which is a relief and the journey continues as we search for what may ultimately be an unidentifiable trigger. In the meantime, we are switching our carpets out for some hard flooring. It made sense to do so despite the test results as the dust, spillage and whatever general dirt that lurks within can't do any good to Callum or ourselves in this busy London hub which we call home.

Amidst all of this, God's grace is more evident than ever. He has provided all that we ever needed. In the hard time, He draws us close to Himself and while it may be easy to focus on the struggle, it's only by His grace that we are able to see and be thankful for the blessings and help He has sent our way to meet us in our path.

Through this ongoing experience, we have been reminded of the Absolute (i.e. God and principles from the Bible) and Relative (i.e. everything else) dichotomy and to also be kinder and less judgmental of others. We all subscribe to many theories in life on how something should be done or things ought to be. Being a parent has taught me to look much further than the surface of a matter or a person. To be more forgiving and forbearing as well. How many times we have had to remind ourselves to put ourselves in someone else's shoes and walk a few steps, not in order to gain the power to then judge them and want them to conform to our image, but to have compassion and understanding for what they are going through in order to then come alongside them to encourage, love and help them to conform to Christ's image. That we may all glorify Him.

It can be all too easy to pass judgment or expect that someone should or shouldn't this-or-that according to our own preferences. It is much harder to patiently mould with love and discipline according to the Truth.

We continue to pray that God will grant us wisdom, patience, health and much needed strength to continue to love and raise young Callum.

Happy Eight Months, Callum!     

Friday, May 20, 2016

Callum is Seven Months Old

Dear Little One, after you turned 6 months old, we decided it was time for my surgery so Ye Ye and Ngen Ngen came over to give us four helping hands through another challenging few weeks. I caught an infection so had delayed recovery but meanwhile, you were growing stronger everyday! 

Here you are with your grandparents in the park!

You really enjoyed playing with them and laughing too. Ngen Ngen made you a bolster and pillow cases which you love. They also bought you many toys!

However, with the onset of hot weather, your eczema worsened and we were so worried about you. Thankfully, a new ointment helps keep your skin from breaking. You still scratch like a fiend and we are always on scratch-watch. 
We have been bringing you out to the park quite often given the sunny spell we had a week ago but alas, the cold front is back now with dreary skies and rainy afternoons. Hopefully the sun will come out soon and we can go sit on grass again. You look absolutely adorable in your shorts.

You have learned how to propel yourself forward on the baby walker and even walked towards me when I call you! You lean back to escape corners and you are learning how to manouevre into different corners of the room. You try to go into new corners and rooms too, cheeky you!  You also play with your toes a lot and have started turning all around when you lie down. Your latest thing is waking up 90 degrees or 180 degrees from where we put you down.... 

We started you on sweet potatoes and apple which you really enjoy. You have porridge in the morning too now with some added probiotics in hopes of helping your eczema. You sleep with the fan on too as you heat up so easily. You never like thick layers or need comforters tucked all around like other babies. You are one of a kind! You don't like jackets or any warming clothes, even beanies! You played with balloons for the first time on your dad's birthday and you were squinting when they moved. 

Everything you find goes into your mouth. You are most certainly teething as you refuse your feeds sometimes and drool buckets.

You get more and more aware of your surroundings, displaying some signs of stranger danger! 

You still love music very much.

You really have the sweetest smile. You greet us with it unfailingly everytime you lay eyes on us or when we make noises at you. Melts our hearts. Sweety pie, thats how you get the kisses all around your head.

You are able to sit up on your own now, although you still slide down after a while. You enjoy bath times and kicking the water now. Hopefully we can bring you swimming soon. We are eager to see when you will be able to babble more. You have said Da Da and Nay Nay, but not on purpose sometimes. You have been blowing bubbles the past few days. You are also now able to sit in the high chair and join us for mealtimes! A month ago, you were screaming when we tried it and sliding all over the place.

Happy Seven Months, Callum!

Friday, May 6, 2016

A Very Special Birthday

My dearest husband,

What a year! The past year has been the most difficult and overwhelming year of our lives so far. We have gone through so many unexpected trials. In sickness and in health, you have been there for me giving your all and much more. You are incredibly kind and you succeed at being so patient although I know it must be so hard. You are so humble and always put others first. You are a man of few words. As such, you epitomise the verse about your left hand not knowing what your right hand does. You never toot your own horn! You achieve and do so many amazing things in a day.

I truly admire the fact that I have never heard you complain a single time about any burden that you bear. You would be facing the toughest times at study, work and at home but you never utter a single complaint or wish for things to be different. You never moan or groan in any form of sickness, even when you were losing sleep, weight, surviving abroad alone without any help, facing the heaviest stress etc. You live with such strong hope in future grace. I hope Callum will learn this from you.

You never give up. You are such a fighter and never put off work. You are such a responsible husband, father and worker. You work extraordinarily hard and so efficiently. I love that about you. You have amazing respect for the importance of time and you have a wonderful work ethic. You are so disciplined and always try hard to do the right thing. You make no excuses ever, literally- you perform every obligation and duty so willingly. If you don't have time, you MAKE time. No one would know the time or energy constraint you have because you would never make it known. No one would know if you were tired or burning out unless we put our mind to it and consider your activities. That's how selfless you are. You are not a martyr by any means but you just don't find your own needs important at all and are so giving of yourself that it doesn't occur to you to think about yourself, let alone talk about yourself.  

You live up so wonderfully to the responsibility of being the eldest in the family. You think and take care of everyone's needs. You make sure that things run smoothly. You do all the hard work behind-the-scenes. The fact that we are able to enjoy family trips and holidays is all down to your hard work running things. You plan things with such efficiency, prudence and detail that without a doubt, the decisions you make are always well-researched, cost-efficient and most convenient for everyone participating.

You have a unique sense of humor which I have learned to understand through the years. I love that you are not complicated as a person. You are very easy to please and not imposing in the slightest way. You do not have many opinions about unimportant and relative matters which is again so admirable. Because of that, when you actually speak at length about something, I know it's always something immensely important, filled with wisdom and insightful. Most of the time it is about important principles and absolute things like God, family, education, attitudes, improving, growing and raising our child.

You are an educator by nature but your timing is flawless. You don't impose your knowledge on others but are so willing to impart wisdom when the time is right. You are so approachable and humble that I wish to be your student. In fact, I was in a big way throughout my studies. You were the best informal tutor I ever had!

Because you don't talk about yourself or ask for anything, it can be so easy to take you for granted or pass your needs up for others who are more vocal and expressive. It can easily be assumed that the stoic exterior that flows from your ethic towards hard work and discipline that you want for nothing and have no need for softness or emotions. But I know better. :) You have such a soft gooey middle (heart!), in fact you have the softest heart among everyone I know. You never ask for anything ever in return but I know it doesn't take a lot to make you happy. Your heart is overjoyed over simple gestures such as a hug (which I know you rarely get apart from me! I wish more people would hug you just for kicks!), a word of encouragement and approval, a plate of your favourite food, a silly joke, some good music and small surprises. 

I pray and hope that I can be the best helper to you and meet your unspoken needs with much love, understanding, good food and silly humor. To just be around and show you that I appreciate all your sacrificial love which reaches more depths than words could ever do.

Happy birthday to my biggest blessing from God, the best friend one could ever have and a wonderful husband and father!

I love you!

Finally, a proper steak experience for you! :)

Your favourites rolled into one- Pandan cake topped with custard and fresh fruit!

Lovely afternoon tea courtesy of wonderful Lou Ye and Onn Ngen!

Onn Ngen's Apple Walnut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting