Thursday, June 29, 2006

Losing weight

Strange how I seem to get ideas for blogging late at night when I should be asleep. I guess at night is when my mind can go wild without interruption.

I stepped on the scale last weekend and almost died of a shock. I've been ignoring how my clothes seem to have shrunk, sometimes blaming the smaller clothes on having been in the dryer too long. In total denial! I have so many reasons to lose weight, apart from the obvious vanity one.

Both my parents were diabetic and had high blood pressure. My father was diagnosed with diabetes and HBP in his 30's. His eyesight deteriorated when he was in his late 40's which caused him to fall and break his hipbone in 1984. He had a heart attack while lying in hospital for 6 months for his hipbone to heal. Being a diabetic, his hip bone took a long time to heal. Soon after he was discharged from hospital with a limp, he was diagnosed with kidney failure. He passed away one month short of his 55th birthday after suffering for 5 years.

My mother was diagoned with diabetes and high blood pressure when in her 40's. She too was overweight. For some time, my mother's menses was erratic. She thought it was due to menopause. When she finally saw a gynae, she was diagnosed with the beginning stages of cervical cancer. After a total hysterectomy and radiotherapy treatment, her intestines got blocked. Her small intestines got twisted which resulted in the blockage. Until the day she passed away, no one knew for sure what caused the intestines to get twisted.

My maternal grandfather passed away at the age of 81 from a stroke. Nobody knew he had high blood pressure. He used to drive a lorry until he was in his late 70's and cycled to get everywhere in Teluk Intan. He did like his fatty pork.

My paternal grandmother also suffered from high blood pressure. My father's younger brother passed away from a heart attack when he was 54.

With a family history like mine, I really should be careful. Also, I will really love to look good in a dress! I've just realised that I've been avoiding mirrors whenever possible. Last weekend, when in Singapore, it suddenly struck why women like to shop for shoes. When trying on a pair of shoes, you're looking at your legs from the calf down. Unless one is obese, the legs from the calf down don't look fat! There isn't any problem of not being able to pull up the zip or having to see unsightly bulges or cellulite.

So, I know my reasons for wanting to lose weight and be as close to my pre-PT weight as possible. Yup, I blame PT for the weight gain ;-) Being blissfully happy in the relationship makes one fat! Plus we had kids ma.

This is what I know about ways to lose weight:
  • The weight was gained over the years so I mustn't expect to lose the weight quickly without compromising my health. So no crash diets please.
  • I need to exercise to firm up. No more sedentary lifestyle.
  • Eat healthily. That means avoid fatty food, refined carbohydrates like white rice, sugar, refined flour, etc. Healthy carbs are welcome, eg, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin.
  • Discipline, discipline, discipline!
  • No fad diets, eg, the Atkins Diet which says eat meat and no fruit or veg for two weeks. And have dog breath? No thank you!
  • Fruit and veg is good for bulking up without piling on the calories.
  • Change of lifestyle will mean losing weight and keeping it off. No point in dieting to lose 10 pounds, then go back to the lifestyle which resulted in the weight gain in the first place. Don't want to lose 10 pounds and gain 15 pounds!
  • I've always been a chubby girl. My aunts were very sweet. They used to tell me I have "baby fat". Well, "baby fat" has become "fat, baby!" So, I shouldn't expect to have a body like Jessica Alba or Nicole Kidman. Body like Salma Hayek is a possibility lah. Got the same pear shape lah.
Well, what I lack is discipline. I love food! I love carbs. Ooh, pasta, rice, bread, cakes, cookies, potatoes! I'm actually eating most of my meal at home and not very much cakes and stuff. Really! I love to bake and cook. I do not enjoy exercising. I do not have time since I'm juggling work, taking care of the household things, kids, etc. Man, writing this down makes my excuses sound so lame!

So, I promise myself to watch what I eat. Make fruit and vegetable the bulk of my diet and cut out refined carbs. Exercise at least 1/2 hour each day, whatever the form of exercise is. Starting from this day, 29 June 2006!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Back to reality

I spent the last 4 days in Singapore. In Singapore, whenever we needed a taxi to get anywhere, we only had to wait a maximum of 5 minutes. A taxi stops, we hop on, tell the driver where to go and we get there. No hassle, no haggle. Then we arrive back in KL. Lugged our bags and approached the first taxi parked near where the bus stopped. The taxi driver looked more like a thug. PT asked to get to our place, straight away the taxi driver asked for RM35 for the fare. WHAT?? When we tried to get him to use the meter, he said he won't be able to make ends meet if he used the meter. Now, if it's not working out for him as a taxi driver, I would suggest he changed profession!

Then we walked a short distance away from where the bus stopped. Hailed a taxi which stopped for us. Without asking if he would go where wanted to go, we got him to open the boot, put our luggage in and jumped into the taxi. The metered fare came up to RM13.

Recently, when I was at a hotel lobby in KL, I heard a commotion. A tourist from China was talking on top of her voice complaining to the hotel manager. I could not make out what she was saying but she went on for quite a bit. Finally found out that she was charged RM100 for a drive from KLCC back to her hotel which is within walking distance!

Malaysians are getting such a bad image thanks to the taxi drivers!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Before kids

As I'm in my bed, trying to sleep, my mind began to wander. I started to think about my life before I had kids. That life wasn't that long ago but it seems like a different lifetime ago. I was someone who loved to sleep. I could sleep the whole day and still sleep at night. If I didn't get my 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, I was a grouch. I'm still a grouch when I'm sleepy but I can now survive on less sleep. I don't remember what it's like to sleep the whole night through anymore. I do find myself waking up to see if Laura or Adam has kicked off their blanket. Until recently, Adam still woke up at night to nurse.

I used to be able to wear anything I wanted without having to think if what I was wearing was suitable for nursing on demand. I could wear frilly underwear and not horrible nursing bras. Speaking of nursing bras, someone please explain to me. A woman who had recently given birth to a baby and is still carrying some weight gained during pregnancy. Her body used to be made up of perky breasts, firm tummy and a tight butt. After childbirth, she resembles Jello more than J Lo. With a newborn baby, there is very little time to take a shower, let alone pick out something nice to wear (pre-pregnancy clothes don't fit anyway) and put on some make-up. Her hormones are still out of whack and her self-esteem isn't at the optimum level. She is sleep depraved from taking care of a newborn and probably grumpy. Why are nursing bras so ugly then? Why aren't nursing bras made to look attractive so that there is some semblance of normalcy with postpartum women? This is the time when the bust are up two cup sizes. Vava voom! But I digress...

Before children was also the time when I needed to think only of packing for myself and PT. Go for short holiday at a moment notice. One bag for the both of us. Pack books or trashy gossip magazines to read while on holiday. Laze by the pool and read or just take a nap whilst listening to the lapping waves. No chance of that now. When the children were babies, we had to calculate how many diapers to bring, how many sets of clothes in case our baby dirtied herself, if we need to pack baby food, remember to pack baby shampoo, baby bath, sunblock, nappy rash cream, children paracetamol (just in case), baby toys (to keep her occupied in the car), baby stroller, etc, etc, etc. Fortunately, I breastfed the both of them so no need to deal with hot water bottle, formula, baby bottles, sterilizing container and tablet, washing up liquid and bottle brush. Have to try to relax while keeping an eye on the children, to make sure they're safe.

Before children, we started on our journey whenever we felt was right. Absolutely no hurry. We can choose to drive straight to our destination or make stops whenever we wanted to. When travelling with children, we need to plan the timing for the journey. Start too early and the children haven't had enough sleep so higher chances of them being cranky. Start journey too close to their lunch time, then we'll have think about stopping for lunch. How far is our destination? How many hours will it take to get there? Will I need to pack some snacks and water in case the children got hungry or thirsty? Do they need to make toilet stops? What time is our bus leaving? If we're arriving after the children's dinner time, need to think about packing their dinner.

Before children, we had a whole library of videos. We watched movies after movies in our TV room. We still have a video library. Only now, the library is made up of Barney videos, Richard Scarry's Busy Town videos, Mary Poppins, Sound of Music, Shrek, Cat In The Hat, The Wiggles, Tweenies. Grown-up movies are watched only when the children are in bed, if we're not too tired.

Before children, eating out meant having what we fancied. Now we have to think if the place we're going to will have food suitable for the children. Laura and Adam are quite good. They are not fussy with food and will eat whatever the grown ups eat, except spicy food. Adam does likes roti canai with curry dhal though. Even so, we still have to check ourselves if there is food for the children.

Before children, going to the public toilet meant just going to relieve oneself and wash hands after. With children, the steps to tak: Bring the child into the toilet stall, find a place to hang handbag and child's bag. Make sure the child relieves him/herself without wetting his/her pants then cringe when the child puts his/her hand the toilet wall and on whatever is in the toilet. Pull up the child's pants and instruct child to stand still while you take your turn. Tell child not to open toilet door. Bear embarrassing remarks from child, eg, "Mama, you are wearing pink knickers today!" or "Mama, why you wee wee so much?" (said on top of his/her voice of course). Tell child not to open toilet door again. Then help child put on backpack, grab own bag and head to the sink. Push tap to start water flowing, pick up child who is too short to reach the sink to wash hands, try to reach for handsoap without dropping child while trying to stop handbag from slipping down the shoulder, then try to push tap again to wash soap off the child's hands. Finally, dry hands. Phew!

Even with the big lifestyle changes, if I could turn back the clock I wouldn't change a minute of my life. I cannot imagine myself not having children. Laura and Adam bring so much joy in my life just being themselves. Laura does a perfect impersonation of Mater when he said, "Tractors are so dumb" which cracks me up. Adam's laughter is so infectious and he does love to laugh. I wouldn't trade anything for the cuddles I get from the both of them. I love being the "Best mama in the whole wide world" and "The most beautiful mama in the world". Only my children will tell me things like that! LOL I love how Laura thinks I know everything (if only she knew!). Adam also told me once that "Mama is the best fixer in the whole world" because I fixed up his train tracks for him. I may have been sleep depraved but nothing can match the times when I've held them in my arms or lay down side by side with my kids, nursing them and seeing their beautiful face. The look on their face when they're nursing. PRICELESS!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Laura & Adam's birthday party

A few days before the birthday party, Laura and Adam helped me bake some cookies to be put into the party packs for their friends and cousins.

Before the cookies were packed, they wanted to try some to ensure the cookies were good enough!

Yup, the cookies got Laura and Adam's stamp of approval. On the day of the party, our guests arrived and were soon in the pool. It was not exactly an ideal day for swimming as it rained before the party started. Good thing was, parents didn't have to deal with applying sunblock on their kids or on themselves.

Soon it was time for the birthday cakes! Adam wanted a train cake and Laura wanted a doll cake. When I showed Adam his cake, he asked, "What train is this?" I told him it was an Adam train. His reply, "No, I want Thomas!" Ah well.... Mama need to make more cakes to practise before making Thomas...

Laura's cake was to be a princess/doll cake (with the skirt being the cake). I didn't have the mould for such a cake, so a dolls tea party it was! Laura was pleased so I'm glad.

In keeping with the tradition started on Laura's 2nd birthday party, the cakes were decorated with candy which the children could feast on after the birthday song was sung.

Next year, the invitations will come with a disclaimer:

Laura and Adam's parents will not be held responsible for your children bouncing off the wall from sugar high after the birthday party.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Update on Barney

Barney did not make it... As he's been our pet fish, we don't have the heart to eat him! The last fish that died was given to some Indon cleaners. They said its flesh was really tasty. I'll take their words for it.

Poor Barney

At 1.30pm, I opened the glass door to my balcony to find our fish, Barney, turned over. Someone from one of the apartment units above had thrown a piece of paper down which dropped into Barney's pond, causing the water filter to get stuffed up. I thought Barney had died from lack of oxygen. We cleared the filter, PT picked Barney up and we saw that his mouth was moving. PT massaged his body while holding him close to the filter so he can get air through his gills. He was then transfered onto the children's bath tub. He was almost the length of the bath tub! We knew he'd grown really big but didn't realise he was that big! Barney is about 20 inches now. When we first got him, he was less than 5 inches long.

Barney was breathing, so PT held him under water, concentrated on getting air through his gills. After a while, Barney started to move a little but stopped again. As time went by, he moved a little bit more. From time to time, PT checked if he could stay upright. He couldn't so he had to be held. After 1 1/2 hours of holding the fish, PT had to go for a meeting so I took over.

These photos were taken at 4.00pm. There was some progress. He started wriggling weakly and his front fins were moving more. Unfortunately, he still couldn't stay upright. At 5.00pm, my hands were getting numb and wrinkly from being underwater for so long. Had to think of a way to keep Barney upright without holding on to him.

Finally figured out to use glass jars with a flat surface. Smooth enough not to hurt him and flat enough to keep him upright.

It's almost 6.00pm now. He's still the same. Wriggling weakly and front fins move from time to time. I really hope Barney gets well. We've had him for 4 1/2 years now. We've almost lost him twice and both times he survived. I hope he survives this time.