Wednesday, February 24, 2010 ;
This year's CNY coincides with my confinement.
Normally, with our generation, it is not so much of a confinement but rather, an important rest period. Hence, for a lot of my contemporaries, if they have to go out, they do go out.
For me, I didn't want to be out in the crowd. Jurong Point (even from my window, I can see) has been crazy crowded. Just looking at the long queues of cars trying to get into the car park, and then throngs of people squeezing in and out of the glass sliding doors make me dizzy, so I was content to stay at home.
However, this time, my confinement is somewhat different from the boys' time. Those 2 times, I was still living with my in laws, and we had a full-time live-in helper.
I never needed a confinement nanny the previous 2 times and so didn't hire one this time as well. My mom and mil said they'd take turns helping me to cook my meals. Dh would chip in with housework and caring for the boys.
Let me first declare that they were absolutely crucial and helpful. My mil would cook meals on Tues and Thurs, clean my kitchen after she's done, and iron Dh's work clothes.
My mom cooked meals on the other days of the week that mil doesn't come, help me pick the boys up from the bus stop, bathe the baby and generally be there for me should I need an extra helping hand. She comes in the day time, on average from 10am till 6pm.
Dh would wash the dishes (or load the dishwasher), shower the boys, help with any other general cleaning up that needs to be done when he's back from work. The 1st week of dd's life, he also changed all her diapers and carried her when she cried at night (my tailbone was very painful then, and I was extremely tired). From the 2nd week, I took over all the diaper changes because Dh needed to work in the day.
I couldn't have done without them. Thank you so much.
There were others who were very helpful too. They either sent emails, smses, or gifts to help me, to cheer me up, offer support... or even sent food and desserts over.
But still, at times, I felt very overwhelmed. Why? It was the CNY period!
dd's 2nd week of life happened to be when the CNY eve is. My part time cleaner took 3 weeks leave to spring clean her own house and get ready for CNY. Mil called to say she can't help me on certain days cos she needed to "bai bai" and prepare things for CNY, get the house ready for guests, etc. My mom, dad, sis and her entire family were going back to Malaysia for reunion dinner, and their trip spanned over 3 days. Dh had many many friends, relatives and other appointments all lined up over the 5 days (weekend and 2 more CNY holidays) since this is the 1st CNY in Sg after we got back (everyone HAD to see him).
Suddenly I felt left alone. I can't go for most of the festivities and visitations. Some relatives would baulk at having me still in my confinement period, with a 2 week old infant, visiting them. I didn't feel like going from house to house either, since I can't sit down.
So for the CNY period, I spent it at home, alone with the baby, and having to settle my own meals, do all the laundry, clean the house, basically, do everything myself. I felt pretty sad and exhausted indeed.
Fortunately there were many households around my place that hired the lion dance troupes so there was so festive atmosphere. I can hear the Djs hosting show from Jurong Point and even the CNY music blaring from there. And then I had a lot of CNY goodies and bak kwa to eat at home. Quite unhealthy, but I was hungry. And thankfully, there is Mac Delivery 24 hrs. Haha.
I've ordered Mac at 4am in the morning before for early breakfast, past midnight for supper, and all other times in the day.
When my friend heard that, she said, huh? Wah, your 3rd baby, you don't care about nutritious meals during confinement anymore?
Not really.. it's just that after taking care of baby through the night, being a cow and having been milked maybe hundred times a day, doing all the housework and all, I didn't feel like cooking for just myself. What for? I'd still have to clean the kitchen if I cooked.
Sometimes the 3 kids would be at home with me, and I also let the boys eat whatever for their meals. Just a few days, they won't suffer. (In the US, when we did those long road trips, we survived on fast food for a whole week, and the boys were even younger. They didn't fall sick then, so I guess it should be ok.)
The boys got very restless at home for 4 days, cooped up, playing with just Megabloks, cards and reading books, so finally Dh had a pocket of free time on the last CNY hol (Tues), and I got him to bring the kids swimming at SAFRA club.
I haven't mentioned, I asked a Malay massage lady to come in to my place to do the traditional massage for me, as a treat, but even she bailed out on me. Of course, for her, she doesn't celebrate the CNY but she had so many appointments at the last min that the initial 7 sessions became only 3 sessions due to our many cancellations and being unable to find a common timeslot. Sigh.
Then now, Dh has an upcoming concert, and has several rehearsals to attend. All these take place at night of course. The kids are even worse off cos of this. They don't even get the little prayer just before bedtime since their dad is not at home.
And worse, Dh is leaving in May for Europe to attend a competition and is furiously working on his competition bows now. So he goes to work even on Sat and Sun.
Hence this time, my confinement was not so much a period of rest. It's not even dd's full month but I feel like I working like an ox already. I can only be thankful that I am able to do the work since I had a VBA2C and not a C-section.
Some pics of the CNY I got to experience, at home.
Our designer who took charge of our home renovation became our good friend. We had a lot in common after we got down to chatting, and he came by with a hamper for us for dd's birth. He said it is more for her birth than CNY.
Dh made pineapple tarts (remember he was sent by me to the baking classes at Mayer in Jurong Point?). haha... so he made these to give to his co-workers. And it was nice! I ate many!
After dressing the boys, and getting them ready to "bainian", I asked them to pose for a pic.
Besides Mac, I also had takeaways from Mos Burger (at least 3 times), Delifrance (1 time), Carl's Junior (2 times) and then this Ichiban. Yummy. (All during CNY! It's great to have these stores open throughout CNY. We remember in Tianjin, none of the shops were open and we had to survive on jiaozi for several days.)
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow