Well... the one and I have been preparing ourselves for his company's appreciation dinner last Friday, since about 1 month ago. Preparing, in a sense that, I would have to prep up little jj for my 4-5 hours absence, which had never happened in her entire 8-month age. Never.
And being breastfed exclusively the entire duration, up to 10 times a day, I foresee that my absence will not be very easy on her especially since she has been only wanting mommy even when daddy's around to tuck her in at night.
All these while, since around 2 months back, I had introduced her to the bottle, which surprisingly was accepted without much fuss, although she may not even show that much preference towards sucking the teat except when she needs to soothe her aching gums by nibbling and biting on it.
I even bought an 'emergency' stock of Isomil IQ, a soya-based formula as I was afraid that my milk supply was depleting since little jj got sick some time back, making expressing milk a little tiring as I could never get pass 20ml compared to the 100ml before that.
Feeding her milk thru the bottle was always a challenge and I've taken in those advise I received from comments dropped into this blog, and bought bottles from NUK. As per the rave reviews I received, NUK became her favourite bottle since the teat resembles those on mommy and she drank aplenty from it when she had the fever. I introduced it to her successfully by first filling the bottles with plain water and then apple and pear juices. All these were introduced at a 2 to 3-day intervals.
Still, my excitement was shortlived because as soon as she tasted milk, the bottle was totally rejected.
Therefore, I can safely conclude (which our friend, Muz, once mentioned to us) that the bottle is really not the main factor for little jj... it's the content that makes all the difference! How we can easily underestimate a baby's intelligence, eh...
I continued feeding her directly with positive hopes that she will take to the bottle when she is ready as it is a well known fact that mommies who breastfeed will not be successful in feeding their babies with the bottle since babies can smell milk from mommy's boobies.
A week before the date of the appreciation dinner, I decided to walk little jj through an 'induction' course, everyday... since my mom has agreed to look after her while I take my short 4-5 hours break after an entire 8 months without a real break. With that, I took little jj to grandma's everyday, to familiarise her with grandma's home and especially, grandma.
Come Wednesday, little jj got worse and no where near getting acquainted with the new environment... even missing her morning nap as she cried and got so insecure. That very day, I brought home the little munchkin back with me early from grandma's while my 2 nieces tagged along so that they could go swimming in my condo. As soon as we arrived home, little jj was all normal and cheery, and played gleefully with her brother and cousins, which made me realise that she wasn't going to give in and will only be comfortable in her own home.
Grandma and grandpa came a little later to join the little ones swimming and to my surprise, my mom volunteered to take care of little jj at our condo instead. And, my mom somehow commented briefly that if mommy's not around, little jj would definitely have to drink from the bottle if she's hungry/thirsty.
Come Friday, a day filled with anxiety for mommy. Our day started as early as always, with moi planning her meal time properly so that if she does reject dinner with grandma, her tummy would at least be full from 2 meals that day. Gosh... planning this night so early ahead can be so mind-taxing... as if you're going to migrate for good to another land ;P
With her brother at her side and playful cousins within reach, she almost didn't bother about mommy leaving the house especially after she had her last direct feed around 6ish that evening.
I crossed my finger but did hint to the one that I would want to head home by 10pm or if my mom would call me to come home. Knowing my mom, she doesn't like babysitting babies. Heck, even my brother was raised by my grandparents and I took care of the little munchkin on my own with help from a babysitter.
Therefore, I felt touched that my mom agreed to help although I sensed that she will not hesitate to call me home if she feels that she cannot cope with the demands of a baby.
My drive to Prince Hotel was a breeze albeit the normal jams here and there on a Friday evening. I was taken in by the breathtaking scenery especially when I passed by Jalan Kia Peng, and Menara HLA where I used to work in years ago. Hakka restaurant opposite it had shifted to a new site towards the end of the road and my eyes caught a new club along the road with a huge banner promoting NRG. All of a sudden I felt that I missed the night life and would love to just get away one of these nights just to chill with my husband and listening to NRG play...
I was even mesmerised by how near Pavillion is from Kia Peng and memories started to flow, remembering how my colleagues and I would cross the road to get to Wisma Cosway for lunch. How I wish we had the privilege of another chic hangout like this, then... I'm sure we'd create much more beautiful moments, having fun while bitching about our Ms Cruella deVille :D
I reached Prince without much hassle and I left the parking space with a positive hope that little jj will behave and allow mommy to just this rare time, fulfill daddy's needs.
That's what I mean... taking care of a baby is so challenging especially when you're so determined to breastfeed your baby. And while you welcome that cute bundle of joy into your heart, it can be a little frustrating that almost all your attention (and your heart) goes to the little cutie pie. Frustrating, for your other half, I mean.
So, how do you create a balance? It is so not easy but it is something you have to remind yourself.
A baby's needs where she doesn't understand anything, and a husband's needs for although he would understand things, patience has its limits. After all, he married you and expects life as a family, with him as King.
Although many told me that my mind would always be thinking about little jj during the dinner, I have to say that I was determined to not think about her since she was supposedly, in good hands. I was with my husband, for the very first time in 8 months - together, having fun - and I was going to give my heart 100% to him and on him.
Yup, I had a good time, starting from cocktail... we laughed, we talked about so many things we haven't spoke about and we behaved the way we did before little jj's arrival. I guess this kind of moment is quite crucial for couples to remember what got them together and how much they enjoy each other's company. At home, conversations are different as we're both tired from a long day, and are distracted by the requirements as parents.
I enjoyed those gestures in public where he'd hold my hand and our eyes seeing each other differently - not with me in drabs... with the little one clingy to me everytime he comes home from work.
How difficult it is to fulfill a husband's needs in this area... for him to not lose interest although he would always say he loves me the way I am and admires me for my sacrifices. One should never be too complacent and comfortable.
He has been a very good man to me. He never fails to lend me a helping hand in taking care of little jj especially during those nights when I have deadlines to rush. As much as I am tired from the day's challenges, I'm sure he is as well. And he can be really helpful if he wants to, especially when he knows I have a lot on my hands.
So, his wish to see me with him at this dinner meant so much to him and I wanted to be there for him as well...
But... as my motherly instinct rang true, the one saw my phone rang coming to 10pm and my mom told me to come home, with little jj's cries so loud in the background. She had been crying since 8ish and refused to stop crying. My mom was worried if she'd have fits from crying too long and she panicked when little jj broke in a sweat all over her body.
I told her that she shouldn't worry since little jj always sweat when she cries out loud especially to daddy if she thinks mommy is not around. My mom thought she was having stomach ache from wind. For her to call me like that, I knew I shouldn't ignore her plea to come back home. It was after all, almost 10pm and I drove like a mad woman, testing the Matrix to the max as I manouvered close to 110km/h at some points in the city centre, arriving Kelana Jaya in just over 20 minutes.
I had hoped that little jj would already fall asleep due to tiredness from the lengthy cry.
All the while, I felt so sad that I was not with hubby dearest to watch him perform on stage with his colleagues. I wanted him to know how proud I am of his performance and I wanted to welcome him with a kiss when he finishes his performance.
Unfortunately, the baby's needs came first, again... and although it was so easy for him to let me go, I knew there were some disappointments that such a beautiful night had to end so abruptly.
Little jj was all laughing and jumping on me when I got back. She was still crying on grandpa's shoulder when I opened the front door and she stopped crying immediately when she saw me. My mom realised that she was not in pain and only wanted mommy by her side as she instantly became all naughty again, teasing grandma and grandpa, and not once asked me to feed her. I held her tight and apologised for leaving her, and when I tried to feed her, she drank so much and fell asleep soon after. I suspected that she might have thought I was punishing her for being naughty and that was why she did not ask me for milk. She slept with heaves from crying so much and my heart just sank seeing an innocent child not fully able to understand what's going on.
With a baby in my life, it can be so easy to lose focus since I spend the entire day with her. I am only grateful that the one is so understanding and patient.
I would really want him to feel just as important and I would really like to jump at the sight of him from the excitement of seeing him, not because I need him to take over taking care of little jj after he comes home from work.
I would like to spend time with him without my thoughts and attention on the children.
And I would like to sit next to him while he drives, not at the back tending to the little one, with his hand holding my hand tight.
I only hope he'd be a little more patient while I manage the little one until she could understand reasons. After all, we both made the decision to have a baby and it takes plenty of sacrifices.
Life changes when you get married but it changes even more with a baby. As a woman, one would just have to learn to separate her emotions from that longing to fulfill a demanding baby's needs all the time, to that once in a while needs from the man who loves her.