Saturday, April 25, 2015

The evil training on her sleeping habits

We heard babies sleeping overnight (8 hours straight) at 1 month old.
Not ours.
I read that young babies sleep between 16 to 17 hours a day.
Not ours.

At around 8 month old, we put her to sleep around 8pm, she would walk up at 11pm, 2am, 5am &7am. It was very tiresome, I breastfed her to go back to sleep. Sometimes she ended up sleeping in our bed, and since I didn't get enough sleep I actually had to take the second morning off as I was sleep deprived.

During winter school holidays, we sent both girls to my in laws' house. She received what I considered an evil training there. Three days later, she was sleeping through the night (12h straight)!

So what did we do?
First night : we put her to sleep around 8pm. At around 11:30pm, my MIL woke her up and fed her a bottle of milk. Then, she slept in a room alone, and we only picked her up at around 7am the second morning. No response to her crying during the night.

Second night and third night : same strategy except that we withdrew the 11:30pm bottle. She slept from 8pm to 8am, with some whining in between, but we let her cry and she fell back asleep after.

After the holidays, she came home and ajusted to the new routine with us. She woke up during the night but we insisted that no one would come to tend to her. Gradually she got the message, and since then has been sleeping sound for a around 11-12 hours during the night.

Down the memory lane

Photo shows the baby sleeping in her bassinet. She refused pacifier since she was born. After we got home from the birth clinic, every night I felt like entering a war zone (my room), as I shared the same bed as her, and she was waking up every 2 hours for milk. Hubby had since escaped from the scene, he prefered to sleep somewhere else.

At around 3 month old, we went to grandma's place. She protested when we put her down to sleep. She moved her feet so much that one foot was rubbing the side of the bassinet which caused her to bleed. I felt so bad when I discovered that her little toe was bleeding. Around 4 months old she outgrew the bassinet, as she knew how to flip over which led her to fall on the floor. Her sister stayed longer in that bassinet.

From birth to around 3 month old, I carried her with a scarf, she loved it and could sleep for long hours in it. Now I carry her with a baby porter.

She loved to sleep in this baby bouncer. Unfortunately the mid wife said she should stay there maximum 2 hours per day, as it wouldn't be good for her bone development if she stays too long. She used it until around 4 month old. 

She used to cry a lot in the car, it seems now she gets the idea and could sleep quitely while we travel in the car. She would still cry if she is too hot.

After she outgrew the bassinet we put her in this crib. She outgrew it around 7 months old as she was moving too much and kept banging on the sides. We got rid of that crib, and her as she has been sleeping in her sister's bed and room. I miss the time sharing a room with her, as I can hear her farting, fidgeting, wiggling. lol

Just a note : she is not even one, we have to get rid of the bassinet, the crib, the bouncer and soon her car seat. That's the reason why we borrowed, reused the equipments, babies just outgrow them too fast.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A little Malaysian in Paris : Aelig

She always tells me she is both French and Malaysian.
I didn't correct her, as by blood she is French and Malaysian, but officially she has not obtained her Malaysian citizenship, yet.

Initially I planned to bring only the youngest to Paris for the Malaysian citizenship application, so that it would be a quick in and out process. But when my eldest asked me if she was going along, I didn't have the heart to say no. At her age, it was easy to travel with as she eats with us, walks along, and knows how to entertain herself.

The little girl using her fake phone telling her friend that she is going to Paris. She remembered that she had been to CDG Airport in Paris (on the way to Malaysia), so she told her friend that this would be the third time she is in Paris. I told her no, this would be the first time, as going to the airport doesn't count as visiting the city.

She was telling anyone in school that she was going to see Eiffel Tower. Before the trip, I picked her up at school, she repeated it to her teacher, and her teacher said: Yes Aelig, everyone knows you are going to see Eiffel Tower: lol

Three highlights of the trip:

I want to hug Eiffel Tower
We approached the Tower and decided to climb up using stairs since there was only 20 minutes waiting. There was a long queue if you want to use the elevator. She was elated to see the Tower and told me that she wanted to hug it. Seeing me laughing, she was annoyed and kept asking why I made fun of her. I calmly told her that I was not laughing at her, just that she was too cute to want to hug a Tower that was so tall and huge. She then declared : I would hug its leg! She was just too sweet. I then mentioned about a report I once watched on the TV : an American woman annouced that she was married to Eiffel Tower, and she would fly to Paris once a year to kiss her husband. She puzzled at this story, she couldn't understand how someone can get married to a Tower, especially she was at the moment couldn't decide who to marry among her two boyfriends. lol

After seeing the Tower she wanted to buy some Tower key chains. There were a lot of illegal vendors around the area, 5 for 1€. I insisted that we only buy from legal shops. We were rushing to another place so we ended up didn't buy any until the second day. The whole morning she was nagging me. We finally got her two for 1€, but she lost one when she was playing at the Chatelet area. She was very sad, I comtemplated to buy her more (shops at the metro station selling 3 for 1€), but I think she needed to learn a lesson to take care of her own stuffs.

Saying bonjour to everyone
She tried to say bonjour (hello) to everyone on the street. Imagine the crowd on the streets in Paris! Seeing that I didn't do the same, she complained that I was inpolite! Well, I didn't know how to explain that we just don't say hello to whole bunch of people / strangers on the street. Exactely why? I figured it is because people in big city won't response anyway and if I do so I would have to say many times of Bonjour in a day? But, to my surprise, some people did reponse to her. The cold faces turned into warm smiling faces seeing her saying bonjour. I learnt a lesson.

Respecting the traffic signs
When crossing the road, we taught her to use the zebra zone and cross only when the pedestrian light turns green. Well, we were in Paris, in some area the pedestrians just cross the road so we followed. She was so mad! She was whinning the whole journey from the train station to the restaurant where my friends were waiting. We were already late, hubby was looking for the restaurant so he didn't pay attention to her. She was angry and sad that we didn't wait for the green light, and hubby actually stepped outside of the zebra zone when crossing the road. This was so unacceptable to her. She mentioned that the police might catch us and it was totally not her fault, but her daddy wouldn't listen to her! She was literally yelling to her daddy. At this point, I wonder how much we respect the instructions we gave to the kids ourselves.

Overall she did well traveling with us. I felt that she would be equally happy if we were at somewhere else, she was still too young to appreciate the charm of Paris. Here is her drawing to remember her trip to Paris.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Applying for Malaysian Citizenship in Embassy of Malaysia in Paris

I had applied for Malaysian citizenship for my eldest in Putrajaya Malaysia in August 2012. Until today I have no official reply on whether the application is approved.

This doesn't stop me from going through the whole process again, this time for my youngest. I chose to apply with the Embassy of Malaysia in Paris, as I heard that the success rate is a lot higher compared to applying in Malaysia. To do so I have to apply before she turns one year old, and both baby and parents present to the Embassy are required. I planned a trip to Paris for my whole family during the spring school holidays. My eldest wanted to tag along and she was so excited that she told everyone that she was going to see Eiffel Tower.

The consular section opens from 9:30 am to 12:30 am, Monday to Friday. Through email, I booked an appointment and the Embassy sent me a list of documents to bring along:

For the applicant (my youngest daughter):
Birth certificate (original & a translated copy into English or Malay)
3 passport size photos
Fees of 5€

For the parents (original & one photocopy):
ID card
Passport
Birth certificate
Malaysia marriage certificate
Carte de séjour

Forms to fill in the Embassy
Completed Application of Citizenship Form (Form B)
Form A.15(2) - Statutory Declaration (Parents Authorisation)
Form A-WN - Photograph and Thumb-print

I gathered all the documents in advance but somehow I forgot about the photos. I kept telling myself that we needed to bring the baby to a photographer, but it didn't happen and boom we were already in Paris. We were rushing all the times, to check in, to go to Eiffel Tower, to meet up with friends, so we only tried with one of those photo machines in the metro the night before our appointment. And it was so hard to take photos with a baby! The machine only allowed three tries, twice her eyes were closed, and the third one she turned her face.

We didn't have time to go for a professional photographer so I brought along the photos hoping that it would be accepted. Well, it got rejected, and it was totally my fault. The Embassy officer was nice enough to let us go for other photos, so hubby went with the baby hunting for a photographer. I filled in all the forms, hubby came back with the photos, we signed and thumbed all the papers. The translated birth certificate from the Town Hall was rejected, so I sent the Embassy the one I translated the second day. The officer told me that she would send the application to Malaysia, and I could follow up with her after that.

Overall, the process was straight forward, the officer was courteous, and we got a chance to visit Paris and met up with some friends. Fingers crossed that we will hear for the application status soon.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Malaysia Cultural Week Paris 2015

If you happen to be in Paris from 13 to 17 April 2015, why not pass by the Place du Palais Royal to discover or enjoy the Malaysian culture, especially its cuisines? I saw on the program that they will have food tasting: "Ongoing Malaysian Cultural Week Exhibition featuring Teh Tarik & Roti Canai demonstration. Malaysian Food Truck welcoming guests for the food tasting of malaysian gastronomy." That sounds exciting!

Here is the program:
http://www.malaysiaweek.com/en/

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Easter 2015 : Happy Family Gathering

I was looking forward to Easter holiday. Easter Monday is a public holiday in France, so we got to enjoy a long weekend. There were always good foods, great companies, relax moments.

My parents in laws love cooking. This year my MIL even treated us a Chinese cuisine: stir-fried vegetables with scallops and shrimps. Everyone was offered a pair of chopsticks to eat with it, so we got a session of teaching and learning the propal way of holding the chopsticks.

Both hubby's grandmothers were invited. They had great times with the kids.

The little girl was waiting for the hunting. Every year my MIL would prepare a bunch of gifts and hide them in the garden. She stopped me from giving her tips, she wanted to find them herself.

We had a new member in the hunting team. She was curious. But her arrival was not well accepted by her big sister. She literally cried out when she saw her baby sister went hunting with her daddy. We let her cool down, she protested and went on strike for a while.

She finally overcame her sadness when she saw her gifts : a color book with fairies and a set of color pens. My MIL prepared a total of 25 gifts, everyone got a share.

The weather was so enjoyable that we spent most of the time outdoor. We even had BBQ. Lovely!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Afternoon walks

In my French family, there is a tradition to have a walk in the afternoon after lunch. There are plenty of parks and woods with walking trails around, and most often we are not alone. We are joined usually by families with young kids, old couples holding hands, or a man or a woman walking their dog. We do not have this tradition in our own small family but since we have nice weather at the end of winter, we decided to go out for an afternoon walk. We loved it so we continued with more walks in the wood.

On a sunny day, trees are clearly reflected on the lake surface.

The leaveless trees are welcoming spring who would revitalizing their life.

Walking in the wood. It is such a huge difference to a tropical forest.

The little girl is happy to go out. These days she waves her arms and legs in excitement realizing that we are heading out.

Dozing off on daddy's chest, so comfortable.

The big girl has plenty to do : picking up flowers, collecting stones, touching everything with her stick...

Most of the time she walks behind us since she has too many things to occupy herself. But from time to time she rushes to catch up with us.

Passing through a bridge. It is actually a canal bridge.

Walking through a tunnal, the big girl liked the echoing effect.

While enjoying the peaceful scenery, it made me think of a Chinese poem I once learnt at school.
Withered vine, old tree, crows at dusk (枯藤老树昏鸦) 

Here I'm replacing crows with ducks since they sound the same in Mandarin. :-)

Tiny bridge, flowing brook, cottages (小桥流水人家) 

Acient road, west wine, lean nag 古道西风瘦马

The poem ends with:
The sun sinking west, a heart-torn traveler at the end of the world (夕阳西下, 断肠人在天涯)

It resonates in a sad atmosphere but it was certainly not how I felt at that moment. It actually warmed my heart with the peaceful, tranquility ambiance, especially the lovely time I got to spend with my beloved family. 


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Chinese New Year Movies 2015

When I was a teenager, I loved Chinese New Year. Beside getting the red envelope and savoring plenty of good foods, I especially enjoyed time spending with friends, hopping from one house to another, and going to the cinema for Chinese New Year movies.

This must be an unique tradition in the Chinese movie markets I guess, as I don't think they do the same thing during Christmas or Deepavali. The movies do not necessary linked to anything CNY, but normally at the end of the film, the actors and actress would reappear on the screen and express their blessing to the audiences. 

There are 8 movies on the list during CNY this year. My favorite is Triumps in The Skies. I watched this drama series years back and I really love Francis Ng (吴镇宇).

If I were in Malaysia, I would probably go watch From Vegas to Macau II since it is starring by Chow Yun-Fat.


Lucky Star 2015, a typical CNY theme movie (Hong Kong), I would go for it if I long for good laugh.

The King of Mahjong is directed by a Malaysian, with a Singaporean actor pairing with some Hong Kong stars. I would go to support the Malaysian/Singaporean film industry. Even though the market is limited, Malaysian/Singaporean films are blooming, they have joined the CNY market a while back.

Another CNY theme movie with a Singaporean actor.

Franckly I don't like Jackie Chan's movie, too much actions, I think it is more appealing to the men audiences. His films are always the big hit during CNY.

Sandra Ng becomes a man? Worth watching. 12 Golden Ducks.

Another Hong Kong theme CNY movie.

These firms are not aired in France, I would rely on the internet if I want to watch them. How about you? Have you watched at least one CNY movie since the first day of CNY?

The Yee Sang Puree

It has become a tradition that we have Yee Sang during Chinese New Year (CNY). It is a dish to be eaten during the 7th day of CNY to celerate the day of Human. It is a common celebration among the Chinese communities in Malaysia and Singapore, less common in China tough.

This year I prepared twice the dish to celebrate with two different groups. I didn't follow the Malaysian recipe as I can't really get the same ingredients, and some people don't like raw fish. Instead, I created a simple platter consisted of seven kind of colorful vegetables, and a sprinkle of sesame seed. It was quite well received by the French, the tossing ritual was convivial. We ate them as starter / entrée.

We had some leftover vegetables afterthat, and since we were running out of food for Awena, I decided to make her some Yee Sang puree.

Since she was too young to join us while tossing and enjoying the dish, this would make up for her.

She dislikes pieces in her puree, so I needed to make sure all the ingredients are well blended.

And the verdict? Well, she didn't like it that much. It was the first time she didn't finish her meal in the sitter's place, and she was less enthousist during dinner seeing this puree again.

It doesn't matter, at least we know there are things she doesn't like.