Tuesday 28 June 2011

"Is He a Man of Information?"

Bath, England April 2009
I have always been a huge fan of Jane Austen’s novels. The setting of the old world charm – the art and architecture, fashion and lifestyle of the Victorian period (so-called Renaissance of the British Empire) intrigues my fancy.  The formality of social conduct and the idiosyncrasies, most especially, fascinates me to the point of amusement.

So much so that on a half day trip to Bath, a 2-hour trip west of London, Alfred and I breezed through the Royal Crescent, Roman Bath and Bath Abbey to get the extra time to visit The Jane Austen Center.  It was a real treat to buy her books just as they were published two centuries ago – original texts, cover design, paper type and all!

Anyway, before I make this an article about Jane Austen and the aficionado, the real reason of writing this is to thank Alfred, Daddy of 15-month old Ava and a 5-month unborn baby on this Father’s month of June.  Somehow when I ponder deep on what makes my better half very special to me, the quintessential question of Jane Austen’s heroines “Is he a man of information?” comes into mind.

Like Elizabeth Bennet or Emma Woodhouse, I admire a man of intellect and a great reader of sorts.  I love our quiet times together reading books, with our little girl next to us sound asleep.  I particularly look forward to the spirited exchange of views that follow suit.  For sure, we can get stingy on shopping for clothes but we can easily spend hundreds of dollars on books. 

This is something we both enjoy and not without heaps of benefits too!  When ‘we’ got pregnant with Ava, we scouted good pregnancy books and read them all.  As the old adage goes “Fear is knowing the unknown”, so we armed ourselves with information and did what we knew best.   When I had to go through the physical and emotional discomforts associated with pregnancy, he understood. He knew. 

He was there every step of the way.  We both learned the beauty of natural birth and attended breathing class together.  He made sure we practiced and did my prenatal exercise.  Indeed, he coached me through my 9-hour ‘delirium’ (at 8cm, I was saying things like “the band has stopped playing…”).  When the baby finally came out, he proudly cut her umbilical cord. 

Daddy Alfred with 2-week old Baby Ava

For awhile there, he may have his share of hormonal change too.  His readings have shifted from testosterone-charged navy seals on mission impossible who knows where to progesterone-filled nursing concerns.  From engorged and swollen breasts to proper latch-on, pumping, storing and heating breast milk.  He will never look at breasts the same way again!

With our baby Ava growing well into the toddler stage, who now knows how to challenge and demand, we once again turned to child experts and gather parenting skills that speaks true to what we believe.  When it comes to raising her, we follow where the other one is getting at.  We are literally on the same page.  And this I believe has made Alfred an even better father (and husband).

When Ava turned 1

It is also worthy to note that my father and father-in-law are men of information too.  So I thank all these great men in our lives (me, Ava and baby).  We are truly blessed.  Belated Happy Father’s Day!

Saturday 25 June 2011

Yes! My First Post!

Finally!!! I have been yearning for my own blog since probably 2 years back. It’s one of those things in your life that you keep setting aside, excusing to do something else that is seemingly more important. 

I know I can no longer fool myself when every time I mention another 'great idea for my blog’ to my husband, he will choke up a laugh as if I just delivered a punch line! Just to prove him that I am serious and probably to shut off the incessant nag in my mind, I finally decided to sit and write. 

As an avid book lover, I have my fair share of authors whose writing I dearly admire. This has only added to my procrastination, as I so wanted to emanate their style of writing. I even enrolled myself two years ago at National University of Singapore graduate course on feature writing! I have shared this dream of mine to my teacher and the advice he gave was "Just write as if you are conversing and your personality will naturally come out. The more you write, the more you get better at it. Then you will develop your own unique style". 

Fair enough. This blog is an attempt of doing just that. Truth be told, I am a frustrated writer. Why do an image of my husband with a silly grin cross my mind again?! Alright, I admit I once told him I am a frustrated pianist after I sold off our full body massage chair in exchange for a piano to fit our limited living space. I would love to be a violinist too if not for my sister's friends who have inquired over the phone "Are you moving furnitures?" or "Do you have a hungry cat?" while I was practicing. Or perhaps because I have declared to him so passionately that I would have been a successful theater actress if given another chance, after watching Les Miserables in Broadway. 

Alright, to sum it up I am frustrated at so many things. That sounds a bit depressing. Let's just say I have plenty of interests. Now that’s looking at the glass half full! I think if you are passionate about life, you gravitate to a lot of things especially art. After all, so many beautiful things surround us. The simplest of things, like making sure we have fresh vase of flowers at home uplifts the spirit so naturally. 

Writing is another form of art that touches people in so many ways. We all have our stories to tell. As a new mom to a 15-month old baby girl and another on the way, I am of course writing what's closest to my heart. Also, I recall a conversation I had with a pregnant friend who matter-of-factly stated that she preferred to have caesarean so she will be prepared with a set date and time. What?! Say that again please? Since when did giving birth, the most revered miracle of our lives, became a 'schedule'? She sure would be in for a disappointment when the baby comes out, there goes your schedule out the window. 

That completely struck a cord with me. From then on, I promised myself I would have to do something, even in small ways, to impart the beauty of natural birth (yes! I am talking of drug-free natural birth), breastfeeding, attached parenting and so many other wonderful ways of caring for the precious little one.  

I hope my blog will achieve all the above, with a dose of humor.   After all, life without it is simply half living. Happy reading! 
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