July 2012

She’s a mover and a (head) shaker.  The past month was full of developmental milestones and fun times.

  • On the move.  In very quick succession this month, Hazel learned to go from sitting, to hands and knees, to crawling, and up on her knees pulling up on the coffee table.  She’s everywhere already!
  • Look out, Miles.  Remember how you were always taking the toys from her hands?  Back at ya, big bro.
  • Bath time fun time.  I took the infant insert out of the bath tub and viola! Bath time is now super fun.  She sits and splashes, plays with toys and tries to pull up on the side of the tub.  She usually gets a bath in the morning, after eating an epic breakfast.  I usually have to hose her down first, so she doesn’t get the bath too dirty.
  • Speaking of breakfast…Hazel is loving food.  We are doing 90% BLW (aka Feed Yo Self), and I am amazed how little she drops (unless it’s intentional.  ahem, broccoli) and how much goes down.  We’ve moved on from tropical fruits, and she has sampled rice and oatmeal, plus several from the nightshade family, including potatoes and eggplant.
  • Fine motor.  All the feeding herself has developed Hazel’s hands and she is good at picking stuff up.  I think it’s time to get going on the sign language too; the other day she woke up from her nap, stared at her hand for a minute then watched it open and close, open and close.  I remember this from Miles, it’s waving!  So sweet.  She is also into shaking her head, back and forth.  Not sure if its interpretation of “no” (maybe not, she does it while smiling), but it’s pretty funny.  She claps by smacking her hands on the table or floor, but not together yet.
  • Sleeping is going well.  She sleeps about 11 hours at a stretch at night, getting her to 5am (yes, she still goes to bed at 6).  I get up to feed her and she goes back down for a couple hours.  There were a few nights where she went right through to 6:30am, as a teaser.  Typically she takes 2 naps a day, morning and afternoon.  Trying not to be too regimental and relax a bit on the sleep stuff.
  • Favorite things…all the things she’s not supposed to have: plastic bags, leaves, sticks and rocks.  Older boys, the car, being out after bedtime (just kidding on those last three, thankfully.)
  • We’ve started reading to her (just to her, not letting her overhear Miles’ stories), and she loves to look at the pages and try to eat the book.  Sandra Boynton’s Moo, Baa, LaLaLa is a current favorite.
  • Still has a bit of separation anxiety, but we’re working around it.  I am working on not feeling bad about it, which helps the whole situation.  She’s a chubby thing, and wears 12 month clothes already!  More sickness this last month, snot and a barking cough, poor thing.  Baby talk is developing: Bla-bla-bla, mamama.  Her smiles are few and far between, but pure gold when she finally delivers them, proving the best things are worth waiting for.

Who needs toys?

In 20 minutes, this broom was:

  • A broom
  • A horse, giddyup
  • A fogging machine (how many other 2-yr olds have the word “dengue” in their vocabulary?)
  • A limbo stick, making a tunnel
  • A brush washing a train
  • A fishing pole (caught: 2 fish, red fish, blue fish)

Two and a HALF!  It just keeps getting better.  Here is an update from our sweet, not-so-little man.

  • Miles talks like a little person now.  A little person that talks a lot.  There are full sentences, stories, questions, songs and (unfortunately) parrots of what we say (S&%T!).  His made-up, quite descriptive words for things: Scoop-scoop digger, turning-turning screwdriver, dong-dong hammer, up-down, snap-snap pliers, boom-boom pretty lights on (fireworks).  We find ourselves using them too, to perpetuate the cuteness.
  • Memories.  I am pretty sure things are sticking up there.  He brings up all kinds of stuff that I hardly remember.   he loves to hear about is when “Miles was a little guy”, then repeat them later like he remembered it.  Which I suppose he did.
  • Potty trained!  Sometime in the last 3 months, Miles started taking himself to the toilet.  Going out is no problem, and my level of anxiety over carpeted areas has decreased significantly.  He is still not diaper-free, still needing them for naps and nighttime, but major steps in the right direction.
  • Speaking of sleep, we are in a good spot.  Naps and night are solid, and he sleeps about 14 hours a day.  He went through a week-long phase of refusing afternoon naps, but he got through it and is back to a 2-3 hour sleep each afternoon.
  • Miles can say the ABCs, and recognize most letters & numbers and count to 29.  He’s been loving going to kindy, and I would love it too if he would stop bringing home the plague every 2 weeks.
  • Not a baller.  He is probably the slowest runner in his pack of friends, and has little to no interest in kicking, throwing or batting a ball.  He does have a Michael Phelps body type – all torso and feet, with a little butt and short legs.  He typically wears a size 4T top, 18 month shorts and size 9 shoes.  His toddler belly comes and goes, but after a big meal it can be drum-like.
  • What he does love to do: Miles loves playing with all the things nature has to offer, a perfect morning might be one at the beach collecting shells and rocks, or wondering around the gardens here looking for “beans”, flowers, snails and interesting color leaves.  He loves to build things with legos and any toy with wheels – Diggers, trains, airplanes, boats.  He also loves to help in the kitchen, measuring, pouring and mixing.  And of course tasting.  He will taste a flour/soda/salt mixture just for the experience, but he knows the best stuff is on the beaters and waits for them to be released.
  • Speaking of eating, I feel very lucky that Miles is a great eater.  He really will eat almost anything, and typically finishes what is on his plate.  Favorites remain treats: olives, candy, berries of all sorts, flavored yogurt, macaroni & cheese, sausages, and hard-boiled eggs (without the “moon” yolk, that is).  At some point recently, he started eating the same breakfast as Tim and I, granola, yogurt and fruit.  We try to have dinner together, and all eat the same foods.  Before we eat, we give thanks, then Miles says a blessing, something he learned at kindy: blessings on the meal, peace upon the earth, itadakimasu*, or in Miles-speak: Blessing on the meal. Pizza Pony, Ah! Ita Da-may Ahhhh! *Japanese for “Bon Appetit”, literally “I humbly receive”.
  • Miles is a family-man, loves being with his Mommio, Daddio and Bay’Hazel.  And we love being with him too.

And who is this cutie?


Hazel is loving looking at herself in the mirror these days.  Who can blame her, that is one fine looking lady.


Hazel & Theo (her hairless partner in crime), at Monkey Beach.

“Know what gets me sometimes?” I started a conversation to my friend visiting from Singapore. “What?” she replied.  “Culture.” “OK, you’re going to have to elaborate.”  I knew she would understand.  Like me, she was born somewhere (Hong Kong for her, the midwest for me), moved somewhere else (Utah, both Texas), lived around the world (Shanghai for both of us, add Australia for me) and has ended up in a very multicultural environment.  Singapore is as mixed as Penang for sure, and our lives are heavily involved in the Expat community.

Take greetings as an example.  If I meet a Malay woman, she will clasp my hand and touch her heart while I do the same.  It’s a lovely, intimate greeting without a lot of body slam.  If Tim were to meet the same woman, he would make no contact at all. A Malay man may shake my hand, as I am a western woman, but probably not.  A greeting with a Chinese may include a hand press if with a close female friend, but likely just a smile.  And then there’s the expat community.  Europeans and Australians are into kissing.  Once, twice or three times, you never know, alternating cheeks, air kisses all around.  I can’t get used to it.  I am partial to a big bear hug for a close friend.  Maybe I make them equally uncomfortable with my closeness and squeezes.  I know it took me a while to convert to it after being raised in conservative midwest.  I remember the first bear hug I got from my previous east-Texan boss, I didn’t know whether to hug him back or call HR.

My Hong Kongese-cum American-cum Singaporean friend says she always defaults to the kiss.  Even with Americans, even with Asians.  “You never know where they went to school, where they’re coming from.  I just kiss-kiss.”  I envy her assimilation.  After years in Shanghai, the thought of greeting a Chinese with a kiss is unthinkable to me; it’s likely they have never even kissed their mother!

A week ago, we attended the Manganiyar Seduction as part of the Georgetown festival.  Don’t be mislead by the title of the performance.  This is a group of Muslim Indian (Manganiar, as it were) all-male musicians who sing and play traditional instruments.  It was fascinating, moving and a fantastic show.  After, as we walked to a hawker center, we passed the 30+ musicians on the road.  We began to applaud their performance.  They insisted on shaking our hands, and I couldn’t help but feel a bit exposed.  These men are not used to casually touching unknown women in their culture, and here they are lining up for a palm grope with a westerner.  Maybe I was going a bit far.

There are so many little things that are different, can be interpreted in a variety of ways, offend so easily.  Do my English friends feel less close to me when I avoid their kisses?  Did I accidentally point my index finger at a Malay?  And when I, without thinking, scooped up a grieving Japanese friend in my arms, held her and rocked her while I cannot even correctly pronounce her name, did it help with her loss?  Or only compound it with discomfort at such a brazen display of affection?

Sigh. Culture.

About the same height as Miles at this age, but a little bit chunkier.  She’s becoming more mobile, so I am expecting these percentages to start dropping.

  • Length: 27″ (69cm, 90th %ile)
  • Weight: 17lbs-14oz (8.1kg, 90th)
  • Head circ: 17″ (43cm, 75th)

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