Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Baby Sleep

As many of my friends will already know, Tara has never been the best of sleepers. On Monday, we went to a talk put on by the NMSG here in Singapore. They have a 'library' for members and so whilst we were there on Monday, I borrowed 2 books, both on sleeping. The first one which I have read snippets of on Monday and Tuesday night basically suggests 2 methods - 1 called the rapid method and 1 called the slow method. The rapid method suggests putting the baby to bed at their appropriate bedtime and then when they cry ignore it till morning. Apparently, in 80% of cases, this will take 3 nights to work and then they will be sleeping through the night. However, it does say that they may cry for an hour or 2 straight the first night. I just really don't think I can do that!

Alex was a better sleeper at night than Tara - Tara has always woken for her rollover feed if I don't wake her and I think she is in the habit of getting room service when she hollers. I'm still not completely sure what to do. I have stopped going in to give her the rollover feed at 10:30 or so. Last night, she made it till 1am and then I fed her, then she slept till 4 and then till around 20 past 7. This was actually progress for Tara as since we have been in our new place, she has been waking around 10ish and then every 3 hours thereafter - sometimes more often!! I really want her to get there on her own but I think I may have to do some controlled crying soon. I have decided to give her a little more time. She has just cut her first teeth and also I think she has been quite unsettled with all of the moving etc. Gary is due to go away for around a week in a month's time so I thought this could be a good time to try to get her a bit more settled if we are still having issues in a month's time. The thing is that at Great World, she was making real progress - 1 night - she actually slept from 11pm till 8am!! And it was on a weekend! Thankfully, once Alex goes to sleep, he is pretty good and doesn't seem to wake up with Tara's hollers which is really good.

I have been feeling a bit homesick over the last week. We have been here 2 months now and I guess I still feel a little unsettled. Some things have really helped - getting the apartment set up is real progress. This is coming together well. It has been frustrating at times. Small things like we didn't get blackout blinds to start with. I asked the guy who installed them and he said we didn't order blackout ones (I thought they were going to be made with a backing - silly me to assume this). So, I then asked to get blackout blinds made for the kid's rooms as I wasn't going to live without blackout curtains for 2 years - this has a big effect on daytime sleeps. So, he told me the price, and said it would take maybe 2 days, maybe 4. 11 days later, he came back to install them and installed them to our master bedroom as well. Then tonight the agent rings me to say that we have to pay the extra for the master bedroom and that because this guy is Singaporean, I should have let her deal with him as he didn't understand me. I think this is complete rubbish and I told the agent this. I think someone has stuffed up and is trying to make up for this by charging us. It's just small frustrations, but frustrations none the less!

On the bright side, I have met some great people here and it is always so nice to meet people who are in a similar situation - makes life easier. We had a lovely 'ladies lunch' yesterday with friends and this was a really nice break in the middle of the day. We came home and both kids slept for 2 hours at the same time!! Woo hoo!

On Friday, we have an orientation of our local area. This will take us around and show us where all of the closest things are - markets, supermarkets, post office, bank etc. I'm looking forward to this as I haven't found everything yet and it will be great to have it shown to us. I found out that there is a great wet market not too far away from us here (a short bus ride) so I will discover that with the kids probably 1 day next week. Gary has Friday off work to do our orientation and then we just found out yesterday that Monday is a public holiday so we have a 4 day weekend which will be great.

I must take some more photos! I have been carrying the camera in my bag. Here are a couple of the kids that I took recently.

Alex with his 'serious' look! He often won't sit still for a photo as he wants to see the other side of the camera.

Tara chewing on her fingers.

Poised and ready for action!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Peace at last....

Both the kids are sleeping. We still don't have blackout curtains.This was a bit of a shambles in terms of getting it organised when we moved in. We got to choose curtain material. We made our choice and then the curtain man came to install them the day after we got the keys. They weren't blackout! Our contract had said blackout but I didn't realise that only some of the fabrics were actually blackout, so the curtains don't particularly darken the rooms. However, we are due to get blackout material installed on Monday. I am looking forward to this as it will mean the bedrooms will be darker and make it easier (hopefully) for Alex and Tara to get to sleep.

I hear the sound of one of them waking up......

So, our move was incredibly stressful. They say that moving is one of the most stressful things you do in life, and yes, I can agree with this. Part of the issue was ferrying back and forth between our serviced apartment and the new place and dealing with 2 kids who needed some routine and daytime sleeps. Alex didn't actually sleep during the day for 3 days last week - he coped very well with this all things considered. Thankfully he has gone back to having a decent afternoon nap. We had a babysitter for Tuesday and Wednesday which did allow me to get a bit more done. Poor Gary had the week from hell at work - working till 2am on Wednesday and till 1am on Thursday. On Friday night he got home around 7:30 and then we ended up unpacking and trying to get organised, going to bed at 1:30am.

The other stressful thing was that when I walked into the apartment on Tuesday I felt like it was much smaller than I remembered. It's all going to be ok though! I had that moment of thinking - oh my goodness we have a 2 year lease. But the good news is that our bed does fit in and we will get rid of a few things that we packed in Adelaide but probably didn't need to. So, we are either selling or giving away a few things and that will make space less limited.

So, we have been living at our new place a week now. I have found the closest supermarkets - we have a small Fairprice very close. There is a larger fairprice around a 10 minute walk away. There is also a Cold Storage around a 10 minute walk in the other direction. Hopefully next week we will get the orientation that is provided by our relocation company and this should help with finding out what else is close by and worth a visit.

This morning the kids and I went to Jacob Ballas Children's Garden which is part of the Botanic Gardens. It's a lovely area with loads of different things for the kids to run around and explore. Met up with a friend there and Alex had a ball running around with her son who is a year older than Alex. This helped my synchronised sleeping this afternoon. We will have to go back again soon to do some more exploring.

Anyway, it's about time to go to the supermarket and then let Alex have a play downstairs at the playground. I keep looking out the window at the threatening clouds, but I think we just need to bite the bullet and go!

Wishing all and sundry a good weekend.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Moving - Day 1

Well, it's been a while since I last wrote, and it's been a bit of a roller coaster of a week. Firstly, Tara had her first fever on the weekend. Although I didn't think it was too bad, it was still quite stressful and she was a bit beside herself. She was really struggling to settle and on Saturday night, I ended up sleeping in the single bed in her room, with her beside me. Gary came in in the middle of the night to make sure we were both ok. We both have colds now and Alex was a bit croaky today, so I really hope that he doesn't come down with something too. Will have to wait and see. I spoke to a doctor on Sunday and he advised me to increase the panadol I was giving Tara by 3 times (I was giving .6 ml - he suggested 2ml and assured me "It's quite safe"). We ended up giving her 1ml and increasing the frequency to every 4 hours. Her fever did pass and she has been quite well the past 2 days but still unsettled at night. Will see how tonight goes. Add to this, Tara seems to be going through a stage of needing someone with her all the time - as soon as I leave the room, there are loud cries. I sometimes feel like it would be such a luxury to go to the loo in peace!

Anyway, today being September 1st, was the day we got the keys to our new apartment. The estate agent picked us up this morning and off we went. We met the agent and the landlord's parents as the landlord himself is currently living in the US. Then the moving men arrived soon after that to make delivery of all of our stuff. It was a bit of a crazy day. We had a babysitter helping out to look after the kids at varying intervals. This helped a lot.

My first thoughts when I walked into the apartment were "It's smaller than I remember", "Oh my goodness, nothing is going to fit in here!" Then the Allied Pickfords guy comes in and says we have 113 items to be delivered. Holy cow - 113!! They then set up a temporary chair and desk (of boxes) and I had to tick off the boxes that they brought in. The bedrooms are not as big as I remember them to be. One of the biggest issues has been whether our Australian queen size bed will fit into the master bedroom. Australian queen size beds are not the same size as Asian queen size beds. Darn! The thing is if we had a fairly standard bed size, it would fit, but our bed itself is quite large, so I'm sure we could get something to fit with our mattress, but the dilemma then is that we need to buy a new bed to fit an Australian queen size mattress. However, tomorrow will tell whether this is necessary or not!

So, in came the boxes, and they kept on coming.... Then the rain set in. It was actually really nice as this meant they had to stop bringing boxes in. They then unpacked a lot so this cleared up a lot of space - less boxes - more stuff. However, no cots - they were in the other part of the truck that wasn't unloaded. So, I wasn't able to get the kids to sleep in the new place this afternoon. Which was probably just as well as there were no curtains - apparently the new curtains are coming tomorrow. Tara slept around an hour in the baby bjorn. Alex just rolled with it - I probably would have struggled to get him to go down for a nap anyway. In the taxi on the way back to our serviced apartments this afternoon he told me he wasn't tired! He then nearly dropped off to sleep, but he assured me he was "All good".

One of the biggest stresses I have with the new place is the windows. They don't have locks! When we viewed the place, the agent assured me that there were childproof locks that would be installed. On inspection today, they are a flimsy piece of metal (which Alex would be able to pull out) and with the piece of metal in place, the window can still be opened around 20cm or so, which is big enough for a small child to fall out. So I have emailed the agents tonight requesting window grilles or locks be installed. Alex is a climber and I really don't want to be worrying about this as well! Hopefully we will get this organised very soon.

On a positive note, the grounds and facilities at the condo are lovely. The pool is really nice - huge (but I guess it needs to be with 700+ apartments in the complex). There is a lovely playground and outside workout stations, an air-conditioned gym and apparently a basketball court which I haven't seen yet. So, lots to explore. I am really excited about the area too and discovering what there is to see and do around there. I will be very relieved when all of our stuff has been delivered and unpacked and we can actually feel at home! It is very nice though to have the moving men unpack and take away all of the excess packaging materials - there was such a lot!

Well it's past 10 and Gary is just on his way home from work now, so I will sign off now. Hopefully I will be able to update the blog with positive news in the next day or so - all of our stuff fitting in and finally feeling "At Home"!