Friday, January 23, 2009

Back in the Saddle

I recently accepted a writing/editing project that covers the first quarter of this year. Income, whoopee! The pay is so low that I may as well be doing the work for free, but hey, every penny counts, and it's a start to what will hopefully become a part-time, if not project-based, career.

Thanks to the new au pair, I have less time on toddler duty and more in front of the laptop. So far my husband and I have gone out twice with groups of friends and attended one children's party where we could actually sit down and talk to fellow parents instead of taking turns entertaining Little A, who still hates loud, crowded places, we discovered.

He spent the entire time we were at the party outside the party room walking, reading, playing and then falling asleep. I can't say I really blamed him as I too have a dislike for loud party hosts who never stop talking, and at this particular event, when the host wasn't chattering incessantly into his microphone, there was music blaring out of the speakers.

Despite the au pair's presence, however, my son still refuses to fall asleep without me by his side, and looks for me immediately upon waking up. My husband and I are working out our strategy for this, so that I can be free during the afternoons instead of limited to before and after naptime as I am now.

This afternoon, I will be entertaining a couple of girlfriends at our flat, and tomorrow my husband, son, myself and my entire family (2 parents, 2 sisters, 2 brothers-in-law and 6 nephews and nieces) fly to Hong Kong for my parents' wedding anniversary, which this year falls on the same day as Chinese New Year. It is our third wedding anniversary as well, so let the good times roll!

Friday, January 16, 2009

First Date

My husband and I went out the other night. Together. For the first time in 18 months. Since our son was born, I've stayed home to care for him full time, and can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times (and hours) he's been left with other people to look after him. This was the first time we'd left him with anyone other than his grandparents, and for longer than an hour, so it was kind of a big deal for us all.

In the past year and a half, I'd only been able to see my friends less than a half-dozen times, and usually with baby-in-tow or at our flat, so Little A could run around comfortably while I entertained while looking after him. This time we left him in the care of our daily girl and her new companion, the au pair. Both have had experience looking after young children before, and Little A had a few days to get used to the au pair feeding and accompanying him on his walks so we figured it was then or never.

The evening out was a couple of hours spent at a pub in the company of old friends from university, with the exception of one who'd moved to Edinburgh and another, my sister, who was home looking after her two kids that were down with a tummy bug. It was wonderful to see them all and catch up on who was seeing whom and working where. It was equally nice to run into some other friends and realize that in my 18 months of absence from Manila's social scene, not much had changed.

The Home Front
On the way to the pub, I realized we should have left some emergency cash in case Little A suddenly needed to be rushed to hospital or something. This is something we'll definitely be doing in the future. I'd left my mobile with my husband's number on speed dial, so that they could ring us if necessary.

An hour after we left, my husband phoned home to check on them, and reported that all was well. Little A was watching his dvds, drinking his milk and otherwise happy.

When we got home at 11pm, our son was still awake, but losing the battle against waves of sleepiness that threatened to overwhelm him. Upon seeing me, he took my hand, led me to the bed, then raised his arms to be picked up and leaned over towards his pillow. He was asleep in minutes.

A Sign of Things to Come
According to the day girl and the au pair, Little A only cried briefly once during our absence, when he ran into the kitchen looking for us after discovering we weren't in any of the other rooms. But he was quickly distracted by the television. He also consumed a large quantity of milk, to my delight. Still, he woke up more often than usual that night, and each time made sure I was right there next to him.

It's a start, and the second time will come in another couple of days, when we join my husband's friends for dinner at a new restaurant close by. Now that our little boy is older, hopefully he will soon start falling asleep on his own, sleeping through the night, and with a little bit of luck, weaning fully from the breast before his second birthday. I'll keep my toes and fingers crossed.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A New Year

Another year has begun. This one has started off nicely, as we ushered it in quietly at home with my husband, son and in-laws, chocolate fondue and a modest midnight feast. Little A is now at the stage where he hates wearing clothes, so the stroke of midnight saw him in nothing but a nappy, shaking some noisy toys to scare away the bad spirits.

This week, I've been catching up with friends I hadn't been in touch with for nearly 15 years. One very resourceful former schoolmate (who is now a Countess) has managed to track down people we'd lost contact with, and with a little help from a borrowed scanner, I've managed to post some old photos online. What memories they bring back!

On the home front, it's time to get the chores done - airconditioning units need to be cleaned, Christmas ornaments taken down, cleaned and put away, and the groaning shelves of my refrigerator need to be emptied.

One of my objectives this year is to put on some weight as most of my clothes are falling off me despite stuffing my face at and in between every meal. So the holiday food presents are mostly gone and like all resourceful wives, I'm trying to get creative with what's left. Amazing what you can come up with when you've got an abundance of ham and cheese. 

The coldest time of year is also strawberry season in our temperate country, so I've got a quick-going pile of berries to turn into trifle if they aren't all consumed with cream and sugar. 

Tomorrow marks the start of another round of birthdays, beginning with my dad's and a godson's and my husband's goddaughter's two days later. There's my cue to get the presents in order. Another year. Let the good times roll.