Zoe joins Alexa in their bedroom

Since we moved into our apartment last December, Leoni decided that Zoe was moving out of my bed and into her bedroom. Zoe seemed fine with that. We did set up Alexa's room with two beds and Zoe's had a couple of naps in it.

Then one day a couple of weeks ago she decided she was going to stay there overnight and went back to Leoni's room after that. Last week, Zoe decided that she was done with Leoni's room and has been in her own bed ever since.

Yes He Can

Zoe has started being scared of loud noises. Airplanes, Motorcycles.. plus We have a building site next door.

Zoe: "'cared"
Me: "What are you scared of?"
Zoe: "Noisy"
Me: Who's being noisy?
Zoe: "Yes.He.Can" (As in - bob the builder - can he fix it? bob the builder - yes he can!")
Zoe: "Tarry P'ease" (Carry)

Zoe is 15 Months Old

She is starting to run - this kid is fast - my Dad can't keep up with her anymore if he's looking after her - someone else has to help. Still climbing everything - she can now get up to the dining table. She still only has two teeth - she's working on four top teeth but they haven't broken through yet. She loves bubbles. I love this age of discovery - its so delightful. We have been trying to move her into the crib in Alexa's room. Some nights she sleeps right through the night. Other nights she wakes up a 4 or 5 am. And some of those nights she wakes Alexa up too. I'm glad that I have Leonie to alternate nights with.

peek a boo

Alexa had a bout of what looked like mild HFMD last week - or it could just have been regular mouth ulcers plus a bit of diarrhoea. School required that we get a doctor's note to admit her back to school. With the H1N1 swine flu scare going on, the doctors office was a bit of a scene. Two hours of waiting later, with Alexa refusing to wear the mask they'd given her, doc diagnosed it as regular mouth ulcers and gave me a regular flu shot. We kept her home all week anyway. We're getting Alexa tested for developmental milestones - I've been a bit concerned about her seeming young for her Kindergarden class and not being ready when primary school comes around - she's at the very end of the school year anyway so it wouldn't be a stretch to put her in the next year. The preliminary test suggests that she could use some help with fine motor skills and there may possibly be some issues with language comprehension because she did a lot better when given visual cues together with verbal instructions than when she was just given verbal instructions. I can sometimes see her trying to compute what I say so it sort of makes sense. Alexa has also started into a phase where she 1) is all about saying no and crying when she doesn't get what she wants 2) wants me, and especially wants me to carry her, especially if Zoe also is insisting on nursing at the same time. We're trying different things to see what works with her. If we have a hard time with Alexa - Zoe will be really interesting when she gets to this age. She's a lot less patient, a lot more volatile and impatient and vocal. But enough of the bad news - Alexa is a sweet, compassionate kid and I love listening to her stories and having little conversations and playing with her.


Zoe is 13 months old

I zoomed right past Zoe's first birthday without posting. We had a quiet first birthday - just family. My grandmother passed away just after Chinese New Year and before Zoe's birthday. It was a peaceful passing, a simple funeral. Dad got my grandfather's ashes from the colombarium and we scattered them at sea right off the beach where they used to do their twice daily ritual walks.

Zoe is a really active kid. She walks fast, climbs stairs, sofas, tables, bikes, scooters.. everything. Even when she was just starting to cruise she'd start trying to get her knee up to go higher. She likes to kick the big ball around and pick it up and throw it.

She's also had a recent language burst - last I posted she had learned how to sign milk. She just started saying Mik too. She calls me Mama now. At first when she started saying it I kept thinking Alexa was calling me. She's learned a bunch of signs - she regularly signs drink, sometimes eat. I've seen her do the signs for cat, butterfly, bear and cow. She's made up her own sign for washing hands and brushing hair and teeth. She actually speaks more than she signs. Dog is a favorite (and she woofs), she says boo for balloon, ba for ball, buh (sort of reverse of up) for up and go outside, MMmmm for cow, Phh for elephant (trying to make a trumpeting noise), beh for bear. Oh .. and of course NO. How could we forget. And my all time favorite - WowER for Flower.

She mimics everything. She likes her little routines. Its so funny to watch her ask for water and then go sit down in the designated spot because she's not supposed to walk around with her drink (otherwise she'd shake the sippy cup and it'd go everywhere). Everyone in our estate loves to say hi to her because she'll grin her little two toothed grin and wave and blow kisses.

We're still co-sleeping. She's a really light sleeper, waking up multiple times a night and if no one is there she'll get up and stand before she's even really conscious and by the time she's up she's awake and doesn't want to sleep. She wakens less when someone is next to her, and also when she does stir, nursing is the easiest way to get her back to sleep. I no longer pump or nurse during the day - I'm back in the office full time - but she requests to nurse as soon as I come home and whenever she's tired or wants comforting and I'm available.

Alexa is in what they call K1 now - first of two years of kindergarten. They are transitioning from play to a little more structure. Not as intense as I've seen in other kindergartens in Singapore, but I see her working on writing both English and Chinese. She still doesn't really get Chinese for the most part but today she just asked to go to the bathroom in Chinese - a first. She's started going to school in the afternoon as well on Mondays (when they do drama) and Thursdays (Chinese reading). She just asked to go to school full day on Friday (cookery) so it sounds like she's making a good transition. She's started trying to reject her diaper for her naps, though she still wets the bed occasionally. I'm not ready to let her go without at night until she's more consistently dry.

The sisters have a decent relationship. Alexa asks for her sometimes when she's up at my parents place after school (she's there every afternoon). The lady who looks after the kids on the school bus keeps joking that she's going to take Zoe. The other day She was riding a bike when the school bus came so she had to park the bike before getting on the bus. Leonie and Zoe had gotten to the bus first and Jessline was carrying Zoe. Alexa was MOST upset because she thought that Jessline was taking Zoe. Zoe on the other hand was very intrigued with the school bus. The biggest issue between the two is contention for my attention, especially when I come home from work. The both rush to me and want to be picked up and Zoe wants to be nursed. We compromise by sitting on the couch - somehow I manage one Alexa on one lap with Zoe nursing on the other side. The other major area of contention is stuff. Zoe is always interested in what Alexa is up to and Alexa gets protective of her stuff. Or - when Zoe picks up something that looks interesting, Alexa immediately wants it too. Standard sister stuff. Negotiation lessons 101. Zoe is no pushover and is very vocal about what she wants.

We've turned Zoe's carseat around. At first it made no difference in how much she hated the car. But the last few short trips have been better. We'll see what the first long trip looks like. Chip wants to take the kids back to MA to see his Dad this summer. I suspect the flights will be a total nightmare - I hate travelling even without kids - and Zoe will be the devil child - I can hear her screaming her lungs out now and climbing all over the airplane. Because we have so much help in Singapore, Chip really doesn't do any of the childcare at all short of his one main duty which is to be in charge of Alexa's baby monitor - he gets her up in the morning, changed out of PJs and then hands her over to Leonie for breakfast. And quite frankly I very seldom have to look after both children on my own for any length of time, and I also don't worry about most of the household chores and cooking. It is definitely a luxury. It will be an interesting exercize all around if this trip comes to pass. I'm happy to wait until Zoe is three or four before we travel anywhere long distance. It'll arrive in no time - I can't believe Zoe is already one.

January 2009

Zoe is officially 11 Months old now. She so loves to walk. Its getting so that she tries to walk all the time now. She also figured out the sign for milk and uses it a lot. Its funny to see her sitting and playing, look up and have the thought cross her mind, take the two seconds to sign for milk and thunder across the serengeti to me to get some. Not very subtle.

I had the orientation to Kindergarten for Alexa. This year they teach reading, writing and basic addition/subtraction. In Chinese they are starting to introduce some characters. We're doing tasks to strengthen their fingers. I remember how much writing chinese characters hurt. There are four local kids in her class. By the end of the year, that's all that will be left. All the foreign kids will depart to their respective schools. A 1:4 teacher student ratio will be pretty nice, if we're still living in the neighborhood. Her teachers from last year say she's doing a lot better with following instructions and understanding routines and going along with the rest of the class. Also, she's much more interactive and assertive than she used to be. Her class is a really nice group of kids so that helps. Everyone seems to really love and look after Alexa. She has a sweet shyness about her that draws people to her and encourages them to look out for her.

Alexa had a bout of stomach flu this weekend - threw up 7 times on Saturday evening. Was exhausted and moody on Sunday. She seems much better today but we kept her home anyway up at my parents place. Fingers crossed no one else gets it. It sucks when kids are sick. And.. I hate phobias. It makes a pretty run of the mill incident so much more difficult to deal with than it needs to be.

End of 2008

Zoe is 10 Months old. She has two teeth. She likes cruising and walking (7 - 8 steps at a time - she started walking right around the 10 month mark). She also likes to climb - often when she's pulled up to standing, her second leg starts waving around looking for something to climb onto. Her second clear word is Bird and she barks if she sees dogs, hears dogs or sees pictures of dogs. She's at the long garbled gibberish sentence phase. Tikka Tikka! Is a popular word/sound. She definitely likes imitating and often finds it funny - this morning she was fussing about being in the car seat - I pouted at her - and she thought that was really funny - giggled and tried to pout back at me.

Alexa is 4 years old. Last year I didn't really feel up to doing a lot of birthday stuff while I was pregnant - this year I think I made up for it. I took a cake and goodies to school the day before and Alexa also had a party at Fidgets, an indoor playground. We are still opening presents (I've doled them out, one or two a day, and then of course there was christmas in between). This is the first year she's really been able to talk a lot about her experience and its been a lot of fun. She's starting Kindergarden next year. I just took a look at Kindergarden Chinese - I definitely need to start refreshing my Chinese. I still worry that she's on the "young" side for her class both calendar-wise and behavior-wise - I'll be watching closely this year. If we were in the US she wouldn't be starting Kindy until September.

Looking at pictures between last year and this year - Alexa's really gone from a chubby toddler to a lanky lithe little girl. She's still not had a hair cut yet - her hair has lovely curls and ringlets. I think we get another year's worth of those before her hair starts thickening - if it follows the route my hair took. She is great at playing on her own - I love listening to her songs and monologues as she talks about what she is doing, and her invented dialogues with her toys. She got her first Barbie type toys this birthday - its funny - she's using the "makeup" as if its stage makeup (as in, Barbie is about to perform on stage now) since that's mostly what her experience with makeup is. She is still on the reserved side, especially around strangers and more aggressive/assertive kids. I like that, at least for now, she knows what she wants to do and is happy to play on her own even if the group is doing something else. Yet I'm also glad that if she IS interested in the group activity, when she does warm up she seems to get on really well with people - kids as well as grownups. I'm also glad to see that the kids in school are all still very inclusive - I've heard from a friend with a 5 year old that the mean cliquey girl thing has already started at her kid's school. Speaking of school - Most of her classmates head off to international school in September, leaving her and 3 others who will be going to local primary schools. It will be an interesting transition. I'm still not sure if that's the right school system for her, but that's another thing that we will be thinking about this year.

A day in our life

I do this for a discussion board that I'm on but wanted this available for a wider audience .. Not a particularly exciting day - I was thinking about running some errands to spice it up a bit but didn't get the time - oh well - here it is..

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Zoe is 9 months old. Her second tooth just broke through yesterday. Drooling and chewing on stuff - so far she's bitten my shoulder and my finger.

She's waving goodbye in context and upon request. Its actually very funny to see her being wheeled down the street in her chariot, doing the queen's wave to her loving subjects. She comes down to wave Alexa off on the schoolbus in the morning as well. Her first word is "Ball". We think she also says Jie Jie (big sister). She's at the stage where she shouts and states things at top volume - very strong support from the diaphragm.

She's still not very big on sleeping during the day - too much to miss - very light sleeper. Partly for that reason I haven't put her in her own bed yet either. I can't be bothered to get up to shush her to sleep at night. Its easier when she's right there next to me in bed.

She's totally curious and persistent - and FAST. She definitely keeps Alexa on her toes with her belongings. Alexa has to put things away out of her reach if she doesn't want them to be put into Zoe's mouth. She alternates between being irritated and upset, and actually quite patient and good about finding something else that Zoe can play with instead of the toy that Alexa doesn't want her to have.

Zoe is now 8 months old

Zoe's crawling with a vengeance and trying to stand as much as she can. Alexa has discovered that she has to be very vigilant with anything she doesn't want Zoe to get into. She's learning to take things away gently, not snatching. She's past the stage where everything is Da da da da da now.. I miss it. You really do have to savor every moment because passes so incredibly quickly.

Zoe crawls

She is just shy of 8 months old. The last 2 weeks she's been practising getting to a seated position and moving from sitting to all fours. For a while, as soon as she got to all fours she'd lie down on her belly. Lots of belly scooting and seat scooting to try to get at whatever she was reaching for. Two days ago, she figured out crawling. By today she's doing pretty darned well - going across the living room at a reasonable pace, though by the end of it she's complaining - probably that she's not getting there fast enough and wants a pick up thank you very much. She's not a cautious kid and very curious so I see a lot of face plants and head bonks in our future. Time to seriously childproof.

She's also a very vocal and conversational kid - ranging from loud hoots and grunts to cute birdlike coos and trills - and yes - the occasional shriek. Quite entertaining and pretty tiring to keep up with.