Sunday 30 January 2011

the boys at hk park with Verginia

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Josh's tongue!

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Joshua and Daddy

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the boys sitting by the window

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Thursday 27 January 2011

Felix was suspiciously quiet...

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Monday 24 January 2011

Sitting in the baby cage

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Polysyllabic babbles

Felix is definitely Carmichael today as he's started saying "mamamamama". Awesome.

The boys spend lots of time in their baby zone (or cage, as Verginia calls it! ) we've sectioned off the end of the living room, and padded everything in sight. The window sill has some rather attractive yellow bumpers stuck to it, to protect small heads from marble ...the sill is just the right height for the boys to pull themselves upright on it, and they can stand looking out at the dixies and bah-sees for 5 or 10 minutes, just holding onto the ledge. Josh has also started "cruising" (I hate using that term) along the window sill.

The current favourite game is for me to sit in front of the high chairs with my eyes closed, and wait for one of them to touch my face. Then I "wake up" with a big BOO and tickle their knees!
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Friday 21 January 2011

Da boyz

More commando crawling

Felix started crawling yesterday, one week after Josh. We went to a friend's house for a playdate, and Felix decided to show off I think. There was much talk about when to have baby number 2 - of course right now I completely ignore that conversation - the bake shop is closed, as Annie so eloquently puts it. Is 18 months a good age gap? in which case, better get started now! or will a few years' difference make it easier? Never say never, but I am never having another baby. Newborn twins + 6,000 miles from your family + post-natal depression = a very effective deterrent.

Josh was well into the rideable toys that my friend has for her daughter - especially the Rody horse and the lion (that roars).

Two friends popped over yesterday - I love that about living here, friends just call and say they're passing, or they're not busy, and they come over for a cup of tea, or help to bath the babies, or just chat. It's kind of like university, but soooo much better.

The boys woke up quite early this morning, but sang to themselves for a good 30 minutes before we got them up. I've been working on the baby playpen at the end of our sitting room, I've padded everything in sight, so hopefully they won't hurt themselves. Before breakfast this morning they had a lovely time standing by the window, watching the taxis and buses go by.

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Why Chinese Mothers are superior

A couple of interesting articles about Chinese parenting styles

Monday 17 January 2011

Domestic Helpers in Hong Kong

A couple of weeks ago I went for a pedicure with a friend. We often go together, and have a package of 10 pedicures so that we can sit and chat and drink coffee while our feet are made flip-flop ready. OK, this is sounding wrong already...Hmm. How to explain? Can I explain? No, I won't, I'll just leave it there as it is, think what you will.

While we sat getting dead skin shaved off our feet, and picking a nail varnish colour, we returned to a topic of conversation that is often on our minds. Helpers. Like her, we never expected to have a helper / maid / amah, we didn't budget for one, we didn't choose where we lived with that in mind. Then one day near the beginning of my pregnancy, we went for an ultrasound scan and the technician asked "Can you count them?" THEM?! So all the umming and ahhing about whether we would need a helper was over. In fact, many people said that we would need two helpers, and indeed quite a lot of my friends with twins do have 2 helpers.

Anyway, the point is that we were complaining about our helpers. Well, not complaining but discussing the best way to manage certain things. For example, when the boys were ill, our helper (V) had very strong opinions about how to look after them, and her 9 years' experience with a Chinese family meant that her opinions did not match ours. V is a fantastic helper - she's kind, patient, imaginative, discreet, cheerful....I could go on. In short, I am thankful every day that we found her, and that she said yes! So we were sitting talking about our helpers, and I realised ow uncomfortable I felt. I think this stems from the fact that helpers do things that I did myself once upon a time (badly, grudgingly and not very often, especially when it came to cleaning the bathroom!) It's hard to find the right balance - helpers are doing a job. They are paid for it, and it's not immediately obvious why I still feel wrong when V makes me a cup of tea, or sweeps the floor while I check my emails. She hates it when I try to do things myself - if I go to make myself a cup of tea, or clear the table, she quietly but firmly interrupts me, and says "I'll do it ma'am". I try to remember that if my boss kept arbitrarily doing things that were part of my job, I'd be pretty narked. So I try to let her get on with it, while making sure that on her day off I am still capable of caring for myself, my husband and our boys.

It's all made harder (and easier, depending on how you look at it!) when you consider that there's a legal requirement that helpers live with their employers. V is wonderful, so far I have very rarely found it annoying or intrusive to have her in our home - I think I am so grateful for all she does for us that I couldn't possibly be irritated. We are lucky that we have 3 bedrooms, so she has the spare room rather than a helper's room (often to our eyes, these are little bigger than cupboards) She is definitely part of our family, in a slightly removed way.

I know that things may change - we had a helper previously - we really rubbed each other up the wrong way, so we terminated that contract. I suppose that experience has made me all the more grateful for V. Mothers of older kids have told me that their needs from a helper change a great deal as the children get older, and of course that may happen. I wonder how things will evolve as the boys get old enough to be disciplined for example. But for now, all is well. And I hope that no one who overheard our conversation at the salon formed a bad opinion of us. I fear that I would have done, pre-babies, pre-V, if I had heard people like us, getting pampered and complaining about their full-time, live-in, low-salaried maid.

Friday 14 January 2011

Thursday 13 January 2011

checking that i can blog from my nexus one...

here's a pic of Felix (with poo eye) in the park this afternoon
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The weather

I think I am going to have to re-acquaint myself with some clothes....and shoes for that matter. It's fricking cold.

TVB news featured a student going to school, who said she was wearing 7 layers of clothes, plus a huge jacket. It was 7 degrees. And I saw on the ATV World news last night that a group of hikers went out to Tai Mo Shan at 3am in the hopes of seeing some frost because it was so cold. Sadly there was no frost, but that didn't stop them taking random night time photos of the shrubs in the surrounding area.

Ross bought a Hong Kong Observatory Calendar yesterday, from the General Post Office. It's not great this year, as the photos are just a bit boring. Each month has a little commentary on the month, here's February:

February is one of the coldest months in Hong Kong with frequent outbreaks of the northeast monsoon bringing wintry weather. Cold weather has an impact on people's health, especially the elderlies [sic]. This photograph shows people in warm clothing.

It also has informational nuggets about weather in Hong Kong each month, including records, such as "Lowest air temperature in January was 0.0 degrees celsius, recorded on 18 January 1893". Brrr!

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Movement, 8 1/2 months

BP* has shown some definite signs of self-propelled locomotion today and yesterday. I think it's because I took him to Cath's last week, and he saw Holly Polly and Tom Tom crawling, and got jealous. Anyway, he's now scooting on his tummy a bit, and displaying some fine Downward Dog action too. Still a long way to go before he's fully crawling, but it's a start. I know that once he (and more importantly "they"!) start crawling properly, my life will become much more complicated, but I am pleased that he's started moving anyway. They are both getting so frustrated at not being able to do / reach what they want (I wonder where they get that from?!) so it's nice to see them achieve something.

Josh is still banging things with the heel of his right hand (everything's a drum for Josh) and Felix does the most awesome wobbly bottom lip sometimes. Josh has recovered from his cold now, but Felix got it as soon as BP was better...and Felix also has conjunctivitis now (another trip to the dr) so is still feeling sorry for himself. Eye drops, nose drops and paracetamol, poor little monkey. I also feel like a completely unfit mother since Granary noticed Felix's poorly eye last week, from 6,000 miles away. And I didn't notice it till it was all red. Sorry Filo.

The boys also have two teeth each, with more on the way I think.

Toys for 8 months olds
Fave toys at the moment are Sophie the Giraffe (of course!), the pop-up toy from Granary and Pa, the tug-of-war rings, and the classic stacking rings from Sam. Fave song is Old MacDonald, the sillier the voice the better, and fave story is We're Going on a Bear Hunt.

Where to buy baby coats in Hong Kong
I have tried hard to resist the HK way of wrapping babies up so much that they look like little Michelin men, even in the summer. But it really has got quite nippy here, and the lack of heating / insulation doesn't help. So I decided that the boys needed coats. I ended up getting two nice ones, one baby trench coat stylee from Zara at Times Square, one from Next Children (the UK brand, wierd huh?) which is in Windsor House.

* Baked Potato - Uncle Hairy christened Josh BP when he came to HK in September. Apparently Joshy's all round and solid.

Felix rugged up for the freezing cold weather (seriously, it's 7 degrees today!)
Poorly Felix
Joshy Elliot

Monday 10 January 2011

Hong Kong Mothers of Multiples

I went to a MoMs lunch for the first time the other day, it was great! it was for new and expectant mothers, most of us have (or are having) twins, one person has year-old triplets. We talked about the merits (or not) of the Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam, and swapped labour and pregnancy stories. It was lovely to meet Jen, who I've been emailing a bit recently, and I've even been thinking about offering to join the committee, if they need anyone.

Mothers of Multiples Hong Kong

MoMs Facebook page

37 weeks, January 2011

Pre-Christmas playgroup at our flat

Playgroup in Victoria Park

The boys in the park with Daddy

Here's a picture of our place. We live in Lei Shun Court on Leighton Road in Causeway Bay.

It's a pretty skanky old building that was built in 1958 (ancient!) and might be knocked down in the near future. More on that later!

Excuse the lengthy absence of updates...

So the boys are now 8 and a half months old. They have been pretty poorly the last few days - Josh got ill first, and I took him to see a really nice dr in Causeway Bay, Simon Wong. The doc said that Joshemy just had a cold, so time and paracetamol would help. He got better after a few days, but unfortunately Filo is now poorly with the same thing. The last week's nights have not been ideal, and we've been getting up a few times to administer paracetamol and extra feeds. It is so exhausting, it makes me wonder how we coped with getting up 10 or 12 times a night a few months ago. Of course the answer is that we didn't really cope!

I spend lots of time wondering what the boys will become. Joshy is always so thoughtful, and when he looks at things (like the door bouncer) he always seems to be trying to figure out how it works. And Felix is a giggle monster, who just loooves girls. Josh's just beginning to crawl at the moment - or at least he shifts himself onto all fours, then humps back and forwards a bit before screaming in frustration, and going splat on the floor! Felix shows no signs of crawling yet, but is manic about walking - I bought two pairs of shoes for them the other day, Robeez from Stride Rite in Windsor House (I got them "Mini Shoez", as I thought the leather soled ones would get too slippy on our tile floor) and also a pair from Mothercare in Lee Gardens Two.

Dr Wong - Room 1006, Capital Centre Tower 1 - opposite CB MTR exit F. 2890 3316
Also you can search for english speaking doctors in Hong Kong

Josh learning to walk with Verginia. Verginia is our wonderful live-in helper, and she's quite short, it's not that Josh is an 8-month old giant...

Felix getting to grips with a beer on Jo and Gareth's rooftop at a New Year's Day BBQ

Feeding time at the zoo

A playgroup a while ago, at Caroline's house in Clearwater Bay