Thursday, February 28, 2008

Quarantined again

We are in quarantine again. Poor Jocelyn is covered with chicken pox spots and starting to scratch already. I am really gutted as my parents are coming this weekend and I thought we would have a lovely get together with the entire family.

However, as Jocey is contagious we are not taking any risks with Charlotte being pregnant. They won't be able to come around for dinner, so I am going to send Mum and Dad to their house for Sunday lunch.

Even Lauren was upset for Jocey. She said to me yesterday "Look, Mummy! Jocey got my spots!"

And just when I thought things were getting back to normal. I am trying to keep Jocey from scratching and giving her extra big hugs and kisses so that she knows we love her.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Yukky cream

Poor Lauren and I had a miserable weekend. She was so itchy with her chicken pox that she couldn't sleep at night. We had to apply several layers of calamine lotion on her skin before she would settle enough to sleep.

Unfortunately, she hates the calamine. I think it's the way it feels when it first goes onto her skin (slimy). Maybe it was also stinging as a lot of the spots had burst and were forming scabs. Things got to the stage where she wouldn't let me change her nappy because she was afraid I would put on the "yukky cream"!

However, we are definitely over the worst and I notice that she is scratching a lot less today. There are also no new spots and the ones that are left are mostly scabbed over or beginning to fade. There's been no fever either for two days, so I feel she is definitely on the mend.

I had a tummy bug at the weekend and felt really miserable and shivery for 24 hours. I slept most of Saturday when the tummy ache and nausea would allow, but fortunately developed no vomiting or other nastiness. My appetite has just about got back to normal today. I am really exhausted as I have been getting up multiple times in the night with Lauren since she became unwell and have had to get up (at different times of course) with Jocey as well.

I am just hoping now that Jocey doesn't get the chicken pox as well as the last week has been really tough and I could really do with a bit of a rest. Let's hope that's the last we'll need the yukky cream for a while!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Richmond bugs

Richmond bugs are clearly different from Hammersmith bugs. Poor Lauren was just getting over her cold; now she has chickenpox. Apparently, it has been going around her nursery and many of the children in her group have had it.

We first noticed a spot on her forehead about 3 or 4 days ago; there were no other spots at that stage and she seemed completely well. However, I had a bad feeling about the spot and thought it would turn out to be chickenpox. Unfortunately, yesterday I was proved right, as numerous new spots appeared all over her. She even has spots in her hair! I just hope she doesn't scar.

She seems pretty well with it though and isn't scratching or feverish. Her appetite isn't great but she is eating. She's been a bit clingy so I suspect that she doesn't feel quite right even though she looks fine. She knows something is wrong because she doesn't like me looking at the spots and seems quite self conscious.

At the moment, Jocey seems well and I haven't seen any spots on her but I know it's only a matter of time. Lauren frequently sleeps with us in our bedroom and has been doing so over the last few days when she was feeling unwell.

It looks like we'll be in quarantine for some time! Lauren will be at home for at least a week until all the spots are scabbed over and no new ones are appearing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More laughing

Lauren is really settled now at her new nursery and seems a lot more confident in herself. She's begun to tell us the names of the children now and her vocabulary has suddenly increased. She's got used to Jocelyn being around now and absolutely adores her little sister. She's definitely happier of late.

Home 013

Jocey is beginning to recognise people and is constantly smiling and laughing. She's such a happy person and loves her hugs with Mummy and Daddy.

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Here she is playing "Peekaboo" with Daddy and giggling away!

What a joy it is to be a parent!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

All potty

We have been trying to potty train Lauren for a little while now. We have been quite leisurely about this as we didn't want to knock her confidence as the household has suffered so many changes lately. Things have been going quite well and she will go to the potty when asked now.

This week at nursery, Lauren and a few of the other children have been potty training in earnest. I was told to bring in lots of pairs of pants and changes of clothing / shoes for the big day yesterday. At the end of the afternoon when Jase went to pick her up, we had a glowing report; it all went extremely well and she had been dry most of the day with only one little accident.

Today, Lauren is at home with me and she is less motivated to go without the encouragement of her little friends at nursery (I have noticed that children will do things so much better for their peers!) and we've had two little accidents. Apart from those two, she is doing really well and hasn't been in her nappy since last night.

We've just finished lunch and she is quite pleased with herself. She loves wearing her big girl pants!

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I'm not put off by the setbacks; I know these things take a bit of time. So today I'm doing lots of laundry.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Food, glorious food

We had a fabulous Chinese New Year dinner last night; so much so that I am really looking forward to eating the leftovers!

Chinese New Year 001

I cooked some steamed chicken, squid with peppers in a black bean sauce and chilli prawns with celery. All this was accompanied by our special savoury rice, which is rice cooked with shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimp, Chinese sausage and Chinese wind dried pork (like pancetta).

This is a picture of the girls with Jase.

Chinese New Year 002

Lauren has some special beginners' chopsticks, which she both loves using and is getting quite nifty with.

Here I am with my darling girls.

Chinese New Year 003

I know that I talk about food a lot (OK, probably more than most normal people do) but to Chinese people, food is not just about eating a good meal. You can put it into perspective when you consider that the first famous Chinese chef Yi Yin, who established many of the rules of modern cooking in China lived in the 16th century BC (yes, that's right, BC). His food was celebrated by a food writer of the 3rd century BC.

Food is the lifeblood that flows through the family; it defines who you are and connects you to your parents, your grandparents and your ancestors. It is the cement that binds your family together. We laugh, cry, celebrate and mourn together with the help of food.

I sometimes worry about my girls growing up and not understanding where they come from. I now understand how my own parents must have felt. When I think back to my own childhood in the UK, I realise that a lot of things I just didn't understand when I was young. Mum and dad must have been so frustrated! It is all too easy to become totally Western. I never worry about them understanding England and Jase's background because it is there in front of them constantly. However, getting them to understand Chinese traditions may be harder.

I know now that there was always something missing when I was growing up. Bizarrely it wasn't until I went to live in Sydney that I finally connected with and understood my Chinese heritage. I found this very strange because I never had that experience from going back to Hong Kong; it never made any emotional connection with me. Sydney, with its large and friendly Chinese community going back many generations opened my eyes to what it all meant to be Chinese, and yet Western at the same time.

What a challenge for us in the future with Lauren and Jocelyn! You are not complete until you understand where you've come from and who you are.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Welcome the Year of the Rat!

Here's wishing all our friends and family a happy and prosperous Year of the Rat!

The lunar calendar is on a 12 year cycle and is named after animals. In our family, both my mum and Jase are Rat people, so they have special birthdays this year.

If you were born in the year of the Rat, you will find that your birthday this year will be one divisible by 12 (for example, Jase is 36 and I'm not allowed to disclose how old my mother is!).

This is what being a Rat is all about...just for fun (courtesy of Chinese Astrology on Facebook)

"Being born under this sign determines many talents, as well as other characteristics that may not be so commendable. Rats are very lively and need a lot of mental and physical stimulation. They can be calm and perceptive, but sometimes their brains can cause a mental restlessness, tempting them to take on too much, only to discover they are unable to meet their commitments. Rats are blessed with one of the best intellects going. Add to their intelligence a curiosity and a bright imagination, and they seem as sharp as a needle.

The sign of the Rat is the first sign in the cycle giving Rat people exude great leadership qualities and are good at taking the lead. They don't mind a lot of responsibility and they demonstrate a strong presence that other people respect."

Check out the predictions for this year, the Year of the Earth Rat!

Just adorable!

This is why we love our Jocelyn so much! She is such a sunny baby with a beautiful smile and an infectious laugh. We are truly blessed to have two such happy children!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Achoo, achoo, achoo!!

You've probably figured out from the above that some of us are having a miserable time.

This morning, I found it it was probably Johnny's fault. I sneezed and was blowing my nose when Lauren observed, "Mummy, you got big apchoo. Johnny got big apchoo too." When I asked her more about it, it turns out that Johnny is one of the little boys in her group at nursery. Must be the little lad that Jase said was streaming with the cold last week.

Just our luck that Lauren, Jocey and I have all succumbed. Lauren is just getting over hers but poor Jocey and I are still streaming. I've had some pretty disturbed nights (in other words, no sleep) because I had to get up in the night to comfort first Lauren, then Jocey with their colds. All this and feeling rubbish myself!

I am amazed that Jase is the only one to have escaped so far, as he is not normally so lucky.

However, the girls remain in good spirits as you can see.

Home 002

Apart from the big black rings around my eyes, the girls and I had a fun day yesterday at the Park Club. We went down there to have lunch, after which Lauren, Jocey and I played in the soft play area. I pretended to be a big crocodile in a pond and chased Lauren around, stopping for "naps" and "snacking" on the big pink foam animals and the occasional little girl on the way. This is currently Lauren's favourite game. There was a lot of shrieking and laughter from the little girl and the other little girl in the soft play area with us.

I am always amazed at the number of parents who don't play with their kids. You would have thought that it would be a natural thing to do, but I have noticed (more often than not) that parents plonk their children in the soft play area and then wander off for a coffee. A lot of parents seem only interested in doing grown-up things with their kids (such as expecting them to play sports, watch TV or go shopping with them). It seems a shame that very few want to actually play with their kids on their terms. They have the rest of their lives to be grown up; I think childhood is sadly all too short today.

Anyway, I'm off to prepare some food and get ready for the Lunar New Year tomorrow! Hurray! We welcome the Year of the Rat tomorrow, meaning big birthdays in store for the Rat people in our family, Jase and Mum.