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Zaria Turning 8 Month Old August 29, 2007

Posted by Zara's Mama in baby signing, breastfeeding, development, parenting, Zaria.

This month we saw great development in Zaria, in her ability as well as her emotions.

Little girl Zaria doing what she likes most

Put her in the pool of balls she’s happy, put her in the pool of water, she’s happier!

I don’t know what her weight is nor her height, but she’s definitely growing. Clothes are tighter, skirts are shorter.
Her 2 upper incisors started growing 3 weeks ago. With 4 teeth now, and with her very strong sucking motion (Zara never used to suck so hard from what I recalled) nursing her can be a bit of a pain, imagine piranhas nursing! (OUCH!)

Other things the little girl can do :
1) Sitting without support like a pro now, only loosing balance occasionally
2) Clap her hands and give us five
3) Signing more (but it’s Zara’s version by tapping 1 finger on the other palm)
4) Waves bye bye; pats her stomach when we asked if she’s ‘pao pao’ (Cantonese : Full); but I don’t know if she knows the meaning of these actions
5) Raises her hand when we asked if she wanted to be carried; turns her hands and head away from whoever she doesn’t want
6) Making new sounds like ke, pa, te (effect of my new purchase? I don’t know.)
7) Crawl commando style, but right now it’s going back wards.
8 ) Seems to understand words like No (following it is another thing), Carry, mummum (Chinese : food, eat), no more, go park
9) Cover and uncover her mouth which produces the wa-wa-wa sound
10) When she sees food, she smacks her lips and says mummum repeatedly, does this mean she’s uttering her first word already?

Eating :
She absolutely loves eating. When she sees us eating, she tries to reach out and grab.
She has breakfast and dinner at the dining table together with us, so she doesn’t have to stare at us eat. Sometimes she wants to try what is on our plates, so we’ll give her a suck on the fruit we’re eating, or give her 2-3 rice grains to munch.
Still on 2 solid meals (breakfast and dinner, ~2.5 tbs) and have her milk 3 hourly (I let her rest for an hour before giving her a milk feed after her solid meal). Snacks on babybites biscuit at noon time.
She only takes home made cereals, fruit or vege puree. No meat introduced yet (will wait till 1yr old).

Zaria at 8 month

Clock wise top left : absolutely love this pix taken by my neighbour in the park; showing off her clapping skill; On her Tripp Trapp, her new found favourite; Spending lots of time in the walker

She takes 2 naps in the day for about 1hr to 1.5hr per nap.
She sleeps at ~9:30pm. Wakes up 1 to 2 times in the night (depending on how soundly she sleeps), requests for the breast, and drifts off to sleep (most of the time I too drift of to sleep with her) midway nursing.

She started having preference on who can touch or carry her. She never used to be that particular, but this month, it’s different!
She dislikes wrinkly people in particular. MIL, out! My sis’ elderly maid, out! She will look at the person, hold the stare for 2s, then she’ll cry, with big drops of tears!
She needs time to warm up to people whom she doesn’t meet that often. SIL once jumped out from no where to greet her, Zaria freaked out, cried like there was no tomorrow.
Every time when we enter someone’s home, she’ll be looking from ceiling to the floor and around, clinging on to the one carrying her tighter, sensing the unfamiliar ground. People started saying she’s ‘papai’ (Cantonese : fussy), but I think she’s just getting more aware of things.

She prefers me over most people. When my maid is carrying her and she sees me walking by, she’ll be calling out for me  and her eyes will follow where I go. If I didn’t stop to play with her or carry her, she would be fretting, making crying sounds. However, she prefers Daddy over me when she’s in a playful mood, because Daddy plays a lot with her.

She likes
1) to touch, shake, knock just about any objects she gets her hands on
2) to stand or to bounce herself up and down
3) anything that makes sound and music
4) go to the park (and she loves to lift her head to watch the swaying leaves on trees)
5) baths
6) grind her teeth playfully (the top with the bottom) which gets on my nerve (hate the sound).

I like it when she feels manja (Malay : TLC required) and lays her head on my shoulder when I carry her.

I just love this little chilli padi!


My Chili Padi – 7 month old July 30, 2007

Posted by Zara's Mama in baby signing, development, Zaria.

Zaria recently has shown some of her ‘spunky’ side, I’m not sure if it’s her constant exposure to a screaming, shouting, demanding toddler, or she’s now just slowly ‘blooming’.

1. She now knows how to tell us what she wants.
E.g. When she sees me and wants me to carry her, she’ll look at me while kicking her legs and flapping her arms towards me and babble happily, “Ugh! Ugh!”.
She does the same when she sees a toy she wants, and her arms will be trying to reach for the item (or her stare will follow the object of desire) while doing so.

2. She knows how to fake a cry if what she wanted was denied.
E.g. When I walk on without carrying her, she’ll fake a cry, “Eh-Heh.. Eh-Heh.. Eh-Heh” with eyes fixed on me.

3. She now knows how to insist on her demand.
E.g. If I don’t give in to her fake cry, wave bye bye at her, and disapear, her tears will start flowing, and she’ll start arching her back, straightening legs, and bawl.

If I picked her up, she’ll stop crying immediately. It’s the same when the toy she wants is given to her, she’ll stop her crying, and immediately play with the toy happily. That’s one thing good about her, she gets pacified easily.

Last Sunday, Zara got a baloon twisted to the shape of a bear from 1U.
I took it out for Zaria to play at night. We were all seated on the bed, Zaria on my lap happily took the baloon from me. Zara who was reading with daddy a foot away in front of us, immediately snatched the baloon from Zaria, and said, “It’s mine! Not meimei(‘s)!”
Zaria reached her hands out, and did her fake crying (2) but Zara ignored her.

The next moment, Zaria just lunged forward; by straightening her legs and kicking very hard with her arms reaching out towards Zara, she propelled herself into Zara’s arms; but Zara was quicker, and held the baloon high up above her head. Since Zaria miss her airm, she bawled!

Both Daddy and myself just stared at each other, and said, “Wow”. I said out loud what we both were thinking, “Looks like she’s going to be chili padi. “

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Other things the little girl can do :
1) Sitting without support : she can balance herself when she leans forward, but still not very good in regaining her sitting position if she tilted to the side.
2) Twist her wrist (as though saying No more)
3) Babbling wider range of sounds, e.g. Ba Ba Ba Ba, Ma Ma Ma Ma, Mum Mum Mum
4) Signing MILK when she wants me to give her milk

She likes to :
1) Blow raspberry
2) Straighten her legs to stand (of course very much supported), sometimes preferring this over sitting
3) Burry her face on my shoulder, suck on any of my expose skin (shoulder, arm).
4) Eat – she loves her solid and milk. She’s taking 2 x 2 tablespoon of cereal/fruit or vege puree daily, and then taking 6~7 times 3.5~4 oz milk feed.

She has 2 lower central incisors now, the right one appeared early this month, while the left one sprouted last week. Her latest mischief : biting on me when she’s nursing. Unlike Zara, where I only have to tell her NO twice and she stopped biting me totally for the 1.5yrs she was nursing, little chili padi is still doing it after many times of saying NO to her. She even gives me the cheeky smile after biting, showing me her 2 cute teeth, declaring her innocence!

Zaria at 7 month

Bits & Pieces April 26, 2006

Posted by Zara's Mama in baby signing, development, language, Zara.

I was changing her diaper. She suddenly blurted : “Fish Ball!”.
I was curious why she said that, I just guessed and said, “Zara thinks Zara’s toes look like fish ball is it?”. I pointed to her toes.
Zara looked at me (as though I was stupid), then started pointing her finger at her mouth while saying, “Mum mum *point point* (Chinese: eat), Fish ball.”
(Tuyam said she does that very often, when she asked for something to eat, and Tuyam couldn’t understand her, she’ll point to her mouth and sign to us, like we’re some bozos)

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This morning, while at play, she shouted, Mita Boo (Mr Blue), where are you? Want suck tum (thumb)!”
(She has the habit of sucking her thumb while holding her soft toy Mr Blue)

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While pushing her in the stroller yesterday, Zara counted, “For, fai, sik, sehwen, egg” And repeated. Asked her to do from One, it will go something like “One, Egg, Ten.” (She knows they are numbers but doesn’t know the sequence).

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Zara’s reciting the nursery rhyme Hey Diddle Diddle sounds like this:

Diddle Diddle, Cat the fiddle, Cow oh the moon, spot, away spoon

(Actual, Hey Diddle Diddle, The Cat and the fiddle, The Cow Jumped over the moon, The Dog laughed to see such sport, And the dish ran away with the spoon)

Zara This and That April 12, 2006

Posted by Zara's Mama in baby signing, language, Zara.

Me : *talking to Daddy* Eh, I go for my shower, you look after Zara huh?
Zara : *looked up from what she was doing* Sar-wer. Don’t want.
Me : *turned my attention to her* Huh? Mummy need to shower. Daddy looks after Zara ok?
Zara : *fake crying sound, held my hand* Don’t want!
Me : Daddy look after Zara cannot huh? Why don’t want?
Zara : Don’t want. *Patted her chest* Sked Sked!
(Now when she cannot find a reason for not wanting something, she just says she’s scared. Don’t want to eat fish, because she’s scared. Don’t want to brush teeth, because she’s scared. Don’t want Daddy to look after, because she’s scared)

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Just got into the car.
Zara : Chih-den! Chih-den (Children)! On.
Me : Ok.. Mummy turn on the Children’s song for you.
She listened happily. After a song she likes finished playing, she’ll say, “More more!” (and doing her hand sign by pointing to her palm)
At the start of a song she doesn’t like, “Don’t want! Don’t yike (like)!”
Or she’ll just say, “Off. Don’t want.”

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While waiting for the car after lunch, Zara was admiring the 2 stone lions at the entrance of Federal Hotel.
Me : Let’s go home.
Zara : *waved* Bye bye Nai-yen (Lion). Go hom dee (Go home already). See yoo Monday.
(Every time we leave King’s Wife place in the evening before the weekend, we make her say good bye to everybody, and we say “See you on Monday” to every one, she must have picked that up).

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After changing her to a nice blouse and a denim skirt :
Zara : *put her palms on her cheeks* So tute (cute).
Me : *can’t help but smile* Yeah, Zara so cute.
Zara : *pulled my hand* Hold hand.
Me : *followed her* Where Zara wants to go?
Zara : *point to the door* Show Daddy. Show Kakak.
(Oh, my. She’s really getting vain.)

Little Cat January 5, 2006

Posted by Zara's Mama in baby signing, language, parenting, Zara.

Daddy loves fish, any types of fish (not the same type of Piscean Lust that this guy has though, Daddy’s love is the edible type). Big fish, small fish, ocean fish, fresh water fish ; cooked in whatever styled, steamed, fried, soup, curry. And Zara is just like Daddy.

When it’s dinner time, and we put her onto her highchair, she would point to the fish dish (we always have a fish dish for dinner because Daddy can’t do without) and bounced excitedly on her chair chanting, “wis!”

If we gave her just her porridge (cooked with either pork or chicken with vegetable), she would just casually trust her tongue and push the porridge out of her mouth (her way of spitting). We have to take a bit of fish, put it on top of the porridge and tell her, “See, fish! Now, eat.” We can’t cheat her, she has very sensitive taste bud, if she tasted no fish in her porridge, she would just spit out the porridge.

We went to have Japanese dinner during the weekends. We ordered a serving of grill salmon with salt for Zara. The first bite she took, she immediately put her thumb out and said, “Gng” (her pronunciation of Good). She had 2/3 of the salmon steak all by herself!

At home for dinner, the amount of fish she consumed is the same as the amount I would take.

This week for dinner, she refused to have her porridge nor rice, and just wanted fish, nothing else! Where is she going to get her carbo?

This morning, I told her in the car,
Me : Tonight’s dinner, you ask Kakak to cook you fish ok?
Zara : *bouncing in her car seat* Wis!
Me : How you tell Kakak to give you fish?
Zara : TATAK! Wis!
Me : How big you want the fish to be?
Zara : *stretched her arms out and bounced further* (her way of signing big)

The rate she’s eating fish, we’ll have to buy another adult’s portion every time we go marketing. With a big cat and a little cat at home, fish has become a necessity!! Luckily we have befriended the fish monger in our market in Kampung Subang who sells us very good and fresh fish at a reasonable price (used to do marketing in Imbi Market and paid double the price for same amount of fish)!!

Understanding Zara December 16, 2005

Posted by Zara's Mama in baby signing, development, language, Zara.

I think it takes a mum to understand her child. Daddy doesn’t understand Zara most of the time; even when she’s hugging his legs and saying “Hug Hug” he doesn’t know that Zara was offering him a hug, and when I told him about it, he would go wide eye and exclaim, “oh, was she saying that?” Men.. They are soooo DUH!

I could see Zara brightening up when we could understand what she was trying to ‘communicate’, and gets frustrated when she tried to tell us something, and we just couldn’t figure out what she was saying (I get frustrated too, not just her).

Here is a typical situation that happened during her bed time :
Me : *laid Zara down next to me* Zara, come, drink milk milk
Zara : *suckled for 5 seconds, let go of the breast, shook her head vigorously* Urrrgh!
Me : You don’t want already? So fast?
Zara : *shook her head vigorously, swayed her arms around* Urrrrgh!
Me : *scratched head* What do you want?
Zara : *did the ‘more’ sign by pointing her index finger to her palm , shook her head vigorously, swayed her arms around* Urrrggh!
Me : Oh! You want mummy to sing is it?
Zara : *smiled and do the ‘more’ sign*
Me : *started singing*
Zara : *latched on and started suckling*
(Shake the head vigorously and sway her arms around is her way of dancing; boy, she’s creating some really hard ‘sign’ to understand)

These are other ‘conversations’ that took place:

Before I went to work, I wanted to nurse her.
Me : *carried her* Zara, come and have milk milk
Zara : *suckled for 5 seconds, let go of the breast, pat her belly* Pao Pao! (Chinese: full)
Me : How can you be pao pao so fast? Drink more! *pressed her head back to breast*
Zara : *suckled for another 5 seconds, let go of the breast, pat her belly* Pao Pao!
Me : *looked at her* Sure you are pao pao? Don’t want any more?
Zara : *shook head*
Me : *put her back down on the floor* Ok then, what do you want to do now?
Zara : *walked towards her biscuit container* Bis-KGH, Bis-KGH! (Biscuit)
Me : *rolled eye*

I was feeding Zara papaya, she took a bite, then walked away to touch some other things; and then walked back to me when she’d swallowed the papaya in her mouth.
Zara : *did her ‘more’ sign*
Me : *fed her* Must chew chew huh? (Such a naggy mum I am)
Zara : *walked away, almost tripped on something* Ah Buk! *smiled, steady herself, walked on*
Me : *smiled* Yeah you mabuk (Malay: Drunk) already, walked like that.

Mummy’s Fault December 14, 2005

Posted by Zara's Mama in baby signing, language, parenting, Zara.

We spent the night at King’s Wife’s place, yet again, since Daddy was away.

Zara and I took the guest’s maid’s room as usual, and both Tuyam and King’s Wife’s maid took the girls’ room next to ours. After tucking Zara in at 9:30pm, and making sure she has pillows all around her to prevent her from accidentally falling, I went downstairs to the study to do some blog surfing.

I told Tuyam that I needed to ‘work’, and asked her to ‘listen out’ for Zara’s cry in the adjoining room when she went to bed.

There I was happily blog surfing, without Daddy or King’s Wife waiting for their turn. At about 11pm, I could hear some noises, a bit like wailing, penetrating the quiet night. The first thing I thought was ‘ghost’ (I’m always very scared to be downstairs alone when everybody is asleep, even in my own home). I could feel a chill down my spine. I stopped what I was doing, and tried to listen again. Shit! It was coming from upstairs, not ghost, but Zara crying! I quickly ran upstairs. The sound of her cry grew louder and louder as I ascended the stairs.

When I entered the room, I found Zara standing on the floor in the dark room. She probably had already been crying for a while, because her voice was coarse. I quickly scooped her up, turned on the lights, almost in a panic, wondered if she’d fallen from the bed and hurt herself.

“Zara, did you fall down?” Of course she didn’t know how to reply. She continued crying! I checked her head, no bumps no red patches, don’t think she knocked her head.
“Zara, where pain pain?” I asked her. She pointed to her chest. Her way of signing to indicate some where is hurting. I went on to check her arms, her legs, but there’s no sign that she’s hurt.
“Zara, scared scared or pain pain?” I asked further. She started patting her chest, an indication to say she’s scared.
“Mummy so sorry, mummy shouldn’t have left you alone in the room.”

All these while of ‘communicating’ to me, she was still crying, and shouting on top of her lungs. I carried her out of the room, so that I have more space to walk about and calm her.

Tuyam then stuck her head out from the girls’ room, “Nangis ya?” (Malay: Crying, is it?)
There was this very strong desire to lash at her, but because I have a wailing baby to calm, I just responded angrily, “You tak dengar ke?” (Malay: You didn’t hear it?).
“Tak, mari saya dukong” (Malay: No, come, let me carry her), she replied.
I just stared at her and said, “You balik tidur la, dia mana mahu you sekarang?” (Malay: You go back to sleep, she won’t want you now).
She stuck her head back into the room, and closed the door.

When Zara cried like this, it is very difficult to calm her. I patted her, rocked her, pacing up and down the corridor. She had her head leaning on my shoulder all the time, but she was still crying. I went back to the room and thought of lying her on the bed to nurse her, but the minute I lifted her away from my body, she wailed loudly. I kept calming her, “Mummy is here, don’t worry, mummy won’t leave you.” However, she just won’t let me separate her body from mine.

I started singing her lullaby, “Hush Little Baby don’t say a word, mummies going to buy you…..” She started calming down, still crying, but more of a sob, head still on my shoulder.

When I finished the song, I stopped and tried to lay her back on the bed again. She looked at me with teary eyes, and pointed her finger to her palm (her MORE sign). So I sang, again and again and again, every time I tried to stop, she would do the MORE sign.

After singing like 10times, I slowly placed her back on the bed, she didn’t protest now, but her hands clung to one of my arm, as though afraid I would leave her. So I laid next to her, arms around her, and patted her, kept telling her it’s alright, her sobs slowly turned to sniffles, and then she fell asleep, still with hands firmly around my arm.

I felt so very bad for the rest of the night, not knowing if she’d fallen or climbed down the bed on her own; not sure her cry was due to pain or fear, or probably both. What a bad mummy I’d been, placing her alone in the dark room and went blog surfing. I need to make sure my Baby Monitor is with me if I ever needed to leave her like that again.

Conversation With A Girl With Limited Vocabulary November 23, 2005

Posted by Zara's Mama in baby signing, language, Zara.

Since Zara wasn’t feeling well, I was working from home on Monday and Tuesday so I can keep an eye on Zara, and if required, can immediately bring her to the Dr’s. This mean I get to spend more time with her. Her are some limited ‘conversation’ I have with her.

I walked downstairs, where she was playing
Zara : *look up and smile*
Me : Hello Zara!
Zara : *point to the TV* Poot
Me : *pretend* Put what?
Zara : *point to the TV, and that ‘don’t-be-stupid-you-must-understand-me’ look* Poot! Poot!
Me : Oh, you want mummy to put the Wheels in The Bus for you is it?
Zara : *point her index finger to her other palm* (now she used this not just to sign MORE but also for WANT)

Milk time
I came down from the study
Me : Zara you want milk milk?
Zara : *put down what she was playing, came to me* Kng
Me : *looked at her quizzically* Do you want milk milk?
Zara : Kng
Tuyam (maid) : Itu dia sedang cakap dia mau susu (She’s saying she wants milk)
Me : *scratched head, but anyway placed her on my lap* Ok, milk milk then.
Zara : Kng *then sucked her thumb* (an indication she wanted milk before she use this Kng word)
I laid her down, and nursed her. I have absolutely no idea how ‘Kng’ symbolises milk.

Lunch time
Me : Zara, mummy wants to go out to buy lunch, you want to come
Zara : *ignore me and continue playing with her toy*
Me : Zara, you don’t want to go kai kai? (go out in Cantonese)
Zara : *looked up, grinning* Tai Tai!
Me : *patted the infant carrier seat* Let’s go then. After mummy let Zara drive car car ok?
Zara : *walked to the infant carrier, while waving her hand in the air* Oooo Oooo Ooo Ooo (her way of relating to car)

She spotted me coming down from ths stairs
Zara : *pointed to the door* Park!
Me : *asking the obvious* Zara wants to go to the park?
Zara : *wobbled towards the door, still pointing* Park!
Me : Raining outside, cannot go to the park
Zara : *Still pointing outside* Park!
I carried her and showed her the pouring rain
Me : It’s raining outside, we cannot go to the park, after you will get wet
Not sure if she understood what I was saying but she willingly let me lead her back to her pile of toys

Night 1
Zara climbed up to the stairs, reached for her pair of new shoes (which are still too big for her) resting on the steps
Zara : *put the shoes near her feet, and looked at me* Hok Hok
Me : Ok, mummy put on your shoe for you, then you can go walk walk
I put on her pair of shoes for her
Zara : *grinning* Hok Hok! Hok Hok *walked around in the oversized shoes*

Night 2
Sat on the sofa with Zara. She stood up, and went to the edge, where the arm rest is.
Zara : *clapped her hands* Hong!
Me : Yeah, you go there, after you Bong! and fall down
Zara dangled one of her feet outside of the arm rest, and grinned at me
Me : *point my finger at her* No, no! Go there after you fall down!
Zara pointed her finger back at me and reached her foot out further
Me : You naughty huh? After mummy beat beat you!
Zara : *beat her own thigh* Umph!
Cheeky little girl she is!

Signing With Zara November 15, 2005

Posted by Zara's Mama in baby signing, language, notable, parenting, Zara.

Zara signing ‘MORE’ in the attached photo:

I first heard about signing with babies when I was searching for some books in Amazon.com, and stumbled upon books on this topic, so I looked up websites and did some research.

Why do you sign to babies? “It is a fact that infants develop the fine muscles in their hands before they develop those required for speech, so they’re equipped to communicate with you before they can speak“, there are some very good websites who give you some insight to this.

I for one, got very frustrated when I could not understand what Zara was crying or asking for. She was 7 months then. At the period where she could not speak, but already had her demands(by crying).

I went to the ASL (American Sign Language) Site, looked at the video on how to do certain signs, and started signing to Zara. I tried to do the essential one like milk, drink, eat.

It wasn’t easy to let Zara associate the signs with the words, even more difficult because my maid was her main care giver during the day. Although I’d instructed her to sign to Zara when Zara was offered milk, a drink of water or food to eat, I could not ensure she did that since I was not around to check on her. When I signed to Zara during the time I took care of her, she seemed to look at me in amusement, not taking my ‘signing’ seriously.

The initial attempt failed.

As Zara grew older, she’s more firm with her demands, she gets a bit frustrated when none of us are able to tell what she’s saying or asking for. So I tried signing again. This time, I didn’t get my maid to help, because if she did it wrongly, it’ll only confuse Zara more.

I’d used a few signs with her, two of the signs she picked up quickly are more (2 hands come together), and no more (turn the wrist with palm stretched out). Her version of more is pointing her finger to her other palm (like doing dim-choong-choong 点虫虫). She tells me she wants more by doing this action, e.g. she wants more bubble blowing, food, reading, singing, etc.

Her signing came to very good use the other night. After breast feeding her from both breast, she pointed her finger to her other palm (she wants more), then pointed to my breast, and turned her wrist with palm stretched out (but I have no more milk), and then started fussing and repeated the gesture (my milk supply reduced because of the time of the month).

I quickly made her 2 additional oz of formula milk. Although she eventually just took a few drips (yes ‘drips’, not even ‘sips’) of milk from the bottle (she only has tasted formula milk on 2 or 3 occasions, so probably not used to the taste), she seemed to be happy that I understood her, and went to sleep blissfully.

I’m still in the midst of introducing more signs to her. Hopefully, it’ll help more with our communications.

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