19 January 2012, by Tan Yi Lin
The Lunar New Year is just around the corner.
So…. who’s looking forward to the big red Gong Xi Fa Cai event?
I’m feeling surprisingly blase about it this year. The house is all kitted out with red and gold decorations, fresh spring blossoms – and enough red lanterns to rival the red light district, but I’m just not feeling it yet somehow. I think it’s because the Chinese New Year is coming at us right on the heels of Christmas and that cheats us of that delicious sense of anticipation somewhat. I haven’t even put away the gifts I had received last December yet.
I know some people who are not looking forward to CNY at all.
These include the singles, the attached-but-not-engaged-yet, the newlyweds, the already-wed-but-non-pregnant, the newly pregnant and the heavily pregnant.
I know. I’ve been there.
Last year, I was just weeks into my pregnancy, which had not yet been made known to many whom we visited last year. I must have looked a tad bloated – either from the pregnancy or the IVF drugs – because when I wished people Happy New Year, they replied, “EH, YOU PUT ON WEIGHT AH? BAK BAK ONE…” Well, gongxifacai#$&@*&#! to you too.
At least I wasn’t heavily pregnant, hauling my heavy ass and an extra 16kg around, sweating through my clothes and having my belly rubbed by a million hands – oily bakwa-ed fingers and all. To all my third-tri friends out there – GOOD LUCK. My heart goes out to you.
So in comparison, this year must seem like a party for us! Finally, it’s payback time – we’ve got a new piggy bank called Coco and all these relatives are going to coo at how cute she is in her red t-shirt (yes, we’re dressing down this year – no time to get fancy), hand her a nice fat red packet…. and ask us when we’re going to have Number Two.
No kidding. My baby is barely five months old and it has already happened. There is still no escaping the all-time dreaded question:
In fact, it isn’t so bad if they even bother to ask. It’s still quite palatable and semi-polite.
Unlike “Eh, Yi Lin, hurry up and have another one.”
This was directed to me over a family lunch where everybody was cooing over Coco and she was being passed around the table at a food court as people took turns to cuddle her. The poor tyke deserves some respect for handling all that pass-the-baby business so well.
“Wah, you see, so many adults fighting to carry one baby. Eh, Yi Lin, hurry up and have another one lah.”
For what? So that there will be more babies to go around for other people’s enjoyment? Go buy a soft toy. Or a cat. Or a bolster. Pfft.
What am I? The Womb Who Married Dannie Cho? “Hello there, pleased to meet you. My name is Mrs Uterus Cho. My parents originally named me Fallopian but I thought that was a tad too fancy.”
I pretended not to have heard. The statement was repeated – and more loudly too. Thankfully, Dan’s steely response put an end to the discussion, “Relax lah” and he continued to calmly eat his chicken rice.
That’s not to say that I bristle at every suggestion to pop out another kid (if only it were that easy.)
It depends how it’s put across.
I was chatting with my boss just a few days ago. She asked, “Is your baby sleeping through the night?”
“Then you could consider trying for another one.”
(At this point, I was slightly perplexed as to the connection between her two sentences, but decided to nod first and decipher it later. Maybe she meant that since Coco was sleeping through, we could move her cot out of our room and therefore have the freedom to partake in wild and uninhibited sex. However, I don’t really want to think of it as my boss telling me when to have sex. So let’s just stop right here.)
Thankfully, she continued to explain that our organisation offered female employees the ideal environment to start – and grow – a family and that this was one of the factors that supported her own plan to have three children.
It was said with sincerity, humility and a genuine wish to share what she felt was good advice.
Nevermind the fact that I had only just returned from maternity leave.
Nevermind that I was heavily pregnant when I was required to travel for work – and she went in my place.
Nevermind that she had approved my request to use the balance of my maternity leave to take every Wednesday off work – a disruptive arrangement that most bosses would frown upon.
Nevermind that if I got pregnant again, she would have to cope with the inconvenience of having a headcount “taken up” by an absentee employee for another four months. Again.
I really appreciate her unselfish gesture and guidance in this aspect. And I’m not shy to say this – I love my boss!
It would really help that if people die-die want to talk about Kid Number Two, then at least inject some humour into it.
Like how Dan asked earlier this evening, “Eh, Wife, wanna go upstairs and try for a Dragon baby?”
Now that in itself isn’t exactly side-splittingly funny. But Dan being Dan, just HAD to say it right in front of my father while the family was having dinner, as our house glowed with soft red light from the three new red lanterns dangling above our heads – not unlike in a brothel.
I was caught between cringing and rolling my eyes (not a pretty picture, I know.)
My father, however, was suitably amused and repeated what Dan said to my mother. Then repeated it to Coco…. Jeez. I just love family dinner conversations.
At least Dan didn’t say it while I was hooked up to my breast pump. Unlike what certain salacious industries would love to have you believe – lactation is not sexy. Especially when coupled with post-pregancy hair loss (why is my $75 made-in-France hair tonic NOT working?!) and a stubborn spare tyre as a souvenir from my first pregnancy. If he had suggested making Baby No.2 right there and then, I may have just stuck the suction cups of the pump over his nipples and said, “Sure, if YOU get pregnant and YOU breastfeed!”
I came across this on somebody’s Facebook page:
I think it makes plenty of sense and is good advice for all of us to bear in mind when visiting relatives this CNY.
So…. are we really trying for a Dragon baby?
The truth is, we’re just taking things as they come. Once again, the odds are against us. If things aren’t getting anywhere on our own, we’ll be looking to IVF again for help.
But should anyone ask me “So when? Number Two?” (along with a hideous *wink wink*), I’m just going to reply that since they are SO eager to give more hongbaos out to my children, feel free to give me Number Two’s in advance – NOW.
Gong Xi Fa Cai everybody! May you have a painless – and dare I say – enjoyable CNY!