15 September 2012, by Tan Yi Lin
We shouldn’t still be this incredulous two weeks after the first ultrasound scan on 31 August. After all, we chose to have two embryos put in during the embryo transfer.
But all along, we were only prepared for the possibility of having twins. Not even a probability. Definitely not an actuality.
Well, here we are. Soon to be mother and father to three children, born 20 months apart.
There has been a cool side to the initial shock. I’ve never been an outstanding sportsperson, but hey, so this is what it feels like to breeze past and lap other people. While most of my peers are either trying or pregnant with their second baby, or maintaining status quo at one or two kids, I’m moving on to have my second and third. Not that this is a competition, but it’s a pretty cool feeling nevertheless.
If only my energy and stamina weren’t flagging already, so far away from the finishing line.
I returned to the office in mid-August, after being away for three weeks on hospitalisation leave. My colleagues commented that I seemed to have lost quite some weight. I didn’t think much of it until random staff started stopping in their tracks whenever they met me along the corridor and exclaimed dramatically about my sunken eyes and hollowed cheeks, “GASP! What happened to you?! You look TERRIBLE!” Kind “aunties” would glance over washbasins in office restrooms, shake their heads and tut-tut, “Thinner, very thin” or “Lost so much weight. Can hardly recognise you.” Every day, I alternate between feeling like a ghastly preview of Halloween and wondering whether I had been overly chubby prior to the IVF.
The truth is, this pregnancy has been wearing me down. I am overcome by fatigue all the time. Nonetheless, I’m immensely thankful that, just like my first pregnancy with Coco, I’ve not been plagued by nausea.
After a long day at work, I rush home to relieve my aunt of caring for Coco. As much as I look forward to seeing my little girl, I admit that there are days when I dread having to psyche myself up and conjure up the energy (miraculously, from goodness-knows-where) to play and look after her till bedtime. I secretly wish that Coco would still be eating her dinner or be out on a walk when I get home, so that I can sneak in a ten-minute rest on my bed without her spotting me.
But a child’s enthusiasm is contagious – there is just something about a happy baby that makes you forget how tired you are. At the sight of Coco smiling so broadly as she throws herself into my arms, and her affectionate hugs and kisses, the heavy wall of fatigue magically assumes the lightness of a cloud and dissipates into the air. Plus, it feels wonderful to be missed.
We are inseparable till bedtime. Absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder. Difficult partings in the morning can only make for sweeter evening reunions.
Ever since we shared the news of my twin pregnancy, we have been generously bestowed with congratulatory messages, like “Congrats! Double joy!” and “Twice the happiness! Twice the fun!”
It’s almost as if poor Coco, barely a year old, has already had her thunder stolen by her siblings.
So, before Obi-wan and Obi-two arrive and steal even more of mummy’s time away from her, this entry is dedicated to my little girl:
Dear Coco, thank you for bringing such joy and laughter to our lives. We love you.
I wrote an entry in June last year, two months before Coco was born. Back then, I mused over the question of whose looks she would inherit. Well, to date, it’s still hard to tell. We have concluded that Coco is the perfect mix of Dannie and me 😀
Personality-wise, I predicted that our daughter “would be naturally laid back; have a great (or lame — depending whether you like Dan’s jokes) sense of humour; like chocolate, chicken, music and dancing; and have a tendency to go to bed really late (oh no!)”
Let’s see how accurate I was back then.
1. Strange aversions
Coco displays a very strong dislike of all things… furry.
Rugs. Carpets. Soft toys. These are amongst her most hated items.
Don’t want her to play with gadges and remotes? Just place them right in the middle of a rug – they’ll be safe on their island of fur. Her favourite animal toy is her plastic dog. She will only hold a soft toy by its clothes and not its naked fur. Sorry Teddy: no clothing; no lovin’. She will, however, gingerly touch live animals when her curiosity overrides her furry aversion.
I used to wonder where she got this strange dislike of fur from. Until I caught myself retracting my hand from a soft toy in a store one day and screwing my face in digust: then, it became really obvious.
When it comes to food, Coco attacks all types of food with gusto – except for potatos. Her lacklustre reaction to the yellow spud is no surprise. As our helper M observed, “Because Coco’s mummy doesn’t like potatos.” M would know – I leave behind all the little yellow potato cubes in every bowl of soup that I drink.
2. Big love
Coco is a wonderfully affectionate little girl. She doles out warm hugs and kisses generously; loves snuggling; reaches out to hold your hand; sayangs everybody in the family. This penchant for open displays of affection – that’s definitely a trait she got from her father. The only difference is that Coco’s allowed to rub her face into my chest in public – and she doesn’t try to grab my butt.
But Coco’s love for mummy is a possessive one. She once pretended not to care when I carried a friend’s baby, but made sure that I paid for my folly by giving me a big hard SMACK on my arm later on. When Dan reaches over to wish me goodnight, she sneakily sidles up to me and lays a protective hand on me to claim, “She’s MINE.”
3. Did anyone say CHICKEN?
If there’s any form of chicken on the dinner table, we have to share it with Coco. Guess who the ‘finger-lickin’ good’ habit came from?
This gutsy little girl’s quite a thrill-seeker. She swings standing up. She buries herself in giant ball pits. She climbs up the playground structure, glances at the baby slide with a look of disdain, and heads for the big curly one. She readily pushes herself off the top of water slides and enclosed, tunnel-like ones.
Oh, and why should slides only be for going down? Yes. Water slides included.
Well…. we both gladly take full credit for her love for adventure!
5. Water baby
My older posts have long established that Coco is a true-blue water baby. She loves to be held horizontally in the water, and wave her arms and kick her legs, because she truly believes that she’s swimming and is super chuffed when we glide her to the edge of the pool and praise her for ‘completing’ a lap. She even experiments with dipping her face into the water, albeit still rather hesitantly.
Well Coco, dip away, so that you can come diving with us soon!
6. Gadget girl
Coco is definitely daddy’s little girl in this aspect. She’s mastered the art of navigating the contents of the iPad quite well: sliding to unlock the Lock Screen; attempting to enter the passcode (albeit randomly, which freaks Dannie out in case she locks him out of his iPad); swiping; tapping and even working on her drag-and-drop motion. We still do control her iPad usage strictly and are actually pretty pleased that she’s learnt a lot from the programmes. I’ll share more of our favourite learning apps in a separate post.
Oh yeah, and like how I predicted, after all that swiping and tapping, she sometimes goes to bed pretty late (for a very little kid), at almost 10pm. Dannie’s genes. For sure.
7. Why so serious? (not!)
Just like Dannie, Coco’s definitely got some jokes and cheeky behaviour up her sleeves.
She knows how much I hate it when she bites me and yet deliberately lunges towards me with her mouth open, all poised to bite. Then grins and smirks at my panicked attempt to dodge her. Humph.
Ask her for an item in hand and she’ll obediently extend it to you – only to quickly retract her hand at the last minute, laugh and shake her head. It’s really cute to watch – if you’re not the victim of her prank.
8. Shake it like you mean it
Music and dance are great fun and Coco knows that. She turns on the radio every morning so that she can eat her breakfast to the tunes on Gold 90FM. She’ll wave her arms whenever music comes on and she can do a mean shimmy to I’m Sexy And I Know It. Favourite YouTube videos – The Wiggles. So that she can imitate the dance moves to “Do The Monkey” and “Big Red Car”.
Well, Twinkle Toes, we can’t wait for you to learn ballet like mummy (the pole dancing will have to wait okay?) and face-off your daddy in a dance battle.
9. Pretty like mummy!
La la la. Need I say more? 😀
Just kidding. The difference between us girls is that… Coco is kinda vain. She picks flowers to put in her hair, rushes to the mirror to look at her reflection and beams from ear to ear when she sees it. She’ll sit pretty for a photo, then smile at it, point to the flower on the screen and pat her hair. And god forbid that anybody try to touch or remove it from her hair. It’s the same with elastic bands, hair clips and sunglasses.
Plus, I’ve never seen a baby kiss her own reflection so often.
Then, there are some of those traits that make both of us go “HUH?! Where did that come from?”
Such as the bossiness.
She leads the way. She decides where to go. She’ll walk ahead and look back as if to say, “You’re not coming?” And if you don’t, she continues on her way without a second look back. It’s as good as her saying, “Screw you. I’m outta here.”
Neither Dan nor I are the Type A, take-the-lead kind, so her bossy behaviour leaves us scratching our heads. We figured that there is a good side to this: with the twins on the way, we’re going to promote her to be their Manager and reward her through some sticker (which she loves) rewards programme for managing her siblings well.
I was a timid child. I avoided adults, wasn’t keen on playing with other children and never left my parents’ sides outside of the house. My parents were highly exasperated when I refused to even go up on stage to collect a prize – at the grand old age of seven. No thank you. Not me. Tankyewvelymuch.
For Coco however, the world is her stage and its people, her adoring audience.
She’s also quite a foodie. Which Dan and I aren’t really. We simply eat to live.
Dan, however, attributes her messy eating habits to me.
Well, I say “Objection, Your Honour! The Prosecution is just being rude!”
All in all, the past one year has been such a precious time, over which Coco’s feisty, loving and funny nature is gradually coming through. It’s such fun and simply amazing to watch a flailing newborn develop into a determined, strong-willed and focused little girl.
So don’t worry, Coco baby. There may be much excitement and great big hoo-ha over the twins’ impending arrival, but you will always be our first love.