MS. ULB

a Mother in Search of the Unbearable Lightness of Being


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Confessions of a Shopaholic

If you have checked out Olive’s instagram account @sophie.leeze, you would know how deeply poisoned I am by instagram and the ig shopping that comes with.

Truth is, I never liked shopping. I am calculative when it comes to personal spending. I share a cupboard with the husband and his clothes outnumbers mine. I probably take up only 1/5 the space of our humble little shoe cabinet. Bags? What bags? At this point in time, I don’t even know what bags I own because the only thing I carry around is a basic black Gregory backpack which turns out to be my most trusted diaper bag. To me, the opportunity cost of buying a “lowest-tiered” Birkin bag equates to 2 holiday destinations with a minimum 2 weeks each travel plus a high-end compact camera to go with.

Not that I don’t indulge in everyday or affordable luxury but I simply do not have the heart to purchase luxury goods beyond the premium core category in Rambourg’s luxury power ranking.

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Source: “The Bling Dynasty” by Erwan Rambourg

I also do not have the guts to invest in luxury goods, even if statistics reveal that a super premium bag could be a better investment than S&P 500 or gold.

Anyway, the real point I am making is that after giving birth to Olive, something in me snapped. More accurately described by Oska, the woman in me had been unleashed and I became a shopaholic. But the crazy shopping is really just for Olive, not for me.

My family is judging me for Olive’s different daily outfits and why wouldn’t they? Even I think it is outrageous for a baby, now toddler to have more than 365 sets of clothes a year. But I am an addict. A full blown addict who is willing to spend 150USD on a teeny weeny piece of clothing that Olive would outgrow in a flash. An addict who wakes up at 3 am in the morning to score some handmade one-of-a-kind clothing. An addict who refreshes a window or multiple pages a hundred over times, 5 minutes before new products are launched from brands highly sought after by equally crazed mothers. An addict who requires interventions from friends. The interventions did help put things into perspective for me and withheld a significant amount of spending. I think my severe addiction has been reduced to a somewhat moderate level and my compulsiveness is a lot more controlled now.

But still, I don’t think I am ever going to quit shopping for Olive and dressing her up. I will however, endeavor to minimize the spending by:

  1. Setting a limit to how much I will spend on her clothes each month;
  2. Buying affordable, comfortable yet stylish clothes;
  3. Encouraging more reminders and interventions from family and friends to prevent me from backsliding. Continue to judge me if you will, especially if you are judging because you care!

On point number 2, I have decided to shop small and support local labels/businesses in both Singapore and Indonesia. The latter will be part of my ongoing conquer-Jakarta-and-beyond project. I will set up a page to feature the ig shops I shopped at for Olive without breaking the bank.


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Staycation @ Kempinski Jakarta

Oska and I made an impromptu decision to book a one night stay at Kempinski Jakarta last weekend, with his Agoda points. Coincidentally, Olive turned 19 months that Saturday so it ended up as a mini celebratory weekend for her. It was our 2nd staycation at Kempinski and needless to say (but I’m still saying anyway), we love it there!

Here are the top 5 reasons why:
Location
1. We live in the suburbs east of Jakarta so staying right in the heart of Jakarta in itself was a nice change. Truth is, every time we get to staycate in the city center, there’s only one word that pops up in my mind, “Civilisation!”. Oska would roll his eyes or frown reading this because yes, I exaggerate. But you know, the city girl needs her bustling city living every once in a while at least.
2. Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia malls are right next to Kempinski. That means lunch at Tim Ho Wan , dinner at Tim Ho Wan again or an alternative Chinese restaurant, and desserts from Llao Llao and Union Deli. The Chinese girl needs her Chinese food fix too because that’s what we lack where we live.

Service & Engagement
3. Service at Kempinski was nothing short of excellent.
4. First time we were at Kempinski, I posted a photo of Olive on instagram enjoying her stay. Next thing we know, the lovely people at Kempinski sent her some toys and souvenir. This time for our 2nd stay, we got a room upgrade. Because of that we never made it to the swimming pool as the bathtub was enjoyable enough.

Amenities
5. I love Kempinski’s focus on the little people they call “little VIPs”. Apparently, we could have just called the concierge if we needed bottle sterilisers/warmer, baby cot, kids bathrobe and slippers, bubble bath, bath toys, changing mat, stroller, car seat, carrier, babysitting services etc. Damn! I really should have called the concierge for the bath toys at least seeing that we spent so much time in the bathtub. Also, there is a little VIP indoor playground at Signatures restaurant where we had our breakfast at. That means us parents get to spend more time savoring our food while the children play.

Now, photos.

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Hahaha! Can’t believe I’m back again, with Chuck Chuck.

Grand Deluxe Room we got upgraded to.

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Olive’s reaction when she saw the bathtub.

Taking care of Chuck Chuck before taking a nap.

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Nap time is always fuss free on hotel beds.

Heading out for dinner.

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Early Learning Centre, the must-visit toy shop. Olive spotted ELC from a distance away, flung our hands away and dashed into the store.

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Puffy-eyed Olive heading to Signatures Restaurant for brunch.

Signatures Restaurant.

Croissant in one hand, and a spoonful of omelette on the other.

Our little big eater goofing around and clapping hands to food, oh glorious food!

Free play time!

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Kempinski Little VIP Playground

Spending most of our weekend in the bathtub. IMG_8553

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Cartoons and water play. Getting Olive out of the tub was as difficult as trying to catch a greased little pig. She kept slithering out of my hands. 

Olive having snacks on the bed, on the chair, everywhere.

Olive hiding behind curtains. What’s the fascination with peekaboo anyway? 19 months on and she’s still loving it. Well, whatever rocks your socks, baby girl!

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Couldn’t resist taking extra photos of this girl in this handmade romper by @elisevaughn. If you are instacrazy and love handmade clothing, you would understand. 

That’s not all the photos I wish to spam but I really should stop. Till our next staycation then!


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#Maythefourthbewithyou

#Thistimelastyear #Toolazytoedit

Featuring #Yoduh

and #R2-D2-Metoo

and #Barfvader/Stormpooper

and #PrincessLeia


That’s all folks! #Maytheforcebewithyou!IMG_3503


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A Wean-Win Situation

So I have finally decided to wean Olive off the boobs after 16 months.

I was doing 3 direct latches a day, once when she wakes in the morning, once midday before her nap, and the last one at night before she sleeps.

Weaning Week 1
First week of weaning, I dropped Olive’s afternoon feed and this was how she fared on the first day (7th Mar 2016):

Week 1 was a trying week, both emotional and literally. We tried quite a few brands of formula milk like S26, Friso, Naan, and finally emerged the winning formula, Similac. Olive missed a couple of afternoon naps that week because my boobs doubled up as binkies, so no binky, no sleep! By day 4, I broke down and teared up along with Olive who sobbed herself into slumber.

Weaning Week 2
By day 8, Olive had grown accustomed to Similac, so I dropped her morning feed. She didn’t mind it a bit. I, on the other hand, was still heartbroken and battled the desire to just flash the boob to nurse her. My frustration was noticed by Oska who asked me, “you are jealous of the formula, right?” Spot on, Mister! And damn you third-party Similac, with your oh-so-sweet taste. Imma bitchslap the powder out of your pretentious looking tin! There, I got it out of my chest. I know I sound crazy but our breastfeeding journey had been nothing short of amazing, making it really hard to part with. As usual, Olive outdid me with her adaptability. This is her doing the huzzah on day 8 (14th Mar 2016) of weaning:

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Little Miss Adaptable and her airport fashion: Headband from H&M, Tutu dress from Bonds, Shoes from Converse.

Weaning Week 3
By day 14, I had stopped the night feed. Dropping the night feed was as tough as week 1 of weaning because Olive relied heavily on night latches to go to sleep. She would pull up my shirt, pull down my collar, burrow her head into my chest, toss and turn over my body countless times for 30 minutes to an hour before finally drifting off to sleep. I gave in to her a couple of times that week when no amount of fussing could wear her out.

Week 3 was less emotional but physically uncomfortable for me as I had to deal with a few bouts of engorgement. Thankfully they were quite quickly resolved by some ruthless hand-squeezing of the boobies. I chose not to use the breast pump as I did not want the milk supply to keep up with the demand from using the pump.  It also helped that our weaning process was gradual and not done cold turkey, so both Olive and I had time to adjust.

Alas, we concluded our breastfeeding journey officially by day 17. Our new night-time routine now involves her lying on top of me, requesting for “Rock-a-bye baby” and “Twinkle twinkle little star” to be sung repeatedly, and calling out to me in the sweetest voice ever so often, just to make sure I don’t fall asleep before her.

“Mama, mummy, mimi, mama, mummy, mimi,” a thousand times over. These words I will never tire of hearing.

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Successfully weaned Olive doing the hooray again.

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Thank you Olive, for creating a rather painless wean-win situation together with your mama-mummy-mimi.


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SAHM

7 months into my new role as a stay-at-home mom and I am still not at peace with myself. I think I have fared pretty well at being a mom but what if I fail at everything else?

So much of how I feel and what I am experiencing articulated here: 9 things I wish I’d known before I became a stay-at-home mom.

  1. Confidence took a big hit. Checked.
  2. World shrunk. Checked.
  3. Cringe when asked, “So what do you do?”. Checked.
  4. Not setting the best example for my kid. Checked.
  5. Exhausted from staying at home with a young child. Checked, and for me it’s more a mental state than a physical one.
  6. Envious of women who had found their own work/life balance. Checked.
  7. Forever damaged my financial future. Checked, checked, and checked. This one pains me real deep.
  8. I love the time spent with Olive and I am extremely grateful for it but I fear that I am actually regretting leaving the workforce, like I expected I would.
  9. Everything has its price. Me being a SAHM is proving to be too costly.

So what next? What do I do moving forward? How can I find myself again? Not the mom-me but the me-me. How can I find the unbearable lightness of being when I feel like a huge rock is weighing down on me?

Note to self: Just gotta work it.

Olive @ 13 months.

Olive @ 13 months. Onesie from @helloapparel, socks from @minidressing, kicks from @adidas, headwrap from @littlearrowco.


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Achievement Unlocked

4 months since my last post?

So many things about Olive that I want to document, which I did on instagram. But I think it is time I document them on this blog as well, for in case. Always good to have a backup, no?

Just today, I got to witness Olive’s first steps. 6 little flying steps before she threw herself forward into my arms. This is my little Olive at 5 days shy of turning 11 months small.

Also today, while flipping through a magazine, she pointed to a picture of a dog and said “Doe-dog! Doe-dog!” I have been repeating certain words to Olive on an everyday basis, especially animal names because animals are all the rage when it comes to babies’ first words. So I think she actually knew what she was talking about earlier!

What a magical feeling! Oh, what a day!

Gingham romper and knee high gold ribbon socks from @hubbleandduke and reversible bibdana worn as headscarf from @paperplanekids.

Gingham romper from @hubbleandduke and reversible bibdana worn as headscarf from @paperplanekids.


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#Maythefourthbewithyou

Heart.melt.now.

Romper & Socks from @hubbleandduke; Moccasins from @freshlypicked.

Romper & Socks from @hubbleandduke; Moccasins from @freshlypicked.