Friday, August 27, 2004

Introducing Jesse

hello world!

There's a new kid in town. Our spanking new little boy Baby Jesse, all 3kgs worth, landed on earth on 26th August 2004 at 2:16pm.

Thank you for all your prayers and well wishes. Both Mae and Baby Jesse are doing well. Me, I need lots of fluids and plenty of sleep.

To all of you who have cared to leave a comment throughout this rollercoaster ride, please know that Mae and I appreciate you. You have been great encouragement, for this blog, and also for the last few months of our live. We'd really like to buy you all a dinner, but that would be too costly. Instead, do take yourself out for a nice juicy steak and imagine us picking up the bill. Heheheh!!

I will get around to responding to your comments. I will also give you all the gory details in vivid, livid colours. I promise. :) Meantime, there's this strange little boy in our home who needs a whole lot of TLC. That, of course, and a diaper change.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

It's Now!

It's 4:30am. Mae has been having contractions since 2:00pm. This is it.

Funny. I always imagine a lot of kicking and screaming. But no. We're calm. We're cool. OHMYGODWEREHAVINGABABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wooohoooooooo!!!!!!!!! Breathe! Breathe!!!

HEhheh!! But seriously, we're ok now. Mae's gonna wash her hair (go figure) and we're gonna make sure we got everything. Then we're gonna drive to the hospital and hopefully Baby Jesse will be out by lunch. :)

I'm nervous as hell. Blogging calms me.

Pray for us. We need peace of mind. In your prayers, pls remember two words. Painless & Safe. Oh yeah, Natural Birth. And Healthy.

Ladies & Gentlemen, standby for lift off.

Oh, I even have time to ping this in PPS. :) Hallellujah!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Work has been crazy for the last couple of weeks. I can't seem to remember when we've ever been this busy. I'm pooped!

This morning I had to present some retail designs we did for a prominent client. While below-the-line works are never exactly rocket science, this particular project is anything but a walk in the park.

We had been at it for the last 3 weeks. We had presented proposal upon proposal. We had submitted visual upon visual. Yet, we failed to nail this sucker on the head. But no, not this morning. Today, we have it.

I do my song and dance. As I take the client through her designs, I am oozing confidence out of my pores. Today, we have it.

"I believe we have it," I said as I took it to a close. And suddenly, all hell broke loose.

"What the hell is the matter with you," Ms. Meanix screamed as she slammed her fists on the table. Her face flushed. Her nose flared. "Do you not understand the brief or are you just stupid?!?"

And that's when I woke up screaming. At 5am. It was a dream. I've been working too hard. I need a break. The paternity leave will be much needed. *sigh*

The presentation's tomorrow. Not today. Tomorrow. And this time, I believe we have it. *ahem*

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

This Comfort Zone

Yesterday, we saw our Gynae. This should be our last visit. In fact, Doc had expected Baby Jesse to arrive sometime last week. But it just didn't happen. "He's getting too comfortable in there," Doc said half-jokingly. But something in her tone made me feel uneasy.

We have heard many opinions about this. A lot of people tell us that most firstborns arrive early. Yet, just as many tell us that the first baby should be late. Statistics don't say much except that only 5% of babies arrive on the dot.

"I'll give him up to the 30th," Doc advised, "If he doesn't show, we'll have to induce labour". That's just a nice way of saying, "We'll force him out!"

Doc doesn't like the idea of a post-date baby. Apparently, they tend to poop when they're late. This first-time shit is called Meconium, usually expelled when babies come out. Post-date babies tend to inhale or swallow the stuff. And while it's not a serious problem, it's never a good thing to eat your own shit!

But we're not really hot on inducing labour. We'd really like things to take their natural course. The way biology intended. The way God had made it just so. Yet at the same time, we don't ever want to put Baby at risk. At times like this, I feel weak and my faith in God tends to shake a little. I hate that I waver at the slightest sign of trouble but this human form always feels threatened outside its comfort zone. *sigh* I need strength.

So, in the event that you bump into this God, or if you happen to speak to Him, do put in a good word for Mae. She'll be needing a safe delivery. And of course, a strong husband.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Stone Age

It's back to the stone age at the Tan household. My notebook is on the fritz. That's what you get for going cheap and buying a second-hand notebook.

Mine's a PowerBook G4. It wasn't all that cheap to begin with. But now, it's really gotten expensive. My favourite Apple dealer tells me it would take about RM 3,000 to repair. After a good few years of continuous use, the monitor has finally retired. Now it's blacker than Samuel L. Jackson! And not even half as cool.*sigh*

But RM 3,000!??! That's almost the price of a brand new iBook! No honest hard-working man can afford this. Looks like I'll just have to get me an el-cheapo monitor and hook it up to the PowerBook and voila - Desktop! But that too will have to wait until I can spare the cash for a monitor.

I hate not having a computer to use at home. Now, the most advance piece of equipment in our home is Mae's pocket calculator. And that can only sustain my interest for so long.

Baby had better come out soon. I need stimulus.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Breathe In, Breathe Out

I forgotten how to breathe. While I am personally breathing fine, I have forgotten how to coach Mae in her breathing during labour. It's all a blur now. Was it breathe-breathe-blow or breathe-blow-blow? But I'm not terribly worried cos I'm sure the midwives will be at hand to help.

But I am, however, worried about what to expect from Mae. I've heard the stories. Stories about wives who scream curses at their hubbies. Wives who shout profanity. Wives who blame their husbands. And then there are those wives who cause their poor unsuspecting husbands grievious bodily harm. Oh boy!

There was this wonderful husband who had the amazing idea of singing a hymn to calm his wife. As our man broke into song, his wife almost broke his head. "Shadddup!!!!" she screamed, "You're irritating me!!" Damn. Talk about a tough audience. I think this girl puts Simon Cowell to shame.

I was thinking of recording the whole event on camera. All of it. That also means shots of Mae in pain. Hehheh! But I worry that I might never make it out of that delivery room alive. And if I did, I might have a Canon permanently embedded in the middle of my face. *sigh*

On the other hand, photojournalists risk their lives all the time, shooting in warzones and in the thick of the action. After all, isn't it true that we have to suffer for our art? Heh!

Besides, I laugh in the face of danger.

Busy, Busy, Busy!

I've never been so busy in my life. A colleague had gone off on a vacation from Monday through Wednesday and I had to hold the fort. Which would have been fine except that we had a sudden influx of projects last week.

On Friday last week, just before Brownie left for her vacation, I assured her that all would be well. At the back of my mind, I was worried no end! What if Baby decides to show up early. Mae felt he was coming quick, "I don't think Baby can wait till Brownie gets back to work on Thursday!"

I decided to take affirmative action.

"Son, be a good boy," I spoke into Mae's womb. "Daddy's gonna be busy so don't come out yet, okay?" Mae patted her belly to reaffirm Daddy's words. Then Baby kicked! It was as though he understood.

Then she did the math. "Wait, Brownie's coming back on Thursday isn't she?"

"Yes, Baby," I patted Baby Jesse in the general direction of butt, "But Daddy's going on with the boys Thursday!" That's about the time that Mae bopped me - in the general direction of my brain! I love living dangerously. Heheheh!!

Well, it's Friday now. Let's wait and see.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

In Search of the Tan Clan

Look, 9 days to go! We're almost there, save for a few last-minute details. One of them is Baby Jesse's Chinese name. Mae's dad has been great help. Being the only one in the family to know the language in its written form, he's compiled a short list of possible last names for Baby. However, the problem is Baby's middle name. We don't have it.

Most Chinese boys take on middle names determined by the forefathers of their clan. It determines their geneology and pinpoints them to their exact level on the family tree. My middle name, for example, is Ngee (it ain't elegant, I know). This means that all guys with the middle name Ngee and the surname Tan, are in fact my cousins!

Problem is, the list of middle names in my clan disappeared when Grandpa passed on. Grandma, who probably has the list stashed away somewhere, is no help since her mind isn't what it used to be.

Pops is trying his best. He's called up all our kin. He's visited the Tan Clan House in town. He's gone to the Hainanese Association. He's even gone to the extent of speaking to total strangers but unfortunately we're nowhere near finding the name! Pops has even offered to take a trip back to Hainan, China if that's what it takes to name his first grandson on the Tan side. Unfortunately, that too is a bit of a problem - he doesn't know exactly where his dad came from!! *sigh*

If anyone of you out there is a Hainanese from the Tan clan, or knows someone who is, please write to me at thatjames[at]gmail[dot]com. My middle name is Ngee, Pops is Lee, Gramps is Ooi and his dad before him is Kia. That's Kia, Ooi, Lee and Ngee. We're looking for the name after Ngee.

If all else fails, we'll simple cook up any old name for Baby. It's not really a matter of life and death. But it would be such a shame to deprive him of his heritage.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Maternity Leave

Mae is on maternity leave as of today. She's actually perfectly fine despite being quite rotund, but we agreed that she should take some time off for a bit of R&R before Baby Jesse shows up.

Pops was just telling me about Mom a couple of days back. She was preggers with my eldest brother Jeff when the rascal decided to come out while she was at work. This was sooo typical of Jeff - a pain in the butt right from the very beginning. Hehhehh! 38 years on and nothing much has changed. Bwahahhahha!

Anyway, both my parents were teachers in the same school. One day Pops returns from an outing and the principal tells him the news. "I sent your wife to the hospital," he says. "Her water broke."

Pops was confused. So her water broke. What was the big deal anyway? "I could always buy her another," he tells the principal.

"Not her water bottle. Her water!!!" The principal was amazed at such a display of ignorance. "She's having the baby!"

And there in a time when ante-natal classes were unheard of; there in a time when fathers didn't witness their children's birth; there in a time before it was fashionable to read pregnancy books; my mother gave birth to her firstborn. It was a time of ignorance and a general lack of intelligence.

Says a lot about Jeff, doesn't it? Hehhehehehheh!!!

Nesting Instinct

Over the weekend, Mae and I did our final preparations for Baby Jesse's arrival. We decided to organise Baby's wardrobe and get the house in order. But what started out as a little housekeeping soon turned into a full-blown cleaning frenzy!

Mae was like a woman possessed. By the ghost of Martha Stewart, no less! By the end of the day, she had gotten quite insufferable. I steered clear of her path and just went about with my chores like an obedient half-starved little slave-boy.

"I think Baby's gonna get here in the next few days," she said finally, coming out of her drone-like trance. "My nesting instincts are really coming out."pix from

Nesting instinct!? I was freaking out. That sounded like something out of National Geographic. Or Animal Planet. Narrated by Alec Baldwin.
"Ko-Mae, the she-wolf had gotten quite large now. It would only be a matter of days before the arrival of her cub. As her nesting instinct sets, she makes final preparations to their cave, clearing the area to welcome her little one. When her mate Bo-Jame returns with the kill of the day, she growls fiercely at him, warning him to keep his filthy body away from their nest. Bo-Jame retreats, his tail between his legs."
"I need to clean, clean, clean," Mae tells me. That means I need to shut up, shut up, shut up.

I also need to clean. Our little cub is coming soon! *ulp*

Friday, August 13, 2004

Cord Blood Revisited

Mae and I have decided that we might go for cord blood banking after all. Initially, we had pretty much decided that we would not be spending the extra money. But then, things have a strange way of working out.

A lot of your comments (thanks!) on previous post about the subject made us think. And boy, did we ever. Spending vs. Saving. Science vs. Faith. Insurance vs. Investment. So finally, we told each other that we would just leave it to faith. If God meant for us to do this, He would somehow give us a hint, if not a sign.

A couple of weeks back we met up with some of my college buddies at a friend's baby's Full Moon party. An ex-classmate who came, was recovering from a relapse of Leukemia. Seeing Mae in with one in the oven, he said to me, "James, whatever you do, please consider Cord Blood Banking." Just like that. Totally unprovoked.

So yesterday, Mae and I visited StemLife's lab and containment facility in Cyberjaya. A wonderful Dr. Wong gave us a run down of what goes on at StemLife. We were given the grand tour.

In the containment vessels, cord blood was stored in individual sachets and frozen with liquid nitrogen at a temperature of 190 below. "Hey Doc, I hear you got Alex Yoong's baby's stem cells in here," I enquired. Hehhehheh!

"You betcha!" Doc exclaimed. Then he whispered, "You wanna see?" My eyes narrowed into little slits and I cackled like a witch over her unholy brew. "Give! Give!"

Doc handed me the freezing sachet. I clasped it in the palm of my right hand and raised my fist to heaven. "Alex Yoong, I have you in the palm of my hand! MuahahaHhahaHahaHAh!!!!" Thunder clapped and lightning crashed. "YOU'RE MINE NOW!!!"

Okay, so it quite happen like that. But yeah, we did have a tour of the place and it looks like we'll be banking with StemLife after all. And by the grace of God, we will never need to use it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

A Cut Below

Having made the Birth Plan, Mae and I felt a little uncomfortable about the tone and manner of it all. It sounded a little too "I want this, I want that," for our liking. So we decided to talk to Doc first.

"I tell most patients that I can't possibly stick to everything in their Birth Plan," Doc told us. But she reassured Mae and I that she has our best interest at all times. She also told us that a lot of the stuff in a Birth Plan is best decided during labour, upon assessment. We agree.

Still one little thing needed some explanation.

Mae has been contemplating on whether or not to have an Episiotomy. Basically, the procedure is just make a little snip at the vagina to facilitate Baby's exit. A lot of our pre-natal books tell us that some women actually don't need an Episiotomy. On the other hand, if the baby is too large there's always the risk of a tear.

"It'll rip right up to your ass, you damn fools," Doc was pissed at our insolence. Somewhere, a storm was raging.

Hahhaha! Okay, that's not what happened. But she did point out the possibility of a very, very bad tear. "Caucasians are quite flexible, but for some reason Asians always tear," Doc pointed out. "Must be the squat toilets we use."

We're Asians. And we're having the Episiotomy.

Monday, August 9, 2004

Space Travelling

the perils of space travel

Yesterday, Mae and I decided to go to one of those baby specialty shops. We had gotten most of the stuff we need, but we decided to go anyway to see if we might have missed out anything.

I don't quite know why, but i was excited like crazy. Woohoo! We're going shopping! And my mind was swirling with images of car seats, bassinets, strollers...

The next thing I knew, I was checking Mae and Baby Jesse out of hospital. We had dressed the little guy in cute little blue jumpsuit. And he was wearing his new blue hat with his matching mittens and booties. I carried him out on his brand new bassinet car seat amidst a chorus of ooh's and ah's. When we got to the car, I fastened the bassinet onto the back seat of the car. I then got into the driver's seat.

As I reversed the car out of the parking lot, Baby Jesse cooed at me. I looked upon his angelic little face and he smiled at me. And then suddenly... WHAMMMM!!!!!!

I was shocked out of my daydream. I was reversing the car out of our apartment parking lot when I scraped the side of my car against a pillar! Oh man, what a crackerhead!!! *sigh* What's worse, it's not the first time my daydreaming led me to damage my car. My mind drifted away to space and it cost me.

Space travel is fine. It's the re-entry that burns you up. This time, it's gonna burn yet another hole in my pocket. Hmph!

Saturday, August 7, 2004

Full Term

Woohoo! Baby's full term at last. Today, we're officially 37 weeks pregnant.

I'm freaking out a little.

Our buddies in Singapore just had their kid. Blowfish and Eel delivered their baby 2 weeks early. I call him. "How did it go?" I asked. "We went for an Epidural," he explained, "Just like what we wrote in our Birth Plan."

Birth Plan!?!? What on earth is a Birth Plan?!? Okay... calm down... breathe... you've read about this, James. You know what a Birth Plan is, don't you?

Baby Jesse is engaged. He's in his full term. And we're three weeks from the due date.

I need to get a Birth Plan out. Instead, I'm blogging. Sheesh! Sometimes, I swear my priorities are all screwy. Seems like I'm always blogging. I should be doing a Birth Plan. Instead, I'm blogging. I better not be blogging when Mae's in the delivery room. Heh!

Blogging calms me down. I'm better when I'm calm. I'm going out of my mind!

Okay, I'm calm. And I'm better. Now to search for that damn Birth Plan off the web!

Yay! We have a Birth Plan now, thanks to I'm calm once again. :)

Thursday, August 5, 2004

All Creatures Great And Small

faux furballs

Yesterday, while clearing out the guestroom to make way for a new wardrobe (yay!), I unearthed this treasure chest of soft toys. It's a collection both Mae and I have gathered over the years - even before we met each other.

Yes, you read right. Some of those toys are mine. And no, I generally do not buy soft toys for myself. Really. Which is why all of mine were given to me.

I have a theory about this. Hehhhehh...

In a new relationship, the girl will buy the boy soft toys. She will lovingly wrap it with the sweetest gift wrapper. She will lovingly tie a dainty little ribbon around it. And she will attach a dainty little card. "For you to remember me by, my love," she writes, "When you're out there, alone, on the road".

"She really loves me,"
he thinks as he displays it in his car.

No. No. No. No. No. It's not love, son. It's the secret coded language of women the world over. It's a message that says, "This man is taken. Lay off!"

So boys, the next time your girl gives you a soft toy to display in your car, she's really just marking her territory. And now you know. Hahahahah!!!

Still, looks like Baby will have quite a few soft toys to inherit! When he's old enough to sit up, I'll seat him right there in the box amongst the toys and we can have a nice little photo session. Watch out, Anne Geddes!

It won't be long now. Wooo~

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

First Words

I realise that on the day that Baby Jesse arrives, apart from the midwives and the doctor, his first encounter with another human being would be with me. Yes, I will be in the delivery room with Mae. And with the camera. :) And if things go well (i.e. I don't pass out at the sight of blood or get terribly nauseous) I would even cut Baby's umbilical cord!

Technically speaking, Baby's first contact would be with Mae. However, since both Mae and Baby will be on opposite ends, daddy's gonna have to be the first one to greet Baby and welcome him into the world. Whoa! The thought of it is pretty scary. Basically, we're talking first impression! What do I do? And most importantly, what will be the first words I say to my son?

I told Mae, the moment Baby is out I'm gonna be scrambling my way to the end of the bed. I'll be pushing and shoving those nurses and midwives aside as I grab on to my infant son, cradle him to my chest and speak into his ear. "Remember Jesse, Daddy is the best!" My words will be engraved into his mind, etched forever in his memory. MUahahhahhah!!!

But seriously, it would be a defining moment in our lives and I can only hope I find the words. Something poignant. Something profound. Perhaps something philosophical. Heck, I'd even settle for something sensible. Who knows what can happen with all that excitement in the delivery room?

I suspect Mae thinks I'll say something dumb. Man, I hope I don't screw this one up!

Tuesday, August 3, 2004


Last Friday, I went to see a Podiatrist about a pain in my left foot. I was driving in PJ one day when I saw the sign and I decided I would go. So, as you can imagine, I did not have an appoinment. To some people, walking-in to an establishment without an appointment is sacrilegeous. AnalBob was one such guy.

I got there at 3pm and I politely enquired to see the doctor. "We can see you without an appointment," AnalBob told me matter-of-factly. "We have a lot of patients!" he said as he gestured to the one lonely patient in the waiting room.

"Can you pencil me in for the earliest available slot?" I asked. "4:15pm" said AnalBob, "But you have to be here by four!"

I had a problem now. I didn't have time to get back to the office, do some work and return. And I couldn't very well stay at the clinic till 4:00pm. I was practically stuck in limbo! I could go to the nearest shopping mall and kill time but it just felt wrong. So I decided to risk it and rush back to the office.

Bad mistake.

At 4:00pm I was still on the road. It was raining and a jam had started. The phone rings. It was AnalBob! Good Lord, this guy was relentless in his pursuit for punctuality! I assured him that I would get there by 4:15pm in time for the doctor. I stepped on the gas like a man possessed. I drove like a bat out of hell. I was like a man possessed by the bat out of hell!

However, as fate would have it, I was stuck behind Driving Miss Daisy. He hogged the road at his leisurely pace as though he was weaving in and out between the raindrops. Meanwhile, images of an angry AnalBob plays in my mind.

I get there at 4:17pm. Two minutes late. AnalBob was busy. Great! I tell the clerk I had an appointment. Sha takes my file and walks towards the back to the doctor. Then suddenly AnalBob puts everything down and stops her dead in her tracks. "No, no, no! We cannot let James in first!" he said, making sure I heard. "These people need to learn to be on time."

Oh boy! I knew where this was headed. AnalBob was gonna punish me. I pretended not to hear his remark. I switched on the charm and smiled at him.

30 minutes later, he was still punishing me. I was boiling inside but I refused to be sucked into his trap. He was probably expecting me to confront him about having to wait so long. And if I did, he'd probably start lecturing me on punctuality. So I gritted my teeth. And I smiled. And every so often, our boy would glance at me to see if I was gonna react. But nope. I was a picture of calmness.

Finally, after 45 minutes, he finally gave in. I saw the doctor without incident.

Today, I had my follow-up appointment. It was at 9:15am. Mae accompanied me. She laughed her head off as I struggled to make it there on time. "OoOoOooh, you're gonna get it this time," she taunted.

I got there at 9:12am. And AnalBob was happy. He had taught me punctuality.

Hmph! I want so much to slap him silly!

Monday, August 2, 2004

Billy Bob Teeth

all Baby wants for Christmas

Lemme tell you something about parenthood. I think all parents secretly wished their children look like them. Never mind if I look like a reject from the Lucky Troll factory. Never mind that I have a face fit for radio. If Baby ever comes out looking like me, I'll be the proudest daddy in the whole wide world!

For Baby Jesse to look like me, I have taken drastic measures. Thanks to Billy-Bob's Pacifiers, Baby can now inherit daddy's thick lips and buck teeth. Hahhahh!! What a hoot!

Actually, my sis Sue and her hubby Ah Fook got this from Singapore some months back. I had tried to find it ever since receiving those hilarious shots of babies with funny teeth. Unfortunately, no one in Malaysia carries this wonderful product. Perhaps Malaysian are just too conservative for such things. Too bad. Think of all the photo opportunities thousands of Malaysian parents are missing.

But seriously, Baby can do no wrong turning out like mommy in the looks department. Combined with daddy's wit and charm (*ahem*), we'll have a little lady-killer in our hands.

Here's hoping. :)