Now That’s Expedited Delivery

8.08am: “Please come back when u drop Xan off at school.”

The Wife had been spending the last couple of weeks at home while I drove our son to and from school every day as I went to work. Today was no different, until my phone buzzed just as I was pulling over at Xander’ school entrance. She would be a good one week earlier than scheduled if she were to deliver today, but we sort of knew she’d deliver earlier than her estimated delivery date.

Suppressing the inner freak-out I was experiencing after reading that message the Wife sent me, I stayed calm while Xander took off his seat belt, opened the car door, took his school bag, and trotted happily into his school, unaware of what I was now gearing up for. I gave him a big tight hug and kissed him goodbye for the day, knowing all our lives would have changed by the time I saw him again in the evening.

8.29am: I got home to find The Wife in the bathroom, scared stiff, and screaming in pain every 2 minutes. “I don’t dare to move,” she said. “I think you have to call the ambul- AAAAAAAGGGGHHH!

8.34am: It didn’t take long. The paramedics came; 6 to 7 strapping young lads and a stretcher. She said the same thing to them as well. “I dare not move.” To which one of them replied as he set down the blood pressure monitor on the floor just outside the bathroom, “Ma’am, This is probably not the best place to give birth.”

8.39am: Once she was loaded up into the ambulance, I was instructed to meet them at the A&E where I was to do up the paperwork for her admission. I drove off first, thinking I wouldn’t get caught in the peak-hour jam if I avoided the expressway.

8.58am: I got caught in the peak-hour jam.

Meantime, the ambulance arrived and The Wife was wheeled through the A&E, straight into the delivery suite.

9.32am: I only just pulled into the hospital parking lot when a call came in. It was the paramedic informing me that the wife was in the delivery suite, and asking where I was. I managed to spot a car pulling out of a lot, and slotted myself straight in, much to the chagrin of a car waiting just ahead (experienced drivers will know what is the ideal spot to wait for a vacating parking lot; the poor sod wasn’t at that spot).

9.38am: I reached the admissions counter. One of the paramedics was there, and he looked at me with a half-apologetic look, saying, “Mr Tay, I have some good news to tell you. Your wife has delivered.”

“Shit.” I sat down.

He stuck his latex gloved hand out. “Congratulations.”

“Ah, shit,” I said again. Then I took his hand, and shook it with a smile. “Thanks.”

2 minutes later, I was in the delivery suite, looking at this sweet young thing for the very first time.

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Her name is Yvie.

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(Domain name register liao.)

Crazy About Diaper Bags (and Other Stuff)

So The Blogfather gets called up one day to help out with a web design issue another blogger was facing (back when I was freelancing and my body was less averse to sugar and cholesterol, I used to charge a cup of Starbucks or CBTL coffee for small fix-it jobs like this; now you know why I had to go back to working full-time).

The website owner, who goes by Ondine online (after the ballet, and no, it does not rhyme with “online”) is a mother, part-time educator by day. By night, she leads a secret double life as a super-fit, skilled she-warrior, taking to the skies with her collection of high-powered, multi-utility JED Packs (i.e. she jogs on occasion, and sells really cute and very functional kids’ bags and accessories).

While I was flippantly mucking about with fixing up her website, I was struck by the collection on sale at her blogshop. We’ve been friends since, and I’ve since visited the site a number of times on my own, always tempted to buy, but never having reason to.

But after a year of lurking around the JED Packs catalogue (not usually how long it takes for me to write a review), and seeing as my second child is nearing completion, I now have a number of reasons to.

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A few months back, Ondine sent?a knight-themed school lunch bag?(see inset photo above) to Xander as a gift. I ended up using it to bring our Sunday dinner leftovers to the office for lunch one day. What I didn’t expect was for the bag to cause quite the stir among the ladies at the office (“Aiyoh, so cute!” and “Where you buy one ah?” being the most common quips; hardly anyone asked if this was my son’s, for some reason).

I started to wonder if there was any other stuff in the JED Packs catalogue I could pull off. Xander’s also been getting into the habit of bringing meals to school (usually in the form of folded peanut butter sandwiches and milk), and now that number 2 is on the way, we’re gonna need diaper bags, too (which, incidentally, is also the name of Ondine’s blog as well).

I finally got round to?making a purchase after the Wife pitched in with her opinion of JED Packs. You’ll need to note that Ondine, the mother of 3 and mind-moulder of a couple hundred tertiary students, can currently only accept cash on delivery or DBS/POSB bank transfers because she can’t afford the merchant fees that come with fancier payment methods. I went slightly nuts with the shopping cart, though, and came out with a whole bunch of stuff.

Bumkins + Dr Seuss Lunch Bag

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This was the very first thing I set to get for myself Xan. The Cat in the Hat is an absolute classic, made even more quaint in this doggy bag-style lunch bag with an easy-clean waterproof lining to handle accidental spills. They have a soft lunch box version with a handle?as well. We picked this one because it has the height to accommodate a thermos flask for our baby’s hot water when we head out on family excursions.

Planet Wise Red Animals Reusable Sandwich Wrap

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This is a really neat idea if you’re not keen on using disposable sandwich bags. The wrap folds out flat so you can prepare square sandwiches right on it, then you fold it back neatly over your sandwich and you’re good to go. The inside is lined with a silicon membrane so it’s ridiculously easy to wipe clean, and the entire thing is washable (though the printed side will take time to dry), so you’ll want to get a couple, or even three, to cycle through when washing.

Bento & Co Block Bento Boxes

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Now this one I originally intended to get for myself, primarily because of what they’re designed after. The bento boxes are stacked 2 to a set, and each box comes with a rubber lid to seal the edges, and everything is strapped together neatly with an elastic band down the middle. The set also comes with its own liddle-widdle chopsticks for kids (preferably the ones who are already trained in the art of using chopsticks), and an ice pack to keep sliced fruits cold if you want.

The boxes are microwave-safe (just make sure you don’t microwave the rubber lid seals as well), and as it turns out, this really is sized for kids, because I was still hungry when I finished the portion of rice and vegetables for lunch.

Snuggybaby Ningyou Wetbag & Espresso Damask Wetbag

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These unassuming pouches are the highlights of the bunch. They’re called wet bags because of their waterproof inner lining, so you can keep moisture in – for storing wet clothing after water play, for example – or out, if you’ve got diapers and baby clothes you need to keep dry whilst carrying them with water bottles and other splash-prone items.

I’m told the wet bags are JED Packs’ hot sellers, not just for its practical ingenuity, but because the prints they sport are a cut above the rest. I actually chose the kimono-print Ningyou design to use as my soon-to-be-born daughter’s diaper bag, and not because it looks girly, but because it looks rather reminiscent to a Tokidoki print.

If this reads like a paid review, you’re only half right. It’s a paid review in the sense that I paid for most of these items, and then I did a review of them; I did say in my media policy that if it’s worth it, I’d buy it, and the JED Packs catalogue is more than worth its prices, though Ondine did give me a discount and get her husband Packrat (not his real name, though I maintain to this day that he looks like a puffier version of Utt) to deliver the items to me. Which is what JED Packs is going to do for you, too!

Use this shiny little promo code: PACKRATISUTT when you shop at JED Packs and get 10% off all regular items in a single purchase. You’ve got till 31st March 2014 to enjoy the offer. Also, Ondine usually ships your orders out by mail, so I make absolutely no guarantees that you will meet Utt in the process.

Taking Leave, The Blogfather Way

Yesterday I was filling out leave forms so I could bring the Wife to her gynae appointment,? and in anticipation of her delivery. When I got to the “Reason for leave” field in both forms, I wrote in the first one:

“Gynae appt (wife, not me)”

And on the second:

“Giving birth (wife, not me)”

I don’t get to give paternal reasons for applying leave very often. So when I do, I make the most of the opportunity.

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28 Valentines, 1 True Love

When I was a lot younger, I never had any luck with girls. Up until I turned 16, I had crushes on, and was subsequently rejected by, no less than 23 female subjects (ah, puberty). I came to fear the words, “I treat you like a brother.” If only I had the wit to say to all 23 of these then-young ladies, “I have 3 sisters already. I don’t need any more brotherly treatment.”

If friendzone were a word then, I’d be an Internet meme.

Okay what, why the girls no like?
I look okay what, why the girls no like?

Then, over the following decade, I finally got into a string of 5 relationships with women that didn’t think of treating me like a brother. It was a defining time for me, because these relationships taught me the difference between lust, love, and true friendship, and how fragile the balance between the three, for two people to match each other.

Regardless how these 28 relationships, almost-relationships, and not-even-close-to-giving-me-the-time-of-day relationships began, played out, and ended, they were good relationships, valuable relationships, necessary relationships. I cannot say I regret any of them.

Then of course, there’s this one relationship I didn’t include.

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It started as a casual introduction, and after a couple of group drinking sessions, a clicking of minds. Then she had to go away, which started a sporadic five-year-long friendship conducted mainly over ICQ (that, every once in a while, hinted at something a little more). Because we were still in our own relationships at the time, though, we never seriously thought of going past anything other than platonic, but while she was half the world away, we managed to become best friends.

When she finally got back from her overseas study, I’d get calls at close to midnight to come out for coffee. I grew to treasure those nights where we’d sit for hours, only getting up to go home when the 24-hour caf?’s piped-in radio station started playing the National Anthem.

This went on for a number of months. Then things took a turn one night: we had a fight. I couldn’t for the life of me remember how it started, but it ended with her screaming at me for having no balls, and me leaving in a huff.

What didn’t I have the balls for, you might wonder? I couldn’t pluck up the courage to officially ask her to go out with me.

Two days later, I called her and said, “So does this mean we’re an item?”

I suspect the circumstances under which we started going out together has given her the impression, which she maintains to this day, that this is “a woo-less relationship”. But I beg to differ.

I maintain that somehow I knew, that feeling in my gut that I never thought to trust until now, she’s the one. And from the day we met to this day, I wonder how I could ever measure up to deserve her choosing to be with me.

And from the day I finally found the balls to officially ask her to go out with me to this day, as imperfect as I am, and as many mistakes as I make every so often (and when I do, she sure as hell lets me know it), I try to measure up to deserve her choosing to be with me.

Because I love her.

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This post is part of a Valentine’s Day special, brought to you by Daddy Matters.

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