Letter to Olivia: The Glorious Months

Please don't stop smiling and laughing.
Please don't stop smiling and laughing.

My dearest baby, 

Another three months have passed with you in our lives. What amazing and joyful time it has been for us. No wonder some people dub the period between four to six month as the golden period. How true. I truly enjoy this stage and cherish every moment.


This is the time when you started to become more aware of your surrounding, you coo, chuckle, squeal and laugh in delight. We try hard every day to amuse you just to get a response out of you. And when you do, mama's heart explodes with indescribable joy and all's right with the world.


Recently, mama did your very first photo book. As I was looking through your newborn pictures, it brought back many fond memories. Noting how much you have grown and changed over the last few months reminds me to savour every moment. From sleeping much of the time, you have morphed into a relatively active baby who is so full of curiosity and life.


You give us your toothless smile (which is oh so cute) in the morning when you wake up. You chuckle and laugh when you're in the mood. You love it when we have visitors and you like to be part of the group. When we sing, dance and perform, you show your delight.


Physically, you have become much stronger. Kicking your legs seem to be one of your favourite activities. Your kick can be quite strong and powerful for someone small like you. You've learned to play with the mobiles on the activity mat and rocker. You no longer just sat there and watch.


Mama is very glad to witness the changes before my eyes each day. Sometimes, it is so subtle and happens so fast that I can't be sure if it's a new skill that you're showing me. That's how rapid your development is. 


For a period of time, you enjoy smacking your lip, clicking your tongue and winking. Since birth, you're not one who needs the pacifier to comfort yourself. You'd much rather suck your own fingers. Sometimes you try to stuff your entire fist into your mouth. It's quite cute to watch. These are some of the things that you've learned in your fourth month.


Thanks to you, mama celebrated her first mother's day in May. Becoming a mum is a dream come true. Having a baby as sweet as you is beyond my wildest dream. Mama is so thankful for the gift of motherhood and I just love being your mama.


Just to illustrate how sweet and kind you are, you slept through the night for the very first time a week before Mother's Day! How wondeful to clock in extra sleep.


Within the same month, there were two other highlights.


First, you received your US passport. Yay! Due to some mistake, the application for your passport was delayed and we were concerned that it may not be ready in time for your first trip to Singapore in June.


Secondly, we had another photoshoot for you and you were such a pro. From the start to the end, it took us only 40 minutes with four changes of clothes. The photographer was truly impressed with how easy you were.


Oh yes, in early June you started to laugh and chuckle. It brings such delight to us that we try hard to make you laugh whenever possible. We are not always successful. Yet it did not deter us from trying. Once, you burst out laughing quite randomly. All of us in the room couldn't help but laughed along with you! Your laughter is super infectious, my darling.


Few weeks before our trip to Singapore, mama started to feel anxiety rising. Mama was worried about hundred and one things. Will you be okay on the flight? How are you going to respond to jet lag? How is the trip gonna mess up your schedule? Et cetera, et cetera.


The anxiety was not all bad as it prompted us to prepare ourselves. I started to carry you in the sling more to practise as I foresee that's how I'll be bringing you around. The bonus is it was a great way to get you to nap.


The day arrived and you took your first long haul flight at the grand age of 21 weeks on June 14.


What we noticed was that you seemed to be aware that it was not an ordinary day. You were alert and excited. From the moment we took the cab till we reach the airport, all through the check in and security you were awake. And you didn't fuss! It was only when we were about to board that you started to fuss because you were hungry.


Because you were so hungry and tired, you dozed off after a quick feed just before the take off. Consequently, we didn't manage to get you to suck on the pacifier to equalize. Shortly after, you realised something was not right and woke up crying when we were up in the air. Thankfully you took to the pacifier and that calmed you down. To our surprise, you slept for five to six hours straight after that.


You are a great traveler and we are so very proud of you, baby.


Here's an important lesson that I learn. Whenever I feel worried and anxious about you, I remind myself that I need to assume strength in you rather than weakness. That you can cope and we will be there for you to help soothe and comfort you. The bottomline is you will be fine. Indeed, many of my concerns were unfounded because you're a calm, open and adaptable baby.


When we reached Singapore, you seemed to realise that it is a new place and I saw that curiosity in your eyes again. We made it! Singapore is your home too and there are so many people who have been waiting to meet you in person.


I can see that you enjoyed your time in Singapore tremendously where life was so much more exciting with lots of new faces and people giving you tonnes of attention. We've always known that you're a social baby and truly you're in your element around people. Always generous with your smile, you endear yourself to those who meet you for the first time quite easily.


On hindsight, your first trip to Singapore was most eventful. In the first week that we were there, it was unfortunate that we experienced a terrible haze and the PSI readings hit a record high of more than 400, which is hazardous for health. Thankfully, the situation improved subsequently.


Second incident was we got stuck in the elevator for several minutes at a mall! Of course, you were none the wiser as your aunt and I kept as calm as we could  so as not to alarm you. That same day, you showed us how adaptable you were. As we were out, we couldn't find a baby room in time and your milk turned cold. You usually like it warm but in time of need, you adapt! Well done, sweetheart.


The third incident was a huge one. The day we arrived back in the Bay Area was the day when Asiana Crash occurred. We received the news from the captain that the airport was close about 45 minutes before landing. Consequently, we had to reroute and ended up waiting in Sacramento airport for several hours.


Even the adults were getting restless being stuck in a plane, not knowing whether we could get home that day. Also we were running out of milk for you! Thank God, the airport opened and we managed to get home within the day. It was the longest flight ever for us and you were such a trooper that you still managed to smile for mama at the end of the long ordeal.


Couple of weeks before our trip to Singapore, you started to spit up more regularly. This worsened while you were in Singapore and you threw up almost every other day. Your feeding pattern changed as well. You fed poorly and mama couldn't help but be concerned. Still you remained cheerful and unperturbed even when you were throwing up. I supposed it's true that this is more of a laundry problem rather than a real problem. It has improved since we are back but you still spit up several times a week. Hope this won't last too long.


The day after we were back, we noticed that you managed to hold your head up in the car seat. Hurray! You've achieved good head control. Another developmental milestone that we thought you hit was turning from front to back, while you were in Singapore. You managed to do it three times in a row.


However since then, you have not been able to repeat it totally. Papa and mama notice that you try really hard during tummy time to turn and it clearly frustrates you when you can't.


We want to commend you for trying hard, my darling. This is an important trait that we like to nurture in you. There is no hurry for you to turn, crawl or walk. We don't need you to hit the milestones right on target especially since you were born earlier. Take your time and continue to work hard and you will get there eventually.


At your sixth month check up, your doctor was really pleased with your growth and overall health. We are very very pleased too in addition to feeling extremely grateful. You are now a robust, healthy and happy baby, very different from the tiny baby we held in our arms more than six month ago. You look different too. It always warm my heart when I see the same facial expressions that you've had since birth.


My sweet baby, you are such a gift to us. When I look at you, I couldn't help but notice how beautiful and wonderful you are. Even at this young age, you exude so much love. You demonstrate your love openly and these are the moments that I live for.


One incident that I don't want to forget. One particular afternoon, you were hanging out with papa while mama took a nap. When I picked you up after the nap, you looked and smiled at me with so much love as though you're saying, "I've missed you mama and I am so glad to see you."


Yes, motherhood is difficult, physically exhausting and monotonous but when you smile or laugh, you make it worthwhile. You also give me the burst of energy to keep going and do better. There is still so much that mama needs to learn on this journey and I thank you for being so patient with me. Mama prays that she too will be patient with herself and persevere to give her all to you.


Mama also learn to appreciate the moment with you. There were many times when you laughed so heartily that I wanted to take my phone and record it for memory's sake. Interestingly, you were not quite willing to repeat your performances. I learn that I should just enjoy that moment with you instead of capturing it.


Baby girl, each day we thank God for choosing us to be your parents. What a great privilege this is. We look forward to more of you, knowing that you will continue to surprise and amaze us. You are our sunshine and you make the world more wonderful simply by being in it. Continue to grow well and be healthy dear baby.


You are beautiful and stunning just the way you are. Papa and mama love you dearly.