16 mths and more

my baby turned 16mths old roughly two weeks' back and i note that i've not been doing updates on her developmental progress for a while now - largely because i am very busy due to my work commitments. i still spend majority of my time with her and even if i need to work, i make it a point not be to away for more than 4 hours in a day (that gives me time to make a trip to see one client and then return to my parents' place to her). its great (for me) that my parents are no longer helping out my sis in her business and can help to look after li'l princess two/three times per week, thus putting my heart at ease. in addition, i'm glad that my new domestic helper turns out to be a rather good help *as compared to the previous one* so my baby has 4 adults (my parents & 2 domestic helpers) looking after her needs when i am away - and occasionally that number increases to 6 (when my sis returns home after school w/her husband) so it all works out very well for now.

well, her achievements to date:

- greatly increased her vocabulary so much so that i've actually lost track of the words she can say

- pat herself to sleep (no kidding!)

- sleep through the night (yeah, i know some babies did this MUCH earlier) w/o me having to nurse her so i start to get a little more sleep (the 'orchestra' is still on every night though)

- express quite clearly what she wants w/o crying or whining (she brings my dad's glasses and watch to him when she wants to go out for a walk)

- sit in the car seat for considerably longer periods (unless she's sleepy & grumpy)

- show you that she's one year old (with her index finger)

- knows exactly where things are kept in our house & over at grandparents' house (e.g. where the fish food is kept, where crayons can be found, where my dad's glasses and watch can be found)

- amazes me every single day at how clever she is (e.g. my potty training 'experience' with her)

- sits down to remove her shoes & socks when we enter the house (ours & grandparents)

- points to herself when you ask who is 'Claire'/'Baby'

- point to various parts of her body (hair, head, nose, eyes, ears, mouth, teeth, tongue, belly button, toes, knees, feet, hands and so on)

i've read that if you have a very easy 1st pregnancy and 1st child, you get 'paid' double for your 2nd one so i'm really quite terrified to have another kid at this point, seeing how easy li'l princess is really.

since i am on this topic, i'm going to give my take on the '2008 Marriage and Parenthood Package' that was just announced (at the risk of causing the wrath of some people).

essentially, the package is to encourage married couples who

1) do not wish to have child(ren)

2) decided that one child is enough

3) have problems conceiving to begin with

to do so.

so if we understand this, then we can understand why the implementation date is 01 Jan 2009. of course, everyone hopes to 'maximise' the benefits that they can receive - its only human nature but as long as you don't fall into any of the 3 categories above, you are obviously not the 'targeted' beneficiaries of what is being offered here - full stop. if you think these incentives should be backdated to 'benefit' everyone (just because you have just given birth or are due sometime this year), then why 01 Aug 2008? why not 01 Aug 2004 or 01 Jan 2008? you should just accept that you do not fall into the target group, you chose a 'bad timing' to have your child and move on! i had mine in april 2007 so i also lost out on the additional S$1,000 baby bonus (  dh got S$3,000) + S$6,000 CDA dollar-for-dollar matching account benefits like you what.

like PM Lee said, getting married and having kids are personal choices and should (really) not be dictated by government policies. of course, no one in the right frame of mind (myself included) will reject any kind of rewards (monetary or not) if presented.

there has been furious comments and petitions since the package was announced to backdate the 'goodies' as he had done previously but remember that in 2004, it was his maiden National Day Rally speech so obviously, he had to (in some way) 'please' the crowds.

anyhow, like many i do have a wish list too and they include:

1) offering the women an option to 'pass on' their tax incentives to the husbands (they are supposed to be the breadwinners, aren't they?). women, as shown in studies, have less earning capacity as compared to men *though not always true and thus should be an option*. every dollar saved from the taxes (whether its from mom or dad) is good money for the family - i'm sure i don't need to go into details on how expensive it is to raise a child from birth until the completion of tertiary education.

2) 6 months PAID maternity leave vs the newly improved 4 months - this faciliates moms to breastfeed for a full six months as 'recommended' by the World Health Organisation. In SG, the companies are just not supportive enough for moms to continue breastfeeding - first and foremost lacking is an area to pump milk (and no, the toilet does not count - would you eat your meals in the toilets?)

3) discourage the 'working overtime' culture - e.g. i don't understand why bosses have to call for meetings @ 7pm when the official working hours end at 6pm - i'm just so glad that i'm not in the rat race - this lousy culture is so serious that it affects 1) no. of friends that one has thus 2) no. of marriages and naturally 3) no. of divorces so 4) no. of children being birthed and last but not least, 5) no. of juvenile delinquents - it is a social issue that needs to be addressed immediately!

and me? i'll still go on to have another child (eventually, unless God has other plans) and with these new incentives, maybe even a 3rd or 4th one. ;)

latest update: the benefits for FTWM have been backdated to 17 aug 08 (the day of the national day rally) after (lots of) protests by those due from now till end of the year. sorry ms J, you still don't get it! HA HA HA!


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