Life Journal

If you're interested in reading my reflections on the Life Journal Bible readings, check out Ian's Life Journal blog.

Monday, 31 December 2007

What's behind Joni 仲妮's name?

She's kind of named after Joni Eareckson Tada, and kind of named after Ian -- Joni is a name derived from the same Hebrew name as Ian, יוֹחָנָן which means "יהוה, (God) is Gracious" -- and kind of named after Juliane -- Joni sounds like Juliane -- and kind of named after Confucius -- Confucius' 字 (courtesy name) was 仲尼 and we feminized it by adding the 女 radical.

Why Confucius? Well, actually we chose the English name first and then only came up with a Chinese name that sounds similar. My father came up with a bunch of suggestions for Chinese names and presented them to us. I like a lot of what I have read of Confucius' original teachings (or supposed original teachings, since Emperor Qin Shi Huang 秦始皇 destroyed his original works) for a lot of it sounds very Biblical -- including the Golden Rule. So of all the suggestions my father made, I liked this one best, and Juliane was agreeable to that suggestion.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

Last year, our good friend Loo Thing Peng gave us this Christmas tree to celebrate our new house. However, we were still too busy settling in by the time Christmas rolled around so we never managed to get it up. Sadly, Peng was murdered on 21st May this year. So, putting up the tree brought back bittersweet memories. Bitter, because of the tragic way Peng was taken from us. Sweet, because of the friendship we shared with her and because we are quite sure she's in heaven with Jesus now. This Christmas, we remember the birth of Jesus, but also our dear friend Peng who gave us our Christmas tree.

Of course, this year also saw the birth of Joni, which is what made me start blogging. Peng did live long enough to anticipate becoming "Aunty Peng" to little Joni (though she hadn't been named yet as we didn't know her gender until later.) I remember laughing at how our good friend Joshua's blog became a daddy blog when his daughter Zoe was born, but now I'm the same way!

Many of our friends and relatives also had babies this year, including Ian's sister Diane, whose second child and first son Dylan was born 11 days after Joni, cousin Wen Jye had his second child, uncle Chee Seng & Gwen had their third daughter, and many friends including Beng Keat & Lai Li had a daughter, James & Sharon had another son, and Andreas and Yee Send had a son.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Cat's in the Cradle

In Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family Film Series, he talked about (among other things) the important role of fathers. He quoted some statistics about how a study showed that the average middle-classed American man at that time spent an average of less than a minute of meaningful interaction with his children per week!

I heard this recording in Dobson's parenting podcast recently, and heard him quote Harry Chapin's song, "Cat's in the cradle". This is a really good cautionary tale for all dads. It strengthens my resolve to be an integral part of my Joni's life.

Cats in the Cradle
by Harry Chapin

My child arrived just the other day,
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad.
You know I'm gonna be like you."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

My son turned ten just the other day.
He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play.
Can you teach me to throw?" I said, "Not today,
I got a lot to do." He said, "That's ok."
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed,
Said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I'm gonna be like him."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

Well, he came from college just the other day,
So much like a man I just had to say,
"Son, I'm proud of you. Can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smile,
"What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them please?"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then."

I've long since retired and my son's moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time.
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu,
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad.
It's been sure nice talking to you."
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me,
He'd grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then."

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Breast pump holder

When pumping milk, Juliane's hands were occupied in holding the pump funnels to her breasts. This can be very boring as it means she can't really do anything else.

She saw a commercial breast pump holder on the Internet for US$30 and the Medella distributor could get it for RM 120, but it wasn't in stock and they would have to order it from overseas.

So I modified one of Juliane's old sports bras and voila! Click here to see it.

If you want to do this, you might want to use a sports bra with seams across the nipple like I did -- then I unpicked the seams to the correct location and stitched the edges so that they would not fray.

Counting our blessings: Pusat Kesihatan Kecil Puchong

In most ways, USA is more advanced than Malaysia, but there are two things I'm aware of that Malaysia is ahead in:In USA, their EPF ("Social Security") isn't in their individual accounts, but rather becomes like a pension which they can only draw as long as they live, no matter how much money they had put in to it. Just like in Malaysia, the government takes that money and spends it on other stuff, but unlike Malaysia, they have no individual accounts that say how much money there is.

And in medicine, The rich have the best health care in the world, but if you have no money or insurance, you die. (Except that there are some Christian and charitable organizations in a few limited places that provide free or subsidised health care to the poor, for example, in Chicago there is Pacific Garden Mission -- but most places don't have this.)

What reminded me of our blessings in this area is that on Monday morning, I took baby Joni to Pusat Kesihatan Kecil Puchong (Little Medical Centre of Puchong) which is only 5 minutes from my house, for her first month checkup, and we didn't have to pay even one sen! Most government hospitals at least charge a nominal fee, e.g. RM 10 for a visit, RM 30 for 1 month's supply of medicine) but this one didn't charge anything! (Not even for the cream the pediatrician supplied for baby Joni's rashes.)

Every so often, we hear horror stories about mistakes government hospitals make. But that happens everywhere; perhaps the implication is that the incidence is higher at government hospitals than in malpractice-conscious American commercially-run hospitals, but I don't have any statistics on this.

Anyway, I've been complaining about the government a lot lately, especially with the propaganda & disinformation about the Bersih pro-democracy protests, but health care is one place where this government actually has some good policies and I'm thankful for that.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Baby Dedication and Full Moon Party

We brought baby Joni 蔡仲妮 to church for the first time and had her dedicated unto the Lord, then that evening, we had the full moon (1st lunar month) party.
Photos [Part 1][Part 2]

Friday, 23 November 2007

Difficulties breastfeeding

Here're some new photos of Joni.

Note the one breastfeeding photo: this was one of the rare times when Joni actually latched on and suckled for a while. We very much believe in the goodness of mother's milk.

However, Joni isn't sucking well, not even on the bottle. We are managing to get her to drink the milk put in her mouth, however, and the pediatrician says she's getting enough nutrition and not to worry. But it does mean double work for Juliane -- she has to first pump out the milk, then feed it to Joni in a bottle. We've had lots of friends give advice, including folks from BreastfeedLah and a professional breastfeeding expert, who told us Joni doesn't seem to have a good rooting reflex.

So do pray that she'll suckle.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Joni & Winnie

Here's a little photo-comic story of Joni Chai & Winnie the Pooh's latest encounter.

Be sure to read the captions below the photos to follow the story!:-) (You need to click on the thumbnails to see the full-sized photo with the caption.)

Here's a Youtube version:

Monday, 12 November 2007

Auntie Susheela's lullaby

Auntie Susheela is an old friend of Juliane's -- she comforted her when her mother passed away while she was still in university. Here, she sings a lullaby written by her grandmother to baby Joni.

[Watch the video]

Thursday, 8 November 2007

It's a girl!

Joni Chai 蔡仲妮 was born at 2:31 am (GMT+0800), 30th October, 2007. She weighed 3.06 Kg at birth and was 47 cm long.

We had a scare because her pulse rate suddenly dropped so the gynaecologist decided to do a caesarian. I had another scare because she wouldn't start breathing at first, and everyone except the gynae and one nurse rushed over to the baby. But praise God she started breathing eventually and is now fine.

Apologies to the late Conway Twitty and his daughter Joni Lee for "stealing" their song and modifying the lyrics to better suit my Joni. This video is also available at YouTube.

Here're some photos of Joni's first day.
Here're some photos of Joni taken later.