Saturday, November 9, 2013

And The Baby Shopping/ Prepping Frenzy (Or Trepidation)…Begins.


Disclaimer: This entry contains nonchalant, emotional…pure ramblings on everything pregnancy and baby related issues. Readers’ discretion advised (especially those who finds pregnancy/ baby related issues as “icky”)

Salaams.

As been noted on previous entry, I am now pregnant with my second child. At the moment, I am just days before entering the final trimester; 7 months or approximately 28 weeks. Alhamdulillah…

Apart from the fact I got a slight morning (or rather all-day) sickness (read: nausea, lack of appetite, extreme fatigue…but thank god no vomiting) since the start of this pregnancy, this time around I am face with a GDM condition. That’s Gestational Diabetes Mellitus for those who aren’t aware of the abbreviation. Layman translation: no tasty, awesome, glucose inducing food for me. As a chocolate enthusiast and a foodie for anything yummy, having a GDM is a big blow for me. Addendum, from the onset, I couldn’t eat one of my all time favourite food – SUSHI. For some weird reasons, my little womb occupant finds the taste not to his/her liking. Which is a double blow for me as anyone who knows me will agree that I am a SUSHI FREAK. Sushi totemo daisuki! But as far as consuming sushi is concern, I finally got to eat (with modest amount akin to a novice of sushi that is) just when I got to around 22 weeks. So that is a relief ( as I thought my “desire” for sushi is slashed and I become mundane just like most people when face with raw fish’s fillet).

Anyway, foods aside (I can go on for paragraphs…), one thing I learnt about this pregnancy to try to “improve” on whatever lacking I’ve had with the first one – in terms of prepping for baby stuffs, birth plans etc. BUT mostly, about prepping. As been casually mentioned before, this time around we have to start from scratch on baby items as most of Raihanna’s stuffs are either given away to my niece or returned to my second older sister, OR ruined/incomplete or simply just MIA. And, taking the cue from my past experiences, I thought this time around I should start the prep a little bit early and minimize my “craze” for any baby sales/expos etc.

When I was expecting my first born, I went cuckoo every month until the very end, always on the constant look out for any baby sales especially any J-card member sales (as Jusco was just next to my then office, and the fact it gives vouchers on J-card member sales, I would spend/visit for this monthly sales and go just about any Jusco in Klang Valley for that purpose…to the extent I “finally” tripped on a split-level pavement at IOI Mall Puchong while heading, yes, to Jusco sales…was wearing my 3 inch platform shoes and was 8 months pregnant. Luckily, I fell on my side (and not face forward/ belly forward). While my feet got instantly swollen and could barely walk right after, my baby then was safe. This horrendous experience literally have its effects on me, as that swollen feet wasn’t taken care of well enough (for one reason, no thanks to being denied my medical rest from the office the day after despite the doctor granted me 3 days of MC with full rest). From then on, I couldn’t wear any heels shoes and resorted to flat, most of the times – slipper. Yes, even wore slipper to office back then! I am a crippled mommy. LOL.

So with that in mind, I got to woo hub ever since knowing that I got pregnant that he has to start providing for the baby prep soon. Thus, when I entered 6 months, I started my baby quest for everything baby. Of course, the difference this time around is that hub is the only one who has to pay for…everything. So that in a way proves to be a little bit of a headache for him. Sorry hub. BUT I TOLD YOU SO, got me bloated this time you got to “pay” the price as I am currently just a pauper grad student. LOL.

Naturally, I have my own wish lists. Things that I didn’t buy or couldn’t buy when I had Raihanna, I thought of having them now for this baby. And, am sure just like with most parents, one of the baby must-haves that they thought of the soonest is, STROLLER. Now, when I had Raihanna, that was the first thing that I bought. BUT being me, with a tiny paycheck as journalist back then, looking for a bargain is a must. Think economical. Strict budget. I didn’t go for foreign brand, bought a very comfy yet bulky Anakku stroller that has all the features I wanted – padded, fully recline like a pram, reversible handle, large canopy, large basket, sturdy four wheels. ONLY fret, it is BULKY. I wasn’t brand freaks back then (still not today). With the stroller, I bought an Anakku infant car seat. The total back then (in 2008) was only around RM700. Back then, this bulky stroller filled my whole little compact car’s boot. BUT, I didn’t care much. I was happy with it. As I think my Raihanna was very comfortable in it. HOWEVER, just when Raihanna turns 1 year older, this bulky stroller seems to be a fuss to carry around with us. In fact, it was so big to be fitted in my little Savvy, one of its tyre got dented due to rigorous pushing when closing the boot. As with the infant car seat, Raihanna outgrew them just when she reached 1 year old. Thus, I bought another stroller (umbrella fold) – wanted to buy Maclaren but it was a bit pricey, and almost settled for a Silvercross model, BUT being non-brand conscious and so-called bargain hunter-value for money-type of a person, I ended up with a local copycat baby brand– Sweet Cherry.  It was not that I didn’t have extra bucks for something better (as a matter of fact I did have extra bucks, thanks to the oversea trip I had then, hence wanting to replace Raihanna’s stroller). With this, I also bought from the same brand, a convertible car seat – total costs (in 2010) was around RM800. So, that was RM1500 spent in 1 year for 2 strollers and 2 car seats. BUT, this umbrella Maclaren’s copy cat version was dented (the canopy) even after 2 days of purchase and I got it replaced but only to an even worse condition of canopy, LOL. Talk about Malaysian brand huh. Nevertheless, Raihanna strolled in them for the next 1 ½ years of her life (right about to she’s 3 years old) and soon even though she’d still wants to sit in the stroller, I couldn’t strapped her in properly as the harness isn’t adjustable and not long enough for a toddler.

ANYWAY, that was Raihanna’s stroller stories. Learning from that “awful” experience, I kept pestering hub that we need to get a better quality stroller this time. Money should not be main concern, but quality. Luckily, hub is on the same page on this. Thus, we “vow” not to have a copy cat Sweet Cherry products anymore no matter how seemingly sturdy or stylish it looks (but in all honesty, all of its “stylish” designs now are copied from Quinny, Maclaren or Preg Perego). BUT of course, for those who kept drooling on Quinny but couldn’t fork out money for that luxury, can always resort to Sweet Cherry’s version of “quinny”. BUT not for me. NOT being pompous or anything, as mentioned, I’ve got bitter experience with SC. LOL.  Thus, the search for the new stroller begins. At first I was quite concern with hub’s budget, didn’t dare to ask him though, but when we started to shop around, he seemed OK on a travel system by Chicco (Italy made but not as expensive as Preg Perego) which costs around RM1300. I was like, “yey cool. Perhaps hub IS willing to splurge a little”. Thus keeping that in mind, I put on my wish lists.

Of course I hope for a travel system, but most travel system comes with the infant car seat mounted over the stroller – thus it looks bulkier and heavier. And as someone who is skeptical with online shopping, I start my quest only at malls. Of course the ones nearby my “play area” – namely Jusco, Parkson, Isetan, Mothercare and few others. From the little recce, I fancy, of course Quinny, Maclaren, Preg Perego, and Combi. But there are few features that I needed to checked on before deciding the purchase.

This time around the stroller, if preferable, comes with travel system, isn’t bulky when folded, sturdy, and suitable from birth.

Of course I had my eyes fixed on Quinny. BUT most definitely, Quinny Moodd out of my reach, too expensive for a stroller and yet very bulky. The choices for Quinny down to two; Zapp Extra or Buzz. Of course, Buzz more expensive than Zapp’s but the seat’s look more comfy. So, as someone who’s been dreaming to own a Quinny, I kept checking out the stroller whenever I had the chance – and I must say, Buzz is BULKY and HEAVY. And with that same price, I could get a Preg Perego Pliko which happens to be on my second wish list. BUT, Preg Perego still when folded is quite bulky and brings back memories of Raihanna’s Anakku stroller. Of course the quality is way better. BUT still bulkier and pricey. Which brings to my third wish list – a Maclaren. Read many good reviews on Maclaren and it is highly maneuverable, lightweight and stylish too. BUT the only “travel system” it has still a mounted over type and for that I think I’d better chose a Chicco liteway plus which costs less. And finally, on the bottom of my wish lists are either Chicco or Combi. The thing with Combi, it is quite pricey for a Japanese made stroller (read: Asian) BUT of course you’re paying for the technology and with Combi you can’t beat its one-hand folded system and lightweight. And my last resort, would be either Graco or Hauck (Germany made).

Anyhow, found a few bargains on stroller:-
1)   Combi Urban Walker – retail price RM1299. BUT found the cheapest for RM858. The fret: it feels so shaky, too lightweight, and too low. However, good storage, sturdier because it has 4 wheels. And the colors available/combo – not so nice. The pros: lightweight, easy folding, reversible handle.
2)   Graco Ultima Travel System – retail price Rm1399. BUT found the cheapest for as low as RM660. The fret: super bulky when infant car seat attached. The pros: Super value for money, looks super sturdy, reversible handle and very cushiony, well padded and easy folding.
3)   Chicco Liteway Plus Travel System – retail price RM1599. Found the cheapest for RM1199. The fret: car seat attached on the stroller making it bulky and only available in red. Pros: car seat well padded, stroller quite padded and 180 degrees recline.
4)   Maclaren Techno XT 2013 – retail price RM1299. Found the cheapest for RM900. Fret: claims to be suitable from birth, BUT doesn’t look like its fully 180 degree recline, tiny basket, no reversible handle, not really padded, not compatible with travel system, no bumper bar. Pros: umbrella folding, sturdy, high maneuverability, large canopy, stylish and very popular brand.

ANYWAY, guess which I bought on impulse? LOL! Yes, number 4. A Maclaren. Wasn’t that super bargain? I’ve never seen it on sales as cheap as RM900! Only thing was when I saw the sales, went in the shop and asked for 3 times! for what available colors they have as I wanted it in Black… the salesperson assured me (3 different people) that they have in Black. Then when the card swiped, turns outs they did not have black!!! And only two colors left (and two strollers left). One in red with silver frame and another champagne with bronze/champagne frame. I chose Champagne (this color I rarely sees people have it, mostly in silver or black).

Anyhow, being the indecisive me as always, as soon as I got home I got a little panicky with this purchase. Simply because of all of concerns stated before as the “frets” with this stroller. I then begin to “research” on the net about this stroller being used from infant – but only found 1 review and she’s a happy customer (with an older version of Techno XT). And so between worrying about this purchase and looking for either infant car seat or convertible seat, I suddenly found another bargain!

>>>>>>>>>the new Quinny Zapp Xtra3 (with foldable seat) selling at only RM1109! With another 10% discount if I am a member (which I am). So that means it will costs only RM998.10. Now, this is the latest Quinny which not many stores are selling and even if they are mostly online shops – with the lowest I found selling at RM1799! (that’s online price, but being me a skeptic in online I’d ruled that out). So the lowest price I found in stores is RM1899! And suddenly I found this latest bargain at less than RM1000! Don’t I went crazzzzzzzzzzzy. Now day dreaming about this on whether should I buy this dream Quinny. Since this store is on sales, even the Maxi Cosi carbio is on sales to RM630! The cheapest I found is RM699! So IF am buying this travel system it will costs me RM1670, just slightly more than what hub initially wanted to purchase with Chicco! Am getting excited.

I started my calculations. Thing is, we still need to buy a car seat if we decide to hold on with that champagne Maclaren. Now, with decent convertible car seat the cheapest I found is either Recaro Sparco at RM630 or Ferrari Cosmo RM528. BUT these both at an online shop (but they do have a showroom). Now based on survey am not keen on a Recaro as it is bulkier than Ferrari’s. So my pick would be Ferrari Cosmo which would bring my total costs to around RM1430. BUT here’s another fret about these convertible car seats: while they do claim it is suitable from birth, it is still lacking the comfort for an infant/newborn as it doesn’t fully recline. And here’s where am fretting and cracking my head to make a decision. Should go for an infant car seat (like I did with Raihanna) or go on with a convertible car seat? Thing with car seats, they aren’t cheap too. Good, decent ones (read: not local brand) are all above RM400 and less than RM700. Which would means the same total costs for me, in the end.

NOW getting back on the fancy Quinny, for another RM200 I could get my dream brand. Thing is I MUST let go my new, pristine, unused, still in a box Maclaren Techno XT 2013. On one hand I do love this Maclaren though have not used it because it is such a bargain I don’t think it easily come by. BUT on another hand, it lacks the things I wanted – compatibility with car seat, reversible handles. BUT both (quinny zapp) and Maclaren have dismal basket storage and lightweight with possible tip off when you put diaper bags at the handles (or so I read, am not sure).

With all things of dreams, IF I buy this Zapp it will make my “dreams of baby items” this time around complete. Alhamdulillah. As I got my “dream” breastpump – Medela Swing with Medela bag and cooler bag, my “dream” sterilizer and bottles (Avent),  my “dream” solid wood baby cot…(so far those are the things we’ve purchased) and In Shaa Allah will give birth at “paid rate” hospital aka private (though not as “dreamy” as Prince Court Hospital LOL)….thing is Alhamdulilah for all the things we have, not that I push hub for all these things, I just “dream” and “hope” but it seems hub give in (this time around very unlike when we had Raihanna lol) so thank you to hub. Anyway, will contemplate further on this Quinny. And the purchase will only be possible IF I SELL that Maclaren. But if not, fat chance. Nevertheless, Alhamdulillah for this new stroller, I didn’t even put it in my baby budget/lists to hub but hub wanted to buy a stroller and we found a bargain.

Till then… my next quest: baby clothing (but not that excited as much as I don’t know my baby gender for certain L), and yes another drooling “dream” – baby diaper bags either Storksak or some really cool desings of Allerhand (not like the stripey ones we see often at Parkson)…oh yes, that would mean around RM500-RM700…but aren’t Storksak just “dreammmmmmmmmmmmy”, Angelina Jolie wears them too!

Now, time to zzz and dreammmm J


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