Here we are again, at the end of the year and it's time for an annual update. On February 10, Usa gave birth to Roger Sirachat Gamble. Now we understand the miracle of childbirth. It may take Roger a little longer.
Roger was born 3.56kg, measuring 48cm. He is now almost 10 months, weighing just shy of 10kg and measuring 70cm. It won't be long before we will replace the word "measuring" with the word "standing" as he is very easily pulling himself up to that position; he can't stand alone yet, but he can't be too far away. It is amazing to see him develop, grow and learn. So far he is proving himself to be very determined, has good hand / eye co-ordination, likes to kick balls (he started at 4 months - we think it was the World Cup that did it!), but the most impressive thing is the way he observes us and wants to do the same.
As you can see from the dimensions above, Roger is a small-ish, but heavy baby. He was "slow" in learning to roll over and to crawl. Both were because his tummy was just too big for his little muscles to control. But he doesn't seem concerned by that and comparing himself to other babies - he has his sights set higher. He looks at us and wants to copy. That is why we think he is so keen to walk.
This year has been absolutely exciting, but a bit nerve-wracking, too. Neil is in the process of transferring with Citibank to Singapore. Like every transfer, it seems to go on forever. Discussions for this one started in April and the official transfer date is Jan 01 95. All transfers seem to take forever. On reflection, it means the assignment in Jakarta was 3½ years, a pretty decent period. It was also an assignment where we achieved more than expected, so on the whole we are pretty happy. Professionally it was an excellent and productive assignment; personally life changed from being single, to married, to parent.
Neil's transfer to Singapore promises to be interesting. Citibank is implementing one retail banking system for all of Asia Pacific, processed out of Singapore. Neil will be in charge of all testing & training for that system. This is a great opportunity, because as long as the work is done well, there is the reasonable assurance that there will be a job for a while to come. Up until now, Neil has worked with the CORE system for 8 years. It has taken him to Indonesia, Japan, New York & Belgium. This project is bigger. Given Citibank is not a place where it's easy to keep a job, this transfer and position provide some semblance of security and longevity. Good things when you have just been married and started a family.
As hard as Neil works, this year he was out-done by Usa. Being a mother is a 24-hour job; maybe Usa knew beforehand, but to Neil it was a surprise. Usa has really been wonderful. Roger is not the best sleeper in the world; he started as a baby waking 4 - 5 times a night. After 6 months he reduced to twice a night, but he is very consistent in waking. Usa takes the responsibility for feeding him at night and getting him back to sleep, saying that Neil "has to work in the daytime". But she works just as hard (probably harder) during the day, too. Roger wakes between 0600hrs & 0700hrs, has a few naps during the day and doesn't sleep at night until between 2100hrs - 2300hrs, depending on how he feels. So Usa is working very hard all the time. And it would be fair to say that Roger is an active baby, so there really is no rest.
Now, you'll probably be full of advice of how to get Roger to sleep at night. While we appreciate it, the truth is that Usa is just too kind-hearted to let him cry. We always say we'll try, or we'll start "this weekend", but when the time comes, she just can't bear to hear him cry. I think this is the Asian way as opposed to the Western way. (Most of the people I know here with babies have a similar approach; the only ones who differ are our friends who spent their college / university in the US or Australia.) We take solace in Usa's mother, who assures us that he will sleep though he night when he's ready. We'll let you know in the next letter!
As at the time we are writing this letter we are traveling to Singapore most weekends to look for accommodation and in just 2 weeks now we start the process of packing the house and moving, first to a hotel, then Singapore and finally to our new place. It is a hectic period. And you'll hear from us soon with our address in Singapore ... as soon as we know ourselves!