On Sunday, actress, heiress and lifestyle entrepreneur Cheryl Wee and her architect-turned-Jean Yip Holdings employee husband Roy Fong threw a bash at the Grand Hyatt to celebrate their mini-me turning 100 days old. The “adventure”-themed shindig was attended by family, friends and celebs such as Zoe Tay, Felicia Chin, Nat Ho, Zheng Geping and Hong Huifang. What originally started off as a “250 to 280 people” guestlist soon swelled to 300 plus, and Cheryl reckons that on the day itself, there could have been as many as 400 well-wishers, including her mum Jean Yip’s many friends, their grandkids and their helpers. We caught up with the breathless new mum a couple of days after the shindig.
8 DAYS: Congrats on baby Marc turning 100 days old! It’s quite in to do a 100-day celebration these days instead of a one-month party, right?
CHERYL WEE: Yeah, actually, it’s a practicality thing for us. We did a one-month thing with my family for him, where we had the red eggs and my mum cut his hair, but for this many people to see him, we felt it would be better to wait till 100 days had passed, for his immunity to be stronger. It’s also for me to recuperate and look better and not so tired! Organising a party like this is no joke!
You had a big party at the Grand Hyatt, attended by Zoe Tay and other celebs and lots of friends and family.
Zoe is my mum’s good friend and Geping da-ge is my first acting mentor. At my wedding tea ceremony, I even offered him tea. I learned so much about life from him, and Geping and Huifang-jie and their family are such sincere and genuine people. Nat Ho and Vincent Ng were there too — Nat was like my big brother when we were both in Taiwan and Vincent taught me martial arts and morals. Then there were a lot of my mum’s friends. It was a grandma party lah — my mum’s friends all brought their grandkids and their helpers and I think on that day, I was like, “Do you think there are 400 people here? (Laughs)
The party had an “adventure” theme, with you and Roy saying that Marc is your greatest adventure.
Yes, Roy wants him to be an adventurer — to be curious, inquisitive, passionate and interested in learning all things. My mum wanted a “Little prince” theme, ’cos our wedding was so princessy, but that’s not me anymore. And this is not just about us, but what we want for our son. Also, his Chinese name is Fong Jun Xiang, which means to soar high. So the idea of the hot air balloons and the idea of flying high is very meaningful — this whole thing, and the whole first month, which was haphazard but in a happy way, has been a big adventure for us.
And the name Marc — you named him that kinda for religious reasons?
He was born on the feast day of Saint Mark, April 26. That’s one day after my birthday. His estimated due date was actually April 25, my birthday, but he knew I didn’t want to share my birthday, so he came out 10 minutes after midnight, on April 26. (Laughs) Also, this year is the gospel year of St Mark. It also happened that some years ago, my mum went on a pilgrimage and this nun kept asking her to buy this rosary and it was the rosary of St Mark, blessed by the pope. It was really expensive but my mum bought it ’cos the money would go to charity, and she thought she would give it to her grandkids.
That’s really nice. So how’s life with a newborn? What kind of mum are you?
[Voice in the background] That’s Roy and he says I’m the best mother! (Laughs) Is he the best dad? Yes! (Laughs) I think he’s quite hands-on. The baby is now sleeping with us three nights a week. Roy and I both have to work, but the baby is my responsibility and I can’t just throw him to my helper. My mum was against him sleeping with us, cos she thinks we’ll be too tired to work, but I want to sleep train him as well. I feel my baby is quite easy, yes we’re lucky!
Seems like you’ve got it pretty good. So what’s been the hardest thing about being a new mum?
I think the hard part comes not from the baby, but from everyone else. My mum, my aunties, the confinement lady all have advice and things they think are right. I know it all stems from good intentions, but when people say things like, “Why are you letting him cry?” and ’cos I guess the post-partum blues are very real, sometimes I just get really upset. So I think I have to let go a bit, and just let people spoil him if they want to.
Like, he usually sleeps at 7pm, but at 7.30, my mum is still playing with him. I would feel very ‘pek chek’ (frustrated), so I just go to my room so I don’t see it, so I feel better. I would be so angry I’d tell Roy, but he will try to distract me with something else. The biggest obstacle is understanding that this kid is not just my kid, but also Roy’s son, and my mum’s grandson. I think routine for the baby is important, and my mum is starting to realise it too, like when he cries at night and she would be like, “Is he angry with me ’cos I cut his hair?” I’d show her the sleep diary and tell her, “No, it’s ’cos he’s not keeping to his routine.”
You went back to work after 40 days. Why not take the full 12 weeks maternity leave?
I think ’cos it’s my own business. I feel worried, like I shouldn’t be away for so long. If I took a full four month leave, I don’t think I can call myself an entrepreneur. Also, my mum went back to work 12 days after giving birth to me, and she’s a big influence for me. That was my mum’s sacrifice, and if I want to be even half as successful as her, I have to try. I mean, I’m not as extreme. I’m not doing full work days yet — I’m in the office every single weekday at 10am, but some days I’d leave early. I also don’t want to be too attached to the baby, like “cannot let go”.
Back to the baby party, we hear there was a cool gift for the guests.
We gave everyone a box with two new products from my brand, Cheryl W, a body cleanser and body lotion. Since I got pregnant, I’ve wanted safer and milder products, and after some R&D, we came up with this. It’s called Oat Baby and made from natural ingredients like avocado, lavender oil and oats. We’re not selling it yet but we’re working on it. I thought it was a meaningful gift for our guests.