Parenting

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Scrap Credits
Sweet Surrender QP  from Irene V. Alexeeva
Word Art (Remember Moments) from
Dirty Feet Designs aka Heather Benson


Yesterday, I had my (now) weekly prenatal checkup with the OB/GYN.  I am 38 weeks along now.

Coincidentally, Ethan’s daycare provider had an appointment in the morning, so Ethan had to tag along with us to the medical center for the checkup too.  It was the first time we brought him along, not because we didn’t want to before, but because it would be a daunting task keeping his curious little hands away from all the equipment in the examination room.

Anyway, while in the waiting area, Ethan was very much his active little self, even offering his *services* to put away all the magazines that people had left strewn on the chairs.  Of course, it goes without saying that his curiosity got the better of him and he began asking what this was and what that was.  He even rehearsed saying, “Hi doctor!”

Then when my name was called, he looked on in amazement as the nurse took my weight.  And in the examination room, he insisted on sitting on the chair by himself, and pointed at the pictures on the wall, asking what they all were.

But when my doctor came in, Ethan became very quiet all of a sudden, and it was only a few minutes later that he mustered up the courage to say hi to the good doctor.  For the first time too, Ethan heard his sibling’s strong heartbeat when the doctor did his routine checkup.  I was also due for a cervix exam, and while Pete *entertained* Ethan, the doc informed me that although the cervix was softening, it was still closed.

The checkup was all done in a jiffy, and Ethan said “Buh-bye!” to the doctor as we left.

He’s gonna be an awesome big brother, don’t you think?

Scrap Credits
Template 45 from Liz Designs
January Free Mini kit from Enchanted Studio Scraps
Freebie Janvier  - Partie 1 kit from Scrapmalin
Project 365 add-on freebie alphas from Kristen Rice, K Studio

Yesterday, Ethan’s daycare caregiver had to take her daughter for a doctor’s appointment in the morning, so I became designated SAHM for the first half of the day.  The night before, I had logged in to complete whatever could be done workwise, so that my workload would be less for the next day, in view of Ethan being around.

As usual, Ethan and I woke up about the same time, and as he watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, I made some pancakes for breakfast.  Ethan loves pancakes with maple syrup.

After Pete left for work, I gave Ethan a shower, and got him dressed.  He wanted to play with his Leapfrog fridge magnets, so we spent some time forming three-letter words then.  I am amazed by how much Ethan has learnt and he is able to follow voice instructions and got all the three-letter words correctly.  He is also very patient in finding the letters to form the words.

Ethan wanted to play with his Lego set next, so we opened up the box and began constructing some stuff.  I put on some praise and worship songs for kids while we played.  And sometimes when a particular tune amuses him, Ethan would get up and dance or march.  Thing is, he would INSIST I march along with him.  Not very funny seeing a pregnant momma marching round the coffee table, I’d say! :P

I would also teach him the actions to some of the songs and he naturally would be VERY amused and follow suit.  It’s so cute to see him perform the actions.

We also read some books (his favorites are the Animals and ABC books) and then he wanted to watch the penguins.  So I put on Happy Feet for a while.

Ethan was a good boy throughout the morning, and he really didn’t give me much trouble at all.  I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again…I could really get used to being a SAHM!  The fantastic thing is Ethan was in a really good mood the whole day long too, and I’d like to think it’s because of the extra wonderful quality time I spent with him in the morning. :)

“Mommy!”


Scrap Credits
Ambiance Feutrée kit from DigiScrapBooking.ch Boutique

Top on our priority list when we arrived in CA was to find a daycare center for Ethan as soon as possible.  We had a few shortlisted and as soon as we found time, we started our daycare hunt.  We wanted to get a daycare that was near to where we were staying and let’s be honest, there weren’t many to begin with.

I made an appointment for a short tour at a nearby daycare center, but for the price they were charging (close to USD1600 per month), it wasn’t that all impressive.  Ethan did seem to enjoy himself while we were there though.

Our relocation consultant also managed to locate a few nearby daycare centers, and we visited some 3-4 of them.  Some looked okay, but others were either too far away or we just didn’t have a good feeling about it.  But it certainly became clear that Ethan was VERY ready for daycare. :)

Then Pete googled for a daycare center near where we were staying, and miraculously found one.  We visited the place one fine morning and well, both Pete and I loved it at once.  It’s a home-based daycare, with only a maximum of 6 kids.  Currently the daycare owner is looking after 2 toddlers (around Ethan’s age), and a one-year old baby.  One of the toddlers is her own daughter.  Although this daycare is in a very homely apartment with rather limited space, the daycare owner, Van, has a cute little buggy (it looks like a little train with mini carriages for each kid) that she uses to pull the kids in to the park just across the road.  Best of all, the daycare is only about 10 minutes’ drive away from our apartment and all meals (breakfast, lunch & 2 snacks) will be provided.

The daycare was a rather new one, and it was only gonna be licensed in a few days’ time.  We decided to wait till the daycare was properly licensed before we signed up.  In the US, it is illegal to run a daycare without a license.

So last Monday, as soon as we found out that this daycare was licensed, our relocation consultant drove Ethan and me to the center to settle the billing details.  I decided to leave Ethan there for about an hour while I left to apply for my social security card.  And guess what?  He was all right!  Didn’t make a fuss at all and was all smiles when I came back to pick him up. :)

The next day, Pete dropped Ethan and I at his new daycare in the morning.  The plan was for me to stick around till Ethan was all right with the new surroundings.  And he certainly seemed okay.  He loves all alphabets on the alphabet floor mat, he loves reading the books and playing with all the toys, and he really looks at home there.

 

Pete and I left for lunch that first day, and when we came back from lunch, Ethan was still busy running around.  I stayed at the daycare the rest of the day, busying myself with my laptop (thank goodness there was wi-fi there!)  Ethan hardly bothered me, and he played around with the kids and the toys.

The second day, I was with Ethan in the morning at daycare and left the daycare at lunch time, so Ethan was alone at daycare till we fetched him back in the evening.  So far so good. 

 

On the third day, when Pete picked me up for lunch, and when we told Ethan Mommy and Daddy would pick him up after work, he suddenly bawled!  He cried so loudly, and screamed, “Daddy!  Daddy!”, while hugging Pete ever so tightly.  And then he started to cry for me too.  I simply couldn’t control my tears from falling, but I hardened my heart, gave Ethan a nice big hug and reassured him that we would take him back afterwards.  In between sobs, we left the daycare center.

During lunch that day, Pete and I decided that I would take the car after lunch, so that I would be able to fetch Ethan back earlier.  And that’s exactly what I did.  Boy, was he ever overjoyed to see me!

Actually, I was afraid that he would continue crying the next day when he was dropped off at the daycare, but Pete said Ethan was all excited as soon as Van opened the door and Ethan ran to play with his toys immediately.  Whew!

At daycare now, Ethan is off the bottle.  I’m trying to wean him from the bottle, and this is the perfect opportunity to do so.  I only provide a bottle of Pediasure and he drinks it from the cup.  Here in the US, the Pediasure comes in 8oz bottles, and the milk is refrigerated.  So far so good, he has been finishing one bottle at daycare every day.  At home he still takes milk from the bottle though….I’m weaning him a step at a time :)

 

We will also be starting his toilet training soon.  Currently Ethan is able to tell me when he wants to poo, so we need to work on his peepee.

I’m also hoping that Ethan will be adventurous enough to try a variety of foods now that he is in daycare.  I’ve heard that many kids start eating different foods once they see other kids doing the same.

We get reports on what happened at daycare, i.e. what Ethan did, what he ate, what were his activities, etc.  I think it’s a nice touch and at least it helps me know what my Mr Bulat has been up to in my absence.  And last Friday, we even got an Ouch Report, cos there was a teeny accident where Ethan was chasing another toddler around and bumped his little toe on the wall corner.  There was some bleeding and Van applied some antiseptic cream and a BandAid, but unfortunately, Ethan tore the plaster off. :P

As for his afternoon naps, that seems to have been forgotten by Ethan.  Since he started daycare, he has not napped at all in the afternoon.  But actually, he has not napped much in the afternoon since we came to the US.

Yesterday evening, after I fetched him back from daycare, we came back to the apartment and when Ethan saw these on the table, he could hardly resist eating one.  Freshly baked blueberry muffins, just for him!

 

After that he had some strawberry yogurt, and I put his Barney DVD for him to watch while I prepared dinner.  A while later though, I was met by such an adorable sight:

 

Looks like he fell asleep on the couch! :D

Well, he needs all the rest he can get after running around and playing the whole day!  Ethan certainly looks forward to daycare now, he’s say, “Friend!” when we tell him we are taking him to daycare, and sometimes he says, “Bay-bee!”, referring to the one-year old baby.  He even knows how to call “Antee Van!”

Even now when we are more or less settled in the States, I still sometimes think about how Pete and I managed to travel that long-haul journey with Ethan, all the way from Malaysia.  Some planning came into play way before we boarded the aircraft, and although some of our plans worked out, some did not, and we had to be flexible enough to change and adapt accordingly.

Here are some of the things we took into consideration:

  • Travel as light as possible.  Each of us checked in one piece of luggage, and we brought only ONE carry-on luggage.  Pete and I also had our laptops with us, but thankfully, those could be slung over our backs.  The idea here was to have as many hands free as possible, so we could take care of Ethan.

 

  • We packed a few entertainment stuff for Ethan too, among others a brand new doodle pad.   It’s just a tiny one, something he could do to amuse himself.  I also had a sticker book in the bag, and that was a lifesaver.  He played with the stickers right before we boarded the flight to Hong Kong, and the book followed us all the way to the States!

The greatest challenge we faced in the aircraft was when it was time to buckle up.  Sometimes Ethan would cooperate, but most of the time, he preferred to be unbuckled.  So especially during takeoffs and landings, when we absolutely needed to put on the seat belt, Pete pulled out the most “imaginative weapon” ever.  Knowing how much Ethan loves to play with cards, Pete brought out his wallet, and Ethan had fun taking out and putting the cards back in.  That kept him safe and secure all through takeoffs and landings.

We wanted to rely on the toys given by SIA to toddlers for entertaining Ethan, but unfortunately, they weren’t much to shout about.  Well, he did get himself a toy watch, placemat and stickers, deck of cards and a lanyard, but that was about it.

Let’s hope the return journey in a few months’ time would be an improvement, what with us travelling with a baby too!

Bungalow

Ethan got himself a bungalow last Saturday.  Make that “bungalow”…in inverted commas.

It was “presented” to him during his playschool session as he was having his snacks.  He was happily munching away on his biscuits and then he apparently turn around to look at me, lost his balance somehow and fell down from the bench.  Normally he would be able to break his fall with his hands, but since his hands were full (holding the biscuits), he hit his forehead on the ground, earning him a gigantic bump on the left side of his forehead. :(

We were SHOCKED.  As was Ethan, because he didn’t immediately cry, but only after a while did he wail out loud.  We tried to put an ice pack on the bump, but Ethan would not allow it to be there for long.  After a few minutes of on-and-off ice packs, the bump subsided a little.

He looked his normal self, and was smiling away a while later.  In fact, if I may say so myself, it certainly does appear that he has become more active (and mischievous) after the fall, believe it or not.

Here’s a sneak on what the bump looked like in the evening:

I took this picture right after THE MATCH.  The TV in the background shows the logo of Liverpool: we beat Man U 2-1!!!  Woohooo!!!  Sorry, couldn’t resist that :P

Since we found out we were expecting a second baby, I’ve been trying to break the news to Ethan, however gently as possible.  But so far, his responses have ranged from ignorance to him trying to change the topic (either purposely or coincidentally) and sometimes just pushing me away.  We are still exploring ways to tell him and get him prepared, but I can foresee it will be a long, arduous task.

For me, though, the experience of being with child has brought about many familiar emotions, and especially, I have been recollecting the joys (and pains) of that memorable day when I gave birth to Ethan.  And since I have not journalled this tale, I figured this would be a good time to do it.  So here’s a blast from the past….

***

It was the day before Chinese New Year 2006.  Pete and I were getting ready to leave for Taiping to kickstart the Chinese New Year festivities by having our reunion dinner.  At that time, I had about two and a half weeks to go in my pregnancy before reaching my due date (i.e. I was 37.5 weeks along).  Although I was very pregnant then, I still had the time to prepare a little something to take for dinner.  I remember the dish I had prepared was stuffed chicken wings.  Amid all our preparations and packing that Saturday morning, I suddenly discovered that I had the “show”.  The day before we had gone to see my ob-gyn and he said that if I had any of the three symptoms of labor (the “show”, water bag burst or contractions), that I should come back to Penang no matter where I was.

Well. I checked my books and it told me that the baby could come any time from 4-10 days after the show, so I told Pete that it was okay, we could still go.  I wanted to enjoy the reunion dinner anyway, and there were no contractions then anyhow.  So off we went to Taiping.

I was still bleeding but very slightly only and I felt no contractions.  Well actually, at that time, I didn’t even know what a contraction felt like because I had no prior experience.  My girlfriends told me it feels like period pain but way more painful.  Thing is, I don’t have period pains, so there was no way for me to tell.

Then in the evening, I felt as if my water bag had burst (again, I didn’t know what that felt like, but it was what I suspected).  We then made plans to return to Penang the next day, i.e. on the first day of Chinese New Year itself.  Still, I could not feel any contractions, and was still going about my usual business like normal.  People even thought it was a false alarm.

The first few contractions, mild ones, that is, came in the night.  They gripped my abdomen, at first gently, then persistently getting more painful.  Still, they were bearable, but we thought it in our best interest to go back to Penang straight after breakfast.  So there went our plans of spending Chinese New Year in my hometown in Ipoh :(

My parents, my brother and SIL, who were in Alor Star at that time, came straight to Penang to see how I was.  Naturally, everyone was anxious that baby could come at any time.  But although the pain came and went, the contractions were not regular.  Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, I called up Gleneagles Medical Center, and the midwife advised that I come in for a checkup, just in case the water bag had burst, which would mean I had to be admitted immediately.

So I took a shower and packed everything up and headed for hospital.  My Mom was with me at that time, with Pete being the designated driver.  I was even wheeled into the maternity ward, but all that hooha ended when the nurse told me that I wasn’t dilated yet.  My water bag was still intact, and when she called my ob-gyn, he said to ask me to go home and rest first.  And she even said that if I could still smile and talk the way I was talking, it was still a long way to go before the baby came.

So we went home.

The next day, my parents, my brother and SIL left Penang, and my PILs came to visit instead.  They only stayed for a while, and even then they thought it was a false alarm, until my MIL saw the look of suffering on my face when the contractions came.  After my PILs left, I told Pete that we have to go to the hospital, because the contractions were getting closer and closer then.

So we packed up again and left.  That was the afternoon of the 2nd day of Chinese New Year.

But I was still not dilated.  I told the nurse that the contractions were really painful now, more than ever before.  She called my ob-gyn again (who must have been enjoying his CNY at that time), and he said it was up to me whether I want to be admitted or not.

I made the decision to go back home to rest, since I was not dilated yet anyway.

That night, the contractions were fiercely attacking me non-stop.  I couldn’t sleep at all, and finally at about 5:30a.m., I told Pete that we definitely HAVE to go to the hospital.  I had a hot mug of milo, took a shower amid the contractions and slowly got dressed in between contractions.  I didn’t time them then.  All I know was that they were painful and very close to each other.

On the way to the hospital, Pete joked that this had better be it, because it was getting rather embarrassing how many trips we were making to the hospital and back.

When we reached the hospital, they wheeled me into the maternity ward and when the nurse checked me, my water bag broke spontaneously!  She told me I was ready to be admitted into the labor room, as I was 2cm dilated then.  And I will never forget her telling me that she could even feel baby’s hair then :)

Pete went downstairs to complete the admission procedures while the nurse took the necessary information from me.  I gave her a copy of my birth plan, just in case my ob-gyn didn’t pass it to her, but she said she already had a copy.  She asked if I was gonna breastfeed, and I said, “Yes, exclusively.”

They provided breakfast, which I gobbled up happily, but slowly.  Painful contractions did not stop me from enjoying the food.

I was then wheeled into the labor room at about 9:30a.m.  Off and on, either the nurse or my ob-gyn would come in to check my dilation.  It was progressing, but not as fast as expected.

At close to noon, I told Pete to go grab some lunch, and he told me later on that he went to have nasi kandar at Gurney Tower, just diagonally across the road from GMC.  I also had lunch provided, but I only ate very little.

After lunch, my ob-gyn checked me and told me I was only dilated 4cm.  Since my water bag had burst, the dilation was going a little too slowly, and in order to prevent risk of infection to the baby, he advised me to go on drip.  Because he knew I was opposed to induction, he explained that the drip is not considered a form of induction in my case, because I already had all three of the labor signs, i.e. the show, the water bag bursting and the contractions.  So the drip would only be a medical move in the interest of the baby’s wellbeing.

Pete and I agreed then.  And when the drip was administered, the contractions suddenly became stronger and stronger by the minute.  I had a really good midwife, and she understood perfectly what I was going through.  She even provided pointers to aid the baby to enter the birth canal.

I remember it was about 2:30p.m. when the nurse checked me and announced that I was already close to 10cm dilated, maybe about 8cm, way faster than they had expected.  Then I heard her saying she would call the doctor.  I was already in a lot of pain then.  The only pain relief I had was the laughing gas.

It was 3:00p.m., I was checked and I was 10cm dilated but no doctor in sight yet.  Pete told me that the nurse said the doctor was stuck in a traffic jam!

Well according to Pete, this was when I started scolding everyone in the room.  In my defence, I was ready to push and you tell me to “hold it in because doctor was on his way’????
How can?

Anyway, the doctor finally arrived, and in true professional manner, he skillfully made the episiotomy cut and told me to push when the next contraction came.  And it came alright…together with the urge to bear down (like when we are doing our big business), and I just completely let go.

That’s when I felt a gush of water leave my body, and I heard my doctor go, “Very good, one more push…”  Pete told me later that the first push produced the head and one arm.

We waited for the next contraction, I used the same method, pushed and then it was all over.  And then I heard Ethan cry for the very first time in my life.  Those strong wails, bursting with energy that filled the entire labor room after the ordeal I went through.

I heard my doctor telling me to relax now, and that he was just gonna deliver the placenta and clean me up after that.  I was really shivering and a concerned Pete asked the nurse if it was normal, to which she assured him it was because of the amount of energy I was expending.

 

As soon as Ethan was cleaned up, they brought him to me like I had requested, so that I could breastfeed him.  Unfortunately though, that fella was too busy getting comfy, he didn’t wanna suckle then.

The nurse said Ethan was a rather TALL baby, at 49cm, although he was only a mere 2.5 kilos at birth.

 

And if he didn’t want to suckle immediately after birth, he was definitely the pro at it because as soon as I reached my room, I was summoned to the nursery for a breastfeeding session. And that began my two-year breastfeeding journey with Ethan.

Ethan was born on Tuesday, January 31 2006, on the 3rd day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, making him eligible for angpows too.  That smart kid :P

 

Pete’s department had a celebration dinner at the 1885 in the E&O hotel last Wednesday evening. The invitation was also extended to the spouse/date, however this place spelt fine dining, and as such kids were not allowed.

So after much deliberation, we decided to make arrangements with Mrs Tan and leave Ethan under her care while we attended the dinner. It was to be the first time ever we would be picking Ethan up from the baby sitter’s place at such a late hour (we anticipated the dinner to end around 10:30-11:00p.m.), and I was a little concerned if Ethan would be worried, wondering where Mommy and Daddy were.

So I decided to take the day off and be with Ethan for the most part of the day. That way he wouldn’t have to spend so much time away from us. I drove him out for lunch, picked his Daddy up from work and we had a bite in Queensbay Mall. Then we went back home, where I had hoped he would be able to nap for a while before heading to the sitter’s. Although I could tell he was tired and sleepy, he simply didn’t want to sleep! So I decided to drop him off at Mrs Tan’s place at about 3:30p.m.

Guess what? Ethan fell asleep on the way there! He was still groggy when we arrived and so I am not sure if he knew I said buh bye to him.

With a heavy heart, I drove away, knowing that Ethan was in good hands, but also missing him every bit.

The dinner ended earlier than we had expected and we arrived to pick Ethan up at about 10:15p.m. that night. He smiled when he saw us at the door and ran towards his Daddy, hugging Pete tight. But I was kinda sad when he pushed me away. Dunno if it was because he was angry with me.

But all’s well that ends well. He was all lovey-dovey again when we reached home, and although he requested to watch a little bit of his Great Numbers Game video, he called it a night soon after. And from the way he slept, we could tell it was a long tiring day for him too, as it was for us.

The next morning, he was all ready to embrace a brand new day! See? Already busy ransacking the fridge before we left for work :razz:

During Ethan’s recent checkup at the PD’s, I mentioned to Dr Jessica that I was rather worried about Ethan’s eating habits; that he did not want to eat pieces of meat and vege, but instead only liked the carbs.  I told her I was concerned if he had worms in his tummy.  And that was when Dr Jessica said she was glad I brought it up, because she normally dewormed her patients when they turned 2.

She prescribed Vermox for Ethan, and it was probably a good thing too, because lately he has a bad habit of playing with his mouth and tongue.  And goodness knows what he has touched before that.  The booklet of instructions contained in the Vermox box specifically warned that it should be administered on kids 2 years and over only.  The dosage was 10ml (the entire bottle) and according to Dr Jessica, it had a sticky constituency.

Pete and I were scratching our heads, trying to think of an effective way to feed 10ml of foreign liquid to Ethan, when even 2.5ml of medicine would be met with protests, kicking and screaming.  I know the Vermox is a chocolate flavored one, which is usually okay with kids, but Ethan doesn’t really like chocolate too.

I kept the box of Vermox in the fridge for a few days, and of and on, Ethan would pick up the box out of curiosity and ask me to open it.  We did consider pouring the Vermox mixture into the small plastic cup provided and coaxing Ethan to drink from it, but the whatif was if Ethan pushed away the cup, the whole mixture would be wasted.

Then Pete suggested mixing it into Ethan’s “nenno”.  I was a bit apprehensive at first because the risk was that if he rejected it, then he might reject future feeds of “nenno” too.  But then last night, I took a look at how much 10ml was compared to Ethan’s nightly 6oz feed, and it was rather negligible.

So I bit the bullet, made Ethan’s milk last night with 6oz of warm water, 3.5 scoops of Pediasure and poured the 10ml of Vermox into the mixture.  The 0.5 scoop of Pediasure was a little assurance to offset the smell and taste of Vermox, if any.  I took a whiff of the mixture I had concocted and it smelled vaguely like chocolate milk, though visually it still looked like “nenno”.

After Ethan’s shower, I took him to the room to dress him up in his peejays.  Gave him his milk when he asked for it, and sang him a few songs.  While singing “The wheels on the bus”, I mentally kept track of the decreasing amount of milk in the bottle.  Halfway through “Thumbkin”, and he was almost done.  I sang a few more nursery rhymes, complete with actions, and voila!  He polished the entire bottle of milk :razz:

….together with the Vermox :lol:


Scrap Credits
Berrylicious kit from A work in progress
 

Accesorizing definitely has its advantages. In addition to giving my outfit added pizazz, I found out that accessories can double up as items to occupy a toddler’s fidgety hands.

A few weeks ago, when we attended BIL’s wedding dinner in Sungai Petani, I wore a black tube dress and a shawl, and as an afterthought, I threw in my 12 silver bangles, bought aeons ago at that place called Isetan. Pssssstttt…this is THE place for accessories, people, because despite the long period of time these bangles have been hibernating in my drawer, not one of them were discolored. Every one of them was as good as new.

So wore them I did. Little did I know that Ethan would be so very fascinated with them. At our dinner table, when he had finished all his snacks, he suddenly spotted my bangles and reached for them. He would remove them from my arm one by one and put them on his arm. Then when he was done with all of the 12 bangles, he would jiggle his arm up and down, creating a nice jingly sound. Then he would take them out one by one again and put them back on my arm, and then repeat the entire process.

When I wore a simple chunky bangle the following night, he also grabbed hold of it and pretended it was a tambourine. I know that’s what he was thinking, cos he was shaking it very much like how we would play a tambourine, and he had been watching Baby Einstein’s Meet the Orchestra a lot.

So is it any wonder why I am so into accessorizing these days? But be careful though, if you are wearing those delicate dangling earrings. Just be sure your toddler doesn’t yank them off!


Scrap Credits
Always Welcome kit from Kelly Puddy
The Promise Collection Alphas from Shabby Princess Designs
Doodle Me Big doodles from Mikkel Paige Original
Monogram ampersand & cluster from Sugarplum Paperie
Word Art - 3 from fei-fei’s stuff 
 

Getting Ethan to bed is a routine for us now.  He takes his shower at about 8-ish and then has his “nenno” while I dress him up in his peejays.

Then, he will get his fair share of word videos, where he repeats the words he sees.  Sometimes he prefers a good Barney DVD to while his time away.  He kinda knows that he is only allowed to watch the TV after his bath, and so when we undress him and tell him it’s time to bathe, he will very obediently run to the bathroom.

Anyway, after watching his videos, I will tell him it’s time for bed, and he will either walk to the room on his own and wait for us to open the door for him, or if he is in a “manja” mood, he will ask us to carry him into the room.

He will then roll around on the bed, and sometimes, he will only want Mommy to be there with him.  In this scenario, he will push Daddy away gently, wave goodbye and even give a flying kiss to Daddy :lol:

Then he will want to hug me to sleep.  There were a few times where I told him to hug his pillow to sleep instead, explaining to him that Mommy will hug my pillow and Ethan will hug his pillow.  Well, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  But in the middle of the night, if he wakes up because of a nightmare, he will need to be hugged and comforted to sleep.  Even in the mornings, if Ethan wakes up and I am not in bed, he will go over to his Daddy and hug him instead.

I know he will soon outgrow his hugging needs, but I am not sure if I am ready to let go yet…because I’m sure you know how therapeutic a hug can get, huh?  I guess I’ll cherish it as long as it lasts…

Last weekend was a busy busy one for all of us. Pete’s brother, Patrick, got married and so of course, we were rushing here, there and everywhere. I figured instead of boring everyone with a step by step chronicle of events, I’d do a story snippet ala Rinnah, and let the pictures do some of the talking too.

On Friday evening, we headed for Sungai Petani for the dinner reception hosted by the bride’s side. I was working from home that day, and Pete was on leave, so he picked Ethan up from Mrs Tan’s at about 4:00p.m., came back and after freshening up and donning dinner attire, we were on our way. We arrived at the bridge at about 5:00p.m., it was already slightly jammed and drizzling too, but thank goodness, the traffic was moving. On hindsight, we actually made the right decision to leave about 5:00pm and not earlier; my SIL who left Penang for SP at 3:00p.m. only arrived at 5:15p.m. because there was a bad jam on the bridge when she left.

Now, we soon discovered that SP is a town with many many MANY traffic lights and only ONE main road, so although we arrived at the SP (Selatan) exit at about 6:00p.m., we only reached our intended destination at 6:30p.m.ish. All the cars congregated at that one main road and there were non-intelligent traffic lights ALL the way.

This is the very very simple bento set I prepared for Ethan, just in case he got hungry before dinner started, which he did. It’s yummy slices of steamed Italian-flavored sausages, and star-shaped cheese slices. Ethan has just started to say “STAR”, so I figured this was a good shape to make the cheese into.

Here he is enjoying his sausages. That kept him still for a bit. Unfortunately the star-shaped cheese slices had sorta melted into the container, so it wasn’t that appetizing any more.

Ethan sportingly paused for a moment whilst eating to pose with Mommy and Daddy for a family shot too!

And when he was all nicely fed and full of energy, Ethan wandered to the nearby stage to make sure everything was all right. Here he is, being mighty intrigued with the screen that was projecting my BIL’s wedding studio photos. I can’t tell if Ethan was fascinated by the photos being displayed on the screen or the fact that he was creating all the shadows. And when the entertainer danced and sang on stage, Ethan would perform his own personal brand of dancing too. You can imagine how tired Pete and I was, having had to take turns accompanying him.

And here’s another shot of my little energizer bunny! Just look at how happy he is!

The next day (Saturday), we took Ethan for the church wedding after lunch. Pete had to walk around with him most of the time because I was cantoring for the event. And our boy just would not sit still! After the church ceremony, we drove to Patrick’s house to prepare for Ethan’s *duties*.

While waiting for the bridal car to arrive, Ethan suddenly heard the barking of a dog, and he then realized it came from the golden retriever next door. Here he is standing at the adjoining wall, catching a glimpse of the “daw-dawg”, and of course, being all cheeky about it.

Ethan’s first task was to *open* the door of the bridal car, and as soon as I was told the car was arriving in a few minutes, we put on his shoes and socks and waited. Daddy also had to readjust his tie :grin: Since Ethan cannot yet open the heavy door on his own, Pete carried Ethan and guided him to open the door when the car arrived. And for completing the task successfully, Ethan received an angpow.

As soon as he received the red packet, his good friend the golden barked again, so here’s Ethan posing with his angpow and articulating, “daw-dawg”. :)

After the tea ceremony, Ethan shook hands with his Ah Chek and Ah Chim, and got a second angpow. Then it was time for his second task of the day: the potty punch!

Although Pete and I didn’t have this potty punch tradition during our wedding, I vaguely knew what was supposed to be done. I told Pete to guide Ethan to punch the potty and collect the angpow inside, which was precisely what he did. Pete held Ethan’s had and punched right through. Inside there was an angpow and two oranges. And true to how I raised my boy not to be materialistic, he reached for the oranges! Lawl. So all in all, Ethan got THREE angpows for all his efforts :grin:

No wonder our boy was all tired out after that, and slept for most part of the afternoon. This is a picture of him snoozing away, and also making the sign of “cat” at the same time.

Ethan woke up at about 6:15p.m. and we had to get ready for the cocktail and dinner reception at gHotel at 7:00p.m. Gave him a quick shower and got him dressed. Touched up my own makeup and we were all set to go. I didn’t have any sausages left, so I brought along his ABC biscuits to while his time away while waiting for dinner to start. And for the record, our boy polished clean the entire Tupperware of biscuits.

Ethan enjoyed the prawn crackers served during the cocktail before dinner, in fact he enjoyed them so much, he couldn’t even be bothered to smile while posing with Ah Ma and Kong Kong.

The gHotel captain approached me and asked if I would like some buns for Ethan. Happily, I said yes. And 10 minutes later, these were served. They smelled really good and were warm and nice too. I waited for the buns to cool down a tad and buttered one for Ethan, but unfortunately he had other things on his mind.

This! Look…..he was all excited about the stage again, and had to constantly “check” that all the wiring was set up perfectly well. Climb up, climb down…. and even after he pooped and I changed him, he resumed his exploring antics.

What a night, and what a weekend to remember! Congratulations Pat and Christine!

 

 

 

Last Monday morning, Ethan and I woke up nice and early, and got ourselves ready to go to the airport to fetch Daddy. Daddy had been away in the States for two weeks now, was supposed to be back on Sunday, but because of some flight delay, he only arrived on Monday morning. I had been telling Ethan about Daddy’s return and I could tell he understands. When he woke up on Monday, he looked over to Daddy’s side of the bed and said “Daddy!”

Anyway, off we went to the airport. The last time I took Ethan along to fetch Pete from the airport, Ethan was hardly 2 months’ old. But the last time Ethan stepped foot in the airport was during our Singapore trip last year. Upon arrival, Ethan pulled my hand and headed straight for the escalator, but I told him I wanted to check first if Daddy’s plane had landed…and it had! So I told him we’d only go one round up the escalator and down the stairs, but because Pete had to wait a long time for his luggage, I had to take the restless Ethan up and down a second time.

When at last Ethan saw his Daddy coming through the arrival gates, his lips curled up in the sweetest smile imaginable, he gave his Daddy a hug and a kiss and reached his hands out to him. Pete had to carry Ethan around after that. Hahaha…. Ethan kept looking at his Daddy over and over again just to check that he was really back.

It’s definitely great to have Pete back again. This time round, Daddy really went overboard getting clothes for Ethan. Pete said that had I been in US, I would have bought even more!

I especially like the adorable pajamas he bought. It’s made snug-fitting on purpose because the material is flammable, and instead of the traditional long sleeve and long pants pjs, these were short-sleeved tees and shorts which are simply adorable and cute. Don’t you think Ethan would look cool in them? Gonna try them on him tonight…

For lunch, we went to the Fatty Loh chicken rice shop in Nagore Road (because the one in Fettes Park was closed and *someone* just HAD to have chicken rice). When we were almost done, Ethan asked to get out of his baby chair and made a straining face. Immediately, I hurried him off to the toilet at the back of the shop. Took off his jeans and Itti Bitti D’lish diapers (which were still unsoiled) and there and then, it marked the first time ever I helped Ethan poop in a public restroom. Cleaned him and dressed him up again, and we were on our way. So proud of him.

And since Pete’s return, Ethan has been simply overjoyed. Walking up and down escalators with Daddy, wrestling with Daddy in bed and pulling Daddy to the swimming pool were just some of the activities he indulged in.

Then when Ethan was ready to call it a night, he laid down on the bed quietly, looking at Daddy with so much love, still taking it all in that his Daddy was indeed back home.

We’ve missed you Daddy…and we are SO GLAD you are back home :D

 

Today is Mother’s Day and I am technically allowed to have some extra shuteye in the morning, yes?  Obviously *someone* was not informed.

Ethan boy, even though you got up at 6:30a.m. and forced me to go out to the living room with you to watch Barney, I love you.

Even though you weren’t too keen on drinking the warm milk I prepared for you, it’s okay.  At least you took the oats I cooked, mixed with a little bit of Frosties. 

And when we went to church today, you were fidgety after half an hour and wanted to go out wandering.  Even though you roamed the entire compound of the Wesley Methodist Church with Mommy following you around the slightly muddied field in my heels, I still adore you.  Perhaps because it was a new environment for you to explore.

And when we arrived at Mama’s for lunch, even though you kicked up a fuss and cried at the top of your voice, wanting only Mommy to carry and console you, I love you…for I knew that those were cries of hunger, and sure enough when your favorite tau ewe bak came served with warm rice, you walloped an entire big plate of rice all by yourself.  Thankfully they did not charge for your share of the rice.

Even though you are sometimes a little bit hard to handle, I feel so much love surge into my heart whenever I see you sleeping peacefully.  And when I lie down next to you for our afternoon nap, I thank God for the adorable darling little boy He blessed me with. 

You enjoyed your dinner at Friday’s where Mommy jazzed up your order, by getting you grilled chicken sausages instead of your normal spaghetti.  And although you later went round the restaurant with your red balloon hitting everything that came in your way, we love you.

Ethan, you make motherhood a wonderful and life-changing experience for Mommy…and although I know you sometimes test my patience, I will always cherish and love you. What a splendid Mother’s Day we had together today.

I better get to bed now, in case you decide to wake up *early* again tomorrow morning.  Yes folks, motherhood is definitely a life-changing experience but something I will never ever change in my life.

Happy Mommy’s Day to all the beautiful mommies out there!… and of course to me! :D

 

We made an appointment for Ethan to see Ms KE Chia, a speech and language therapist/pathologist at the i-Sports Center in Island Hospital last Friday.  Ethan, now 2 years and 3 months’ old, cannot yet express himself in words, and although some friends have advised that “It takes much longer for boys” and “Soon he will be talking non-stop” and “Just you wait.  One fine day he will start speaking, and you’ll want him to shut up“, we decided to err on the side of caution and bring him in for an assessment all the same.

We chose this speech therapist because when we enrolled Ethan for the parent-toddler class in The Learning Garden, I  noticed that the center was started by Ms Chia’s husband.  Her name sounded familiar, and upon checking the MASH (Malaysian Association of Speech-Language and Hearing) website, I was glad that she is a MASH certified therapist.

We waited for about 20 minutes before the therapist arrived, after which we were ushered into her room.  The major part of the room was filled with toys and books and puzzles, and Ethan immediately went for the ball.  While Ms Chia jotted down some historical details and information from us about Ethan, Ethan busied himself with all the *goodies* that were there.

Ms Chia told us that the first session that day was basically to perform an assessment to ascertain if Ethan was a habitually late talker (which is rather common in boys), or if the speech delay could be due to other factors, of which further therapy would perhaps be neccesary.  She assured us that we had made the right decision in coming over to see her, if anything, to allay our fears and confusion about Ethan’s delay in speech.

Speech delay in kids could be caused by:

  • Natural speech delay (more inherent in boys) - no therapy needed, just patience.
  • Behavioural issues, of which ADHD was one of the causes - some therapy needed
  • Autism - therapy and treatment needed.

She performed a few *tests* on Ethan while playing.  Simple evaluations like calling out to him, and asking him to bring certain toys and also some imitation play.  After the roughly 1.5 hour session, Ms Chia almost certainly ruled out autism, which she said is not likely because:

  • Ethan’s other development milestones, such as his motor skills were very good and above average.  She did ask us when he started walking and if he is eating well, all of which was in the “very good” category :P
  • Ethan had fantastic eye contact.  When his name was called, he turned around and looked at her.

However, we will need to test if Ethan is doing things based on situational scenarios or if he really understands it.  For example, if we open the door and say “Ethan, let’s go kai-kai!”, he will run and get his shoes, but whether or not he understands the concept of shoes is a different matter altogether.  What we need to find out is for instance, if Ethan can pick out his shoe amongst a group of other things, if he was asked to do so.

After the assessment, Ms Chia is still inconclusive about her findings on Ethan.  When she asked him to get her the ball while placing the ball and the car together, he doesn’t go and get it.  But he did look at the ball.  Which means he does understand what a ball is.  Why he did not get the ball for her is a mystery.  It could be because he was shy or because of behavioural reasons, i.e. “Why would I want to get the ball for you?  Go get it yourself la!” he might be thinking.

So before we left, Ms Chia gave us a Home Program to try out with Ethan.  It was essential now not to drill the words into him and force him to say it, but to make him understand what the objects really are.  We learnt that speech is something that cannot be forced, but will come naturally when the child is ready.  However, for kids with speech delay, we can do something to intervene and prod them in the right direction by helping them to understand.  For example, if I have a set of pictures of farm animals, and if I ask Ethan to pick out the duck or the chicken, he should be able to give it to me.  He didn’t do it at the session of course, but as I said, we are still not sure if this is a behavioural problem that needs to be addressed.

Anyway, some of the suggestions given for the Home Program are:

To improve listening and attending skills
This includes:

  • Bubble play (I bought 6 bottles of bubble solution from Toys R Us last Sunday) - Bubble play will get the kid’s attention and it offers us parents the opportunity to prod him to say words, like “More?” or “Give the bottle to Mommy/Daddy”
  • Rolling a ball - “Roll/throw the ball to Daddy/Mommy”.  By the way, Ethan is now beginning to enunciate the word “ball” even more clearly.  He started with “Ba”, then it was “Bor”, and now lately it’s “Ball” (with added emphasis on the L) :P
  • Awareness of environmental sounds - We will need to help him by being his “eyes and ears”. Now whenever I go out and I see/hear birds, I’ll say “Ethan, look at the birds! Tweet tweet!  Can you hear the birds?”  I also sign “bird” when I say it, and I am very happy with the progress, because now whenever Ethan hears the birds singing, he will sign “bird” without my prompting.  And this only after 2 days of teaching him!  Sometimes I don’t even realize there are birdie sounds until I notice Ethan signing “bird”.  This is a positive thing, and it shows that he understands what a bird is, because he is signing it.  Ms Chia was also very happy when I told her that Ethan can sign many words, although he doesn’t say it.  According to her, this shows that he understands and is willing to communicate.
  • Finger play - Nursery rhymes with actions, etc.  His current favorite is Itsy Bitsy Spider and One-Two-Buckle-My-Shoe.

To improve imitative skills
Trying to get Ethan to copy what we do.  This is one of the most important steps towards learning.

To improve turn-taking skills
While playing with Ethan, we can take turns doing the same thing.  For instance, taking turns to play the xylophone, and saying, “Okay, Ethan’s/Mommy’s/Daddy’s turn!”  He will have to learn to wait his turn before doing it.  I foresee some difficulty in this one because our boy is quite an impatient chap.  Well, it’s time for him to learn patience then.

To improve understanding of common objects, animals, family members, etc

  • Ms Chia suggested making my own flash cards by taking pictures of the objects Ethan often sees. So I will be doing that soon.  Then the options of playing and learning with these cards are endless.  Placing them around the house for a hide-n-go-seek game, matching the cards to the actual objects and so on.
  • Wooden puzzles with pictures - The wooden puzzles that Ethan owns now has pictures of animals of which I don’t even know the sounds of (like zebra, hippo, alligator) :P.  So Ms Chia suggested using farm animals instead.  Last Sunday, I bought a wooden Melissa & Doug puzzle with farm animals, and I am currently in the process of training/teaching Ethan to get to know the animals and the sounds they make.  I will say, “Ethan, where is the duck? Quack Quack!” or “Ethan, show Mommy the pig? Oink Oink!” And if he doesn’t respond, I will pick up the correct piece and show/tell him.  So far, after 2 days of education, he is getting the “duck” quite well.  Last night, when I said, “Ethan, give Mommy the duck.  Quack Quack!”  He replied with “da-duck!”

Oh by the way, the understanding and comprehension of objects around the child is more important than say, understanding colors or shapes, which Ms Chia says will come when the child is about 3 years old or maybe 4 (US standards).  Nothing to worry about.

So yeah, I think he is getting there.  Hopefully there will be a vast improvement within the next three months or so.  Pete and I are both very excited about the information we had gained from the therapy session.  Ethan was also tired out after the session, I believe, because he fell asleep in the car on the way back.

Let’s just pray for the best :)

 
Scrap Credits
A Gift for You papers from Érica Mathia
Rainy Days collection from retrodiva {designs}™
HoldEmUps from Tara Dunstan
Heart doodles from fei-fei’s stuff
Funky stamped alphas from Scraps by Fashiondeeva

Lately, ever since Ethan decided to become more independent, he loves to climb into the back seat of our car on his own. His car seat is fixed behind the co-driver’s seat, so he prefers to walk all the way round to the rear door behind the driver, and he will put his hand on the handle and attempt to open the door. Of course he cannot, just yet. But when we do open the door for him, he will climb into the car on his own, using his upper body strength to push his butt up onto the seat and sit in the back seat, smiling happily as if he has accomplished something.

And here’s where the problem starts. When we try to load him into the car seat, he wouldn’t budge. We have never had a problem with Ethan sitting in the car seat before, simply because he has been trained to do so from birth, but now, he is very reluctant to sit in his leather-trimmed car seat. Little does he know that if he sits on the regular back seat, his view of the outside world from the car would be severely hampered.

So how? Every time it will be a battle. We will try our very best to put him into the seat and strap him in, sometimes using decoys like cellphones to distract him. It has never crossed our minds to give in to his cries though. So however hard it is, we will still put him in the car seat. Safety comes first ma. Once he is in the seat and the car starts moving, he will be okay.

I really hope this is a phase he will outgrow soon. Please. It has even come to the point that we are thinking twice every time we need to go somewhere where we need to reload him in the seat. And I’m not even gonna start thinking about doing it alone. SIGH.


Scrap Credits
Rainy Day Sunday add-on kit from Amy Bleser
Sundance cardboard from designs by krista
Pondlife Alphas from Joanna Cinnamon

Stamp cluster 4 from Lindsay Jane Designs
Ilétait une foi star elements from Petit Moineaux
Star doodle: Doodle Me Big from Mikkel Paige Original

You are my shining star,
the light of my life…
The world can be so dark and gloomy but when you smile, everything is pure sunshine again.
When you giggle, I just want to shout out from the rooftops how much I love you, just for being you.

You are my shining star,
glowing brightly every day in my heart.
You fill my life with so much joy, just by doing little itty bitty things like hugging my leg and never letting go, and then planting a kiss to say you love me so. You hold on ever so tightly to Daddy’s leg, never letting go until he hobbles with you into the elevator.

I love the way you react to the “Otak burung unta lagi kechik daripada matanya” statement. It’s so adorable the way you place your hands on top of your eyes, emulating the little girl in the advert on TV.

I love the way you kick and throw the ball, with such passion, that can only be inherent in the soul of a footballer. Oh, you do slam dunks too, by the way..so perhaps you aspire to be a future NBA MVP too?

All the beautiful colors of the rainbow cannot ever surpass the colorful way you have brightened our lives with everything you do. From the simple little things like cuddling up to sleep with Mommy on the sofa to the not-so-little ones like clasping your hands in prayer position and wishing everyone in church “peace” when the appropriate time came for you to do that…, you really inject such happiness and sincerity into the things you do. You can almost see Mommy beaming with pride and adoration just noticing all the parishioners in church gesturing at how adorable you look doing so. :)

You have an absolutely delightful sense of humor and you can laugh at yourself in videos I have captured of you. Sometimes you clap in joy too, and you know, you definitely have a great sense of musical rhythm because you can dance and clap to your favorite Barney songs. Someday I know you will sing along too, yeah? Maybe you watch too much TV and DVDs, but you just make us so happy when you prance around, enjoying the music.

You are growing up so fast now. Sometimes you get too naughty and daring for your own good, and Mommy and Daddy will need to step in and reprimand you. But bear in mind that this is all done with LOVE. Regardless, you will always be our darling little boy and our bright, glowing, shining star.

And we will love you forever and always.


Scrap Credits
Odds ‘n’ Ends Seven preview kit from Pam Lefors Designs
Crumpled border from Jess Gordon
Elegant word art (Wonderful Memories) from Bethany
HoldEmUps from Tara Dunstan
Boxed words from Chantal

Last night, on our way back from our family dinner at Queensbay Mall, Ethan got restless in his seat. Maybe he was a little bit tired and sleepy, but he kept on throwing my hand towards my handbag, and I knew it was cos he wanted to view videos I had captured of him with my phone. Oh yeah, the reason I was sitting with him in the backseat was because I had to make sure he didn’t accidentally call overseas with my phone. You see, we had to distract him with my phone while strapping him in the car seat. Nowadays, he prefers to climb into the backseat on his own and would then prop himself jubilantly in the back seat. He would then smile and grin for all to see and refuse in his usual strong manner, to get into his own seat. So that’s why we have to resort to these tactics. He’s still way too young for the seat belt adjuster, otherwise I would have gotten one for him…

Anyway, there we were in the back seat and Ethan was fidgety. I didn’t want to give in to his demands and kept telling him we were already nearing our home. He just wouldn’t listen. Then I suddenly started singing. I think I sang a repertoire of songs; the ABC song, One Two Buckle My Shoe, London Bridge and Head & Shoulders (the latter two are the same tune). He usually claps his hands when I am done, but this time, he clapped his hands and after that reached his hand over to my neck, pulled me close and gave me a sweet, loving kiss right there on my cheek :) He will kiss me whenever I ask him to give Mommy a hug or kiss, but this time it was the spontaneity of it that caught me off guard.  Nobody had asked him to do it, and he did it out of his own accord…

I didn’t wash that part of my cheek that night…just kidding.

I won I won I won!!!!

Well, not quite the lottery, but something special and luxurious for Ethan. Those of you who have been secretly praying for me to stop getting cloth diapers for him, please stop reading here…but actually I didn’t buy this ma…I got it FREE!!!!
I won a lucky draw contest at the DiapersAsia forum and the prize is one gorgeous Starbunz AIO diaper. There were so many adorable designs to choose from, I had a hard time selecting just one. Finally, I chose the puppy design simply because Ethan was born in the year of the doggie.

I was ecstatic the moment I found out I had won, and even more happy when the diaper came in the mail today, all fluffy and cuddly.
Lookit how gorgeous it is! And don’t you just LURVE the fluffy puppy ears??!!!

It’s supposedly a great diaper for the heavy wetter because it contains two hemp soaker pads, topped with a fleece top to keep moisture away. I can’t wait to try it on Ethan once I’ve washed and dried it.

Thank you Tiny Tapir!


Scrap Credits
Spring Forward mini kit from Eva Kipler
Netter’s Alphas from Scarlet Heels
100% Tampons apostrophe & brackets from [ v.vv ]
Doodles: Doodle Me Big from Mikkel Paige Originals
Boxed words from Chantal

My dearest darling Ethan boy,

Daddy came back from India last Saturday night. After four nights away from us, you were able to hug him once again. Daddy took the cab home from the airport because he didn’t want Mommy to go to the trouble of fetching you to the airport at night and all. I had been telling you that Daddy will be home soon, and while you were enjoying the videos of yourself on Mommy’s cellphone, our doorbell suddenly rang. You climbed down from the couch, curious more than eager, and followed Mommy to the door. The moment you saw Daddy, I could feel your emotions in your eyes…how much you missed him and you even had to do a double take to make sure it was indeed Daddy. I had to reassure you over and over again that it was Daddy, because at first you didn’t look like you believed me. It had, after all, been days that you had not seen him.

Last Tuesday, while you were still at Ah Poh’s, Mommy fetched Daddy to the airport. He had travelled to India on a short business trip. I asked you not to worry, because he won’t be away for long, and he will be back on Saturday.

Daddy told you the night before he left that he would be away from home for a while and you pretended to ignore him then. But on the morning of the day he was to leave, when he carried you to Ah Poh’s door, said buh-bye and told you to be a good boy while he was away, you grunted and let out a whine of despair. Although I know you still do not know how to express yourself in words, I can feel that you missed him. In fact, we both did miss him a lot, didn’t we, Ethan boy?

Please don’t be angry with Daddy for being away. It was only for a few days anyway and did you see how happy he was to hold you in his arms again? He hasn’t been travelling for a long while now, the last time being when you were about 3 or 4 months’ old. You probably didn’t realize it then. But you have been a good boy, and I can tell in your eyes that you were looking for him for the past few days. You looked ever so confused when you could not find him anywhere at all. Well, he is home now, so you go knock yourself out having fun with him, yeah?

The night that he left, it was just you and me home alone. Daddy had suggested that I have my dinner and my shower first before picking you up, and I thought that was an excellent idea. It allowed me more time to spend with you, without running the risk of being lethargic.

It’s a good thing too that your Ah Ma and Kong Kong from Ipoh were here from the second night onwards. They miss you so much too, you know. I’m so glad you had a lot of fun with them both.

Since Daddy returned, you have made his day with all your giggles and funny antics. The Sunday morning after he came back home, when Daddy woke up, I asked you to give Daddy a good morning hug, and you ran over to him, put your arms around his neck and gave him a kiss on the cheeks. I thought that was simply adorable.

All my love,
Mommy

Cloth diapers, to be precise! :) 

I’ve been putting off my cloth diapering plan for Ethan for such a long time.  My original plan was to have him fully on cloth diapers as soon as possible.  And I am ashamed to say that I have been so bad at keeping to that.  Last year, I bought him four pieces of megacute cloth diapers, but that was about it.  Sometimes they would leak because of the way I put them on him and I would be frustrated.  So I kept putting my plan off.  And then lately, the diapers began to stink big time.  Even after just an hour of putting them on, the smell was rather revolting.  Which led me to suddenly remember that I probably need to strip wash them.

And strip wash the diapers I did.  After that, the diapers worked perfectly again and my love for cloth diapers was reignited!  And thanks to so many many emails back and forth with my diaper guru, Christene, I have learnt so many additional terms and jargons about cloth diapers to educate me for life!  I recently ordered more diapers, different brands this time, just to have a variety and feel of all of them, and of course to satisfy my insatiable appetite.

I got two diapers from Sandra for starters.  The first one is a My Precious Baby fitted diaper, with side snaps.  Christene recommended this for the heavy wetter, i.e. Ethan, and I absolutely LOVE this diaper!  My Precious Baby diapers are handmade diapers made by a WAHM in the USofA.  These gorgeous diapers are made from velour, which is 80% cotton and 20% polyester, and they look so LUSH!  My Precious Baby diapers have 2 layers of velour and 3 layers of thirsty hemp fleece sewn into the diaper.  There’s even an additional piece of soaker included for the sake of the heavy wetter.  What I really love about this diaper is how the colors and prints coordinate beautifully.  I ordered the purple and orange combo diaper with a zoo animal print soaker that matches the diaper perfectly.  I was fortunate that Ethan, being of small built, can still fit into an M size, because it was the only size available in this color combination.

Can you tell how adorable they look?  I fell in love with it instantaneously!  And I was pleased to note how trim the fit is!  Even with the diaper cover (fitted diapers need a cover by the way, but it is really up to individual preference), it still doesn’t look bulky.  This is really a diaper which looks absolutely gorgeous and is fully functional at the same time!

Then I also got one Drybees pocket diaper for Ethan.  These are fastened with velcro, so I wanted to evaluate them before I got some more to let Mrs Tan use during the time Ethan is with her.  I’ll have to say I am reasonably satisfied with this diaper.  It’s not as smooth and soft as Bumwear though, but putting it on is a breeze.  Unfortunately this has leaked a couple of times already, and I am now determining if it is because I got it in too large a size for Ethan.  One thing I have to say though…Drybees diapers come in fantastic prints!

Lastly, because I wanted to make up the minimum order of RM200 to qualify for free shipping, I also ordered some Wahmies cloth wipes, also thanks to Christene’s recommendation.  There were so many pretty prints to choose from that I had a hard time zeroeing in on my final selection.  I plan to use these as much as possible to replace the wet wipes, and in fact, while waiting for my order to arrive, I had already begun using wet cloth hankies when we go out, instead of using wet wipes.  These Wahmies cloth wipes though, are really softer compared to the conventional hankies, because these have flannel on the print side and soft cotton sherpa terry on the other.  What luxury! 

And now, I am excitedly awaiting another batch of diapers to arrive, all the way from USA, this time!  Yes, I know some people might say it will be time for Ethan to start toilet training soon, but why delay putting him on cloth diapers?  Besides, I am only now starting him on the big business toilet training, so he will definitely still need to be on diapers.  In any case, it sure feels good going green!

I took the second half of the day off from work to spend some time with Ethan on his birthday.  Unfortunately, due to work commitments, Pete could not make it, so it was just my boy and me.   I picked Ethan up from Mrs Tan’s place after lunch and my first stop was at the D’View hair salon.  Ethan was due for a haircut and I figured if there weren’t too many customers around, we could try and see if he could get his New Year haircut then.  Pretty ambitious of me to attempt this on my own, but you know me, stubborn as a mule and determined as ever.  It was Ethan’s first time there, and at first he was a little shy to enter the shop.  But then Cindy the hairdresser offered him a cracker and turned the TV on to the Playhouse Disney Channel and he was hooked immediately.  Smiling away, Ethan allowed me to help him put on the cute little cloak around his neck, to ensure most of the hair wouldn’t fall on his shirt.  Then he obediently sat on my lap while Cindy did the magic.  After a very neat shave, all the while with Ethan munching away happily on the cracker while kicking his legs to the Mouskadance tune, Ethan looked very macho-like with his new haircut.  Well, now we know where to go for a fuss-free, scream-free, struggle-free haircut for Ethan, all for RM10.  See, I could even manage to snap a few shots for proof.

Next on the agenda, Ethan and I went to Gurney Plaza.  He was delighted to play at the children’s playground and today, he finally learnt how to slide down a slide the correct way.  Previously he would climb up the slide and then climb down without sliding.  Today, I showed him how to do it, by putting him at the top of the slide and then pushing him gently down.  That was it.  Over and over again, he would go up and down the slide.

We also made a stop at MPH, where Ethan had a good time playing *catch* with me.  :P  Then we went down to the basement where I bought a drink for us both to share.  Before leaving the mall, we made a final stopover at the children’s playground again.  You know why…

After resting for a while at home, and after he had had some milk, I decided to take Ethan downstairs for a swim.  He got all excited when I dressed him up in his swimsuit, and promptly brought his float to me.  We had a great time swimming, Ethan and me.  Ethan enjoyed the water so much, he even wanted to drink it on purpose, much to my horror!  And me, I managed to get SOME form of exercise done, at least for my lower body.  Heh.

We then washed up and got ready for dinner.  We picked Daddy up from work and headed on to Friday’s.  Ethan had his favorite spaghetti, of course, and everyone could tell he was enjoying himself tremendously.  We didn’t get the servers to sing the birthday song for him though, because Pete was concerned that Ethan might not be ready for their loud singing just yet.

What a fantastic day for all of us!  I’m sure Ethan enjoyed himself very much too, so much that he didn’t even have his daytime nap.  Happy birthday darling Ethan boy!

 
Scrap Credits
Choco-Noisette from Kawouette
Boxed words from Chantal
Delight Series Red Inked Alphas & Let’s Scrabble Alphas from Foxy Designs

Ethan woke up today at about 7:15a.m., yawned and stretched and when he saw me, he sat up in bed, reached his arms out towards me, and gave me a big hug. I put on his Baby Einstein’s Meet the Orchestra for him to watch for a while, and he said “wee wee” (that’s how he says “TV”). :P

You’re two today, baby…. and your smile will always melt my heart. 

I’m so excited because I have a date with him this afternoon, just the two of us.  I am taking the second half of today off to spend some quality birthday time with my boy.

Happy, happy birthday, Ethan boy, with all the hugs, love and kisses in the world!


Scrap Credits
Wild Flower Holiday Quickpage from
Gina Huff
Rough & Tumble Add On elements & alphas from Flergs

A few months ago when I called my girlfriend Audrey, she told me that every Saturday her almost-4-year-old daughter and her indulged in a mother-and-daughter bonding session.  They would go to a nearby mall in the morning, do some grocery shopping, and then have lunch together.  When I told Pete about this, I expressed how I longed for a similar experience with Ethan… well, that experience might not be too far off…

Yesterday evening, Pete had dinner plans with his colleagues.  So I had two options: one was to have dinner myself first and then pick Ethan up from the sitter’s, or two: to pick him up and hop on over to Queensbay Mall for dinner, per our usual Friday routine. 

I opted for the latter.

I was working from home yesterday, so I left our house around 6:15p.m. for Mrs Tan’s place.  Ethan was very excited to see me, even to the extent of refusing to allow Mrs Tan to carry him to the car, preferring to stick to me like a koala bear.  Surprisingly though, although he looked happy and recognized the route to the mall, no excited panting accompanied his joy.  Nevertheless we arrived and I was happy that there were plenty of parking lots available.

After reading about Susan and little Samuel’s pleasant dining experience at Wong Kok Kitchen last week, and since we have never tried the food there, I thought we might as well give it a shot.  The restaurant was not packed and we were promptly seated, with Ethan of course occupying a very familiar Ikea white and silver high chair.  I ordered the wanton mee and the char-siew pastry puff: stuff I figured Ethan would like to eat too. 

He seemed very happy in the restaurant, even kicking his legs in rhythm to the music being played.  With his cheeky smile and strategically positioned high chair (he was facing the counter area), it didn’t take long for him to command the attention of the servers at the restaurant.  I was rather astonished that he didn’t scream loudly in protest when they all started looking and smiling at him, instead he smiled back, well sometimes he showed his cheeky toothy grin… and when he was too overwhelmed, he lowered his head and peered shyly at them.  He did take a few spoonfuls of the mee too, but not the pastry.

Overall, it was a fun experience for both Mommy and Ethan. He was at his bestest behaviour and I was very proud of him …actually, the first time I’d taken him out for a meal myself :)  Pete was a tad concerned if I would be able to handle Ethan on my own in the mall, but his fears were unfounded because Ethan is always in a good mood in the mall… and that just makes everything so much easier…

After dinner, we went for a walk to Borders to get a copy of January’s Malaysian Women’s Weekly… here’s why…

What a fabulous way to start our weekend, eh?

 

This evening when I went to pick Ethan up from Mrs Tan’s after work, I was aghast to discover that the swell under his eye as a result of *something* that bit him had become so much worse.  Ethan didn’t look like he was bothered with his swollen right eye though (as you can see from the pictures), and every time he smiled, his right eye would close up.  It was quite pitiful to see him with the swollen eye, although it was apparent that he wasn’t in any form of pain.  Nevertheless I decided to err on the side of caution and take him to see Dr Jessica, who coincidentally was on night duty tonight.

I had to take Ethan to the hospital on my own tonight because Pete had a dinner function with his company.  I grabbed a quick dinner at home and rushed to the hospital (okay, I drove carefully… :P) .  We were fourth in line … not too bad.  Guess where our boy insisted on going up and down on?  Yep… the escalators!  Since I was the only one there with him, I had no choice but to bring him up and down and at the same time, keep a lookout for when it was our turn.

Finally we were called in but the doc had so much trouble checking him.  He simply wouldn’t open his eyes for her to check them.  Dr Jessica prescribed Piriton syrup, which was an immediate relief for the allergic reaction, and told me to continue applying the fucicort thrice daily. We were also to keep monitoring his temperature in case it shot up.  I requested the nurse to help me feed the Piriton to Ethan since I was sure I would not be able to do it on my own at home.  Surprisingly all of the syrup went in, although Ethan put up a struggle.

I then took him back home, gave him a warm shower and got him ready for bed.  I waited till he fell asleep before I applied the fucicort.  I pray that he will be all better tomorrow morning after a good night’s sleep tonight.

Ethan is now on the road to recovery. Breaks our hearts to see him suffer the way he did, but I was so glad to wake up on Sunday morning, being greeted by his adorable and cheeky grin.

On Saturday and Sunday, his stools were still primarily watery, I suppose due to the fact that his diet consisted mainly of breast milk only. But I am hoping that with the additional solids he is slowly taking, his diarrhoea will be gone really soon. His appetite has not returned to normal yet, but he took some siew mais and chicken koay teow on Saturday. Funnily enough though, he didn’t want any siew mai on Sunday.

As it turned out, Pete and I were invited to be witnesses at a friend’s wedding in church on Sunday, so we had to drop Ethan off at Mrs Tan’s place for a couple of hours that afternoon. I expressed my concern that he was not eating much yet, and asked Mrs Tan to cook some mee suah for him. When we picked him up, she told us that he happily devoured the mee suah and bread also! So we tarpowed some of the mee suah back home for his dinner.

Guess what? Our boy didn’t want any of the mee suah, but instead chose to share some of my wan ton mee dinner. Maybe he associates mee suah only with Mrs Tan’s house?

He looks ok now, doesn’t he? These are some photos I took yesterday…. pretty blur because he kept moving up and down on the couch. It’s just that he needs to regain his appetite really soon.

We should have known. Ethan hardly ever overeats. And that first incident of vomiting turned out to be the beginning of a nightmare for all of us.

Chronology of Events

Thursday
8:30p.m. vomited, with slight diarrhoea. Vomitus contained the rice he had taken for dinner.
Breastfed him and gave him a little bit of water. He fell asleep soon after.

Friday
2:30a.m. Woke up and vomited on our bed and on me. There were a few grains of rice, more milk and water in the vomitus.
Cleaned ourselves and our bed up, fed him breastmilk and he slept.

7:00a.m. Woke up, coughed a little and then vomited again. On the bed and on the floor.
Cleaned him up and discovered he had diarrhoea too.
Fed him water, breastmilk and a few grains of Rice Krispies.

8:30a.m. Diarrhoea again.
He drank some Yakult.

9:00a.m. Vomitted all the Yakult out. We all rushed to the hospital after that.

Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long for the doctor that day, and Ethan was quite happy playing with the toys in Dr Jessica’s office. Doctor diagnosed Ethan as suffering from acute gastroenteritis, caused by a virus, possibly the Rotavirus. She said it was not food poisoning, because he did not have a fever. His persistent vomiting and diarrhoea had also resulted in a weight loss of about 1kg!!! He was only 9.9 kilos when he was weighed in. I was very worried about Ethan’s inability to keep food in though, and he was given a dramamine shot to help prevent that. After the shot was administered, we waited in the pediatric ward area for 30 minutes before giving him the oral rehydration salts (ORS) mixture (Dramamine takes 30 minutes to take effect). Well, of course he didn’t want the ORS mixture, and would only take breast milk. Doctor told me to give him only the fore milk for now, so I took him to the nursing room and breastfed him there. After that, we waited for a while for the rice water to be ready. We had ordered some from the hospital and it was one of the fluids that was recommended for Ethan. He didn’t really like it though, took a few sips of it and pushed it away.

Pete and I decided to tarpow Mc-D’s for lunch on the way back, and our boy fell asleep in the car too. But he suddenly woke up when we reached the Mc-D’s in Greenlane, fussed and cried and then threw up again! Luckily I had asked the nurse at the hospital for a plastic bag just in case he vomited. I called Dr Jessica when we reached home, and she said that we would need to bring Ethan in for an intravenous drip if his vomiting still persisted. We certainly didn’t want that! I told the doc we think he vomited because he was lying down instead of standing vertically up, so she said to give it a few hours first.

Poor boy… we took him back and let him rest for a bit. He didn’t really want to drink anything (we were to try offering him fluids like rice water, ORS, 100-Plus or fore breastmilk, but he would only take water and breastmilk), and we could tell that it was the phobia of throwing up whatever he took in. Then he suddenly decided that he wanted Yakult, so I gave him some, and then later on, he suckled himself to sleep again.

Unfortunately as he was sleeping in my arms, he woke up crying and threw up again. This time, I already had a container ready just in case. I tried to rinse Ethan’s mouth with water to get rid of the vomit smell, but he would not let me. I was very worried about Ethan’s condition then, I didn’t want to see him suffer like that, but still I really could not stand the thought of him on the IV drip. It was already 3:30p.m. at that time, and Pete said we ought to give Ethan another chance. And I am thankful we did.

He began to get better and better after that. He fell asleep in my arms at about 5p.m. and I was careful to prop his body up at an angle so that he felt better. I was literally counting the minutes to the 4-hour time frame that he did not vomit. At about 7:30p.m. it marked the 4-hour vomit-free duration, so I tried giving him some Rice Krispies which he gingerly ate. We were still wary about the fact that he could throw up any time but we were glad that he was improving.

He was still having diarrhoea though but we pray that he will recover from that soon.

I asked Mommy for permission to put up another post as a guest blogger since it is a post for her birthday.  And I am so glad she said okay :)

Last Saturday, Daddy, Mommy and I went to the E&O hotel for Mommy’s birthday eve lunch.  They had seafood fried rice that day and I was very eager to show off my self-feeding skills.  I get a kick out of eating using the spoon all by myself, and feel a sense of accomplishment when Daddy and Mommy tell me “Good Boy!”  As you can see, I enjoyed myself very much and was very reluctant to leave the place.  I love to play with the window sills and run around the restaurant.  After lunch, Daddy, Mommy and I took a short leisurely stroll by the sea.  But it was only for about 5 minutes or so, then I ran back inside, with Mommy and Daddy hot on my heels.  Some good exercise I gave them after the buffet eh? :)

On Sunday (Mommy’s birthday), I woke up and gave Mommy the sweetest smile ever and hugged her.  Then I asked her to go out of the room with me because I just poo-pooed in my pants. 

 

That very same day, Ah Ma and Ah Kong from Taiping came to Penang to visit together with Kor-kor.  We went to Maple Gold for lunch with Ah Chek and Aunty Christine also.  Here, I had the opportunity to show off my drumming skills with a pair of chopsticks.  Then I had yummy steamed rice with tofu and vege for lunch.  I bet Daddy and Mommy must have been very proud of me because I finished about one bowl of rice! :)  Of course, when I found that feeding myself with the spoon took a very long time, I decided to use my hands instead.

Mommy had a birthday cake too.  Daddy was singing a Happy Birthday song really loudly but I haven’t learnt it yet.  I hope to be able to sing that song next year for Mommy.

We must have gone through almost all types of infant cough medication, all in the fervent hopes of making Ethan recover completely from his cough. It breaks my heart so to hear him coughing, because his cough is of the forceful kind, and he sounds like he is suffering whenever he coughs.

First, we gave him Rhinatiol from Dr Jessica. After a few days when there was no improvement, we switched to MucoFlux, which was also prescribed by Dr Jessica. Two days into the medication and there was still no sign of recovery. Pete and I then decided to try the Vicks method. No, no, it is not the application of Baby Vicks to his chest and back (we already do that every day anyway). The Vicks method is one that has been circulating the internet, suggesting that to cure a cough, all we need to do is to rub some Vicks liberally on the soles of his feet and put on a pair of socks. All this we did when he was in dreamland. Although it reduced the cough slightly, Ethan was still coughing. We did it for 2-3 days. Well, perhaps it was because we used Vicks Baby Rub instead of (adult) Vicks. (The regular adult Vicks was to be administered on kids aged 2 and above only).

The next thing we tried was aromatherapy. I quickly bought a bottle of Magnolia essential oil, rubbed 2 drops vigorously in my palm and applied it to Ethan’s front and back, and also his throat area. There was some level of improvement in his recovery rate, and his cough appeared to faze off, but we were not satisfied, because he was not completely healed yet.

So when push came to shove, we decided to turn to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). Charlotte’s mom had told me that she gave Charlotte Pak Poh when she was coughing, and it cured her cough within 2 days. On top of that, Charlotte did not need to be forced to take the medicine. It was worth a shot. Such is the desperation of a parent. So we got a box consisting of 6 powder vials of Pak Poh from Eu Yan Sang. I used just one teaspoon of warm water to make the Pak Poh mixture for Ethan, tried giving it to him, but he rejected it immediately. I then tried mixing it with his favorite yogurt, but although he took a little bit, he was not very happy when his taste-buds told him that the bitter-tasting Pak Poh marred the taste of his yogurt. We had no choice but to shoot the mixture straight down his throat using the syringe.

And now after SIX torturous sessions, Ethan is finally medicine-free, and has been so for about a week now. He still coughs slightly, but is getting better every day. I’m praying and praying and praying…. We’ll leave it to his antibodies to do the work then.

Check out what I got for Ethan last Merdeka weekend:

Yep, those cute adorably colorful thingies you see there are Ethan’s new Bumwear Cloth Diapers, which I got from Sin Dee. Don’t they look gorgeous?

I had known all about Bumwear Cloth Diapers for a long time now, yes, even before I gave birth to Ethan, but I only started revisiting the idea about two weeks ago.  The prospect of going *cloth* has been really enticing and I had been tinkering about getting them for Ethan. Our boy has all along been on disposable diapers. I did use the traditional cloth nappies for him when he was a newborn, but since he was a fully breastfed baby then, his poo was really runny, and well…let’s just say there were quite a number of unwanted *accidents*. That, plus the toll of having to wash the nappies day in and day out made me switch to disposables. It was very convenient and hassle-free.  Although not very friendly on the wallet, disposable diapers were very easy to use and throw.

However, I recently took a step back and decided to make a change. For the better.

I learnt about disposable diapers causing an increase on scrotal temperature in boy babies, which could potentially lead to infertility.  There has not been enough proven evidence that this is entirely true, but the facts were enough to raise a concern (at least with me).  And this is one of the main reasons why I decided to make that switch.  Don’t get me wrong, I am also switching because of the increasing landfill problem caused by disposables and also because of the toxic chemicals used in disposables, but while the change I make now would only make a small difference in the landfill problem, it would make a significant change to Ethan’s comfort :)  And that’s mighty important to me!

Switching to cloth diapers would not make a whole lot of a difference cost-wise too, because Ethan is already 19 months old.  Those who have been using cloth diapers since baby was born would see a huge savings in the long run.  Besides, we will still need to launder the cloth diapers which would also take up some time and effort on our part.  I have not decided to make a full switch or not yet, because I want to try these new Bumwear diapers first before I consider introducing them to Mrs Tan.  However, the extra effort I put in will be well worth the effort.

For one, these BumWear diapers are nothing like the conventional nappies.  These are so cool and adorable looking, plus they come with diaper inserts which allow fluid to be absorbed with tremendous ease.  Also, using these BumWear diapers would mean I do not need to apply barrier cream like Drapolene anymore!  One of my concerns was that with these cloth diapers, they would not be able to last through the night.  However, I discovered that by using 2 inserts, the absorption is doubled and I can then use these throughout the night, just like any ordinary disposable diaper.

Tonight is the very first time Ethan went to bed garbed in his Bumwear diapers.  Doesn’t he look adorable?  Check out that look he is giving…looking very much like a model eh? *wink*


Scrap template from Lindsay Jane Designs,
papers from
Lindsay Jane Designs & Anita Designs

We adults can certainly learn a thing or two from kids.  Forgiveness, tolerance and most importantly, just be happy!

Yes,… Ethan taught me to smile… even after he had accidentally slipped and bruised the upper corner of his right eye while climbing in and out of his bath tub which he doesn’t use anymore.  Just SMILE and the pain will all go away…. see how easy it is?

… but only in the case of this breastfeeding mommy, I guess.

If you hadn’t already known, I am in the process of weaning Ethan from my breast.  However, although we have succeeded at a certain level (he is down to only one feed of EBM while I am at work), the fact that I have procrastinated and dilly-dallied on the weaning resulted in Ethan still being breastfed when I am with him.

And you know, as I watch him recovering from his recent illness, I am so grateful that I am still breastfeeding him.

After he regained his appetite after his spell of vomiting, he only wanted breastmilk and that is really the best kind of food he should take.  Now that he is recovering from his diarrhoea, breastmilk is the best because even if he doesn’t take too keenly to water, breastmilk contains about 90% water.  Even Dr Jessica says it is the perfect solution to help him get well sooner.  Besides providing him with all the antibodies to help him get better, it helps to soothes and calms him down too.

Yesterday evening, Pete was out for his weekly futsal match, and I was left to attend to Ethan by myself.  Boy was he a handful!  He definitely looks better now and he was back to his mischievous ways and was up till almost 11p.m.!  I’m still praying he’ll be 100% well as soon as possible.


Scrap Elements by Lindsay Jane Designs

Today we took him to GMC for his checkup with Dr Jessica, after the 3-day antibiotic (Rocephin) course jabs he took.  Unfortunately, I was not aware that Dr Jessica was on half day leave today, so we had to see Dr Rama instead.  Upon inspecting both Ethan’s ears, Dr Rama reassured us that the infection has definitely gone down in both ears.   :)  However, he prescribed another 5-day course of antibiotics (Cedax) just to be on the safe side, ensuring that the bacterial infection would be totally eliminated.  Dr Rama reassured us that Cedax tasted slightly sweet and we only needed to administer 2.2ml once a day for 5 days.  We were to see Dr Jessica again after the 5 days for a final checkup.

SIGH… guess we’ll have to see if Ethan will be okay with taking this final round of medicine then…

Poor Ethan. :( As a side effect of the course of antibiotics, he has diarrhoea. Last night I noticed that he also had nappy rash. It must have been because of the diarrhoea. Because of his nappy rash, Ethan would cry when I gave him a shower. I applied Egozite last night and this morning the rash had subsided somewhat, thank goodness.

But when we picked Ethan up just now for his third and final dose of the antibiotic jab, Mrs Tan reported that Ethan had had diarrhoea thrice all morning. She also mentioned his nappy rash. :(

You know, throughout these few days when he was sick, Ethan doesn’t feel like drinking much water. Truth be told, Ethan NEVER had a problem with water, and loves to drink water ever since I started giving it to him when he started on solids. This was because he was on a 100% breastmilk diet from birth till 6.5 months, i.e. no water at all during this time. But now that he is sick, and he needs the water, especially since he has diarrhoea, it is disheartening and rather worrying that he doesn’t want to drink much. Yesterday I figured that he preferred to drink from the cup rather than from a straw, and that was how I got him to drink a substantial amount of water last night. Yay me! And that’s how Mrs Tan got him to drink water too, today. :)

Dr Jessica prescribed a special nappy rash cream for Ethan and also oral rehydration salts to prevent dehydration after the diarrhoea. He had a slight incident of diarrhoea at the pediatric ward again just now, while we were waiting for his jab to be administered. And for the 2nd time in 3 days, we had to change him in the hospital (we’re getting to be pros at this, aren’t we now?). Although he still complained of some pain because of the nappy rash, I was relieved to note that it was not as inflamed as last night.

So, the final jab has been given and the worst is over… we will go and see Dr Jessica tomorrow for a final checkup. I’m praying with all my heart that all the infection has disappeared and he can stop all medication then ….

From the moment I saw Pete measure out 5ml of the Zinnat antibiotic into the syringe, ready for feeding Ethan with, I knew something was not right.  The mere smell of the medicine was revolting enough, and the consistency of it was that of a emulsified solution, whitish, thick and gooey, as if it was made from crushed tablets dissolved in some liquid.  This morning was supposed to be the first of 10 antibiotic doses we were to feed Ethan over a period of 5 days, after the first course of antibiotics didn’t do the trick.

So anyway, we tried feeding it to Ethan… here’s the procedure we employed.  I would sit Ethan down and gently tell him that Mommy was going to take him for his antibiotic feed now.  I would reassure him that it was for his own good and wellbeing, and that it would make him feel better.  But the moment he saw Daddy with the syringe in hand, he started struggling and screaming.  Nevertheless, we managed to pump the entire 5ml into his throat….. but…. no sooner had we done that, Ethan threw up the entire contents of it on the floor.   Well, so much for trying then.  We had to turn to the other alternative.
I called Dr Jessica when I was at work today, and told her that we had decided to take Ethan for the antibiotic jab instead, since he didn’t take at all kindly to the oral method.  The jab would be 3 doses in total, and Ethan had already had the first dose yesterday.  Pete and I had a quick lunch and fetched Ethan from Mrs Tan’s.  We reached GMC slightly past 12:30p.m. and I took Ethan straight up to Dr Jessica’s clinic.  It was a good thing she was still there and she managed to check on Ethan real quick.  She said the infection in the right ear had gone down (yippee!!) but the left ear was still slightly red.  She told me to bring Ethan in on Thursday, a day after the 3-day antibiotic course would have been completed.

We then went up to the pediatric ward with the prescription and after a short wait, Ethan had his second jab.  Even though he cried out loud, I am very proud of him for being such a brave boy. The jab was all over in a matter of seconds…. Two-thirds of the way through now … :)

Ethan fell asleep on the way back to the baby sitter’s.  I just called Mrs Tan and she told me that Ethan’s appetite was returning as he was eating more of the mee suah now.  And that is a good sign, yes?

All I can say is that we made the right decision to postpone our trip to KL last weekend.  SIGH.

Last Thursday night, Ethan developed a fever, so we gave him a dose of the Paracetamol suppository.  He was also coughing with traces of phlegm.  The next morning, he still had a fever, so I gave him another dose.  His body was slightly warm when we left him at the baby sitter’s though.  We told Mrs Tan that we would come by to see how he was doing during lunch.

When we got there, I took his temperature and it read 37.8°C!  So we told Mrs Tan to give him the suppository and that we would come and take him home at around 4:00-ish.  When we arrived at 4:30p.m., Ethan’s body felt really hot, and although I was already panicking on the inside, I tried not to let it show.

5:30p.m. I took his temperature and it was a horrifying 39.4°C!  Since we had already run out of the PCM suppository, we had to force a dose of the oral PCM down his throat.  I breastfed him and could only pray that the fever would subside soon.  Dr Jessica’s night clinic would only be open at 7:00p.m. so we had to wait till then.

At GMC, Ethan’s temperature had subsided somewhat, although when the nurse took his temperature, it still read a relatively high 38.9°C.  Despite nursing a fever however, Ethan was still very interested in the escalators at the hospital.

The diagnosis?  Ethan has an infection in his throat and left ear, Dr Jessica said.  When she inspected, his left ear and throat were red, but thank goodness there were no white spots in the throat yet (white spots meant trouble, I had read somewhere).  The initial throat infection probably had spread to the ear.  Besides the infection, he was also suffering from a runny nose and of course, was coughing too.  He was prescribed Paracetamol (for fever), Rhinathiol (for cough), Polaramine (for flu), Azithromycin (antibiotics) and Iliadin (nasal drops).  All familiar names to me by now, because Ethan had been on the same range before.

We went to Old Town for dinner where I was very thankful that Ethan took a bit of the koay-teow.  We took him back home, and practically had to force the medicine down.  His fever was also monitored closely.  That night proved to be a highly trying night for us.  I had to give him the PCM suppository every 4 hours because throughout the night, his body temperature hovered around the 39.2°C mark.  It was a sleepless night for all three of us.  Ethan decided he wanted to wake up in the middle of the night to watch Baby Einstein and walk around the house, I had to wake up with him, and Pete, being a light sleeper, could not get any sleep as well.  Ethan finally went to sleep but was still rather feverish in the morning.

Saturday morning, I reported to Dr Jessica that his fever was still on the high side, and she assured me that it would take about a day or two for the antibiotics to react.  Thankfully, Ethan’s fever subsided throughout the day.  Pete and I also decided that we should see our doctor to get some medicine ourselves since we were both also sick, with somewhat similar symptoms.  We then had Japanese food for lunch.  Japanese food is always our *comfort* food whenever any one of us is sick.  And since all three of us were feeling under the weather, the choice was obvious.

Sakae Sushi provided us with a booster chair instead of a high chair, and that was really good because then, the chair would not block the pathway.  Ethan enjoyed his chawan mushi and rice, as usual.  And we were glad that he was eating, at least.

After lunch, Ethan fell asleep and when he woke up, he seemed very listless and rather pale.  He rejected my breast and would not even drink any water, instead preferring to walk around aimlessly.  When we offered him his favorite Yakult yogurt drink and his Calci-yum yogurt, he angrily rejected them too!  I even tried mixing a feed of formula for him, but this was met with just plain disgust.  I offered my breast again and again, but again and again he made a face and pushed me away.  This was very unlike him and very odd indeed, as he has NEVER EVER rejected my breast before.  “Could this be the start of him being weaned from my breast?” I thought to myself.

Come dinner time, he didn’t even want a single strand of the spinach noodles I had prepared for him.  We managed to get him to drink a few sips of water and he did nibble on a few grains of Rice Crispies and raisins, but that was all. 

Then it was time for his medicine.  Pete would usually give him the antibiotics first, followed by Rhinathiol and then Polaramine.  This time, after his force-feeding of the Rhinathiol, as I was carrying him away, he suddenly threw up on the floor!  There was very little vomit only though, because our boy had hardly eaten anything since 3p.m.  And that was the first time he threw up ever :(   We finally managed to feed him the medicine and gave him a shower after that, although he was very upset.  Our boy was very sleepy by then, and he also looked very tired and weak, because he had not eaten or drunk anything much.  After his shower, he fell asleep immediately.  No comfort suckling at the breast, I just put him in his cot and he was out like a light.

Then at about 3:30a.m. Ethan woke me up.  I took him to the kitchen to get some water because I could tell he was thirsty, and he vomited again!  I cleaned up the kitchen floor, and gave him a few sips of water (he was still not interested in breast-milk at that time).  He fell asleep after that, but woke up about half an hour later and threw up again on our bed and on me…..   :(  It was extremely worrying as I knew he was probably dehydrated, but there was nothing we could do… we could only let him sleep.

The next morning (Sunday), when he woke up before 8:00a.m., I tried to breastfeed him again, and I was so overjoyed that he FINALLY drank the milk.  I could tell that he was VERY hungry then and was craving for it so badly.  My heart ached to see him suffering the night before when he rejected the breast.  It was as if he knew he had to refrain from drinking breast milk because  *knew* that if he did, he was going to throw up. 

He fell asleep again after his feed and only woke up after 10a.m.  His appetite seemed to have returned somewhat, although he would only take breast-milk for breakfast and lunch, and throughout the day.  But at dinnertime, he took some koay-teow too!

After dinner, and after his medicine was administered, he again rejected the breast.  And he again fell asleep without being breastfed.  Even more worrying, his temperature shot up again to 38.5ºC!  I gave him the PCM suppository and monitored his temperature through the night, as usual.

Pete and I took the day off today to take Ethan to see Dr Jessica again.  His temperature was going up and down like a yoyo and that was not something we were comfortable with.  Dr Jessica checked his throat and said the infection had cleared up.  However, both his ears were infected now.  So she prescribed another round of antibiotics (a different one, this time: Zinnat), which we were to administer 5ml twice a day for 5 days! I almost fainted… We decided to have Ethan take the antibiotics jab first in GMC, so we could start the *torture session* only tomorrow.  His fever had returned too, so we had to give him a PCM suppository in the hospital as well.  We were instructed to bring Ethan in for a follow-up check after the 5-day-antibiotics-dosage had been completed.

After the Zinnat jab and PCM suppository, we were told to wait for an hour to see if there were any adverse reactions before we were allowed to leave the hospital.  Good thing there was a playroom at the pediatric ward with a Little Tikes house to keep Ethan busy… of course, to add to the drama, our boy chose to poop then and there too, so we had to clean him up.

So….we’re back home now, and Ethan is finally asleep.  This whole experience has reinforced in us that it’s really tough being a parent.  It comes with its ups and downs, I guess.  I pray that God will bless Ethan and grant him the strength to fight against his illness and that he will recover soon.  Get well my darling boy.  I can’t wait to see you back to your cheerful, cheeky self again!

A vacation to Singapore would not be complete without a visit to Sentosa Island, now would it? I can barely remember my last visit to Sentosa Island, but my Mom tells me I was really young then. I vaguely recall taking the cable car all the way to the island and back though. In fact, my parents had their honeymoon in Sentosa Island. The island must have changed a whole lot since then. For one, we had heard a lot about the Underwater World, and were eager to show Ethan all the underwater life which we knew he would so love.

After our breakfast, we took the MRT from Little India to Harbourfront, which was about 6 stations away. This time, there was no need to change to a different MRT line and it only took us slightly more than 15 minutes to get to our destination. The Harbourfront MRT station is directly connected to VivoCity, the newest, biggest, trendiest shopping mall in Singapore. We’ll get to the shopping later, I thought to myself. :D

Initially we wanted to take the cable car because we wanted to have a good view from above. We then learnt that a cable car ride would cost SGD11, and comparing that to the monorail, which costs only SGD3, we opted for the latter. The monorail ticket was a return ticket, and it was inclusive of all the bus rides we would need to take on Sentosa Island itself. As it turned out, taking the monorail was a great decision on our part, because not only did we get to take in a spectacular view of our surroundings, the entire journey via the Sentosa Express took only a mere 10 minutes (which is a bonus for Ethan who is prone to getting restless)! From the monorail, we could see the cable cars moving towards Sentosa Island, and comparatively, they were taking forever! Upon reaching Sentosa Island (Beach Station), we took a bus all the way to the Underwater World.

Ethan of course enjoyed free admission, but we adults had no reason to complain either, because we got a 10% discount when we paid with the Citibank credit card :)

The first stop we made was to touch and feel the stingrays. They felt leathery and slithery! I did not allow Ethan to touch them though and he didn’t complain either because he was more fascinated with the many aquariums on display. He could see the fishes up close and it was apparent he was having a field time doing so.

To keep Ethan occupied and not-so-restless, I had brought along a small box of cornflakes. Learning from the zoo adventure, it was a no-no to allow him to get hungry, so I kept him busy eating and munching on cornflakes :) Good parenting tip, eh? *wink* So amid the exhibits of crabs, fish, jellyfish seadragons and seahorses, Ethan was happy with his snack and Daddy was happy with his snapping… photos, that is.

I personally felt the highlight of the Underwater World was The Tunnel. Here, we just had to stand on a moving walkalator that took us through a tunnel where we were surrounded by all kinds of underwater life swimming all around us. Fish, sharks, manatees, you name it…. there were many moments that prompted us to go “Ooooooh….” and “Waaaahhh……”, if you know what I mean.

All in all, we really enjoyed ourselves at the Underwater World. After taking lunch, we realized it was drizzling outside when we were about to leave. Since we still had time, we decided to go to the Dolphin Lagoon after that. The entrance to the Dolphin Lagoon had already been included in the admission fee for the Underwater World anyway. So we took a bus there.

Ethan was already hungry for milk by that time, and I was again deeply disappointed that there were NO breastfeeding facilities at the Underwater World OR at the Dolphin Lagoon. So upon reaching the Dolphin Lagoon, we walked a few hundred meters to the nearest restroom. Realizing it could be a challenge to breastfeed in the restroom, not to mention the issue of hygiene, I prayed so hard that there would be a conducive place for me to breastfeed him, and God again provided :) The restroom was one that had an open area where there were four benches shaped to form a square with a roofed shelter. All I had to do was sit there and breastfeed him. And he fell asleep promptly. Poor lil guy - must have been tired out after looking at all the fishies…..

I then carried Ethan out to meet Pete, who was waiting for us on Palawan Beach. Palawan Beach is situated just beside the Dolphin Lagoon. We still had about half an hour before the Meet the Dolphins show was to start, so Pete and I decided to take a stroll to the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia. This is where I am a little confused…. so Singapore is considered part of the CONTINENT of Asia, even though it is an island? Eh? Anyway, benefit of the doubt…..

Well anyway, with Ethan still asleep, we carried him across a slightly rickety bridge to this southernmost point. The view was just amazing, and the swaying trees and windy breeze kinda reminded me a little about what Maldives was like. Ethan, unfortunately, missed all of this because he slept through it all.

Then, from our vantage point, we suddenly noticed that people were beginning to take their seats for the Dolphin show, so we made our way back to the Dolphin Lagoon. Our boy suddenly woke up as we were making our way back across the bridge… so he was wide awake and chomping happily on his cornflakes as we waited for the show to start.

Unfortunately, not much can be said about the Dolphin Show. Apart from the unique looking pink dolphins, the show was rather disappointing. Well, maybe I had my hopes way up too high, but in spite of that, Ethan sure enjoyed the show, as he was clapping away right on cue :)

After the show, we took the bus back to Beach Station where we boarded the monorail back to VivoCity. The monorail actually stops at a couple of other stations on Sentosa Island too, but we chose not to get down….although we almost got down when it stopped at the Merlion. Pete however managed to capture an awesome shot of the famous Singapore icon, all from inside the monorail. Nice eh?

So we had about 2 hours to kill before dinner - what to do? Shop, of course! The mall was VERY spacious and Ethan was VERY happy, not only because he got to run all over but also because yup…there were escalators everywhere! Mommy was very happy too, because she spotted Forever 21, which was WAY bigger than the branch at Wisma Atria. And as for Daddy? Well, I’m sure he had a lot of fun chasing Ethan around… heh.

In accordance with our plan, we had our dinner at Marché.

The baby chairs at Marché were a little different than the ones Ethan is accustomed to, but he adjusted well to it, thankfully. So while I went to order the food, Pete entertained Ethan while waiting for the food. During our Singapore trip, we noticed that Ethan has learnt how to cross his fingers, …check it out in the pictures below….. see it?

Marché’s food is freshly made upon ordering, and because Jazzmint had recommended some stuff which she had tried before, I decided to order some of those. We tried the mushroom soup, rosti, seafood paélla, crépè with Movenpick ice cream and the root beer. And let me tell you, the root beer was simply fantastic! We’ve never tasted root beer that good before…. Oh, and Pete also *discovered* the Swiss cross buns, which looked like the regular potato buns, but taste really soft and fresh. They went oh-so-well with the mushroom soup. And what did Ethan have? Why, a little of everything of course! Except the root beer la. His favorite was the mushroom soup, the paélla and the Swiss cross buns. Yeah, he’s a carbs kinda guy.

A dinner that was a fitting end to a spectacular day.

Ethan turned 18 months (1.5 years old) last Tuesday (July 31st). And just how did we commemorate this occasion?

We took him for a visit to Dr Jessica’s.

Ethan was due for his JE jab and we had planned to share the dosage with Charlotte because the jab will only need half a vial of the vaccine. Unfortunately, even though both Ethan and Charlotte were there at the hospital, Charlotte was not feeling well, so Dr Jessica advised her against taking the jab. At first we wanted to go ahead with the JE for Ethan, but then Dr Jessica said we could take the Hib, Polio and DTaP jab instead, which was exactly what we did. This was the first booster dose. Ethan had his Polio vaccine via OPV, i.e. orally, which contains a live weakened strain of the virus and is supposedly more effective compared to the IPV method which contains the dead or inactive strain of the virus. As usual, as a precautionary measure, Ethan was given a dose of PCM, which he angrily protested to. When Dr Jessica finished giving him his jab, Ethan looked really angry, and didn’t even want to wave goodbye to the good doctor. When he came into her room, he was delighted with the array of wooden blocks and toys he could play with, but immediately after the jab, when we tried to pacify him with a wooden block, he angrily threw the block on the floor! What a temper our boy had!

Dr Jessica did comment that he was not gaining enough weight though. He now weighs in at 9.8kg, and gained only 300g from the previous visit when he was 14 months old. The doctor said he should have gained double that amount by this time. She attributes this to probably Ethan being a lot more active than normal, and she gave us the green light to feed him more.

Another concern was that he is still not able to communicate in actual words with us. According to Dr Jessica, Ethan ought to have known about 30-50 words by now, and although he is able to motion to us when he wants to go out (holds our hand, motions to us, runs to the door and puts his hand on the door), tell us what he wants (points to the raisin boxes when he wants to eat them), and say a few simple words like “Mommy” and “Deh-deh” and babble the rest of it, the reason he has a slight “language problem” could be because he is watching too much TV. TV is considered one-way communication, and the doc advised us to speak to him more (maybe each one speaks in one language only). Actually we are communicating with him, and I am trying to limit his TV intake to shows with two-way communication, like Baby Einstein DVDs, Little Einstein and The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Well, let’s pray his blabbering will result in actual words soon :)

We have another appointment in a month’s time. Let’s see what his progress is then.

Of course, the next day after the doc’s appointment, we went shopping at Queensbay Mall again :) Here’s a look at our precious Ethan Boy: all of 1.5 years!

…or rather it is heart wrenching to be a working mommy.

When we made the decision to go for a week long vacation with Ethan, we knew deep in our hearts that it would be difficult to leave him with Mrs Tan the babysitter after the long hiatus (by the way, Mrs Tan herself left for a vacation of her own too during that week). We touched down in Penang on Friday evening and I had planned on really REALLY starting bottle-feeding with formula milk last weekend itself. But on Saturday morning, Ethan woke up with a slight fever, so I decided to breastfeed him to make for speedier recovery. He would not take paracetamol orally voluntarily but we managed to *trick* him into taking *maybe* 1.5ml. His fever subsided in the afternoon, he had a good afternoon nap but his body was still slightly warm throughout the night. The next morning, he still had a slight fever and was sneezing a little too. I decided to try the same paracetamol *trick* but this time, he outsmarted me and would not even take a single sip!

So push came to shove and we took him for escalator therapy in Queensbay Mall in the afternoon. By evening after dinner, he was all right and raring to go! He slept soundly too, like an angel :)

This morning when Ethan woke up, he seemed especially more clingy than usual. When I asked him to go and greet his Daddy who was having breakfast, he refused and instead preferred to hug my legs. It was as if he *knew* Daddy and Mommy were going back to work and we were getting ready to send him to Mrs Tan’s place. It was as if he knew his vacation had ended, at least for now. Normally when we tell him “kai kai“, he would run happily to grab onto Pete’s legs, waiting to be carried. But today, none of that happened. He was crying and struggling, protesting that we were trying to take him out of the house. He sobbed all the way to Mrs Tan’s place, seemingly *knowing* what lay ahead. I myself could not stop my tears from trickling just watching him behave that way. If I had the power and means to eliminate his pain and anguish, I would do so in a heartbeat. Really I would.

When we reached Mrs Tan’s place, he wailed again, not as loudly as when we left our house, but still it broke my heart. Pete says it is normal ….

I called the sitter just now during lunch, and she said Ethan cried for a while but he was okay now. He took half a feed of his EBM and was now sleeping.

I’m missing him immensely now and I can’t wait to see my Mr Bulat again this evening.

Sunday night was another record-breaking night.  Ethan simply didn’t want to go to bed.  When we took him into the living room to play, he looked like he was sleepy, so we took him into the room.  But when he was in the room, he held either Daddy or Mommy’s finger, and motioned for us to take him out by running over to the closed door.  In the end, the three of us went to bed together, at the same time, and we *made* Ethan sleep by relying on the age-trusted method of breastfeeding.  It was close to midnight then.

It was as though Ethan did not want to sleep because he knew the weekend would be over as soon as he fell asleep.  Yeah, don’t we all wish the weekend would go on forever?

 

Last weekend, Ethan (ye of exceptional motor skills) mastered the art of climbing on top of our bed.  Ours is a bed with a side platform all round it, so all he needs to do is to climb onto the platform while holding onto the mattress, then hoist himself up onto the bed.  Ethan did that perfectly well and has been doing it most of the time when he is in our room.

Two nights ago, he was doing it again, but somehow he lost his grip and fell backwards flat on the back of his head.  He looked stunned for a moment, and then started to wail loudly!   I hugged and comforted him immediately of course, and naturally he would not let go of me after that.  But about 30 minutes later he was at it again, climbing up onto the bed in the usual manner.  After his shower that night, as he was about to sleep but still playfully sauntering around the room, he seemed to have forgotten his fall earlier, and tried to climb up and down our bed again.  But on one occasion, his hand missed the grip on the bed, and his body lurched to the left side of the bed, head first!  Thank goodness Pete was there to break his fall!  Our boy was of course shocked by this second incident and found comfort in Mommy’s arms again.

You would think these two incidents would deter him from climbing up our bed, right?  However, Ethan is a boy that chooses to deal with his fears head on: “Face my fears and I will fear no more!” - that’s his motto.  So he’s still at it now: climbing up, climbing down… well, sometimes when he remembers, he will reach out his arm for reassurance while climbing.  Hehehe….

That night after the “No Breastfeeding Before Bedtime” incident, Ethan woke up (I think) once in the middle of the night. Not too bad I would say, but it was relatively harder to put him back to sleep after that. He seemed more well-rested though and only woke up way past 9:00a.m. the next morning. I was so worried something was wrong that I quickly took his temperature for sanity’s sake! This was because normally Ethan would be up and about at around 8:00a.m. :P

It was going to be an exciting day ahead because we were going to the Family Carnival at The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. We all had breakfast together; Ethan had a wholesome and nutritious meal of oats with milk and slices of banana.

At the carnival, Ethan was VERY well-behaved. There weren’t any baby chairs in sight, so we stacked two chairs and Ethan sat on them. Another milestone? You bet! And what did our boy eat? Some wan ton mee, a strand of laksa and he had his first taste of orange juice! I gave Ethan a choice of Apple Juice, Orange Juice or water, and he reached for the orange cup, perhaps attracted to its color?

Ethan also got himself a balloon teddy at the carnival. You know, those balloons that could be bent and twisted till it resembled some cute thingy? Well, of course, he had to show his affection by biting the poor balloon teddy on its nose and thereby bursting it! Surprisingly he was not in the least bit perturbed by the loud blast… Mommy jumped up in shock but our boy was the picture of perfect coolness. The nice uncle replaced his *headless* balloon teddy with a new one, anyway. :)

After spending all our RM50 worth of coupons, we went home, took a shower and had a brief nap. It was playgroup day and Ethan needed all the energy in the world!

I want to remember this special and historical day for as long as I live. I want to have every single detail of today etched in my mind for ever. Read till the end and you’ll know why.

Our Saturday started before 8:00a.m. when Ethan woke both Pete and me up. Ethan had somehow *found* his way to our bed again the night before, and although for most part of the night we slept in the shape of an “I” or “H” or at times a “Z”, we all had a good night’s rest. Maybe it was because we all *knew* it was already the weekend :) In typical Ethan fashion, he crawled over to me, put both his hands on my cheeks and tried to wake me up. My mind was awake but my eyelids were still closed, so he rolled over to Daddy’s side and started playing with Daddy instead. We lazed around in bed and soon got up for breakfast. Ethan shared a bowl of Kellogg’s Frosties with full cream milk with me. I didn’t want to give him too much because of the high sugar content. After that I made 2oz of Isomil + Pediasure for Ethan in a bottle and Pete tried bottle-feeding him. As expected, he rejected the bottle. So I tried giving him the bottle myself instead. Pete gave him the bottle cover to play with and Ethan had a field time putting the cover on the bottle and then removing it. He then grabbed hold of the bottle and opened his mouth wide while putting the bottle nipple into his mouth. We thought he would be happily drinking the milk then but alas! It was only for a while; he had hardly drank 2 sips and he was repeating the entire process over again: close bottle cover, remove bottle cover, play with bottle, pretend to drink from bottle. In the end I decided to mix the milk with some organic arrowroot cookies which I had bought for him a few weeks ago. Guess what? Cookies, he liked. Cookies + Milk mixture, he pushed away. So much for the semblance of a plan. As a last resort, I just poured the remainder of the milk into his mug and gave it to him to drink….and you know, I was surprised he actually drank a few gulps that way. Finally to make it a wholesome breakfast, Ethan had a cup of his favorite grape-flavored yogurt, which he finished joyfully. I then gave Ethan his shower, and after that I breastfed him.

Today, I introduced the shape sorter toy his Ipoh Ah Ma bought for him some months back. Ethan was very excited when he saw the new toy and began playing with it immediately, although he can’t really play it the right way yet. He can turn the hands of the clock on the toy though :P

We then went out to have dim sum for brunch where Ethan demonstrated once again that he was really becoming a big boy, on the way to independence and self-feeding. He now eats his siew mai using a chopstick ala satay style. Yup, he eats with only one chopstick which is pushed into a piece of siew mai. He will eagerly hold the chopstick and feed himself the piece of siew mai, chomping away happily after that.


Oh, and following Uncle LB’s suggestion, Ethan tried lormaikai for the first time today. It is of course a form of rice and we are not at all surprised that Ethan loves it!

Next, off we went to Queensbay Mall. I did some clothes shopping and then we went to Toys R Us. The toy car which Ethan took a fancy to had been shifted to the back of the store. So now all the toy cars were grouped together. Of course, Ethan had to take his weekly rides in them. Hmmm….I’m still wondering if I should get one for him…. the problem is where to put the car? He discovered the police car this week…. just look at him having the time of his life!

After that we were at Borders, where we allowed Ethan to wander around in the children’s section, much to his delight. Ummm…actually he also wandered OUT of the children’s section, much to HIS delight too…. and so it wasn’t too long before our boy got knocked out while I was carrying him. He fell asleep in my arms and after a while we placed him in the stroller, while he was still sleeping. We did our grocery shopping in Jusco and then proceeded to the elevator, ready to leave Queensbay Mall. However, as soon as the lift music played, Ethan woke up alert and happy. When we reached home it was already 5:00p.m. and after we unpacked, it was half past five.

And only THEN did I breastfeed Ethan. He was such a good boy, and didn’t even demand loudly for his milk. All I did was sit on the sofa, and he came up to me with this adorable puppy-dog look that said it all, “Mommy, can I have some milk, please?” How could I say no to that?

This was also the first time we had gone out shopping for more than 5 hours that I did NOT have to breastfeed Ethan in the Baby Room in Jusco. Very very good weaning progress indeed.

Ethan played with his toys for a while, watching some TV too. Then we headed out to Old Town for dinner. Nasi lemak and roti bakar were the order of the day. Since Ethan did not take a lot (most of it was just the nasi lemak), I made him another 2oz of Isomil + Pediasure when we got home. I mixed some oats with the milk so it became oatmeal! And was I glad I did! Ethan loved it and ate a lot of it :) It was already about 9:00p.m. then.

Suddenly I had the idea of trying to put him to bed without breastfeeding him. After all, he had had a lot of the oatmeal and he was already very full by then. We gave him his warm shower and got him dressed in his peejays. I then immediately took him straight into the room, and tried to make him go to sleep. To distract him from breastfeeding, I hugged a pillow to my chest and just laid down with him on the bed. After some giggling and smiling, he tossed and turned and finally fell asleep amid my singing and humming the lullaby song his Ipoh Ah Ma sang to him when he was a little baby. It was about 10:15p.m. then. Yes, he fell asleep WITHOUT me breastfeeding him. This was the first time ever and I hope this will mark the first successful step towards a successful weaning ahead.

It was really an odd feeling when it dawned on me that my little boy did not need me to breastfeed him to make him go to sleep. On the one hand, I am happy that we are making progress in this arena, but on the other, there was a part of me that missed that special bond we shared. My labor of love would eventually come to and end soon. We knew this would happen sooner or later. Of course, Ethan has to grow up someday. But it still left me in a poignant state. Motherhood does strange things to people, and although I know I will feel a sense of emptiness inside of me when Ethan is fully weaned off, I am thankful that I had the privilege to enjoy the breastfeeding journey while it lasted.

For now, good night my darling Ethan Boy. Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite….! …..as clichéd as it may seem.

A couple of weeks ago, we noticed that Ethan seemed to be breathless at certain times.  It happened quite frequently, sometimes when he was playing and sometimes when he was just walking around.  More often than not, he would giggle and laugh and then he would follow up with a really deep inhalation, as if he was out of breath.  Because I had childhood asthma, I was afraid that Ethan might have inherited it too.  Although breastfeeding does substantially reduce the risk of contracting asthma, it is not 100% full-proof.  So I called Dr Jessica, his PD, and described his symptoms to her.  She said that since Ethan did not seem out of breath, and did not look pale when he was doing so, she reassured me that the symptoms that were presented were not those that indicate the onset of asthma, rather she suspects that it might be habitual as Ethan could have picked up this behaviour from someone he had observed.  She advised us to not make it a big issue though, and not even to tell him “No” when he does it, because that would sometimes encourage the child to do it more and more often.  So we were to monitor the situation and to let her know if it persisted.

Then I remembered that I had not diffused my aromatherapy lamp for a few weeks already.  Me, being careless and all, I dropped the lamp and the diffusing palette at the top cracked to pieces, so it was no longer usable.  Pete suggested that I get the diffuser replaced so that I could diffuse it again.  A few days after that, I managed to obtain the accessory concerned and started diffusing Eucalyptus.  Eucalyptus is well-known for its Asthma-curing properties, and I diffused it diligently every night when we sleep.  Both Pete and I simply love the aroma, and I’ve used it since Ethan was born.  After a couple of days, we were thrilled to noticethat Ethan was not exhibiting the breathless symptom anymore.  Up till today.  So, does aromatherapy do wonders?  Possibly.  We don’t know if what he had was the start of asthma or not (contrary to what the PD said), but we are certainly glad the breathlessness is no longer there.  Yay to Eucalyptus!

Last week, I read about Bryan’s possible transition into the terrible twos, but little did I know that perhaps it was also Ethan’s turn now.  We were out shopping last weekend and really, Ethan is beginning to show signs of a decision-maker.  A hot-tempered decision maker, make that.

Scenario 1
As usual he was fascinated by escalators and would insist (loudly) that we take him up and down the escalators.  If we release him to wander around on his own, he would very quickly find out where the nearest escalator is and RUN towards it.  He will have no qualms about stepping onto the escalator on his own too, so we need to run after him and accompany him on them.  As soon as he gets off the escalator, he will want to go again, either UP or DOWN.  The moment we walk away from the escalator, he will scream to no end.  He doesn’t seem to show any possible signs of getting bored with the escalators.

Scenario 2
We were in Toys R Us and Pete put Ethan in one of those little toy cars on display.  Ethan was having the time of his life!  Pretending to drive the car (it was a *Flinstones* kinda car….so he could move it by using his legs), opening and closing the door….it was hilarious!

Soon it was time to go, and I tell you, it was really torturous trying to pry Ethan away from the car.  Pete carried him out of the car, and tried to distract him with some other toy.  But Ethan would inadvertently run back to the car, open the door and get in again.  We tried taking him out again and again, each time accompanied by shrieks and screams and protests.  He only calmed down when we diverted his attention to the escalators…..

Scenario 3
Borders Children’s Section: Ethan’s favorite part of the bookstore.  He especially likes the corner where they have the story-telling section.  I suspect it is because there are steps there and he loves to climb up and down them.  3:00p.m. and it was story-telling time.  Of course the folks in Borders needed to use the story-telling corner and we told Ethan we have to make way for them.  Ethan screamed again at the top of his lungs, protesting when we were trying to take him away.  On the bright side, we can be proud that our boy is showing a keen interest in books…. :P

So, are we bound for more tantrums?  Only time will tell…

Two new records have been set.  Here’s the scoop… 

Yesterday I tar-powed Belacan Fried Rice for Pete and myself for dinner because Pete was on leave.  I then picked Ethan up from the baby sitter’s and arrived home around 6:45p.m.  When Pete and I were having dinner, we put Ethan in his high chair and gave him his grape-flavored yogurt, which he absolutely adores.  After a few spoonfuls, he showed interest in the Belacan Fried Rice instead, demanding loudly for it and gesturing that I gave some to him.  So okay la, I gave him a couple of spoonfuls, not before warning him that it was slightly spicy though.  Our boy enjoyed the rice and the yogurt tremendously, had some water to go with it and after dinner, he played around with his toys and watched TV.  I sliced a mango for dessert, so we all enjoyed it as well.  I went about my usual errands: washing the milk bottles, preparing my working clothes for the following day, doing a round of laundry….the works.  After I had taken my shower, it was already 8:30p.m. and I prepared Ethan for his shower instead.  By the time he was done and all dressed in his peejays, it was about 8:50p.m.

Do you notice something different?  Do you see where I am getting at? No?

Ethan did not ask for milk AT ALL since we arrived back home!  Usually as soon as we reached home and unpacked, he would come over to me, hug my legs and request for milk, and it usually happens around 7p.m.  But nuh-uh, that did not happen at all today.  And I only breastfed him after his shower.  That’s a significant achievement in terms of not asking for milk!

After the breastfeeding session he slept for about an hour….. and we discovered that it was really only a nap because he woke up in alarm when Pete tried to trim his nails!  SIGH…we really need to educate Ethan on the importance of trimming nails.  Because he squirms and evades us when we try to trim his nails when he is awake, Pete has to do the deed only when Ethan is in slumberland.

So after he woke up, he was his playful self again, running around the house (yes, at 10p.m. +).  And he only fell asleep when it was past 11p.m.  *This* time he slept till way past 5a.m. in his cot.  And that’s another record and MAJOR achievement worth noting down. *grins*

We’d like to see more of these records, please… :)

Yesterday was the second time Pete celebrated Father’s Day.  After church in the morning, we had a fantastic but private celebration, just the three of us…I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

Last Monday we took our car for servicing at the Toyota Service Center near the E&O Hotel.  We walked to the Tai Tong dim sum place in Kimberley Street and after that walked to Prangin Mall and Komtar.  Since it was only 9:30a.m. then, almost all the shops were still not open.  We then decided to take a cab to Gurney Plaza instead, because trust me, how many rounds of going up and down the escalators with Ethan can we keep up with? ;)

Obviously we did not have the baby car seat with us, so Ethan had to sit on my lap all the way to Gurney Plaza (decided to close one eye la, because cannot be helped ma).  We hung out at Gurney Plaza for about an hour, where Ethan played to his heart’s content at the play area (interrupted by a pangsai incident), hopped over to Toys R Us and then took a cab back to Toyota to collect our vehicle.  Oh yeah, and of course we FINALLY collected Ethan’s studio photography album.

I took Ethan to his first playgroup today.  I had planned on organizing this playgroup for so many months, I am so happy it finally materialized!  After feeding Ethan his tea at about 4p.m. (strawberry yogurt), Ethan and I made our way to Charlotte’s house.  This was the second time I had gone out all alone with Ethan.  We were the first to arrive at 5:00p.m. sharp and I let Ethan and Charlotte warm up and get to know each other.  I brought along Ethan’s Sesame Street soft books to share with the rest of the kids.  Not long after, Bryan and then Hin Lerk arrived. 

Although the kids were rather shy at first, they didn’t take too long to throw their inhibitions away.  Ethan very quickly noticed the staircase and proceeded to walk towards it.  I had to take him up and down a few times, but he was still not tired.  There were plenty of toys to have the kids occupied too, in addition to the Baby Einstein DVD which only managed to capture the kids’ attention for only a short while.  All the kids were also treated to apple slices, which Ethan walloped happily.

Something else happened during the playgroup too though, and yes it involves Ethan boy…watch:

After the incident, when Charlotte was shown Ethan’s picture, she tapped her chest repeatedly, signalling fear.  I hope Charlotte is not hurt, although there were some teethmarks on her arm afterward…Ethan will only bite when he wants to show affection or when he is “geram“… maybe it is the former? :P  I’m sure he didn’t mean to hurt such a sweet little girl like Charlotte….that being said, I hope Ethan will still be invited for the next playgroup…..

We took Ethan for his 3rd haircut on Saturday morning, after breakfast.  We went to the Brothers Hair Salon in Sg Dua where Pete also had his hair cut.  And while waiting for Daddy to finish, Ethan had a field time at the barber’s.  I had to entertain him for the 20 minutes or so, taking him around the shop to see all the different things, and finally I allowed him to sit down in one of the chairs.  Look at how happy he is, looking forward to getting his hair cut…

After the boys had their haircuts, we went to Gurney Plaza.  Took it easy window shopping and checking out the sites and sounds in the mall.  Ethan adores going to malls, and I think he can sense that we are approaching one.  He had his first kiddy ride, although he stood up most of the time.  The ride is for toddlers aged 2 and above, so we had to be very vigilant when he was on it.

Whenever we go shopping, we would make it a point to stop by Toys R Us, because Ethan just loves it there!  It’s like his second home!  When we were in the Gurney Plaza branch last Saturday, our little explorer had fun roaming and giggling in one of those Little Tykes toyhouses on display.  It was as if he now owned his own little house, complete with phone, gas stove, door and windows.  It was so difficult to pry him away from it when we were ready to go.  Hmmm….I wonder how much one of these costs…

By the way, just in case you were wondering what happened at the last part of that video, Ethan opened the door of the little house and hit me, that’s why the recording had to stop. :P

And on Sunday, when we were in the Toys R Us branch in Queensbay Mall, Ethan insisted on taking this car for a spin.

Then he would walk round and round the store, smiling and touching everything that catches his fancy.  It’s really a good exercise workout for him as well as for Pete and me because we have to chase after him the whole day long.

And of course, after all that exercise, Mommy needs her retail therapy.  What with Baby Gap open and all…  :)  And thus ends another weekend, perfect in every way…

 After many moons of procrastination and laziness, we finally dragged our weary selves out of bed this morning and headed over to the Botanical Gardens for a morning family exercise session.  It was already a little past 9 in the morning when we arrived, and although it was considerably hot, walking amongst the greenery kind of made it a little bit cooler.  We brought Ethan’s stroller along, so we could push him some parts of the way and only took him out where it was safe to toddle around, i.e. not many joggers and runners blocking the path. 

At first, Ethan was slightly confused with the new experience, as the last time he was there was so long ago.  But I’m not surprised that it only took him a while to warm up and soon he was making himself at home with nature.  He was intrigued by the trees, the leaves, the flowers, the road…just about everything in sight, blabbering and screaming loudly in delight!

We had such a good time that we are already planning and looking forward to this coming Saturday morning when (hopefully) we would be able to go again.

Huh, what? That’s a scary term to deal with.  And it is the scientific name for what is commonly known as hives.  That’s what Ethan has been diagnosed with…here’s the story:

When we picked Ethan up from Mrs Tan’s place yesterday evening, there were some small red rashes on his left cheek.  I applied some Sebamed Baby Cream as soon as we got back and breastfed him.  He fell asleep soon after and was still asleep even when Pete came back from his futsal game.  Ethan woke up at about 8:30p.m. and played for a while before we bathed him.  During his bath, we noticed that there were also small tiny rashes of a similar kind on his legs and a couple on his back.  I applied some baby cream and Egozite on those rashes and some calamine cream on his legs too.  Then early this morning, we felt his body was slightly warmer than usual and I promptly took his temperature.  We had bought a digital ear thermometer a couple of months back, so it was significantly easier to register a temperature compared to our conventional armpit thermometer.  The reading was 36.3 degrees, i.e. no fever.  Phew!

But still, I was paranoid and decided to take him to see Dr Jessica, for fear of it being HFMD.  After about an hour’s wait at GMC, we were ushered in and Dr Jessica examined Ethan.  She remarked that it could be due to the Enfapro formula which Ethan had been taking for the previous 2 days, albeit mixed with his oats.  Thankfully he had no ulcers and his fever had subsided.  Dr Jessica just asked us to apply the Egocort cream on Ethan’s rashes and monitor his condition, in case there is a fever.  We were to stop giving him Enfapro and instead, if we wanted, we could introduce the hypo-allergenic Nestle NAN H.A. formula. (I told Dr Jessica that I had a taste of NAN H.A. last night and it was HORRIBLE!  So much more bitter than Enfapro and made me almost throw up!)  In addition, Dr Jessica also gave us some sachets of Isomil, which was lactose-free, and she added that adults could also take it since it tastes like soya bean milk :)

We had lunch at Fatty Loh’s Chicken Rice at Tanjung Tokong where Ethan really enjoyed his chicken rice (and even demanded for more when we were done), and then we went home to pack up for half-day work.  I packed one feed of EBM for Ethan to bring to Mrs Tan’s place and brought along that tin of NAN H.A..  I gave her specific instructions to STOP Enfapro for the time being and try NAN H.A. instead.  Let’s pray that Ethan will be cured of his Papular Urticaria soon.  I’m ever so thankful that I have been breastfeeding him for so long :)

It’s Mother’s Day today.  A day for all mothers to kick back, relax and leave all the chores to Daddy and the kids.  And it’s the second time I actually qualify to celebrate it.  Ethan greeted me at 8:30a.m. today with an adorable smile.  A smile that melted my heart and made carrying him simply irresistable.

We had a quick breakfast at home and then got ready to go to church.  Surprisingly Ethan behaved himself rather well in church and although there were times he preferred NOT to sit still, he eventually fell asleep towards the end of the service.  The priest then requested all mothers to step forward to receive a blessing for Mother’s Day, so I had to pass the angelic-looking Ethan to Pete to carry.  He slept all the way till the end until we were about to load him into the car, then he awoke and started complaining.  After some reassurance (and car air-cond), he quietened down and we headed towards Queensbay Mall.  Yippeee….We were going to have lunch at Friday’s :), one of our favorite haunts.  As we were turning into Queensbay Mall, Ethan exclaimed excitedly, it was as if he *knew* where we were going (I think he was only thinking “escalators”…hehe).  Ethan was the picture of happiness when we arrived at Friday’s, and he smiled at every stranger that would so much as glance at him.  I managed to record his cheeky antics while waiting for our food… this is how Ethan handles impatience…

At the end of the day, it was a terrific Mother’s Day, spent with love and MORE love.  Happy Mommy’s Day to me! :) I could not ask for more…

Pete was still down with the flu yesterday, and I had to go out to get a few items to cook.  So I decided to take Ethan along with me to the minimart near where we stay.  While opening and locking the door of our house, Ethan was really intrigued with the padlocks which I guess he hasn’t seen up close before.  I loaded him into his car seat and we were off.  Carrying him on my right and fumbling to pay the shopkeeper with my left hand was quite tricky, but since I did not buy a lot of stuff, I managed. :) Although he could already walk, I did not put him on the ground for fear he wander without my noticing.  We were out for about half an hour and then came back home.

That was the first time I had gone out all alone with Ethan…perhaps a first of many?

Lately I have started becoming slightly conscious of attempts to wean Ethan from my breast (I say *slightly* because I think subconsciously I am not even sure myself if I want to wean…but eventually my boy will have to grow up, right?). 

Every evening when we come home from work, Ethan will play with his toys for a moment, before he realizes he misses me, and then he will come over to me and ask for comfort suckling.  Sometimes he will drift off for a short nap before he wakes up and takes his bath.  But sometimes he will just sleep through and miss his bath entirely.  That’s all right too, cos his baby sitter has started giving him a late afternoon bath as well nowadays, because he is so active that he sweats a lot.  Anyway, when he is ready for bed, I will breastfeed him and tuck him in when he is done.  I tell you, he looks so preciously adorable when he is fast asleep… angelic, even…

Previously when he wakes up during the night, or about midnight, I will breastfeed him again, a surefire way to get him back to dreamland.  But a few days ago, when he woke up around 11p.m., I took him into the kitchen and gave him a drink of water.  Ethan can drink from a normal adult cup now and loves doing so, but since I have yet to get him a lighter one he can hold himself, I still need to hold the ceramic cup for him now.  After a few gulps of water, I took him into the room and laid down with him on the bed.  Miraculously he fell asleep immediately!  So he was just thirsty!  And he slept till 4:30a.m. - which is good judging by Ethan’s standards okay? 

Apart from water, I’ve also tried singing and rocking him to sleep sometimes.  In fact most of the time, when he wakes up during the night, it’s not because he is hungry but more so because he feels lonely or perhaps just thirsty.  So there you have it.  My *feeble* attempt at weaning.  May not be much thus far, but it’s a start.

I don’t know what got into Ethan last night, but it was SO difficult to put him to bed.  After his warm bath at about 9p.m., I breastfed him.  Under normal circumstances, he would be in dreamland in about 15 minutes or less.  Last night, he decided that he still wanted to play.  He hopped down from my lap after he had his milk, then he walked over to his toys and began playing with his colored blocks.  I cajoled him to go to bed, but he refused.  Instead, he chose to walk around the house babbling incoherently, eyes wide awake, mind you!  After some time, I decided to take him into our room and make him sleep there instead (this plan worked before).  But instead of falling asleep on our comfy bed, he preferred to roll around, crawl around and even walk around the room… so much for my plan!  I had to wait for him to tire himself out, I thought.  I even asked Pete to pretend to sleep on the bed with Ethan and I to see if our boy would want to sleep too.  But Ethan was adamant he wanted to play still…. so Pete decided to take him out into the living room, while I did the laundry and some cleaning up.

Finally, we noticed that Ethan had a hint of eyebags which denoted he was ready for bed, but still he was *conversing* with us loudly and excitedly.  I took him into the room anyway, and he fell asleep after 10 minutes! :)  It was already past 11:00p.m. then.

Ethan woke up in the middle of the night, but I was not stirred from my sleep at all, until Ethan called “Mommeeee!” clearly.  That got me right out of bed - well, Pete brought Ethan to me la.  Hehe… well, actually I had no recollection of the incident in the middle of the night, except for the “Mommeeee!” part.  Pete, who can wake up at the drop of a pin, was the one who told me what happened.

On Monday when we were walking towards Mrs Tan’s house and Pete was carrying Ethan, Ethan cried in a manja manner and wanted me to carry him.  When we reached Mrs Tan’s doorstep, Ethan cried slightly louder and protested to being left with Mrs Tan and wanted to stick to me like glue.

Luckily Mrs Tan quickly interjected by saying, “Where’s the bird?  Where’s the bird?” (She’d hang a birdie toy in the doorway of one of the rooms and it sang a song when touched).  Well well… Ethan immediately looked toward the direction of the birdie toy, seemingly distracted.  Pete and I said our goodbyes and made a quick escape.

I was kinda sad leaving Ethan at the sitter’s because he apparently knows now that he is being left with someone else while Pete and I are at work.  :( Mrs Tan says it happens to all babies.  I can only pray that Ethan will understand…

 

In a blink of an eye, my little boy is now 14 months old.  And yes, I am still breastfeeding.

Weight
9.1 kg as of his last visit with Dr Jessica.

Height
76cm as of his last visit with Dr Jessica.

Teeth
8 in total: 4 incisors top and bottom (bottom side incisors growing quicker than top ones).  Makes for a really cheeky grin.

Motor Skills

Ethan can walk as fast as he can crawl now, and lately I have been noticing that he is trying to step up stairs too, for instance when we were in church, he would try to step up the steps leading to a wooden door.  Sometimes I have even caught him trying to stand on one foot…. yeah, like a stork. :P

Oh yeah…and did I mention our boy can make music?

Ethan likes to play with his toothbrush.  No no…not brush his teeth, but hold the toothbrush up in the air and babble incoherently.

Pete: Ethan, toothbrush… toothbrush (pointing to the toothbrush)
Ethan: OOohhhh  bebababa..tatata……

Communication & Social Skills

  • Will try to join in the conversations we have, but what Ethan says is mostly babbling.  Ethan voice is really loud and when he wants something, he will shriek and scream.  We are trying to teach him to NOT scream but to converse properly when he wants to communicate something - no luck so far.
  • Whenever he sees Pete and I hugging, he will want in on the hug too, and will toddle towards us and hug our legs.
  • Every weekday morning before Pete and I leave for work, Pete would carry Ethan out and head towards the car.  Lately when we are about ready to leave, Ethan would walk really fast towards Pete and hug his legs, requesting to be carried.
  • When I am taking my shower, sometimes Ethan would ask Pete to take him to our room (where I am in the bathroom), so that he can bang on my door :).  Sometimes Pete would relent, but at other times, when Pete is busy watching ESPN or something… Ethan would walk over to my room door and bang on it himself :D

Food & Eating Habits

We’ve been pretty lenient with Ethan’s food the past month and he has had the luxury of enjoying an array of outside food, among others, char siew pau.  Last weekend, we were at Soba Yoshi’s and since I didn’t bring his porridge out, I tried (again) to feed him chawan mushi with some calrose rice.  I tried giving him chawan mushi a couple of weeks back, but he was not very keen on it then.  This time, the little fella walloped it like nobody’s business.  He’s just a chip off the old block eh?

Since we gave him spaghetti at Friday’s a couple of weeks back, he has also taken to eating with his hands.  We would feed him porridge, for example, and sometimes, he would put his fingers in, taking out chunks of porridge and whatever is in it, look at it, and then put it back into his mouth.

I took a day off on emergency leave today because Ethan came down with the flu and had slight fever.  Must have either been contracted from the little girl he played with and hugged in church last Sunday or just a side effect from the chicken pox jab he had.

He still looked his usual self but slightly tired-looking.  He slept for 30 minutes in the morning and another 30 minutes in the afternoon.  I breastfed him the whole day long and I decided to breastfeed him for lunch too, as well as give him as much fluids as possible.  When he woke up at 3:45p.m., I prepared some organic carrot noodles which I had bought some weeks ago.  I cooked the noodles with some egg, lettuce and a little bit of ikan bilis powder.  At first he would not take it, and kept turning away, but when I put the bowl of noodles in front of him with a teaspoon and showed him how to use the spoon, he became VERY interested suddenly…. not sure if he was more interested in the spoon or the food la…but anyhow, I managed to get him to eat a few spoonfuls.  Feed the flu, the say…

Get well soon, my darling Ethan boy! :)  I know Ethan enjoyed me staying at home with him today as much as I did…. I could really get used to this! ;)

*SAHM: Stay At Home Mom

To a certain extent, I am always engulfed with guilt whenever we leave Ethan off at the baby sitter’s place in the morning before we go to work.  Lately it has become more difficult for me, more so because now when we leave him there in the mornings, he gives us a forlorn look as if he *knows* we are not going to be around him for a few hours.  It’s not that Mrs Tan the babysitter does not treat him well, but more like he is sad that we won’t be there for that period of time (when we’re at work).

And in the evening when we reach Mrs Tan’s place to pick him up, his face will immediately light up when he sees or hears us.  His eyes will gleam and his lips will unfurl into the cutest sweetest smile ever, all the way into Daddy’s arms.  When we reach home, he will walk/crawl to me and hug my legs for dear life (yes, like koala bear).  Sometimes he will say “mum mum mum mum mum” and if there is still no response he will scream “MUM MUM MUM MUM MUM” even louder, until I feed him.

That’s his way of saying “I miss you Mommy!”  and you know what?  I most certainly miss him too!

Hurray!  It’s the weekend again.  I love weekends because being a working mom, the weekends are the only times I get to spend quality AND quantity time with Peter and Ethan.  We make it a point to really enjoy ourselves thoroughly during weekends, no matter what we do.  I don’t share the sentiments of some parents who claim they are more tired during the weekends, because for me, it is the opposite… weekends really get me energized!  However, come Sunday night, we’re always wondering where the weekend has gone… you know what they say about time flying by when you’re having fun?  SIGH……

Last weekend, we decided to spend the Saturday at Queensbay Mall shopping.  As usual, our boy was very excited upon reaching the mall.  We shopped for a bit: bought a couple of board books for Ethan from Borders.  Ethan had a lot of fun in the children’s section at Borders, and was quite reluctant when it was time to go.

Dinnertime: we decided to go to T.G.I.Friday’s: good food, great fun…okay okay…we were actually itching to go there too…heh heh….

Pete ordered the JD Burger and I ordered the Salmon Steak (yummy!).  We ordered spaghetti for Ethan.  We figured it was time for him to try the spaghetti for real and gave him strand by strand of the pasta to feed himself with it.  Of course, he had to feed himself with his hands, since he had not mastered the use of the fork and spoon yet.  It was the first time Ethan ate restaurant food by himself, and he really looked so adorable doing so.  Hmmph… the pasta Mommy made, he rejected.  But TGIF one, he ate willingly and even asked for more as he finished each strand, banging loudly on the table!
All in all, we enjoyed ourselves very much… Ethan did too, judging by the mess he made around his high chair.

Sunday, I cooked my claypot chicken rice, so we ate at home before going to Gurney Plaza.  We bought more books for Ethan from MPH.  The books were at a steal at only RM9.90 each!  I couldn’t resist getting 3!

And our boy is already enjoying himself with his new books now…

Home Alone with Ethan

… well, for about 2 hours only…

Yesterday (Wednesday) was Pete’s futsal day, so after we pick Ethan up from Mrs Tan’s place, I spent the evening with Ethan. 

It’s more challenging now because Ethan is VERY mobile and VERY kepo, so he will move around really quickly from room to room.  I played with him for a while, then I fed him, and then we watched American Idol together  :) and waited for Daddy to come back.  Then Ethan had his warm bath before his bedtime at 9:30ish. 

Cool way to spend a Wednesday night huh?

Ethan is so much better now.  I knew he was already back to his old self when he woke me up giggling in his sleep last Saturday morning.  Can you imagine?  He slept till 9a.m.?!!

We still fed him his medication through the weekend, because we wanted to be certain there would be no recurrence of the illness.  Guess what?  We only found out yesterday that the syringe that we used to administer the medicine needed to be positioned at an angle so that the medicine will be shot right down his throat, giving him no chance to gargle or cough it up.  So last night, we promised Ethan that it would be the absolute last time he would be taking the medicine.

This horrible coughing illness has been a force to be reckoned with, and I am SO GLAD that we will soon be rid of it forever. 

Recovery time:

Pete - 8 weeks
Joyce - 4 weeks
Ethan - 1 week

Another amazing fact from Ethan boy, courtesy of being an exclusively breastfed baby!

Ethan woke up this morning coughing and sneezing even more than he did yesterday; I even detected some phlegm when he coughed.  We fed him his Rhinathiol and Polaramine, despite his fierce protests… it always tugs my heartstrings to see him cry and scream like that when we try to feed him medicine :(

After dropping him off at the sitter’s (with instructions to give him more milk and water, and to wipe his nose), I called Dr Jessica to inquire what could be wrong.  She reassured me that the symptoms for his illness would tend to take a turn for the worse on the 3rd or 4th day, before becoming better.  As long as he wasn’t wheezing (which was a sign of bronchitis), there should be nothing to worry about.  She also said I could bring him in for a quick checkup in the evening if I wanted to be further reassured and for her to check Ethan too.

I then called Mrs Tan, our babysitter, and she proudly proclaimed that Ethan had finished his entire morning feed of 5oz of EBM at one go and was feeling better already.  In fact, he was taking a nap when I called.  I was glad. :D

After work, Pete and I took Ethan to see Dr Jessica, who again confirmed and reassured us that his lungs were clear.  She cautioned us, however, that if his breathing was rapid (more than 40 breaths per minute), we should inform her.  She instructed us to continue with the medication and hopefully with the breastfeeding, he would be all well tomorrow.

Dearest darling Ethan boy, Mommy and Daddy are praying that you will get well soon!

Ethan came down with a fever this morning.  38.2 degrees.  Not sure if it’s accurate, cos I didn’t have the time to get an ear thermometer yet, so I had to use the underarm mercury thermometer method.  We took him to see Dr Jessica, and she confirmed that the bacteria from my cough had spread to him before his flu got better.  His fever had shot up to 38.4 degreen then.  So unfortunately, she had to put him on antibiotics.  She prescribed Axithromycine, which is from the same family as Erithromycine (the antibiotics that I took), and Ethan was to take it for 3 days.  She also prescribed Rhinathiol (for cough) and Polaramine (for flu).  Paracetamol also, but we were also provided with the suppository option, since Ethan rejects medicine taking orally. Sigh…

Tried giving him the medicine… he blew the medicine out.  Then when we shot it straight down his throat, he gargled the medicine and refused to swallow it.  We also tried alternating the medicine while feeding him soup, but our boy was not willing to be outsmarted.  He would check the spoon to see if it’s clear (i.e. soup) or red (i.e. medicine) before taking it.  So… it was certainly a chore to give him the medicine, and heart-wrenching too, I might add.

I hope he gets better soon.

NO to Pacifiers

The use of pacifiers for babies have long been touted as an *easy-way-out* method to calm babies (read: shut them up). I guess that’s why they call it the *dummy*. The usage of pacifiers causes nipple confusion especially in the early stages of breastfeeding, is easily soiled and just yesterday, I was saddened to read the news that it caused a 14-month old baby to choke to death:

Toddler chokes to death on pacifier
JOHOR BARU: A 14-month-old baby boy suffered for almost 90 minutes before dying, after he accidentally swallowed his pacifier at his babysitter’s house.
The victim, whose parents work as factory operators in Singapore, was sent to his babysitter’s house in Taman Johor Jaya here yesterday.
It is learnt that the parents have been sending the baby to the babysitter for more than a year.
Yesterday, the babysitter put the pacifier into the baby’s mouth when she went to prepare his milk at about 10am. When she came back to check on him, she was horrified to see that he had swallowed the pacifier.
She tried to pull it out but it was stuck in the baby’s throat. She rushed him to a nearby clinic but the people there could not extricate it. By the time he was taken to Sultan Ismail Hospital at 11.30am, he was pronounced dead on arrival.

I am glad that we have NEVER once used a pacifier with Ethan. Mom had also never used a pacifier for my brother and I when we were babies. Of course initially it was difficult because when Ethan needed to be calmed down, we had to talk, sing, soothe, rock and nurse by offering “the human pacifier” to him. It has all been worth every bit of the effort as there is no need to break him from the pacifier habit now.

Yesterday evening when we picked Ethan up from the sitter’s, she proudly announced that Ethan had begun to take his first baby steps. Although still wobbly, she said that he was holding on to a chair and then very gingerly let go and took a few steps towards her!

Pete and I were ecstatic! Imagine, from a non-mobile infant to a crawl-everywhere-and-opens-and-closes-all-doors baby and NOW to a soon-to-be-free-roaming toddler! Wow… next milestone! Check!

However, I can’t help but feel that I would sometimes miss out on important milestones like these, being a working mom and all. So even though I am jubilating over his first few steps, I am a little sad that I wasn’t there to see it. C’est la vie…

Ah well. Maybe, hopefully… I will be there to witness the first few REAL steps, not the unstable ones. Hehehe…. me being my kiasu self now.

Oh, by the way, yesterday evening after we brought Ethan back home, I saw him take 1.5 steps from one side of the cot to the other! So I’m happy. Hee.

The moment you came into our lives
My pain all vanished when I heard your cries
After our nine-month getting-to-know-you session
You really lived up to our every expectation!
When I first held you in my arms
I loved your smell, your closeness and your warmth
The tears I shed were definitely tears of joy
I couldn’t believe we now have a beautiful baby boy!

And so began our breastfeeding journey
You were a pro, even though you were so tiny
Cradling you while singing a lulling song
Our bond as mother and child grew strong

Diaper sizes from NB to S, then M and now L,
You turned into someone we knew so well
That cheeky grin and mischievous smile
We really got used to your “bulat” style!

First you rolled over, and then you were sitting
Before we knew it, you were an expert at crawling!
Cruising and then standing and babbling to talk
We’re now eagerly awaiting the day you learn to walk!

A year of sleepless nights we endured
Why you can’t sleep through yet, we’re not entirely sure
You certainly are a picture of energy
A chatterbox too, yes you’re a talkative baby!

You’re a food lover, you’re not at all fussy
Your favorite is of course, when you dine at Mommy’s
Now that you have 4 teeth and of course still counting
We anticipate days ahead of more yummy eating!

Our darling Ethan boy, as you turn one,
Daddy and Mommy are as proud as the sun!
For what we once called our bundle of joy
Has now been transformed into a big boy!

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Yes, we will not be able to fully realize the immensity of God’s love for us until we become parents ourselves. Putting ourselves in our Father’s shoes, we come to realize the selfless sacrifice He made for us whilst we were yet sinners. Just imagine… sacrificing your precious son’s life.

And as I sang Ethan to sleep just the other night, God spoke to me with the verse above. Then and there, I gave thanks to Him for blessing us with our Ethan boy, our pride and our joy.

In the still of the night, there was nary a sound around when suddenly… Ethan: Waaaahhhhhhhh….!!!!
Pete: (happily) I’ll get it! (proceeds to go to Ethan’s cot to cuddle and soothe him)
Ethan: Wawaahhhhhhh….!!! (starts sniffling and sobbing)
Pete: (picks Ethan up) Don’t cry boy, don’t cry….Good boy…
Ethan: (kicks and screams even harder) WaaaaaHhhh!!! Mamamaamamama…….!!!

Pete: Daddy is here, Daddy is here…
Ethan: Mamamamamaaaaa….!!!!! (kicking, screaming, stretching, the works…)
Pete: (frustrated liao) Nah, nah..Mommy is here ….
Me: (taking Ethan in my arms)
Ethan: (immediately making himself cosy in my arms and begins to fall asleep again)

Pete: (sighs) Magic.

Yes, Ethan still CANNOT sleep through the night. SIGH… We have tried countless methods, but still no results. The latest method we tried was the controlled crying method, which was really too heartwrenching for us as parents. This involved letting him cry for longer periods of time as opposed to going to him immediately when he calls. We succeeded for like 5 days or so and then gave up, more so cos we read that Ethan could very well be a baby of very strong and persistent personality and this method does not work well in these cases, according to
Dr Sears.

Back when Ethan was but a month old, a good girlfriend of mine told me that soon I would see that Ethan would be sticking to me like a stamp to a letter. Even more so in my case, she continued… because I exclusively breastfeed Ethan.
Well that is becoming an apparent reality now as Ethan is now VERY attached to me. He sometimes lets out an urgent cry when he sees me leave the room. And he sometimes also hugs my hand to sleep. Yes… our bond as mother and baby has been strengthened many folds by the beautiful act of breastfeeding. And of course, it is an unwritten fact that babies tend to equate their daddies to playtime and their mommies to nurturing.

But when does this dependence end? I for one, choose to cherish it while it lasts…

Since we’d already travelled for Christmas, we spent New Year’s in Penang, in the comfort of our apartment. One of my New Year resolutions is to cook more frequently, since I have “ready” customers at home who relish my cooking. Heh… does wonders for the ego too, I might add. So to start the New Year off with a bang (pun intended), I decided to cook today. Pete was such a dear and he looked after Ethan while I dished out the goodies.I’ll have to admit I actually went kind of bonkers and dished out 5 dishes today, instead of the customary 3. The 5 dishes were:

  • Stir-fry beef with celery and carrots (This was the first time I cooked this dish, let alone cook beef. I introduced beef to Ethan today, so since he only took a small portion of the beef, I used the greater part of the meat for this dish)
  • Ginger & spring onion chicken
  • Baked beans with eggs & bombay onions
  • Stir-fry Baby bok choy
  • Watercress soup

Of course, the dishes were served with a healthy concoction of red rice + Herbal Ponney rice + Energy Grain Mix (millet + quinoa + buckwheat).

Delicious or not, you’ll have to ask Pete la…

So as we bid buh-bye to the year 2006, I fondly recall the many blessings God has bestowed upon us and the priceless episodes that have indelibly changed my life:

  • I gave birth to our darling Ethan boy, sans epidural
  • I changed diapers for the first time in my life. Now Pete refers to me as the expert…
  • I experienced the beautiful bond of breastfeeding and am still cherishing the experience to this day
  • Ethan’s first giggle which was filled with such pure innocence and joy.
  • I felt the wonderment of being a mother, and more importantly, of being a parent. Motherhood and parenthood really makes us appreciate our own parents more.
  • …And I witnessed how awesome a daddy Peter is. The way his face lights up when he looks at our little angel - that’s definitely worth a million bucks.

Lately Ethan has taken a liking to blubbering, i.e. puckering his lips, making the “brrrrrruuuuu…” sound (aka blowing raspberries), and using his index finger to flick his lips up and down. Then of course he will indulge in the baby blabbering. Occasionally we do catch a few words like deh-deh (Daddy maybe?) ….., mum-mum…, beh-beh (waving buh-bye) and just a couple of days ago, something which sounded remotely like “Mummeee….”. (yay!)However, it is unfortunately an unwritten rule that girls mature faster than boys, and also that the fairer sex is more adept at picking up languages. Just a few days ago, I met up with a fellow breastfeeding mommy friend of mine for lunch, and she told me that her daughter (now 15 months’ old) can already count from 1 to 10! Amazing!

Well, we don’t know when our boy will start having conversations with us, but we certainly can’t wait… for now, we are constantly speaking to him like we would to another adult, and he would listen attentively, even laughing on cue sometimes. It’s true that babies can understand and mimic what adults say fairly easily, especially at this age, when their brain is like a sponge. Therefore, we need to remind ourselves (and also those around us) to be careful NOT to use words which we do not want him to pick up at this tender age. You’d be surprise what babies these days can absorb…

Now until that precious first word is spoken, we’ll have to content ourselves with:

Me: What did you do today, Ethan?
Ethan: Wa wa wa…bababa…..brrruu, bruuuu……!!!
Me: Wah….really? What else?
Ethan: Mamamummmm…..vavava…..bruuu, bruuuu…..!!!
Me: Have you learned to say “Mommy” today?
Ethan: Brruuuuu…bruuuuuu….!!!! (showing a toothy grin)

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la…!!!

With Christmas about a week away, we are all in a Christmassy mood now. Festive decorations adorn the malls, Christmas trees are sprouting out everywhere and Christmas carols are played 24/7, transforming the hot and humid Penang into a “winter wonderland” of sorts.
This year’s Christmas will mark Ethan’s very first Christmas and we intend to make it as memorable as possible, for him and of course, for us too. The layman would easily associate Christmas with presents, and although we too visited the newly opened Queensbay Mall to complete our Christmas shopping, we would like to eventually inculcate the understanding of the true meaning of Christmas to Ethan.

Christmas isn’t Christmas till it happens in your heart, so the song goes. So really, the presents we exchange during Christmas merely represents the wonderful act of giving and sharing from the heart, which form the essence of Christmas: LOVE. I expect that Ethan would be thrilled with the presents he’d receive each Christmas from now on, but in the years to come, I hope and endeavor to draw his attention to that lonely manger in Bethlehem, many, many years ago where the very first Christmas was celebrated with the birth of Jesus Christ. That was where Christmas started and will forever stay in our hearts.

Well, as a start, I have been singing him Christmas carols almost every day now: Joy to the World, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Come All Ye Faithful….you name it, I’ve sung it. I do it all the time, while changing him, while nursing him or even when riding in the car with him… I’m glad he is enjoying my renditions…maybe cos I have a sweet voice.. ahem!

We will be spending Christmas Eve in Taiping (Pete’s hometown) and Christmas Day in Ipoh (my hometown). I know everyone is looking forward to Christmas this year. So are we.

Life’s Lessons

Before we had Ethan, I was told that having kids would teach me patience. Well, apart from patience, Ethan has also taught us many priceless lessons. Some of the lessons serve merely as a reminder to us, as we may have forgotten them due to the humdrum of our daily routine and busy life.Perseverance
Better known as the “Never Say Die” attitude, Ethan exhibits this daily. Since becoming mobile, he is a champion at proclaiming this cause. For example, when he is free to roam on the living room floor, he will very rapidly crawl to our TV cabinet, move himself to standing position and watch TV – AT CLOSE RANGE! Of course, we’ll tell him “No, Ethan….don’t do that!” and carry him away from the TV back to the floor. But immediately he will move to the TV again. Same thing happens in his cot. He will grab the sides of it, stand up and start chomping on the cot ends, but not before he flashes a mischievous grin. His cot railings are covered with plastic protectors on both the lengths of the cot, but our incredibly “smart” boy will only chomp on the uncovered wooden ends! Affinity for wood, you’d think? Go ask the woodpecker/woodchuck…

Demonstrative
When you love someone, show it, right? Ethan shows affection by BITING.
I really honestly believe that he thinks that he is being affectionate when he bites and sucks my chin, shoulder, arm, finger and just yesterday night, my leg!!!

When all else fails, SMILE!
Ethan will still be smiling even though he has a fever or cough. His smile is so infectious that he makes us smile too. Thank you Ethan boy for reminding us of the power of a smile.

Parenting and parenthood is all about learning, I believe. It works both ways. Just as we impart knowledge to Ethan, in the same mysterious way, he teaches us wonderful things every day.

Little Ethan boy decided to join the CNY festivities and collect a few angpows, coming into this world 2 weeks-plus earlier than the due date! He was born via normal delivery at 3:43pm Tuesday, Jan 31st, 2006. Weighing a tiny 2.5kg at birth, he packs a mega-decibel cry for someone so small, putting the bigger babies in the nursery to shame.

1 hour after birth. Contented with himself…for being such a brave boy and not giving Mommy and Dr. Ooi any complications.
“YAWN! Mommy, I’m tired now and I need my nap.” - Ethan feeling the after-effects of a good cry!
“Huh?! Do I still need to pose? Here you go Daddy…my “bulat” face!” - Ethan frowning in between meals.

 

June 2017
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