Monday, May 31, 2010

Oh Shit!

Are you wondering what's egg yoke doing inside the Bumbo seat?

Well, that's no egg yoke. It's actually Kenan's poo. Yes, his poo leaked from the diapers again, and I didn't even know it until I carried him out of the Bumbo and felt the side of my t-shirt and shorts turning wet!

After this latest misadventure, my suspicion has been confirmed - the cause of the leakage is with the diapers. For the whole of last week, Kenan was wearing another brand of diapers and I didn't encounter any staining of the side guards, not to mention a leakage. The brand that we prefer probably has a poor fitting (the design doesn't offer sufficient coverage, or is my boy's bum bigger than the average baby's?!?). So looks like we have to switch brands, and hopefully, bring an end to my 'nightmares'.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Roll Baby, Please Roll

In the last two weeks, my neck has grown much longer, thanks to Kenan.

Two weeks ago, it was as long a giraffe’s. By now, it’s probably almost like that of a Brachiosaurus.

Ok so I’m speaking figuratively, but honestly, that’s how I feel.

Since Kenan turned four months old, I’ve been looking forward to him being able to roll over. It seems the fourth month marks the time when many babies start acquiring the skill. Some of them could even do it before reaching four months.

So when more and more forum mommies are reporting about their little ones’ successes in rolling over, I felt really envious. Yet at the same time, I started worrying if Kenan is being too slow in reaching this new milestone.

I decided to take a look at the developmental checklist in Kenan’s health booklet. Under the ‘Gross Motor’ section, it states that majority of babies can roll over from stomach to back or back to stomach by FIVE MONTHS OLD. Gosh, that would be about two weeks away!

Except for one occasion (about two, three weeks ago) where he nearly turned from tummy onto his back (his hand was placed such that it obstructed his complete roll over), he has yet to come close to doing it again. And he doesn’t even seem keen to try. He is very happy lying on his back. When I give him tummy time, he could prop himself up for a couple of minutes. But when he gets tired, he will start making lots of noise, yet no matter how much he fusses, he simply refuses to try rolling onto his back by himself!

So I thought I could lend a helping hand. I’ve practised with him (he can roll over whenever I help him to turn to his side) and demonstrated to him on my bed how to roll over hoping he might think it’s fun to imitate mommy; I’ve also thought desperation might be a good motivator and left him to cry while on his tummy - but none of these has any effect as yet.

I shared with some mommy friends my anxiety. Interestingly, they all told me not to compare with other babies as each child is unique.

However, as a mommy, I can’t help being concerned about my child’s developments. I wish that my boy will grow up healthily. And being a mommy, I’m always looking forward to seeing my son learning something new and celebrating each of his milestones.

Yet perhaps what’s really making me anxious is the realisation that there’s just so much I can do for him – how things turn out is really beyond my control. I suppose this is something I have to learn as a mommy but it's certainly not an easy lesson.

I can be an encourager, a guide, a mentor and a coach to my boy, but my child’s life is in his hands. My role as a mommy should be to help nurture him, to create opportunities for him to discover his strengths and passions, and help him develop good values and life skills that will empower him to fulfill his greatest potential.

I know all that in my head, but it's not easy to live it out though. Because as a parent, I have certain hopes and dreams for my son (like how I secretly wish that he becomes a plastic surgeon so I can get free cosmetic procedures when I'm old!). I will have to remind myself not to press him into the mould that I wish him to fit into and instead, give him room to blossom into the special individual that God has created him to be - and that is my daily prayer.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep praying too that Kenan will roll over when the five months mark comes along!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lonely Mommy Finds Support

Being a new mommy was a lonely business. I’m not sure if my feelings were a result of the baby blues I was experiencing but during the initial days, I felt enveloped by a deep sense of loneliness.

Where’s everybody?

I’m an only child. This means that I do not have siblings whom I can turn to for help; neither do I have parents who can lend a hand as my dad has passed away and my mother is of poor health. This made me really envious of those who have strong support from immediate family during the confinement period.

How about the mother-in-law? Unlike some moms-in-law who try to intrude upon married couples at the birth of their grandchild, mine is from the opposite camp. Strangely, though I’m not close to her, during that period, I actually felt upset by her seeming lack of concern, and even questioned my husband about it. He said she was afraid her help would be unwelcomed. But she could have at least asked, that would show she cares, I retorted, desperate for some sign of concern and empathy. To be fair, she bought me some Chinese herbs and brewed longan red date tea for me when I was staying at the hospital (hubby asked her for help as he had to accompany baby and me in the hospital, while also trying to finish up some preparations at home as baby was born three weeks early).

Then, I thought perhaps I could find solace among friends. But somehow, those whom I’ve counted on for support just weren’t there for one reason or another. I felt extremely disappointed and let down; it was enough to make me question the meaning of friendship.

But in the midst of all the misery I felt, comfort and support did come, and from people I’ve never expected.

Sweet Gestures

One evening, my husband’s ex-colleague and his family came visiting. I’ve been seeking advice from the wife regarding breastfeeding since coming home. Knowing the problems I faced, she bought me a nursing pillow; she reckoned it would help me to better nurse my baby. It was so thoughtful of her! Having breastfed both her daughters, she also asked me to call her any time I needed help. She became a great source of encouragement by generously sharing with me her knowledge and experience in breastfeeding. Without her, I think I would have given up and my baby would have been deprived of the best food in the world!

Then another friend visited. A mompreneur with two very sweet girls, she is also helping to manage her husband’s business. Yet not only did she find time to drop by, she even went out to buy me a nipple shield as I told her about having really sore nipples. I was so touched!

In those very lonely moments, it was little sweet gestures like these that kept me going.

Online support

As the days went by, I learnt to cope with the new challenges of motherhood and began to feel less moody. But the loneliness did not go away. By then, my hubby has returned to work and I was getting sick of the monotony of feeding and changing diapers. I craved meaningful interactions with another adult. I felt silly carrying on monologues with a small infant whom at that point, did not even know how to coo. I was also wishing for people whom I can turn to for advice, but I feel bad for always approaching the same few friends.

Eventually, my search for support led me to join a mommies' group in a local forum. It helps that our babies are all about the same age and are going through the same developmental stages. I’ve never thought that I would find support from a group of strangers. But I guess mommies share a certain special camaraderie and it was easy for us to build bonds.

Since then, I’ve attended two gatherings and took part in two sprees where we enjoyed some really good discounts off baby products. I'm also planning to sign up for a baby programme conducted by one of the mommies so my boy can get a good workout, be stimulated by songs and music and learn some baby sign language. But secretly, I'm also looking forward to mingling with other mommies, exchanging parenting tips and enjoying all the other cute babies!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The 2Ps of Mommyhood

The 2Ps of mommyhood? Well, I'm referring to the pees and the poos.

I used to think that changing diaper is an easy task – remove the soiled one and put on a new piece, what’s the big deal? But since becoming a mommy, I’ve learnt that changing the diaper is an art that requires agility, good sense of timing, understanding of body language and high threshold for messiness.

By the way, before Kenan was born, my husband suggested we could use both disposable diapers as well as the traditional cloth diapers to save some money. I told a mommy friend about it. She laughed and predicted that we will probably end up using only disposables.

True to her words, when our little boy arrived, it has been disposables all the way! We realised just how ambitious we had been to think that we could use cloth diapers. With never-ending demands from baby, we just wanted to be done with a task and move on. So my heartfelt kudos to parents who use recyclable diapers, you’re amazing! (I promise to do our part in saving the planet through other means!)

Anyway, back to the art of changing diapers.

For parents with boys, I’m sure you would have experienced your baby spraying pee onto you while changing diapers (do parents of baby girls face the same thing?). In our case, it was my husband who had the privilege of getting the first taste of Kenan’s jet spraying power when he was just a few days old. That had been our first few attempts in changing diapers. For being a hands-on dad who had just dragged himself out of bed, our son thought that papa deserved a reward and presented him with a self-prepared biochemical concoction that landed on papa’s tee and shorts. My hubby was shocked of course, but soon composed himself enough to quickly finish up the job. I had to clean up the pee that spilled onto our quilt and the floor. After the incident, whenever we needed to change Kenan’s diapers in the wee hours during the first month, we would wake the confinement lady up to do it.

However, getting pee on our clothes and bed (that’s the diaper changing station in our home) was not the worst. It was the poo that made me finally screamed at baby Kenan.

Kenan defecated an average of five times a day when he was smaller and at irregular timing, so I could never quite tell when he would do it. Also, when he was about six weeks old, his poo started to turn watery, making poo leakage something I had to contend with ever so often. (We were quite worried about the watery poo at first but the pediatrician assured us that is normal for babies who are breastfed.)

As I didn’t know when Kenan would defecate, I had to deal with poo on his towel, our clothes and the bed. Twice, I was breastfeeding him and he started poo-ing and the watery excrement leaked. Other times, I had just finished bathing Kenan and was drying him with the towel when he decided to poo. Once, I was going to put him into the bath tub when I felt something warm on my clothes and realised he had done it again. The most common was when I had just removed his diaper and he would poo before I could put in a new one. But what had been truly memorable were the two occasions when Kenan squished the mustard yellow mash onto us, first on his daddy, then mommy (he probably favours daddy as daddy has been getting a first taste of everything; but hey, I’m not complaining!). Both times, his poo gushed out so powerfully that it hit our clothes, spluttered onto the quilt and landed on the floor as well.

With all these misadventures, there was enough pee and poo on our quilt to make us go out and get a new one.

After a while, I learnt not to change his diapers immediately after he had defecated (or urinated) as more poo might be on the way out. I also learnt to read his body language to know if he is going to move bowels (but I can’t tell when he is going to pee though). The few soiled bath towels also taught me the best time to bathe him is right after he is done with his big business.

By the way, if you’re wondering what we did with the cloth diapers we bought, I use them initially to bundle Kenan. As he gets older and with all the poo mishaps, I use them to wrap round his bum (something like a sarong) just in case his poo leaks. It became such a habit that even though it looks strange and so unsophisticated, I still do that often when I bring him out!

Oh, did I mention that Kenan always smiles cheerfully after he has emptied his bowels? His smiles never fail to melt away any anger I felt for the mess he created. But even then, I still don’t enjoy changing diapers and would gladly let daddy do it whenever he’s home!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Four Months and Sitting in a Bumbo

Kenan turns exactly four months old today. His neck is getting stronger and when he is on his tummy, he can hold his head up for much longer time now, though he's not exactly keen on doing it.

At the same time, I've started to train him to sit up. After all, he doesn't like to be cradled anymore and wants us to carry him in a upright position.

So we recently rented a bumbo seat for Kenan. The first time I put him into the bumbo, he looked kinda of funny as his head wobbled and I started laughing. The little fellow lifted his head, looked at me and probably decided he didn't like what he saw. He knitted his brows, the two corners of his mouth dipped and a second later, he burst into tears and started crying his lungs out! I was shocked by his reaction but quickly went to him and tried taking him out of the Bumbo but his thighs got stuck! So a second round of laughter and even louder crying ensued. It was certainly one of Kenan's more hilarious moments.

Since then, Kenan is getting used to sitting in the Bumbo but he perspires quite easily in it. When that happens, he will start to fidget and wants to get out of it. Nevertheless, the seat can be quite useful during times when I want to have him nearby and yet not have to carry him, such as during meal hours. I'll just leave him in the Bumbo next to the dining table and he would sit there for about 10 to 15 minutes, enough time for me to quickly finish up my meal. But I wonder if we should get him a high chair instead. That way, he could see more and interact with us at the dining  table. Perhaps I could rent one and let him try it out. Looks like it's time to do some online research again.

Look how happy Kenan is sitting in the Bumbo!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Random Thoughts

Being a work-at-home-mom (WAHM), I get to see my son 24/7. While I appreciate that I’m here and will get to witness his many firsts, the truth is, on most days, I would end up feeling bored. Besides feeding, bathing and changing diapers, we have so much time in between that I’m running out of ideas of what to do.

So what do we normally do anyway? Well, I would chat with him, read to him, give him tummy time and mirror time, put him on his play gym and sometimes in the evening, bring him down and for a walk round the vicinity. Incidentally, the six books I’ve borrowed for him using his library card have been read so many times I’m ready to puke if I’m to read it to him again.

Inevitably, I’m always looking forward to his nap hours when I can either work on my assignments or do my own stuff.

But I wonder, if my boy can speak now, what would he tell me? Will he say, “Mommy, I get tired of seeing you all the time!”, “Mommy, please go out and work to earn more money so you can buy me lots of toys and clothes!” or perhaps he would say, “Mommy, I really love playing with you! I like it when you teach me new things!”

I can’t be certain but judging from our time together, I would think he loves being with me.

However, one thing I can be sure of is that there will come a day when he is all grown up and doesn’t want to spend much time with me anymore. So I'll remind myself to cherish these special moments and be thankful that I can be around and watch him grow. After all, that's part of the joy of parenting!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Writings - Part 4 (Education)

Education (unless otherwise stated, all below articles are published in

"Navigating the New Primary School Landscape", Dec 2010
"Students of Arabic Discover a Language of Rich Roots and Rewards", Nov 2010
"Nurturing Bi-Cultural Talents the BiCEP Way", Oct 2010
"Gone Camping at Underwater World", Sep 2010
"Helping Pupils to Ace Life", Sep 2010
"Developing Thinking Skills with a 3-D Virtual ArtGallery", Jul 2010
"Students Celebrate Friendship through Art", Jul 2010
“Murals With a Mission”, Dec 2009
“Chinese Language Comes to Life with Intercultural Exchanges”, Nov 2009
“Speaking with Confidence and Flair through Chinese Performing Arts”, Oct 2009
“Budding Authors Give New Twists to Fairy Tales”, Sep 2009
“Father”s "CCA"”, Sep 2009
“Rock Climbers Get Tough”, Aug 2009
“Everybody Learns the Ropes at Hong Wen School”, Jun 2009
“Getting High on English Literacy”, Jun 2009
“Getting e-Animated about YOG”, May 2009
“Helping Late Bloomers Fulfil their Potential”, May 2009
“Science Innovations That Make Life a Little Easier”, May 2009
“To India and Back Again (Part 1)”, Apr 2009
“To India and Back Again (Part 2)”, Apr 2009
“PLAY Time at Greendale Primary School”, Mar 2009
“Dancing Their Way into Their Choice School”, Mar 2009
“Helping Special Students Integrate Better into Society”, Feb 2009
“A New Love for Teaching through Special Education”, Feb 2009
“A Special Passion for Special Pupils”, Jan 2009
“Rising to a Tall Challenge”, Dec 2008
“Baking Classes to Help a “Friend in Knead”, Dec 2008
“Pupils and Parents Share A Robotics Challenge”, Nov 2008
“Bits and Bytes - An Education Portal Built with Passion”, Nov 2008
“Schoolbag,Thank You Teachers, Says PSG”, Oct 2008
“When School Becomes a Second Home”, Sep 2008
“Outdoor Ideas for Indoor Lessons”, Aug 2008
“An Explosion of Ideas at ExCEL Fest (Part 1)”, Jul 2008
"An Explosion of Ideas at ExCEL Fest (Part 2)”, Jul 2008
“Lessons in Resilience”, Jul 2008
“A Sneak Peek at ExCEL Fest”, Jun 2008
“Parent Support - from across the World”, Jun 2008
““Seeing” What Students Think”, May 2008
“Apathetic? Not us!”, May 2008
“Making Their Mark in Foreign Lands”, Apr 2008
“Adding a Foreign Flavour to Singapore Schools (part 1)”, Apr 2008
“Adding a Foreign Flavour to Singapore Schools (part 2)”, Apr 2008
“Bridging the Gap to a New Life in Singapore”, Apr 2008
“Igniting the Love of Science”, Mar 2008
“Holistic Teaching through PoETEL”, Mar 2008
“Systems Thinking” in the Classroom”, Jan 2008
“Primary Assurance for New Pupils from Parent Volunteers”, Jan 2008
“Being Prepared to Tackle Threats”, Jan 2008
“Northern Exposure in Teaching with Technology”, Dec 2007
“What’s Cooking? New Courses and Changed Lives!”, Dec 2007
“School-Within-School for Dynamic Learning”, Dec 2007
“OYEA 2007: Inspiring by Example”, Nov 2007
“OYEA 2007: Lessons about Life, through Sports”, Nov 2007
“OYEA 2007: The Influence A Teacher Can Have”, Nov 2007
“CCA Choices – A Parent’s Perspective”, Nov 2007
“Problem-solving in Jurong Lake Park”, Oct 2007
More than Just a Taste of Racial Harmony”, Oct 2007
“AEPtitude - A Spectacular Display of Aptitude”, Sep 2007
“National Education - From Didactic to Engaging”, Sep 2007
““HoM” for Better Reading and Writing”, Aug 2007
“Sec 1 Posting Exercise - The Electronic Way”, Aug 2007
“Empowering Students the Robotics Way”, July 2007
“Interactive Teaching and Engaging Learning with IDM”, July 2007
“A Long Running Tradition of Excellence”, July 2007

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My Writings - Part 3 (Eco Lifestyle - includes travel, fashion, beauty etc.)

Eco Lifestyle (unless otherwise stated, articles below are published in EcoAsia)

Elena Gracia – Sustainably Stylish” (EcoFashion), Jul 2009
“Global Water Crisis: A Man-Made Catastrophe (2)” (EcoWellbeing), Jun 2009
“Hair Products can be Environmental Hazards” (EcoBeauty), Jun 2009
“Eco-Boudoir – Luxe Eco-Lingerie” (EcoFashion), Jun 2009
“Experience NW Yunnan the Eco Way” (EcoTravel), Jun 2009
“Bushmans Kloof – Eco Experience to be Savoured” (EcoTravel), May 2009
“Global Water Crisis: A Man-Made Catastrophe (1)” (EcoWellbeing), May 2009
“LUSH-iously Good” (EcoBeauty), Apr 2009
“Hapuku - Eco-Marine Tourism at Its Best” (EcoTravel), Apr 2009
“Noir – Black is the New Green” (EcoFashion), Apr 2009
“Mineral Beauty: Hype or Hope for Consumers?” (EcoBeauty), Mar 2009
"Ecotourism: A Double Edged Sword?” (EcoTravel), Mar 2009
“Original Solutions from Nature” (EcoBeauty), Feb 2009
“FIN – Fashion Luxury for the Truly Green-Minded” (EcoFashion), Feb 2009
“Olsen Haus for the Chic & Ethically Hip” (EcoFashion), Feb 2009
“Anita Dongre – Bollywood Eco Haute Couture” (EcoFashion), Jan 2009
“Say “NO” to Shark”s Fin” (EcoWellbeing), Jan 2009
“Green Ambassador Zhou Xun” (EcoPersonality), Jan 2009
“Dr. Hauschka - Harnessing The Rhythms of Nature” (EcoBeauty), Jan 2009


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