Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Confessions of a Mumzilla.

Hi all, I wanna say a BIG THANK YOU for reading my blog. I've just changed my blog banner too, to something which reflects my feelings as a Mom!

I first started this blog to chronicle my experiences as a mommy and wife when I got pregnant and when Adam was born.
I wanted to reminisce those times when I am old one day.
Four years and 2 kids later, I am still writing about my (boring) life.
The difference is, today, I have made many new Mommy-friends over the course of my blogging.
Moms who don't know me at all who are bothered enough to read about us and drop me invaluable suggestions and advice.
Thank you for walking this scary journey called Motherhood with me. I am grateful for your friendship!
Here are my Confessions, true blue Mumzilla style. No holds barred. No pretense that it's all a walk in the park. Just sheer, brutal honesty:

1) I fed my kids cold milk at some points of their lives because I was too tired to warm it up at night.

2) I scream & shout at the top of my lungs at my kids. Occasionally.

3) When Adam is out the door on his way to school on a Monday, I do cartwheels and shout Hallelujah.

4) I let Adam eat junk once in a while just to shut him up.

5) I nearly lost Adam at the mall when I was too engrossed checking out sales items. Once. Worst fright of my life. Never went sales with him alone again. Ever.

6) I'm guilty of surfing Facebook and Instagram on my mobile when Adam is at the playground. Nevermind the dirty looks from other parents. Some me-time is better than none.

7) I sometimes pretend to be unwell so the husband will take over the parenting and I can hide under the covers.

8) Sometimes when Adam wants me to look at him build Lego, I pretend to be amused but the fact is I'd much rather look at the back of my eyelids.

9) I can't stand parents who preach about eating right all the time, total breastfeeding, positive discipline and all of that. It's so holier-than-thou and nobody gives a shit what you do with your kids. Really.

10) At the end of the day, I do love my kids dearly. And my kids love me back too. Whenever I'm home, it's always Mummy Mummy MUMMYYYY! They have powerful in-built GPS that can detect me no matter where I hide.

Cheers to Motherhood ladies! It's a rough ride, thanks once again for sharing my pains and joys, and for all the advise when I needed them.

I love ya all!
P.S. If you have any confessions of your own, I would love to hear them too! :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mumzilla's no cry sleep solution

The kids nearly drive me out of my mind some nights. Especially nights when I desperately need to sleep and do not wish to see their faces till the next morning.

On Monday night, Adam slept at 1AM. At 3AM, he woke up with a cough & threw up. I woke up, cleaned him, changed him, mopped the floor, got both of us back to bed.
3:30AM: he woke. Again. This time it's a runny nose. Went to grab tissues from living room. Blew nose. Went back to bed.
5AM: Ashton woke up for milk.
6AM: time to start my day.
I can't make this shit up even if I tried.

It's Ok when he's unwell (like on Monday). But when it happens almost every night for no *valid reason like for the past week and if it continues, I might have to rehome him.
*Valid reasons: bleeding profusely, asphyxiating, life in danger.

Most of the time, I lay on the bed perfectly still and pretend to sleep until I really fall asleep and have absolutely no recollection of when/how the kids slept.
But sometimes, when all that coaxing, instructing, reasoning, and threatening (I do NOT want to see you out of your room unless your life is in danger otherwise..!!!!!) do not work, I do what I do best - resort to brute force.

When Adam is rowdy and does not follow my instructions after I issue them 500 times, and as a result wake Ashton up/ keep everyone wide awake because the maid has to come out to help hush Ashton/ Andy takes over and repeat same instructions, it makes me extremely fedup.
Wanna know how I deal with such issues when they crop up with my unruly kids?
Pretty calmly I would say. I punch the living day lights out of Adam so all noise would stop.
In Mandarin, it's called 狠狠揍他一顿. It usually works. He will whine and cry and complain to his Daddy and then fall asleep immediately after whining.
With Adam asleep, the house is quiet again and Ashton will go back to bed. With both kids asleep, I immediately dive into bed and get my sleep.

Welcome to my version of "No tears (from Mama, not kids) sleep solution". And let me assure you, I do love my children, but at 10pm, I do not wish to see or hear them again till the following day.

On certain days, Imma feel like this.
photo source: Facebook Famous Quotes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Coin depositing service for kids

Did you know??
Coin depositing service for your kids is non-surcharge chargeable.
That means, you can deposit any amount of coins into your kids' Savings account (OCBC or POSB kids) and you won't have to pay the $1.50 surcharge per 100pc of coins to the bank for processing.

Below is the coin depositing guide for POSB. Coin depositing service for POSB is available from Monday to Friday during their bank opening hours.
For OCBC, their coin deposit service is available only on Tuesdays and Thursdays 9am-11am.

I only knew about this today from my mummy-friend Twinkle!
Silly me always find coins so heavy and usually use them up first, to buy small items or tidbits for Adam.

Now, we have a new motivation and incentive for Adam to save up! By the way, we counted $80 worth of coins from his piggy Border Collie bank tonight and I told him I will help him save into his bank tomorrow. Didn't know my Hubby has been so diligent.

Hope you learned something new today!

P.S. Be sure to sort the coins according to denomination and pack them separately. For us, we used small ziplock bags which my clinic uses for sterile consumables.


Friday, May 3, 2013

May: a month where Mothers worldwide celebrate.

May is a busy month for me - Adam is turning 4, Andy & I are going on a fishing trip on the Vesak Day weekend, and also, Mother's Day is coming! 
What does it mean when someone describes herself as a "Full-time" mum?
A Stay-at-home-mum (SAHM) yes, but a Full-time Mum? On the contrary, is there also such a thing as a Part-time Mum?
Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for women who give up their careers and cushy paychecks for the sake of family. They scrub and wash and cook and do a laundry list of things which cannot be measured by any key performance index.

First and foremost, let me describe a little about myself. I am a Mum to 2 kids, sometimes 3, and I work full-time. However, I have never considered myself to be a Part-time Mum. A Full-time-working-mum (FTWM) Yes, but a Part-time Mum, No.
A mum is a mum is a mum. Once you're signed on as a Mother, it's full-time for the rest of your life.

In our household, I'm always the last to sleep and the first to wake (besides my helper). I have to tuck my kids to bed and I have to wake up way before they do to prepare for the start of another brand new day.
I wake up several times throughout the night to make sure the blankets goes back to where they were before being kicked off. I also have to feed Ashton his milk at some rather un-Godly hours.

I work during the day while Adam is at school and while Ashton is being cared for by my MIL with the help of my maid.
I'm extremely thankful to be part of an organization which treasures its employees and promotes work-life balance. Everyone goes off on the dot without being pressurized to stay back and pretend to be hardworking.

Once I'm home, my world takes on a completely different turn. I learned that not all days are the same, some will be chaotic and out of "schedule", while others may be a walk in the park and everyone's happy.
I see that the kids are fed dinner, bathed and cleaned. I check on the kids to make sure they do not develop any change in skin condition (nappy rash / heat rash/ suspicious wounds), and that they are well and happy. I coach Adam on his worksheets.
I have to feed myself and I also have to bathe.
I have to sort out my mail and bills.
I have to keep in mind when the next appointment to the Paediatrician/ dentist/ etc for each respective child's checkup/ vaccination/ etc is.

I hardly rest at all. I can't simply "sleep when the baby sleeps" because I am working. By 10:30pm, I'm usually ready to hit the sack. If there's a way to describe my boring routine, it's something like transiting from one destination to the next and trying to keep the transition as seamless and smooth as possible but feeling like nobody really gives a shit what goes on behind the scenes.

Why doesn't my maid take care of my kids?
Well, why should she? I'm their Mummy, my maid is not. She helps out with the kids when I require but that's not her main jobscope. She takes care of the housework and keeps tabs of the perishables in the household. She makes sure our home is clean and tidy so I do not have to fret about such things and can instead, focus on my babies.

Mothering, to me anyway, has never been Part-time. Unlike my job, I cannot resign from my kids just because they are terrors and I am tempted to run away from them. I cannot call in sick to my kids anytime I feel like sleeping in late and just call it a day. I cannot "don't bring your work home" because my kids and my family are my home. They are my life.

All Mums are FULL-TIME Mums. It's universal, and we should all be united, and not pit ourselves against one another.
Happy Mother's Day to all my lovely Mummy friends and wonderful mothers out there :)

** P.S. I will be doing a write-up review of a Mothercare event we've been invited to, and am excited to share with fellow Mums out there. Stay tuned!

*** P. P. S. And in case you haven't heard of LolliBox subscription activity boxes, it's high time you check them out! Read my reviews of them HERE (Smartkids Asia expo 2013) and HERE (Adam's LolliBox craft).
Have you ordered your (limited edition) Mother's Day LolliBox yet?
I hope LolliBox makes them in Father's Day edition too!

I'm excited and can hardly wait to see Adam's reaction when he sees a parcel addressed to his name!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The discipline issue - Part 2.

Okay, so I was cross with Adam tonight because he has been behaving like a total crap-bag.
I asked him to his room and closed the door and had a heart-to-heart talk with him (it's never easy to say "I need to talk to you" be it to your husband, colleague or even son!).

I asked him if he is leading a hard life, does he not have food to eat or toys to play with, do Daddy and Mummy always beat him and treat him badly.... blah blah blah. (Now, it seems like all the talking is one-sided).
He started wailing and said No, he has a good life, and that he has food to eat and many toys in his Play-room, and by then his sobs were really loud. I resisted the urge to burst out laughing.
My Adam can be the sweetest thing sometimes.
He behaved really well at dinner and he told me he was tired and needed to rest.
I think he must be exhausted from the day's swim lesson followed by water play, and the fact that he only napped half an hour because he wet his bed big time and woke up from it.
When he has not enough rest, he is capable of being very irritable (and irritating).
So I forgave him and I am not cross with him anymore. I cannot go to bed angry. It's bad for health.

Our evening ended quite amicably. Hubby came back from fishing with his catches and we had fresh steamed fishes for dinner at the nearby zhi-char, Hong Kong style.
I decided not to join Andy fishing in the end because Sundays are filled with lots of Mummy-admin - fetching the kids to Adam's swim lesson, getting lunch and naps in order etc.

Some photos from our evening: Fatty jumping in his jumperoo - the baby-version of a trapeze.

Adam after our "talk".

the big baby who just came back from his fishing trip earlier on.

The discipline issue.

Yesterday, my mummy-friend sent me a link of "high need children" and told me her son seems to fall under all the categories that qualify him as a "high need child".
I looked through the article and suddenly find that Adam is a lot like that recently.
He is demanding and attention-seeking, cannot self-soothe and always needs me to be around to do things for him.

Adam used to adore his younger brother so much, but lately he has been testing our patience.
He snatches whatever toy Ashton is playing with , and recently my father-in-law bought Ashton a walker which we let Adam help choose, but once we had it set up at my in-law's, Adam started claiming the walker as his and refused to let Ashton have a go at it.

He has become demanding, needy and attention-seeking. It makes me extremely fed up because I do not want to resort to something negative which may make him hate me, or worse, hate Ashton.

On a scale of 0-10, 0 being most lenient and 10 being the strictest, I am probably a 2 or 3.
Andy accused me of spoiling him from young, saying that Adam only misbehaves when I'm around because he knows he can get away with it. I think that is not true of course, and I'm very displeased with Andy accusing me like that.

It's not that I spoil Adam too much, but it's just that being a mother, it's contradictory for me to inflict pain on the very ones I'm committed to protect and love.

It's not that I'm not bothered with the boys fighting for toys or attention, it's just that sometimes I think as a parent it is important not to be too quick to jump in and take sides , no matter how tempting it is.
Anyway, these are my sulky, annoying farts...
His train fell off the track and therefore it's the end of the world. 

Upset because he has no toys to play with as Adam has snatched everything away. Sigh.

All that moaning, groaning and whining make my head want to explode.

I know Adam is jealous of having to share all the attention and toys with Ashton, but I'm extremely annoyed with his behaviour.
We (Andy, my in-laws and I) do not practice corporal punishment. Friends who visit find it hard to believe that we do not have a single cane in our home!
We try to give our children the best we can afford (not just the material things), and there is absolutely no reason for Adam to behave like such an ungrateful and annoying shit.

How in the world our grandparents have 10 kids is truly beyond me.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

About Ashton

Hi all, this post was typed and saved as a draft in my blog for months.
I was overwhelmed and never got down to posting this.

Shortly after Ashton was born, I woke up from GA wanting to see my newborn.
Our paediatrician came in and told us he saw a "slight dent" on Ashton's lower back, and brought Andy to the nursery to have a look because I was too drowsy from the GA. You know that sick gut feeling you have when you hear "...But" from your doctor? Yeah, I felt it and till today, the fright is very real.
"He's fine.... BUT...", "He's beautiful.... BUT...."

After that, when the nurse pushed Ashton to me for breastfeeding, I unwrapped my newborn and saw a little dimple the size of a green-bean just above his butt-crack with my very own eyes. Our PD recommended us to get an ultrasound scan done, just "to be on the safe side", though he did mention that he "didn't think it was anything to worry about".

Somewhere when Ashton was few weeks old and when I was still doing my confinement, we brought him back to Mt Alvernia for his ultrasound.
I stood in the sonography room holding my infant, and chatted with the sonographer because like what our PD said, I thought there wasn't anything to worry about. At that point, I felt it was just another routine scan like my many Antenatal scans, just to be sure.

She scanned and scanned over and over, and my squirming, crying infant wasn't helping matters.
Afterward when I thought she was finally done, I asked her "So how is it?" and she told me to wait while she got the doctor in. My heart nearly leapt out of my chest!
A doctor came in and repeated the scan, and eventually he told me he thought there was something wrong with my baby's spine and that he will wait for my PD to explain to me. I wouldn't buy any of it and nearly went hysterical. Actually I refused to budge from the room and asked the doctor what exactly he thought was wrong. He said something about surgery was probably recommended to rectify it. Can you imagine how I felt!
My world just turned cold and dark as I stood there, holding my wailing baby in the dimly lit room, I felt like bawling my eyes out as well.

So finally, I met our PD, Dr Simon Ng, with the scan reports, and from there we were referred to a Neurosurgeon, Dr Seow Wan Tew, at KKH who was a Specialist in dealing with paediatric spine surgery.
As an MRI would be more accurate than an ultrasound, we went for an MRI as well.
Ashton was diagnosed with what was called a "tethered cord", whereby there is a fatty issue tethering his spinal cord down to his spinal bone and preventing the spinal cord from moving freely within the spinal column. I have never ever heard of a "tethered cord" in my life before!

From a simple scan which the PD "didn't think was anything to worry about", we were then talking endless doctors appointments, MRIs, Urodynamics tests and SURGERY. All on a tiny few weeks old baby. A lot of information was thrown to us, but I could hardly digest anything.
I spent most of my maternity leave shuttling between hospitals and getting appointments in order. He had to see his Neurosurgeon for the tethered cord and also his normal PD for the usual jaundice-checks, vaccinations etc.
On top of that, I also had my Adam, who needed as much of my attention as my little Ashton.
During my multiple antenatal scans, nothing was detected. We even confirmed this with my Gynae when I went  back for my postnatal PAP smear.
But as Andy & I discussed this over and over, even if anything was detected, nothing would change our decision to keep our infant and bring him into this would. Personally, I think dealing with and trying to overcome "problems" was much, much easier than terminating a life!!! From 1 single cell of either parent, a whole human being was created. If life isn't a miracle, I don't know what is.
I can't even bring myself to put my dogs to sleep, let alone kill my own flesh and blood!

From there, we had no choice but to take everything in our stride. Sure, I was petrified as hell.
I mean, com'on, we're not talking about surgery for circumcision or even hernia-repair here!!!
When I initially learnt of the diagnosis, there were times I hid in my room crying till my vision was blur, but it wouldn't solve anything and so I turned to God.
Through God I found a lot of strength.
When I told our closest friends, they were shocked, and asked me why I had kept things from them until now.
Truth be told, I have been contemplating for a very long time (almost 6 months at the point of Ashton's surgery), whether or not to post this on my Blog, not because I am scared of people knowing, but I wanted to protect Ashton's and our privacy especially during his growing up years.
I asked Andy to read this draft before posting, and he said I could post it if I wanted to, so I guess there is not much harm in letting my readers and relatives know (our closest friends, relatives and close colleagues have been asking for updates).

Now, we are taking everyday as a blessing (truly!) and taking things a baby-step at a time.
Ashton's surgery was performed on 25 Feb 2013, when he was 6 months old, by his Paediatric Neurosurgeon Dr Seow Wan Tew.
My 30th Birthday was on 27 Feb, and I had spent my Milestone Birthday in the High Dependency Ward of the hospital with my own flesh and blood who had undergone major surgery to his spine.
In my life I've only ever gone under the knife to take my babies out, and now I'm letting somebody touch my baby's spine. How crazy is my life?
When you think my birthday wishlists, probably Chanel or Hermes would come to mind in a heartbeat. But this year, all I wanted was for my baby to be Ok, and alive.
Nothing is more important than being healthy and alive.
Too many people get so hung up about what they cannot have and don't realise for a second what they already have.
You woke up this morning alive and well, thank God for it.

So far, we have been to 2 more appointments after his surgery - to remove his stitches and also to follow-up with Dr Seow, and he thinks everything is looking good.

Thanks to all our friends and family who have sent your thoughts, wishes and prayers.
Thank you to the wonderful people in my church who prayed in proxy for Ashton even though they did not know us.

I've said this before, and Imma say it again - Mummying is the toughest job in the whole wide world.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Adam's Show-and-tell in School

Adam did Show-and-tell in school this week. The topic was "My Family".
As I quote his teacher, he "showcased confidence and pride in his work" and in speaking in front of the class and teachers.

Adam is confident in show-and-tell to his classmates and teacher and articulates every member of the family well. I am so proud of him!

This is the art work which he had done with the help of his teacher with some family photos I printed.

 He also depicted drawings of his parents, ie. Andy and I.

I look to be of porcine resemblance
whereas Andy looks like something out of Star Wars

Adam used to be a very reserved boy in class, especially during his N1 year, which was last year. His teachers told us he was not confident in expressing himself and did not seem to know how to speak up or answer questions when asked.
I admit that with my second pregnancy and subsequently the birth of Ashton, followed by dealing with Ashton's diagnosis and endless doctors' appointments (from his normal Peadiatrician checkups / vaccinations to the Neurosurgeon; from MAH to KKH; from Ultrasound scan to MRI to Urodynamics study etc), we had neglected Adam in more ways than we had imagined.
I then tried to spend my time between my two children and because they had different priorities / needs,  it was stressful at many points. If you ask me how I managed to keep everything together without breaking down, I seriously don't know.

I did not sign Adam up for any enrichment classes and he does not go to any "branded" preschool (he used to attend Learning Vision when I started working in KKH but he didn't like the environment and was miserable on a daily basis so we switched him back to PCF below my MIL's).
Instead, I spent my free time after work with him, coaching him bit by bit. On weekends we usually go to kid-friendly places and let him enjoy being a child (you can check out our Out and About section).
There is no secret recipe in dealing with your child - the key ingredients are love, patience and the belief that both your child and you can achieve things together.
Today, he expresses himself well in both Mandarin and English and is confident in speaking in front of his class. His teachers at school and swim lessons also tell me he's an enthusiastic learner who raises his hand and offers to answer/ go first. This is more than enough to make my day.
I do not require my children to be Top 10 in school or LKY Scholars, I only require that they try and that they do their best.
I am also not the best mommy in the whole wide world - I scream at the top of my lungs and throw tantrums too - but I try my best to be the best Mom I can be to them.

Having a child is like planting a tree. The more you water and add fertiliser to it, the taller and more beautiful it grows; and the more rewarding it is for you to continue nurturing it.
This is all in hope that one day, your tree will bear fruit and provide shade for all those who come upon it.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Back to my Mumzilla days

I'm back to my old routine of being a Mumzilla to the two boys.
Lots of Mummy Admin going on in our household over the past few days - fetching Adam to and from school, swim lessons, feeding, cleaning, bathing, diapering Ashton etc.
My greatest concern now is keeping Ashton's wound clean.
Due to the incision site being just 2-3cm away from his anus, and the fact that a breastfed baby has runny poop, his feces often get into his wound dressing and I have to keep changing the dressing.
Everyone in the family is afraid to touch Ashton's wound, that leaves me as the only eligible wound care nurse. Pfft.
Leading a dog's life, I am herding Adam around the house / neighbourhood like a Border Collie; and sniffing out Ashton's bum like a narcotics Hound for any signs of poo poo.

At bath time one evening, I was washing Adam's bum and retracting his foreskin to wash his penis and he turned and told me, "Mummy I have a big penis."
Me: "Oh, who told you that Baby??"
Adam: "Ah ma told me..."
Me: (Well, I agree son..but...makes mental note to ask my MIL the next day) "Wow, I see. Don't go around telling the girls in class Ok?"
I can't imagine how my life will be like when my son has a girlfriend!

By bedtime I'm usually ready to knock-out.
But you know how it is.
I lie in bed with the boys, pretending to be asleep, and hoping and praying they'll sleep ASAP so I can get my own rest/ do my online banking/blogging/reading etc.
At the critical moment when they gradually stop tossing and turning, beeping sounds come from the front door as the password unlocks, the Husband is home. Sounds of door opening and closing. Lights on. Keys and bag on the table. Kids see their Daddy at their door and they are aroused from sleep.

Oh. Damn. It.
There goes.
Welcome back to my slightly insane world.

Friday, March 1, 2013

My baby was hospitalised

This week has been a long roller coaster ride for us. Ashton was admitted to KKH on Sunday night and had surgery on Monday. Our baby was born with a fatty tissue on his spine and surgery was needed to correct it.
I will share more of it in another post if I have time.

Alone in the nights staring at my child on the hospital bed, I was tired but couldn't sleep, hungry but had no appetite to eat. I think even if I were thrown into a jungle with nothing, I wouldn't feel half as helpless as what I'm experiencing.
But for the sake of my children I must soldier on, for God gives his fiercest battles to his strongest soldiers.
Sleepless nights spent in the cold wards with only a chair for bed is nothing compared to the ordeal Ashton is going through.

I felt scared and lost when I first learnt of his diagnosis but I am lucky to have supportive angels around me (**non-mummy and mummy friends alike who had or hadn't have children undergone major surgeries) who rallied by us throughout and constantly checked on me for updates.
Charmaine, Meena & I were on Whatsapp groupchat and they said it was my 24-hour "help line" and sent me videos to keep me occupied. What would I be without such wonderful friends?

The toughest part is helping Adam cope. He's a sensitive boy who loves his brother fiercely and always wants to be around Ashton. He even wants to wear the same clothes as Ashton!
My lovely twins, born 3 years apart. Adam is totally smitten by his brother and they have been sleeping in the same room since Ashton was 2 months old so it's mighty tough for the boys to be separated.

I also found it difficult to be in 2 places at one time shuttling between hospital when Ashton is sleeping & rushing home to be with Adam in the evenings when he is back from school. Even giving him a bath & changing him into his PJs before bed are precious moments to me because time is very scarce and I have to rush back to the hospital before Ashton wakes up for the next breastfeed. Andy has been a real gem, the unsung hero, quietly chauffeuring my MIL, helper and I up and down, without any complaints.

When we were waiting for Ashton outside the theatre, Andy sat quietly at a corner playing games on his iPhone but instead of getting mad & accusing him of being heartless, I know that's Andy's way of coping. My husband is a man of few words, but sometimes it's the unspoken that tell you so much more.

For my past birthdays, I wished for nice bags and shoes and when I got them, I wanted nicer/ more expensive ones.
This year, I spent my Big Three in the High Dependency Ward. In retrospect, all those material things are worthless to me now even if they cost an arm and a leg. Nothing is more important than the speedy recovery of Ashton and simply being able to be with my children, husband and loved ones.

My baby, so small and helpless. I am his source of food, love and comfort. To him, I am his everything. I am his Mummy. Therefore, Mummy is everything.
Oh I just hope that Ashton's wound would heal fast so his stitches can be out soon.
I miss home, I miss our old routine of noisy, pesky kids before bedtime and I miss cuddling them both to bed.

“I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much.” - Mother Teresa.

** Thank you Joey, Jas, MagMag, Charmaine, Meena, Twinkle, and so many other people whom I cannot list all at once. But your friendship and support is very much cherished. Thank you.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The glamorous sides of Motherhood

Hi! Wanna know how we have been in the weeks preceding CNY?
Adam finished all the cookies I baked for CNY, developed a sore throat and passed his germs to Ashton.
Apparently, he's been the Smart Alec here and asked my maid to give him the cookies.
I asked Dwi why on earth did she give him so many cookies to eat and she replied that Adam told her he was very hungry. Needless to say, both of them got an earful from me.
At the same time, Adam also developed oral thrush and I, mastitis.
The mastitis came about because Ashton was feeling unwell and didn't latch much, and with two sick babies, I didn't have the time nor luxury to sit down and pump my milk!
I tried latching the baby but his stuffy nose made it hard for him to breathe when my boob is in his mouth so he gave up on my breast and the blocked ducts came on. When he needed them, they gave him supply in abundance and now when my booby needs him to suckle and clear the clog, he gives up on it. I'm feeling betrayed like that.

"I'm really trying.... Mummyyyyy... zzZzzzZ"

I've never had mastitis or clogged ducts so badly before and I can tell you, for someone whos not fond of crying, I was reduced to tears from the excruciating pain and hardness of my breast. I pumped and pumped for dear life and couldn't even get a single drop of milk out. I tried to convince Adam that it's the same as sucking a lollipop but he stared at my "lollipops", giggled, and ran out of the room.
I tried hand squeezing, hot towel compress, massaging the blocked ducts but nothing - I mean NOTHINGGG - worked.
All the cold cabbage in the world cannot save me.
I called KKH lactation clinic and they can't slot me in till Friday. I tried calling Mt Alvernia but never got through.
Drastic situations call for drastic measures.  In the end, I called in a private lactation consultant who, God bless her soul, does house calls and agreed to come to my rescue at 8:30pm on a Monday night. God bless the person who invented Google too.
$160 poorer but my milk jugs will be saved!

As if my life isn't melodramatic enough, I'm happy to announce that I am also going bald.

This is the amount of hair that comes off everytime I bathe and brush my hair.
Sometimes I run my fingers through my hair and more clumps fall out.
By CNY I'm pretty sure I'll be BALD.

The glamorous sides of motherhood! You have been warned.

As a side note, these are the Cornflake & Raisin cookies I baked for Adam that he polished off batch after batch.

They are really child's play to bake! My Mum used to bake them for me and my brothers during CNY when we were kids, and now I'm paying it forward, baking them for my child(ren).
- Raisins 1 cup (cut into halves if they are too long)
- Cornflakes 1 cup (pour into ziplock bag and crunch them lightly)
- Plain flour 240gm
- Icing sugar 160gm
- Corn starch 60gm
- Butter 240gm (1 block, softened at room temperature. It forms a slight depression when you press with your finger)
- Egg yolks x 2
- Vanilla essence 1 teaspoon

It's doing those Mummy-things that make me very happy.

- Pour icing sugar into a mixing bowl and add in the butter, cut into cubes.
- Using an electric beater, beat the butter and icing sugar at low speed until they form big lumps.
- Add in the 2 egg yolks and vanilla essence and continue whisking at low speed.
- Then, slowly add in the plain flour in batches and continue whisking until you achieve a smooth and fluffy consistency that does not drip when you hold it up with a spoon.
- Pour in raisins and mix.
- Using teaspoon, dish out the batter into small cookie paper cups.
- Sprinkle corn flakes and lightly pat them to stick onto the batter.
- For decoration, you may add 1 raisin on top of each cookie.
- Bake in preheated oven at 180-deg celcius for 15 minutes.
- Hint: they don't brown very much so careful not to overbake otherwise the bottom becomes burnt.
Hope you have fun baking!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cheers to motherhood, you will need that alcohol.

Have you ever felt this way?
You had a long week at work and it's finally the weekend, you come home to kids who behave like pests. Terrors. Naughty little urchins.
You attend to their 1001 needs, read books, go through the same nightly routines you have been doing for the past three years, eight months and duno-how-many days.
After both kids go down for their bedtime, you thought you finally have some precious time to enjoy the peace and quiet.
However, your husband attempts coitus and you feel like you are never ever gonna have enough rest.
Sure, there is the love and joy. You love your husband and the both of you created two beautiful human beings and brought joy to your lives. But I have to be honest. Motherhood is hard work.
If constant worrying, keeping your children out of harm, dealing with cries and tantrums, reasoning for thousand times over the same ol' thing, putting their needs before yours, is what you do day in, day out x 365 days a year, then when you finally get some me-time, you want to jump for joy and shout Hallelujah.
That's why I have a cabinet of bubbly in my home. For emergencies and tough times... although it has become one time too often lately. Tonight is one such night.
Once both kids are knocked out, I wasted no time in popping a bottle to enjoy the quietness and me-time. I told Andy not to talk to me unnecessarily and thankfully he retreated to watch his soccer match without disturbing me.
Even drinking champagne in my balcony wearing my ratty T-shirt and shorts feels like a treat!
Oh, cheers to being Mumzilla! I need the alcohol.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Funny read: For mummies lacking in sleep!

Read this from my cousin's Facebook wall some time last week but for some reason the original poster could not be linked so there's no way I could give credit to her.
P.S. If you are the hilarious author, pls drop me a note so I can give due credit... and Thank You for posting this stuff :)

"How to Stop Mummy Sleeping Through the Night!

OK, here's my situation. My Mummy has had me for almost 7 months. The first few months were great. I cried, she picked me up and fed me, anytime,...
day or night. Then something happened.

Over the last few weeks, she has been trying to STTN (sleep through the night). ...At first, I thought it was just a phase, but it is only getting worse. I've talked to other babies, and it seems like its pretty common after Mummies have had us for around 6 months.

Here's the thing: these Mummies don't really need to sleep. Its just a habit. Many of them have had some 30 years to sleep and they just don't need it anymore. So I am implementing a plan. I call it the
Crybaby Shuffle. It goes like this:

Night 1: cry every 3 hours until you get fed. I know, its hard. Its hard to see your Mummy upset over your crying. Just keep reminding yourself, its for her own good.

Night 2: cry every 2 hours until you get fed.

Night 3: every hour. Most Mummies will start to respond more quickly after about 3 nights. Some Mummies are more alert, and may resist the change longer. These Mummies may stand in your doorway for hours, shhhh-ing. Don’t give in. I cannot stress this enough: CONSISTENCY IS KEY!! If you let her STTN (sleep through the night), just once, she will expect it every night. I KNOW ITS HARD! But she really doesn’t need the sleep, she’s just resisting the change.

If you have an especially alert Mummy, you can stop crying for about 10 minutes, just long enough for her to go back to bed and start to fall asleep. Then cry again. It WILL eventually work. My Mummy once stayed awake for 10 hours straight, so I know she can do it. Last night, I cried every hour. You just have to decide to stick to it and just go for it. BE CONSISTENT!

I cried for any reason I could come up with. My sleep sack tickled my foot. I felt a wrinkle under the sheet. My mobile made a shadow on the wall. I burped, and it tasted like pears. I hadn’t eaten pears since lunch, what’s up with that? The cat said "meow". I should know. My Mummy reminds me of this about 20 times a day. LOL. Once I cried just because I liked how it sounded when it echoed on the monitor in the other room. Too hot, too cold, just right - doesn’t matter! Keep crying!! It took awhile, but it worked. She fed me at 4am. Tomorrow night, my goal is 3:30am. You need to slowly shorten the interval between feedings in order to reset your Mummies internal clocks.

Sometimes my Mummy will call for reinforcements by sending in Daddy. Don’t worry, Daddies are not set up for not needing sleep the way Mummies are. They can only handle a few pats and shhing before they declare defeat and send in the Mummy.

Also, be wary of the sleep sheep with rain noises. I like to give Mummy false hope that listening to the rain puts me to sleep sometimes I pretend to close my eyes and be asleep and then wait until I know Mummy is settling back to sleep to spring a surprise cry attack. If she doesn’t get to me fast enough I follow up with my fake cough and gag noise that always has her running to the crib.

At some point I am positive she will start to realise that she really doesn’t really need sleep.

P.S. Don’t let those rubber things fool you, no matter how long you suck on them, no milk will come out. Trust me."

Just wanna share this photo of my Fatty bom bom which has drawn lots of laughs from my family, friends and colleagues.
Charmaine says he looks like a croissant with all the folds on his body. My colleague says he looks like a teapot. Heh!
Why Sooooo chubby and cute! In love with this baby max, even though he is the culprit making me lose sleep!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The fertility issue.

When I first started out my career as a nurse, I worked 3 years in a community hospital, mainly rehabilitating old folks with stroke / injuries and/ or special needs in their activities of daily living.
It was an amicable experience to work with old people, especially when most of them are adorable and I derived great pleasure disturbing those Grandmas and Grandpas and making them laugh/ grumble at my nonsense (no elderly were abused in my care don't worry).
However, I decided to have a change in work environment and switched to working in a gynae field, which was a dramatic change and not to mention, totally unrelated to my prior experience!

Some of my friends may know, I have been working with couples seeking fertility treatment, for slightly close to two years now.
Personally, out of the married couples I know (either relatives or friends), I can easily identify at least three out of ten who have problems conceiving.
Contrary to media reports that Singaporeans are not ready for children, thankfully for me at least, my married relatives / friends want to, or are at least trying to start families on their own, but a minority of them cannot conceive.

Lately, our gahmen has been trying means and ways to entice Singaporeans to procreate, but I think the problem may lie in infertility struggles.
Other than the costs of seeking fertility related treatments, which is actually heavily subsidised* by our gahmen, there is also the associated stigma and tremendous stress involved with infertility.
It's not easy coming out of the closet and admitting that you and your partner have problems conceiving, it's not a likely topic to be discussed openly over coffee with friends in our cultural context.
It may be easier to cite excuses such as, say, you are too busy with work / too young and not ready for committment / wanna enjoy coupledom before being tied down by children.
One couple I know gave the convenient reason that they both love to travel and kids would halt that, which they later on, after many years of marriage, confessed that they are seeking fertility treatment.
Afterall, two people meet, fall in love, get married, have sex and have babies (though sequence may not always be in that order).
It's the only natural human thing to do, right?

Apart from the social stigma, there is also the stress couples have to overcome.
They need to do a battery of blood tests and investigations before they are assessed to be suitable candidates for IUI/ IVF, and when they embark on the IUI/IVF journey, the woman has to do daily self-injections in preparation of the eggs stimulation. Apart from daily injections, she has to come back to the clinic every 2-3 days for ultrasounds and doctor reviews to track the progress of her eggs development. She will often be issued MC and / or Hospitalisation leave during the span of her treatment.
Is she prepared to deal with discomfort in her body and also to be away from work for approximately a month?
Even if she is mentally prepared for these sacrifices to her work and body, will her bosses be prepared for their staff to be absent from work so frequently?
Therefore, there are several deterring factors that couples may face in the journey of fertility treatment.

I do enjoy my job tremendously, and get great satisfaction when my patients come back to the clinic looking for "Veron" and showing gratitude when they test positive on their beta HCG!
When I was pregnant with Ashton, many of them congratulated me abd requested to rub my bump for some "baby luck". When I came back from my maternity leave some couples recognise me and tell me they've been asking for me and found out from my colleagues that I went to deliver already.
One patient called up to make sure I was on duty when she came back for her scans so she could buy me breakfast. So touched!!
They share with me their fears (a thousand things can go wrong between a pregnancy and a normal healthy live birth) as well as their guarded happiness, and I feel proud to be able to share the experience with them. I mean, they must value my duty-of-care enough to want to share such personal information with me!
Along the way, many of my patients became my friends and I realise they are just very normal couples who may be your neighbours, friends of friends, or even someone from online forums you visit. One couple became my friends and while chatting we realised the husband is from Fishing Kaki forum and had gone fishing with Andy before!
It is highly rewarding for me as I am a parent and I know exactly how it feels to be able to bear life.
Although I occassionally grouse about my naughty / demanding children; and their crying and whining make me 99.9% suicidal, but we all know at the end of the day nothing else matters more to me than for my children to be safe in my arms.

It is indeed an out-of-the-world experience to be a Mummy. I've dealt with blood and gore, vomitus and faeces, life and death, but still none of those lessons I learnt in nursing school prepared me enough for what my children have in store for me.

P.S. If you have any personal questions about fertility related issues, I'll be glad to answer you in anyway I can based on my limited knowledge.
*Conditions apply for gahmen grants and utilisation of Medisave for fertility related treatments.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Still under the weather

I've been sick for a week now.
I requested for a super dose of antibiotics from my GP, the kind which knock you out the entire day but when you wake up you feel like a brand new person altogether, but because I'm breastfeeding, my doctor says I should "keep things simple" for now and just depend on rest and vitamins and let my body heal by immunity rather than drugs.
Being sick but still having to tend to my two children, that's probably the hardest thing to do.
Of course, the festivities and feasting could have attributed to this, but so is my insane schedule I think.

Waking up twice a night to breastfeed, then up at 6am to get ready for work, reaching my in-law's after work for dinner and by the time we reach home it's 9pm.
By the time I settle down, bathe and play with the kids/ put them to bed, it's easily 11pm.
Then the baby wakes up another 2-3 hours later for a feed, then another.
Repeat cycle 100 times.

Little wonder I'm still sick.

I desperately need a solution for this.
Either I switch school for Adam to one near my own place and get my MIL to come over to help supervise the maid (so I can go home directly after work and shave a lot of time doing "nothing" at my in-law's), or I quit my job & be a Supermom  (which may result in lots of high-pitched screams and tantrums, from me).

I have to discuss this with the husband, though I suspect he's not too jazzed about the second option.
Right now, all I need to do is SLEEP... Fall into deep, therapeutic slumber. Good old-fashioned medicine. Sleep. Uninterrupted rest.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Sunday has been quite a bitch.

My Sunday has been quite a bitch.
Andy had some work to do (which dragged on practically all day), leaving me alone with the children.

It wouldn't have been so horrid if not for the fact that I slept at 1am from Andy's party the night before, and was awaken at 7am by one of the children whose name I shall not disclose.
He wanted to play with his new Transformer, but then he couldn't figure out how the limbs folded/ unfolded , so of course his mother had to be the one to his rescue every 30 seconds or so.
At 7am on a (very) tired Sunday morning when my eyes are barely open.
Fuck my life.

As my Sunday progressed, I was herding the same terrible child around the house like a neurotic border collie - to finish his breakfast, then his lunch, to get dressed after his bath, to make sure he washes his hands after going to the toilet, to get down for his nap.
My other child, whose name I shall also not disclose, was also quite cranky today. He wanted to be carried upright in the balcony to watch the kois swimming in the pond, and traffic go by downstairs.
I hardly get any rest anymore. I'm not talking about having uninterrupted sleep for 10 hours straight and waking up at noon on weekends.
I'm talking about I can't even go to the toilet to do my business without the need to be asked or shown something; and keeping insane hours with night-feeds and demanding children.

That is the reason why I shop. For my sanity. Which I more than make up for.

I was complaining to my Aunt how exhausted I am (I am soooo tired that I can just collapse on the floor and die). Later on, I overheard the particular child telling the helper "Aunty don't disturb Mummy she very tired want to die already".
I'm jealous of my husband. He came home, kicked off his socks, exclaimed what a long day he had and how happy he was to have clinched a deal, and promptly disappeared into a paradise called BATHROOM.
It's 11pm, and I still have the same T-shirt on since morning and I have not had a chance to visit the bathroom.

My birth control. Who needs ligation anymore ?

Well, at least not everyday is a Sunday (pls excuse the punny metaphor). And thank God for Mondays.

Friday, December 14, 2012

I want to remember

I want to remember all these faces.
Happy and unhappy faces. The good and the bad.
One day I'm going to grow too old, or my baby is gonna grow up too quickly, then I'm gonna miss  these faces all over again.
Presenting Adam's twin - born 3 years apart.

Working with infertile couples makes me appreciate my children, and takes the saying "children are God's gifts" to a whole new level. I thank God everyday for His generosity and blessing.

Some days are dandy - the children sleep early and I can squeeze in some 10 minutes reading the news or surfing the internet. Or simply doing nothing and enjoying the quietness.
Some days are not so fine - both kids are wide awake way past their bedtimes, I feel dog-tired but am forced to go through the whole notion of attending to their 1001 needs before they are satisfied enough to finally fall asleep.
I get no off-days from my kids. I am a Mummy 365 days a year. The good news is, my kids are my greatest fans, and that is a wonderful feeling because on days when you feel lousy, you need to be with people who need you and think you are important to them.
When they grow and grow and hit the ceiling (Adam's theory) and have their own lives, then it'll be my turn to be their biggest fan!