The terrible twos

Dear JJ,

You just turned two. You’re also in the thick of…

The Terrible Twos.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s a phrase (and a phase) that strikes fear even in the most courageous of parents.

We have stopped asking you anything, because to you right now, everything is a “NO” or “DO-WANT.”

Even if you really mean yes.

You’re like a walking time-bomb. One moment, you can be happily prancing around, the next, tear-and-scream-fest.

Everything can be disagreeable to you, even the way we pack your toys, place your towel on the bathroom rack, down to who’s able to wear your shoes or read you a bedtime story.

What makes it slightly more challenging is that you love to pick a fight and ruffle your sister’s feathers.

AND we’ve also discovered that your tantrums can get quite physical (though thankfully most of your punches and kicks land in mid-air and not on my face).

Sigh, you’re all but wearing mummy and daddy out.

But there is a silver lining…This IS just another phase. And as with all phases, this too shall pass. (Or so we console ourselves.) If you’re anything like your sis, we think we should see the light by the end of the year.

I know there is a reason behind all this. That you are breaking away from us, learning independence, and forging your own identity as a unique little person through this process.

You’ve now discovered the beauty of your own mind. Your own will. Your own voice.

I know we need to support you in this, that we need to be patient, keep our cool, negotiate with you so you attain a measured level of decision-making, compromise, etc etc. But you need to realise that sometimes your desires are downright silly. (Such as wanting to run down a slope that leads to a road full of cars zooming by. Or wanting to swallow playdoh.)

While shaping your identity is important, protecting your life is more so. And that’s what we will do, even if it results in a meltdown.

All these said and done, you’re still our cheeky, adorable little boy. And when you’re happy, you shine like the stars in our universe.

We are counting the days till you turn three.

Till then, we just have to hang onto our seats, and do deep breathing exercises.

Love, mummee

Diary of a mum with HFMD

Some of you may know that both JJ and I were down with HFMD over the past 2 weeks…We’re both alive and well now. Having gone through 10 days of pain, I think I can better empathise with any child going through HFMD. If it’s already so difficult to endure as an adult, what more a young child?

I also know how I’ve taken for granted the little everyday things like enjoying a meal, and talking normally (not like a lisping snail). This thing we call health. We only miss it when we lose it, isn’t it?

Here’s an account of my HFMD days…and some lessons that I learnt from it.

~~~~~~

Day 01:

  • Feverish and worried. Oh no could this really be it? Fever persists through the day. I take panadol and rest. First signs of a sore throat.

JJ’s HFMD is at day 04 (counting from the day that his fever started) and crankiness and pain is at its peak. He’s been rejecting milk, and only eating oats, drinking honey, diluted juice, and the fruit juice popsicles I made for him.

Day 02:

  • As the day went by, the fever subsided. By evening, red spots have started to appear on my finger tips. Suspicions confirmed. Oh no…

Little boy is taking some small meals now, consisting mainly of porridge or soupy stuff. He can’t take his usual fruits because they tend to sting the ulcers.

Day 03:

  • Throat is “pain pain” today. I see the doctor and am given 10 days MC, and medication for relief of inflammation, swelling and pain (all for the throat).
  • Am told I am now a statistic because it’s rare for adults to catch HFMD. Mainly because we tend to be exposed to the virus before and also because it’s mostly spread child-to-child (as adults know how to keep their “healthy” distance). Obviously I failed somewhere along the way.
  • Some itchy spots on arms and legs (could be hives?).
  • Also experience tingly sensation on the blisters on my hands, making simple chores like hanging clothes out to dry a sometimes painful task when the wrong “button” is pressed.
  • I go to bed with painful soles, like someone just rubbed chilli padi on them. I say a prayer and feel like crying.

JJ has started to take some strawberries, which is a good sign of the healing progress because the acidity of strawberries would have caused the ulcers to flare.

Day 04:

  • Woke at 5.30am feeling like my throat was on fire. Self-medicated with a teaspoon of Manuka and a drop of thieves essential oil, and tried to fall back to sleep.
  • I rest more while daddy entertains the kids. We all miss church today.
  • Meals consist of pork/fish porridge, cooked/bought. I can’t eat/drink anything hot because my throat is still on fire. Swallowing is a chore and I’m craving for a Magnum.
  • Because the blisters on the feet are more painful now, I try to minimise the amount of time I spend with only one foot on the ground, so as to reduce the pressure on the sores. I look a bit like a penguin with her underpants on fire.
  • Was teary all evening because the throat was so painful. I asked daddy and the kids to pray again, and after an hour or so, the pain went away. I realised it could be ulcers in the throat, because of the high intensity pain that comes and goes throughout the day.
  • The Magnum was a BIG mistake. I thought it would numb the pain but Nooo, the milk content stung the ulcers instead. I almost passed out on my dining table. (I found out separately from the doctor that it’s not always the case that ice-cream helps. At first contact, it always stings, and as it works to numb the sores, it starts to feel better. At the end of it, there could also be a “rebound pain.” )

Little boy’s better since yesterday (day 06 for him) and less episodes of “pain-pain” cries. But we still have our hands full because he can’t fully communicate what he wants. And when that happens, he really loses it…

Day 05: 

  • Woke up to a brand new day with the same ol’ pain. I wish this stupid virus would self-destruct and die.
  • I gargle my mouth with an antimicrobial mouthwash, in a bid to avoid further ulcers from developing. I also down Manuka honey, avoid food and drinks that are too hot, and fruits / juices / milk because these can really sting.
  • The ipoh horfun (with less sauce) seems to work, some stings here and there but bearable.
  • When night came, my throat started to hurt really badly again. I couldn’t eat what my mum cooked, not even just rice and soup, so hubby made some cold soba for supper. I tried to down them as best I could. *gulp*

On the bright side, JJ is completely well, and happy as a lark on his day 07. Seeing him happy makes me feel a little better…There is hope.

Day 06:

  • I start the day jumping off my bed and onto my computer because of some urgent work. (Well at least, I didn’t start my day thinking about the pain.)
  • I swallow soft boiled eggs for breakfast, with some wincing and flinching. Plus some fish ball kuey teow. And then some fish mee sua for lunch. As you can see, this virus has taken away my joy of eating but it has done nothing to curb my appetite. (Which is like a double whammy if you really think about it.)
  • Hubby came home early to spend some time with me, even though there really wasn’t much he could do except for pray and make me honey drinks. When the pain got worse and I was lying in bed, he was there right beside me, just keeping me company. Days like these, I wonder what I would do without him…

Day 07:

  • Woke up to pain, again. I make a doctor’s appointment to see what exactly is going on, since I thought I would at least be feeling better by now. I find out that the ulcers were located at the base of my throat, right where the swallowing action takes place, and that is the reason for my pain.
  • The good news? That this too shall pass.
  • The bad? That there’s nothing I can do to ease the pain, except pop painkillers.
  • I learnt today the most comfortable food is still kuey teow soup or mee sua. A little warm is okay, just not too hot. I even managed to sip down some teh-si today. I asked for less hot, and let it sit while I read a book. Oh bliss…
  • I also did some work and some writing. It helps to keep my mind off things.

Day 08:

  • Good morning, pain. Go away already. I’m tired of seeing you here! (Okay, somehow that made me feel better.)
  • My stomach’s rumbling. I’ve been surviving on so little food, I’m probably losing weight. I guess that’s the good part.
  • I’m starting to feel nauseous, not sure if it’s due to the swallowing of saliva and air. I just can’t wait for all this to be over.
  • Terribly bored at home and distracting myself with a good book, and have had some quiet moments through the day. I can’t be grateful enough to mum and godmother for being around to help with the kids…

Day 09:

  • The pain is noticeably less, but nonetheless still there.
  • Found out that almond milk actually does not cause ANY pain. Oh jubilee! (My friend bought almond powder for me a few weeks back and now it’s come in handy. Suitable for all ages, and apparently quite nutritious too.)
  • At the end of the day, I realise that I no longer need the painkillers, and the peak of the pain has lost its blunt edge. Looking forward to a turnaround, finally!

Day 10:

  • I wake up feeling pretty much close to normal, barring the existence of an ulcer on my tongue.
  • I feel like popping champagne, and stuffing chocolate cake down my throat. Instead we head over to a nearby park and have a picnic with the kids.
  • I’m actually tucking into my meals for the first time in 10 days. The residual ulcer on my tongue feels stingy at times, but nothing like the pain from the past few days. I’m so glad this is over. So, so glad…

 ~~~~~~

Sometimes when illness or calamity strikes, it’s easy to get angry and lash out at others or God, and ask, “Why? Why?” Though it feels like God is silent amidst the pain, the faith that is in you tells you otherwise — that He is indeed very present and also by your side.

Then I came across this poem, and it helped me to see something new:

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked God for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do the better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am among all men most richly blessed.

~ author unknown ~

5 things I did not know about toddler’s teeth

I recently brought Vera for her routine dental check-up. This was her second time visiting a dentist, but her first visit to this particular dentist called Dr Tay. (We decided to change because we found the first one a bit on the expensive side.)

Through the process, I found out some interesting tidbits about teeth and thought I would share them with you.

dentist

1) Don’t rush to switch to fluoride toothpaste for toddlers

Why? Fluoride causes fluorosis when swallowed, which leads to the discolouration of adult teeth.

So this dentist advised to wait till your child is more mature, closer to 4 years old or even above, as they need to be able to gargle properly (they should be able to swish water around the mouth) and spit out the toothpaste.

2) Pacifier is better than thumb

Why? Simply because the thumb is harder to wean off than a pacifier, and may actually cause the teeth to shift out of alignment if the frequency and extent of thumb-sucking is high. (In this dentist’s opinion at least.)

3) Gaps between baby teeth are good

As adult teeth are bigger than baby teeth, they will fill up more space than when the baby teeth were around. So if your child has gaps between his teeth now, don’t fret, it’s actually a good thing.

Vera actually has very little space between her teeth now, which looks good but actually means that the chances of having adult teeth that are overcrowded are high.

Read more: All about toddler teeth

4) You should floss your toddler’s teeth

This is something that most of us know we should do, but procrastinate. How many of us faithfully floss every day anyway? (At least, I know I struggle with that.)

But there are definitely benefits of starting to floss when young. First, you build a good habit for your child. Second, it gets rid of the icky stuff that hides between the teeth, which leads to better hygiene and less plaque/cavaries.

All we need to do is lie them down facing up, use a thread of normal floss and gently go in and out between their teeth. For starters, we don’t need to use any zig-zag action, nor do we need to go too deep beneath the gum-line.

5) Get rid of plaque using soft cloth

Vera has a yellowish stain on one of her front teeth, and initially we were quite worried that it was caries. Thankfully, it turned out to be a stubborn layer of plaque. The dentist advised us to use a clean cloth and rub against the tooth enamel area often. This is more effective and less abrasive than using a brush to brush against her tooth.

He also asked us to make sure that her teeth has a shiny surface after brushing.

By the way, I must say I really like this dentist. He’s everything a mum would want in her child’s dentist.

  • He’s gentle (this is top top top priority. Everything else falls flat if this first criteria is not met.)
  • He’s good with children (this comes a very close second.)
  • He’s thorough and detailed (he took the time to explain everything he was doing, what he was looking for, and what I should do on a daily basis with Vera)

Granted, his clinic occupies only a small space, and doesn’t boast added frills such as a dedicated TV for distracting the children while he works on their teeth. (There is a TV showing cartoons at the reception area though.) But I guess this is why his prices are very reasonable too.

I’m not advertising for him (and I’m not even sure he wants to be publicised given his rather long booking schedule), so I won’t be sharing his details publicly on this post. But if you’re really really keen to try him out, drop me an email to ask okay?

What have you learnt about caring for your child’s teeth?

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Let’s play dressing-up

We recently dug out a treasure chest of funny costumes, headgear, and toy guns. Vera pounced on it like a hungry tiger. Or maybe more like a rabbit princess…

Mummy says smile. Okay, I must smile.

Here’s our budding ballerina…

And now, a zorro-ine. (With an appropriate watcha-looking-at face.)

Obviously JJ is not a fan of the gauze skirt. Or maybe he’s just not in the dressing-up stage yet.

The daddy is obviously enjoying it though…I guess some kids just don’t grow up. 😛

Does your child love playing dress-up?

Playing with my ABCs

These magnetic alphabets were taken off the fridge and lined up like a railway track.

Can you make out any words?

I thought for a moment that I spotted the word ‘eBay’, but oops the ‘I’ is where the ‘B’ should be.

Or maybe abacus spelt wrongly. ABYKS.

Anyway…

Nothing happier than a toddler who’s simply just playing with her alphabets.

Hmm, if we can’t find any words then this would be a very wordless Wednesday.

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