Archive for May, 2010

Becoming Mom

May 30, 2010

It’s true that you only start to understand how your parents loved you when you become a parent yourself. These days I like to reminisce about myself when I was young and wonder if my Calvin will be just the same. I remember sharing the bed with my mum and asking her to let me fall asleep first. And those mornings when I manja with my mum and ask her to piggy back me down the stairs. I also remember having a lot of different toys since I’m the last of the 3 kids, though not always in complete sets. My mum is the kind who wouldn’t bear to hit her kids, though she apparently scolded us so loudly, the whole street could hear her. It is a warm relationship I had with my mum since young and I hope that that’s how Calvin will remember his childhood days next time as well.

The past two nights, we experimented with playing with him before bedtime instead of trying to get him to sleep as soon as he eats. Usually he fusses and fusses and get all upset until he’s all tuckered out and falls asleep. It’s also tiring for us to sing his favorite “Twinkle, twinkle” for more than 30 mins while patting him and occasionally carrying him. Deciding to play with him and expend all that excess energy seems to be a good move. We had a lot of fun playing peekaboo on our bed. When he starts to look a bit sleepy, we put him back in his cot. He took about 10 mins to finally settle down but did not even fuss. It makes me happy that he seems contented. Sometimes when he’s all flustered, I feel bad that I can’t satisfy his needs. So hopefully this peaceful and happy bedtime will continue from now =)

30May: Oops messy hair...

He’s Just a Baby

May 26, 2010

Calvin is still having very broken sleep at night. Which means we both have pretty crappy sleep as well. Usually J will take the first shift and I’ll deal with him after I pump at 4am until it’s wake up time. He’s been waking up 10+ times a night, but at least after yesterday’s flip-a-thon, he’s no longer flipping with his eyes closed!

The result of us having terrible sleep is that patience is in short supply. I sometimes get pretty frustrated like when he woke up at 6am the other day and all he wanted to do was flip. So he’ll go on his tummy, cry for help, I flip him back. Repeat ad nauseam until 7:30am when he got himself all tired and grumpy and wouldn’t stop crying. By that time, I was pretty fed up myself and probably wasn’t the best person to comfort him. Luckily, daddy came to his rescue. I felt pretty bad after that. After all, he’s just a little baby. He can’t help it if he gets all excited and can’t control himself. It’s not like he’s doing it to spite me. I guess when I thought about how helpless he is at comforting himself, my heart softens. After all, it’s just a little sleep. Why stress over it? I don’t think I’ll really die of exhaustion though I’m a little worried that I’m still losing weight. But at least a change in perspective really makes me happier especially since there’s nothing I can really do to change the situation, short of tossing him out of the window (not!)

Unconditional Parenting (Part I)

May 23, 2010

On Friday at the clinic, J witnessed some terrible parenting in motion again. A father was there with his toddler and the dad kept up this whole string of criticisms and nagging “Play properly”, “Stand straight”, “Keep quiet” and everything was punctuated with “Otherwise you’ll get it when we get home”.  While I know that me and J will never impose such extreme authoritarian rule over little Calvin, I decided it’s time to start reading parenting books for ideas nonetheless.

The first book I’m starting on now is called Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. It advocates that we should look at the long term goal of who/what we want our kids to be rather than focusing on their short term behaviour. He contends that punishment and it’s converse – positive reinforcement relies too much on behaviorism — or what he calls conditional parenting. Conditional parenting makes kids feel that they are only loved if they fulfill certain conditions. While it may get you results quickly, it only teaches kids to follow certain rigid sets of conduct and not the moral philosophy behind what they do. They may learn to say ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ at the appropriate times but they might not learn to truly appreciate what others did for them or what they have done to others. And when the incentives or disincentives are removed, kids will not be interested in continuing the good behaviour. Some studies have also shown that not only are the kids less interested in what they do, they are less proficient in it as well.

One of the study was about how kids whose parents control their play by telling them what to do, correcting their ‘wrong’ behavior or even praising them, find the toys not as fun as those kids whose parents are less controlling.  Yes, even praise is bad because by praising them when they do the ‘right’ thing, it implicitly says that everything else they did was no good and motivates them to continue doing things just to please us rather than exploring and learning.

So far, I agree with his philosophy that we should teach our children how to think and reason through things, rather than ‘Just do it, because I say so’. Instinctively, we probably already knew this, but it’s definitely much harder to implement than I thought. There’s so much conventional wisdom about disciplining, especially the time out method of withdrawing privileges that I’m afraid we are already corrupted in the way we think about disciplining. I’m only about one third of the way through, so will hopefully pick up some useful tips in the later half of the book and put them into practice sooner rather than later.

6 Month Update

May 21, 2010

Baby Calvin just went for his last 6-in-1 jab today. His weight is now 6.75kg and is 65.5 cm tall which is pretty decent height and weight gain. With this, it will be his last vaccination until he turns one.

Today is also the day he flipped from his back to tummy. He’s been trying it out for days. Then just as I went to clean up some minor spit up, I came back to find him on his tummy. I was trying to coax him to do it again so I can get it on video. Ah I didn’t really need to. He was so pleased with himself, he kept flipping to his tummy even when I was trying to get him to take his nap. I was getting a bit worried about his lack of flipping actually. He managed to get from tummy to back a few times a couple of months ago, but didn’t seem keen at all to replicate it. But I guess he didn’t have much incentive to do so since he loves being on his tummy. Now as long as I move slightly above and behind his head, he’ll try and flip to his tummy to look at me. Sooooo cute!

Disciplining

May 20, 2010

I’ve been reading the motherhood forums and someone raised a question about how to discipline her two year old in her ‘terrible twos’. She was saying that she tried everything from timeout (facing the wall, sitting in a corner, locked in a room with her) to spanking. Then she made this comment that it was no use and he just cried for a whole hour. Wait, what? One whole hour? Did she mean that she punished him for a whole hour? And after receiving advice from the forumers to try timeouts, she said she’ll try these methods again, except increase the time. Increase the timing?!? I was completely aghast. One whole hour of crying is not enough? The poor boy…

Coincidentally, I was reading about how parents tend to view discipline as punishment when the word discipline actually means to teach. The western concept of discipline generally focuses on positive reinforcement but the asian way was traditionally by spanking. I think there’s definitely a time and place for both. Positive reinforcement takes quite long to really work, if baby Calvin was doing something dangerous like putting his fingers into electric sockets, I’d definitely scold him and give him a light slap on the hand to quickly keep him away from it. Other than that, I do believe that positive reinforcement is the way to go. I was reading an article that says that parents tend to ignore the child and do their own things when they are being good and playing quietly. So it ends up that children learn that when they are good, they get no attention, and when they are naughty they get lots of attention. I wonder if my Calvin will grow up to be a difficult child. I certainly hope that by then I would have picked up enough parenting knowledge to handle him well. We’ll see when the time comes =)

Almost 6 Month Old

May 20, 2010

Tomorrow, he’ll be turning 6 months old. I didn’t realize that it’s been half a year since I’ve stopped working. Some of the things that he can do now are:

– Loves to sit up with our support

– Still enjoys tummy time though not as much now that his favorite is sitting up

– Loves to be read to while sitting in our lap

– Explores his hands with his mouth

– Explores our hands with his mouth (Yes, he grabs our fingers and then licks it)

– Knows how to hold objects with both hands

– Passes his toys from one hand to the other

– Can see across the room and often follow me with his eyes while I putter around the room

– Smiles happily when we look at him

– Recognize his bottle

– Can hold his sippy cup and shove it in his mouth (but don’t think he’s really drinking from it?)

– Opens his mouth for the spoon

– Attempting to chomp on the teething tablets with his toothless gums! (we were really surprised, coz previously he kinda pushes it out with his tongue. But yesterday, we heard a definite munching sound. So I guess all the silly sounds of me going ‘ahm ahm ahm’ while eating food in front of him paid off)

– Laughs when being tickled near the armpit and feet, when we make funny faces, hearing me crunch rice crackers, lifted up by the chest, seeing his reflection, sometime no apparent reason at all.

Things that are still work in Progress:

– Seems to be trying to flip from back to tummy

– Trying to crawl but usually fall flat on the face

14 May: Sippy Cup and Hand - I like both

Chomp!

May 17, 2010

I started Calvin on semi-solids on Sunday. I gave him Happy Bellies Organic Rice cereal and he liked it. He’s about 1 week shy of 6 months so I thought I would start a bit since he has been showing interest when I put food into my mouth and chomp them up. Today, I was eating a rice cracker and making deliberate ahm ahm sounds in front of him while crunching it. He laughed so loudly like it was the funniest thing in the world. Such a silly baby. I can’t wait to introduce more food to him =)

Teething?

May 15, 2010

Oops, looks like I’ve been neglecting my blog for a while. I keep starting posts and not finishing them.

My little bub is always showing us new and delightful (and also horrific) things every day. He’s been laughing and chuckling delightfully, especially when he play peek-a-boo with him or tickle him or hold him up and swing him about.

Recently he’s been drooling lots and is happily chomping his hands and many things that he can fit into his mouth.  And that sometimes includes my fingers if he’s holding on to it. He’ll use his little tongue and lick me. Haha, it really tickles though it reminds me of our dog Oreo. I suspect that he might be beginning to teeth as he’s been having terrible sleep at the same time. He used to be able to sleep at least frm 9pm till 3/4 am but he has been waking up every hour making piteous little cries. The past few days were ok though, so I’m wondering if it’s him getting used to teething, or was it just too hot for him to sleep previously. He sweats profusely at night in his cot, especially his head. Sometimes, he kicks around so much that his whole pillow will be soaked. We’ll have to carry him for a while, not so much because he really needed cuddles but more to let him cool down a bit. We don’t really like to turn on the aircon though coz he seems to have a sensitive nose and will get all stuffy from the dry air conditioned air.

I’m turning 29 soon. I actually thought I was hitting the big 3 but looks like it’ll be another year. Not that it really matters, I mean it’s a fact that people grow old. There’s nothing you can do to stop it. When I think of the fact that by the time Calvin finishes primary school, I’d already be 40, and it just seems so old… and when he’s finally independent at 25, I’d be 50+. Gee… I wonder what I’ll be doing then.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m really an under-achiever, I’m just happy and contented to have my little family. Especially in the Singapore context, where climbing the corporate ladder means you’ll have to slog and work overtime most of the time. Somehow that just doesn’t seem worth it. I’d rather have a more balanced lifestyle and just be happy. It’s not like we really need lots of money anyway — for one, I’m a horrible shopper and a miser, just look at the pathetic amount of loot I came back with when I went to Japan 😛 All I want is a nice little place and sufficient to get by with some small luxuries. Which reminds me, I’m planning to go enjoy my favorite dim sum at Wah Lok over my birthday weekend. My mum is coming over to visit, so I’m counting on an extra pair of hands to let me enjoy my har gau in peace 🙂