Archive for July, 2010

Progress Check: 8 mths

July 30, 2010

Solids:

On a more positive note, he finally ate some mushed up banana yesterday! He actually eagerly chomped it up instead of scrunching up his face with the ‘what’s this thing in my mouth’ look. Hopefully he’ll find more food that he likes. He’s been chewing very nicely on his teething rusks and teethers so I can tell that if he has the inclination to, he can actually feed himself with his hands. Even when he’s just gnawing on the rusk, it’s a great big mess though.

Sitting up:

He’s getting quite steady at sitting up by himself unassisted. He still tilts and topples of course, but he can sit up and bang his stacking cups around or chew on his teether for a couple of minutes when the mood is right.

Can’t think of anything else at the moment. More to come when I get this mummies brain working. Gonna go back to sleep.

So more cute things that he does….

With his Pacifier:

He’s now adept at removing his pacifier and putting it back. His pacifier is shaped such that it has to be facing a certain direction, so he will keep trying. If it’s the wrong side, he’ll spit it out and try again. So by trial and error, he will manage to get his pacifier back in. Too bad he does this for entertainment. If only he will do it at night and stop waking us up to look for his pacifier 🙂

This afternoon, he flipped to his tummy with the binkie still in his mouth. It dropped out and guess what the little fella do? He bent his head down, opened his mouth wide and put it right back in his mouth. I laughed like mad after that. He looked at me, pacifier in mouth and laughed as well. Such a sweet and silly little turtle.

Botak:

His cradle cap kept coming back. After he scratched himself hard the other day, we finally brought him for his first haircut. I have to say kids’ haircuts are exorbitant! It was $20 for a simple head shave, which took less than 2 minutes. Jeez. Anyway, he’s now a little botak boy. I love to stroke his little head of fuzz now!

Sleep:

He still loves sleeping on his side. Not sure if he’s having separation anxiety but he definitely loves to hold on to our arms like a bolster when he falls asleep. When I try to sneak off after he falls asleep, he will grab on tight and I have to slowly ease myself out.

29 Jul: Botak Boy

The Weight of Paranoia

July 30, 2010

I have to admit, I’m prone to thinking too much. I’m definitely one of the subscribers to the philosophy “Prepare for the worst, plan for the best”. I’ve fallen prey to this strange anxiety that little Calvin might be autistic and I’ve been reading as much as I can about autism recently. Regardless of how he turn out, we will both still love him very much. In fact, probably more so if he turns out to be autistic. I certainly hope that I’m just being paranoid and I’m just worrying over nothing. I just want to sigh that breath of relief and shed tears of happiness when he finally starts talking.

Most of the resources I’ve read emphasizes the benefits of early intervention. Even if he’s a normal child, I figure it can’t hurt to focus on improving his weaker areas. So I went through the early signs of autism and his milestones. While he seems to be ok on the social and motor skills, I am worried about his verbal development. His babbling still consists of mostly ‘ha’ and ‘g’ sounds. He doesn’t imitate our facial expressions either, like say when we stick our tongues out at him. We’re gonna give him intensive face to face time. He must be wondering why we keep sticking our tongues out at him. How rude! 🙂

Early signs of autism in babies and toddlers

  • Doesn’t make eye contact (e.g. look at you when being fed).
  • Doesn’t smile when smiled at.
  • Doesn’t respond to his or her name or to the sound of a familiar voice.
  • Doesn’t follow objects visually.
  • Doesn’t point or wave goodbye or use other gestures to communicate.
  • Doesn’t make noises to get your attention.
  • Doesn’t respond to cuddling.
  • Doesn’t imitate your movements and facial expressions.
  • Doesn’t reach out to be picked up.
  • Doesn’t play with other people or share interest and enjoyment.

The following delays warrant an immediate evaluation by your child’s pediatrician.

  • By 6 months: No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions.
  • By 9 months: No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions.
  • By 12 months: Lack of response to name.
  • By 12 months: No babbling or “baby talk.”
  • By 12 months: No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving.
  • By 16 months: No spoken words.
  • By 24 months: No meaningful two-word phrases that don’t involve imitating or repeating.

Toy Shopping

July 25, 2010

There was a sale at the distributor at Chai Chee. They carry the Sassy and Tiny Love line of products, some of which I’ve been eyeing for a while. Tiny Love and Tolo are two of my favorite brands of toys because at least I know they use safe plastics, if any. Plus, Calvin has loved his cot mobile and play gym by Tiny Love so much. Sassy is ok, except they do have some products that contain BPA which sent me into a frenzy of checking what materials they are made with in the middle of the night. To my dismay, the rattle I wanted to get for him was made with polycarbonate (which leeches BPA). I find it really annoying that so many toys are still contain unsafe chemicals and I have to do so much research before buying a simple toy. That’s also one of the reasons why I try to avoid plastic toys.

This distributor is literally a 15 minute walk away so we set off (in a car, not by foot) after he woke up from his nap yesterday. It was probably my lucky day. Just as we stepped into the display area, I saw two things that I’ve been wanting to buy for the longest time – the Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes and Tiny Love’s Ozzie Orange. To top it off, they were on clearance and heavily discounted! To think I almost bought the Baby Einstein toy for USD10 from amazon and that’s before the exorbitant shipping from the US. I really felt like I struck gold there and was really thrilled for the whole day!

We also bought a couple more teethers and small toys for him. He’s really into chilled teethers recently. It’s kinda ironic that I paid the least for what I really wanted and then went on to spend more money on marginally interesting toys that I thought he might like. Well, what I was going to pay for those two toys alone made up 80% of the cost of my entire shopping cart of 6 items so it’s all good. Shucks, I can be such an aunty when it comes to getting a good bargain…

16 Jul - Whoa, more toys for me?

Parenting Anxiety

July 22, 2010

Without a doubt, most parents try to do their utmost for their kids. The problem though is not knowing what that really entails. And in comes the marketing peeps with their so called ‘experts’ who hone in on these insecurities and tell you, “Hey, our products will make your baby smart”. Gullible parents will come in droves to buy those baby Einstein DVDs.

Then again, some of the things being sold just go right down the road of the bizarre. I mean I saw something on Amazon that’s supposed to help you remember when you last fed and change the baby. (Just USd20. Get yours now!) The scary thing is that  I see a few hundred positive reviews for it. I’m sure my excel spreadsheet works just fine if I really need to keep track. There’s also some other silly and even creepy contraptions like a fake pair of hands to trick the baby think it’s being held or baby wipes warmer. There really is a market for anything out there….

I told myself I wasn’t going to be one of those parents caught up with all the hype like playing prenatal Mozart music or putting him through random enrichment classes. Well, I still stand by that. Which is why I’ve been doing a lot of research on what toys to buy. I just don’t want to spend a fortune on random toys only to have him flit through them like the pages on a trashy magazine. We’ve also consciously tried to avoid electronic, plastic pieces of noise since we both don’t really like those very much.  Shucks, it really seems that I’ll turn up to be a hippy mum who buys only wooden toys or something.

I also told myself while I should monitor his progress, I wouldn’t be obsessed with milestones. I’ve been getting worried recently that he might turn out autistic. Many premature babies do end up with autism and boys also have a higher chance of being autistic (in US, I think the states is  one in 94) so the stats are not stacked in his favor. I certainly hope that I’m just paranoid and he’ll turn up a normal, happy baby boy. He’s definitely a social boy though, which is a relief. He would smile happily at the maid or my in laws; he’s utterly delighted when he sees me; he makes eye contact frequently; he giggles cheekily at our clownish antics (His recent favorite is me making a mock serious face and tell him it’s “Serious business”)

He doesn’t seem to babble that much though. He’s made some ‘ha’ and ‘gurl’ sounds but I thought most babies go ‘bababa’ or ‘mamama’ or ‘dadada’?  And most of the time, he’s still cooing rather than babbling. So he may be slightly slow in his verbal skills. I’ve been consciously talking to him face to face and reading to him when I can, though it’s probably time to get him (or rather me) some new books. After reading through the same few cloth books we have, the phrases ‘It’s not an ant, a snail, or slug; It’s spotty dotty lady bug’ is getting kinda stuck on repeat mode in my head.

Saying “No” to Maids

July 17, 2010

I have to admit, I’m never comfortable around maids. In my home, all the housework was done by my mom. I used to help out a little when I was young, though quite evidently not in the kitchen as you can see from my abysmal cooking skills. (I finally perfected the fluffy scrambled eggs recently. Yay me…). I feel awkward having a stranger in the house.I’m just not eager to sacrifice my privacy for a cleaner house. I’d rather buy automated gadgets to do the vacuuming or dish washing, thank you.

I also don’t trust any maid to take care of my Calvin. I have read enough horror stories about maids abusing kids, but that’s not really the reason. I’m sure those are the exception rather than the norm. Laziness, however, is a universal vice. On our daily after dinner walks, we’ve seen at least two maids who are supposedly taking the dog out for a walk – one of them just sits down on a bench at the park, chatting on the phone while the dog sits next to her forlornly; The other one ties the dog up at a tree opposite the prata store while she goes to the store and chit chat with her boyfriend or something.I did hear that some maids will just pour away the milk/ semi-solids if the child doesn’t eat and pretend that the baby has been fed.

Even if we were lucky enough to get a really earnest, hardworking maid, I don’t really want my child to be attached to her. After all, caring for a child isn’t just about meeting basic needs, it’s about teaching him my beliefs and values. Sorry to say that I just don’t want my kid to pick that up from a maid.

Anyway, even though my MIL gave the maid a raise to purportedly help with Calvin, the maid is too busy catering to the whims of his parents to even have time to clean our rooms regularly or do the laundry promptly. I’m happy with taking care of my little bub myself, even if he tires me out incessantly.

Progress Check: KK Checkup

July 14, 2010

We went for his regular checkup at KKH again. He passed his hearing test and had a lot of gunk cleared out of his ear in the process. (He made the doctor change the disposable ear piece twice for one ear. lol).Seems like he’s still anemic but blood count is higher than the last round. So we’ll still have to continue giving him his ‘chocolate’ milk every day for now. He hasn’t been putting on much weight though even though his milk intake is respectable now. Anyway, there’s nothing I can do to force him to drink more when he doesn’t want to. He’s been rejecting solids as well, so that’s not where I can increase his caloric intake either. Oh well, guess he will grow at his own pace.

Spinning Around

Recently, he’s been moving himself round and round both on his back and his tummy. It’s starting to get dangerous to leave him alone on the bed. Think we might have to ‘downgrade’ him onto a mattress on the floor soon. Does this mean one of us will be sleeping on the floor as well?

Teething?

Now I seriously see the signs of teething. He’s been very eager to chomp on the iced teethers. And I thought my impulse buy was a total waste of money when he showed no interest in it last time. Now it looks like I need more of those since the teethers become warm pretty fast. From the way he puts things in his mouth, he should be able to feed himself quite well if only he were interested to do so. It’s a pleasure to see him gnawing away happily. His stool has also became super watery…. yuck. It’s a big pain when poo leaks out all over the place.

Sitting up

He’s been able to sit up by himself now. He loves playing with the stacking cups when he’s sitting. Not stacking of course. More like banging them together, whacking us if our hand crosses his path or hitting his own thigh. He’s plenty strong and it really hurts when he hits us. I wonder why he doesn’t cry when he hits himself…. He’s also showing great curiosity towards everyday things, like the empty chocolate wrapper, the bed rail, aircon remote control, my hand…… Gah, he loves sucking on my hand and leaving it all slobbery. Add that, together with pulling my hair, to the list of abuses he piles on me!

Out Damned Spot

July 8, 2010

I have to admit, ever since I started reading this book – Slow Death by Rubber Duck, I’ve been  obsessed about all the chemicals I’ve been ingesting and putting on myself. While I was pregnant, I read up all about BPA and have been actively avoiding all canned food and checking recycling numbers on plastic containers (4, 5, 1,2, all the rest are bad for you).

When I read about how phthlates, which is chemically similar to hormones just like bpa, exists in many fragrances, I was thankful for my sensitive nose and skin which made me avoid buying and using many strong smelling products. I’m glad too that I’ve been so lazy about using perfume that the bottle of DKNY be delicious is still sitting there 90% full after 5 years. Where I couldn’t completely eliminate scents though was the bathroom, which was full of cheap toiletries bought from the neighbourhood sundries shop. I went completely nuts reading all about which bath products are safer on the Environment Working Group (EWG) site

Finally, after two days of tireless research, I finally ordered USD75 worth of toiletries to replace the shampoo, bodywash and soap in my bathroom with unscented organic ones. (Admittedly, a big chunk of the cost was for shipping. These bottles of stuff are heavy!) Now I’ll have to wonder about what to do with the half used bottles.

I used to pooh pooh when I read about people who are obsessed with everything organic and now ironically I seem to have turned into one of them. Well, if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m breastfeeding, I would probably have hesitated and deliberated a little longer but just the idea of weird chemicals going into his milk is enough to freak me out. I’m probably still exposed to much more chemicals than I would like but I don’t own this house so I’ll just have to make do with cutting down where I can control it. The things mothers do for their babies! How can I not try and protect this cute and cheeky little monkey?