The dreaded HFMD.

So. Baby J got suspected Hand Foot Mouth disease. Why suspected ? He has what the doctor said was herpangina. Which is a strain of the coronovirus which leads to HFMD. But he only has ulcers in his mouth. None on his hands and feets. Which means it is not full blown HFMD. The doctor also said that once his fever breaks, the blisters on his hands and feet will either come out. Or no. If it doesn’t, it means that his body fought of the virus, and it didn’t become full blown HFMD. In baby J’s case, it has been 4 days or so, and there still aren’t any blisters. And his fever has broken. So, I THINK we should be safe. Fingers crossed.

So how did this happen? Well, last week he had a classmate who was sent home from school for HFMD. with little kids who basically all eat their toys. You know that this is going to spread like crazy. Which it did. I think the final count for his infant care class was 7 students who got it. Which is about half his class. I know many people blame the infant care and go on and on about how they are so young etc etc. But honestly, he could have got it anywhere. And at any age. I still feel that the teachers reacted very well, they sent patient zero back and quarantined him the moment they saw ulcers in his mouth. But the incubation period for HFMD is like 3-5 days. Which means that it could have already spread by the time they caught it. I did notice that they sanitised all the toys and the play area.

Anyways. So he got a mild fever on Saturday. Was very cranky and needy. So we immediately started paracetamol and ibruprofen to keep the fever down. Honestly, the fever was very mild. No higher than 38 degrees. But he was very lethargic and needy. It all came to pass on Sunday. He refused all food. Milk. Water. Solids. Everything. I was beginning to worry that it was HFMD, but there was nothing on his hands and feet. However, when I finally got a chance to open his mouth (when he was sleeping because he really didn’t want anyone touching his mouth) you could immediately see A LOT of ulcers. So we brought him to see our family doctor (they are great. If you’re staying in the East and need a good, not too pricey doctors who run night clinics!, Drop me a comment) who confirmed our suspicions. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about it except treat the fever and painrelief. So more paracetamol and ibruprofen.

Baby J was in so much pain. He refused to open his mouth. Refused every food/drink (and we tried everything. Ice cream, cold drinks, anything he could possibly want but normally not get). It is a challenge getting him to take his medicine. Honestly, it’s been like 5 days and he still is refusing milk. But I think we might finally be on the mend because he is at least eating biscuits and other nonsense. He’s also voluntarily drinking water. We were forcing him to have some hydralite the past 2 days just to make sure he didn’t get too dehydrated.

It has all been a big challenge. Honestly, it’s something I hope never happens again. But the thing is, kids fall sick, and it’s not all bad. But baby J is just a terrible patient (according to my mom, just like me, so. Karma). It’s been 3 days off work. But it has been so tiring, getting almost no sleep the first few days. But we’re getting better. We’ll be fine. So to anyone who might be suffering the same thing. Or suspect something, it’ll get worse before it gets better. But it will get better.

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Portable car seats?

So. I’m having a problem. I sometimes bring baby J on private hire cars if I have to bring him into infant care by myself. Or if I sometimes have to bring him home myself. I can’t really take public transport because there isn’t any near my place and it isn’t convenient.

Unlike taxis, by law, any child below 1.35m have to be in car seats, this includes in private hire cars. I like using private hire cars because they tend to be cheaper and easier to book. Generally will cost me about 20-30% savings. And honestly I don’t think taxis are any safer without a car seat.

We do not have a capsule car seat for baby J. And honestly. It’s too heavy for me to carry around and install on my own and with baby J. Anyway he’s getting a bit big for it.

Problem is, he’s also too small for traditional portable boosters like the mifold.

The only option I can find only now seems to be the urban kanga. Which is a portable car seat. About 3kg extra to lug around. But the thought of having to carry this. And the baby. And all our stuff around on my own is quite scary.

Any ideas?

Separation Anxiety.

We’re now parents of a lovely, cheeky, naughty, whiny, annoying almost 13 months old.

And what are we experience recently? Crazy separation anxiety coupled with extremely neediness. To me. It’s insane. He refuses to go to sleep if it isn’t me. Refuses to eat if I’m not right there. Constantly needs to be near me.

Fathers out there who might be experiencing the same kind of rejection/feeling of being left out. Don’t worry. You’re not really missing out. And I mean. They are supposed to grow out of it right? RIGHT!??!?!

Having 10mins alone in the toilet has never felt so amazing.

The strange yet awesome thing is that he doesnt actually get much anxiety when we drop him off at daycare. I attribute it to him actually being quite happy there and that it’s a familiar routine for him now. Thank goodness. It makes going to work so much easier.

Okay sorry for a super random post. My brain is a bit jumbled from work and stuff.

Okay bye.

Experiences of traveling in the snow. Part 1.

So. We brought our handy dandy travel stroller (the Joie Pact Lite which is a cabin sized stroller) along with us to Japan. Thinking it’ll be a great way to show baby J the world without breaking my back.

Well. Thankfully we had brought along our carrier as well. Because strollers do not mix with snow/slush and icy conditions. Basically. Living in sunny (or rainy) Singapore, we have no experience with pushing strollers in cold weather.

But now I know. It’s pretty damn impossible to push a stroller through slush. We ended up using the stroller once. In Sapporo city itself where much of the walking was below ground. And pretty much didn’t use it again. We relying almost entirely on the carrier.

Moral of the story. Find out more about the weather conditions before decoded how to move around with a baby.

Traveling with a cranky almost 1 year old.

So. We just got back from a week long holiday in cold Hokkaido with my family. And boy was it an experience.

So baby J has been cranky for a while now, largely I think cos he’s top two teeth are growing in. He’s drooling endlessly and biting just about everything. My finger and shoulder included. So. I guess I should have know, from the get go, that this trip was not going to be as easy as our last trip when he was 6 months old, to Korea.

And boy was it difficult. Baby J hates wearing clothes. All clothes. So imagine having to put several layers of clothes onto a baby that won’t lie down much less stay still. Sometimes I watch shows where people change diapers or clothes on babies and really wonder if Baby J is just a strange anomaly.

Furthermore. He’s just mastered walking. Try keeping him in the stroller or baby carrier for most part of the day. Oh good lord he was mad.

That and for some reason he decided that he really needed to be carried all the time. By me. While walking. Regardless of whether or not we were on a plane, a train, a bus, a van. I could go on and on. It was not fun times and I’m immensely sorry to the people around us.

This trip has thought me that it really does take a village. My parents were grand (geddit geddit) and baby J adores my sister. So quick lesson learnt having support is important if possible. If not. Grit your teeth, ignores the angry stares. I promise things will get better. Eventually.

More on our travels soon!

Bringing up Bebe.

TLDR: interesting book for parents.

So, I’ve been reading the fairly humorously, light-hearted book Bringing up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. And if i were to summarise the main difference she highlights between American parenting and French parenting, it would be the emphasis or lack thereof of structure and the over-babying (does this word make sense) of the baby.

What struck me as interesting was the fact that before buying the book, I was reading through quite a bit of criticism of the author’s take on parenting, how the French rigidity could be the reason why the French aren’t famous for entrepreneurs and how her take was a bourgeois take on French parenting, the lower-middle and lower income don’t live like this.

I found this interesting because I feel like in Singapore, back in my day (late 80s early 90s), we were all brought up with similar structure and discipline. There was (and still isn’t) any interrupting of parents, no throwing of tantrums, sitting at the dinner, eating what you were given. All this was a given. Behave or you would be scolded, worse, you could be smacked (I refuse to delve into the whole debate surrounding smacking. We were smacked as kids, and till this day, I don’t see it as child abuse, I greatly love my parents and I understand that they love me to. Thats all I will say). To say that this stifles creativity or self-expression, I don’t know if its true, given that creativity and self-expression is also limited by cultural and national norms. But to say that it limits entrepreneurship? Probably not. Singapore is filled to the brim with entrepreneurs or people with business plans.

Interestingly though, I find that Singaporeans appear to be moving toward a more “helicopter” type of parenting where parents are constantly hovering, or anxious about their child, what he or she is doing etc. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Perhaps it’s simply because we are having less children and therefore each child is more precious. What does this mean for such children? I guess only time will tell.

Semi-Pro #4

Feeding baby medicine.

I had a friend recently ask me how I give my (almost 10 month old) very hyper baby medicine. And I realized that was a really good question. Baby J hates medicine. He hates being force-fed medicines, and it makes life just a little more difficult especially when him being sick is already making things tough.

So how do we do it? Well obviously we force him. If someone else is free to help me hold him, they have to cradle him and make sure both hands are secured so that he cannot whack the medicine away. And I will hold his cheeks so that he will open his mouth and make sure he swallows not spit out the medicines. Sounds evil. Sounds bad. But you know what. Him getting fed the medicines makes him feel better in the long run. It’s for his own good. 

So whats the tip? Don’t feel too bad about it. Remember it’s what’s good for him. And. Good luck. 

Semi-Pro Tip #3

So. We got an additional baby carrier as a spare. We sold off the Chimparoo Trek Air-O. It was a great carrier. But what I realized is that with baby carrier is that you really have to try it. With a baby. For a while. Before you can tell if it’s the right one for you.

I say this largely cos we are all so different in size, it’s very hard to say what is comfortable on someone else will be comfortable on you. 

We ended up getting a (more cost effective) spare carrier from Aprica. The Aprica Belt Colan. And we now use the Lillebaby Complete Airflow.

The Aprica is small (fits me, and I’m pretty much am average sized Asian) and extremely light. It’s even lighter than the fully cotton carriers like Tula that I’ve tried.

The Lillebaby isn’t as light. But it isn’t too big for me. 

What I’m trying to say is. Don’t buy a carrier purely based on what you read online. What might work for someone else might not work for you. See if you can borrow one to try, or rent a carrier (there are several places to do that in Singapore) and make your decision from there. 

Once you find the right one, happy carrying. But, regardless of how well it fits, if you’re anything like me. Say hello to shoulder aches. 

Baby Weaning Essentials

So as I mentioned in an earlier post, Baby J has begun weaning. In fact. He’s happily eating solids three times a day and loves his biscuits. What have we learnt from weaning the baby? Feeding babies are messy, time consuming, and utterly troublesome sometimes. BUT it really is quite satisfying to see your child happily consuming his food.

I must say that we got very lucky with baby J because he was never a fussy baby, and doesn’t give us much trouble when it comes to food. He actually really loves his solids (so much so he usually doesn’t finish his milk anymore, it is a problem). We’ve been giving him solids for about 3 months now (he’s 8 months now) and I’ve found some items to be extremely helpful our weaning journey.

The first on my list would be the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender .

Image result for tommee tippee blender steamer

This has been a life saver. And I guess the same would apply to any other steamer/blender combi, just that we happened to purchase this one. And why has it been so helpful? Largely because it saves me so much time. I’d chop up whether vegetable/fruit/fish/meat and either individually throw it in to be steamed and blended or throw in my preferred combination and wait for it to beep. It usually takes me no longer than 15 mins to finish prepping at least 3 portions of his food (3 portions because sometimes my freezer just doesn’t have enough space). And the best part? I really only have to wash the blender, a chopping board and a knife. Compared to if I had to steam the food in a traditional manner and then blend it? Definitely neater. Plus the blending function allows me to mash his food as finely (watery purees that I now use to mix with cereal/oats) or lumpy (for regular feeding) as I wish.

I store my purees in freezable infant food containers  that I can take, thaw and feed him straight out of right now because he doesn’t eat that much (so one container is usually enough). But I’ve also recently purchased a silicon food tray with a cover that can be used to freeze food cubes. This is so that I can thaw as many cubes as I need and with as many combinations as I like. I generally don’t make food in very big batches because of the freezer space constraint, so I don’t store food for that long in the freezer, food should be consumed within 1 – 3 months.

The other important weaning essential is a baby high chair. I’m quite particular about ensuring that baby J is in a high chair when he is being fed because 1. I’m hoping to start with table manners at a really young age 2. I think he enjoys being part of our family meals. We’ve had our high chair since before he began weaning because our high chair can lie flat and we used to put him in it sometimes during meals so that he could be nearby and we could eat in peace. The highchair that we have is the Joie Mimzy 360. 

Joie Mimzy 360 DENIM

It is useful because as mentioned it can lie flat, and at several different inclines. Equally usefully, it can turn 360degrees (hence the name). Which means that we can turn it to face whichever way we want it, which is useful because we don’t always sit at the same seats when we feed him etc and the ability to just turn the chair to where we want it to face without having to lift it manually is helpful. The seat cushions are machine washable (trust me I’ve put this to the test) which is very good because as I mentioned. Feeding baby is a messy messy affair.

The only drawback to this highchair is the fact that it takes quite a bit of floor space when open compared to say the ubiquitous Ikea highchair.

Alright I better get back to more important things, like work. Oh wells. Till the next time.

Travelling with Baby

So, we recently had our first trip abroad with baby J. And I must say that while it was an experience, it wasn’t really quite a difficult thing. At the end of the day, you just have to be ready to do less things, make sure you’re ready to spend more time in the hotel room and not pack in a crazy itinerary.

Or maybe we are just less ambitious parents. Haha.

So we travelling to S. Korea just at the beginning of winter. And while some people might believe that it is too cold for the baby yada yada. Really. babies are born in the cold every single day in so many different countries, remaining quite happy and healthy indeed. The key is to make sure they are dressed warm enough for the weather.

It was about 0-8 degrees Celsius in S. Korea when we were there + slight wind chill in the morning and when it rained. What we got for baby J was long sleeves and pants inside and a fleece lined winter onesie (from H&M) to wear when we ventured out. In addition, if he was in the stroller we would wrap him up in a fleece blanket. If he was in the carrier, I’d simple cover him with my winter coat.

All in all, I think he enjoyed the weather, largely because it was cold, but he was warm and toasty. He enjoyed it so much in fact, he was almost always asleep once we ventured out (he never naps so much back in sunny Singapore). He’d fall asleep in the carrier and stay asleep till we got back to the hotel. So much so we have hardly any photos of him awake haha.

Separately, travelling on the plane with a baby… it was an experience. The red eye we took on the way there was great actually he was asleep slightly before we boarded and once we were up in the air, he slept in the carrier for a while before I transferred him to the bassinet. On the way back though, because it was an afternoon flight, he was wide awake and refused to be put to sleep. This meant 6 hours of trying to entertain a baby in a very confined space. However, I must commend the staff onboard the SQ flight that we took. Not because of anything major, but it was really the little things that made flying that much easier. For instance, they would know that either my husband or myself would need to be watching the baby hence they would ask if we would like our meals to be served at different times. Also, because I am exclusively pumping (baby J refused to latch after a few months) they helped provide the hot water and everything else I needed to pump on board. This plus their general kindness towards us really made a difference.

It is not everyday you get to experience travelling with a little one, and honestly, I would do it again in a heartbeat because it meant that we could show baby J a bit more of the world (although he probably won’t understand it for years more) and it provides us with a break to our normally hectic daily life.