Tuesday, March 12, 2019

SUBSIDISED WITH A ‘C’



     Barely a month since Humblet’s discharge from the hospital and Singlet gets warded for stomach tract infection. He never really recovered from the cough he caught from her, and that worsened into a ten-day vomiting episode. On day ten, he threw up eight times, water included, and we knew we had to bring him in before he got dehydrated. As expected, the poor boy was put on a drip and stomach rest ordered. Meaning he had to fast from milk and solids completely so his gut could reboot.

     Unlike his sister, who stayed in an air-conditioned four-bedder B1-ward, Singlet stayed in the eight-bedder non-air-conditioned C-ward because his heart condition does not allow him to have medical insurance of any sort. In the waiting area, we overheard a wife say to a husband, “later the nurse ask you, just choose A-ward. Subsidised ward a lot of bad influence. The parents let the kids watch TV all day long. They give formula milk to their babies and many of them don’t speak English properly.”

This post is really a response to her and all others who feel the same way –

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

WHAT TO SAY WHEN A CHILD IS SICK



Processing a lot of thoughts and reflections since we since got word that Humblet’s best friend from school was diagnosed with cancer, a few days shy of her fourth birthday. Some of the emotions are still pretty raw and as this precious child fights cancer, goes through round after round of chemotherapy, our thoughts continue to be with her, and our prayers surround her daily.

This post is one of the many things we first struggled with, that is what do you say to someone when their child is sick? If you would like to read on –

1.       IT’S NOT OKAY

Well, to be very honest, I hate it when people tell us it’s okay each time we share something bad that happens. So the first thing NOT to say for us at least, would be “it’s okay” and to the child “everything is going to be alright”. That being said, I know full well lots of us say "it's okay" as a form of comfort, and we acknowledge that.

The child is sick. It is certainly not okay to have a sick child. Also, why do we tell the child everything will be alright when we do not know ourselves.

Let’s stop hiding behind niceties and stand in solidarity with the parents and child. Let’s be brave enough to stand together and say “hey, you know what, that’s awful. I’m so sorry this happened. It’s really not okay at all.”

Often times, we worry that we are adding on to their sadness or discouragement by saying something negative but think about it - When you are crying or worst still in depression, the thing you hate most is for another person to tell you, “it’s alright, you’ll be fine”. Instead, you would rather some one journeyed with you and mourned with you. Same for the parents of a sick child.

2.       THIS WORKED FOR ME

Another thing, we had to bite our tongue not to do was to suggest remedies. When we let it be known that either of our kids are sick, we get all sorts of suggestions. Or even worse, we get bombarded by questions – “have you tried this?” “have you done that?”

Let us always assume the best. That is, that the parents have tried everything they possibly know or that is within their means to help their child get better.

Instead, we might say, “I’m not sure if this would help, but this really worked for my kid when they were sick”. Or more generally, “this worked for me if you’d like to give it a shot”.

Then leave it open to the parents or caregivers to decide if they want to try the method out, rather than unintentionally berating them with accusations of “why haven’t you done enough for your child?” Because, that’s really what we are doing when we question them in the first place. Not on purpose of course. But to a tired, sleep deprived parent, that’s exactly how it feels.

Trust me on this. When Humblet had Flu A, I had to switch off my phone in the hospital because every single “I think you need to give her more brufen” or “have you let her do a bloodtest?” made me more stressed than I was already feeling.

3.       WE ARE HERE

Once word went out that the cancer was confirmed, we are sure the parents will be bombarded with questions. What type of cancer. What stage. Where is the tumour and so on.

One thing we decided to do on the onset, was to never ask until we were told. That being said, it was very hard to not ask. We were so worried. When she went in for surgery, after her first chemotherapy session and what not. We were itching to ask all the time if she was okay.

We turned that into an invitation instead – we are here, let us know if you need anything.

The last thing a sick child needs is getting exhausted from unsolicited visits. Much less a distracted parent who needs to reply a hundred concerned texts. Our concern can become a burden when we do not put the other person before ourselves. Step into their shoes, walk around it. Will they benefit from our worry? Do they not have enough to bear?

Instead, avail yourself every now and then. The fight against cancer is a marathon and not a sprint. Surely, we could be of practical help at some point.  

--

Like I mentioned earlier, the emotions are still very raw. My own kids having been in and out of the hospital this year for various reasons. Thank you for reading this post. If it sounded brash at any point, it is probably because I personally was hurt by some of the examples I shared.

Have a friend/s with a sick child?

Pray with and for them. Be with them in emotional solidarity. Send them a hand-written card. There are so many ways we can be a blessing without being a burden. And when they need us, they will know who to call.

Cheers,
Ames

Thursday, January 31, 2019

A IS FOR ATROCIOUS



Dear Humblet,

In January of your fourth year with us, you were down with Flu A. In the first few days, we managed it thinking that this is merely a common cold and that it would go away. However, the symptoms got worse and on day five your fever refused to come down despite Papa and Mama staying up through the night to give you medication and sponge you down. When you fever reading went above 40deg and hovered in that region without abating we had to bring you to the hospital.

At the hospital, you lay calmly in my arms trembling every now and then but never complaining. Then took the blood test bravely without shedding a tear. You tried your very best to brace yourself when the doctor said you had to be admitted, but your little body was shaking in fear. We tried to hold you close so you would not be so afraid. Mama is sorry that I could not stay the night with you. Papa said you tried your best to rest although they kept coming in to do tests and check your temperature.

The next day you simply could not take it anymore and pleaded to go home. You told the doctor even that you would like to leave, and they allowed you to. We were elated that you could come home with us. But to our horror, your little brother started having fevers as well. It would be a gross understatement to say that the week after that was tough. It was immense. We only prayed for strength to get through a day at a time.

On day ten of this ordeal, when they told us you would get better, we instead saw a record breaking 41.4deg reading instead. Our hearts broken, we brought you to the hospital again. No more hiding behind your bravado any longer, you kept muttering quietly “I want to go home, I want to go home”. They wanted to admit you again, but there was no special treatment to be given. So we made the decision to bring you home.

Four days. Four more days of fever fighting. Sponging through the night. Medication round the clock. And on day fifteen the fever lifted. Leaving us as abruptly as it came. We hope to never see it again.
By now you had lost nearly 2kg, stopped eating solids for almost a week and even drinking water seemed torturous for your exhausted body. Nonetheless, you made it, we all made it.

Mama is writing this, so you remember. You went through a very difficult time, but you bore it bravely and together as a family, with the love of our friends, we got through this. People brought you balloons, toys and they delivered us meals, cake and even bubble tea. Aunty ZL took our calls at all odd hours, gave such good advice and even came to check on you at the hospital. Your friends and our friends prayed day after day, sending encouragement and cheering you on.

You are well loved and highly favoured dear Humblet. Never fear challenges you may face along the way. You survived a complicated pregnancy. The traumatic delivery with the umbilical cord around your neck. An operation for an infected finger nail at only ten months old. And you made it victorious after a two-week battle with Flu A. As with all these, you will prevail.

We love you. 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

SINGLET'S SOLIDS



Here is a detailed right up of Singlet's solid food journey. The disclaimer is that we allow ourselves to guided by the child's interest not by what the experts say. As with Humblet, we let our kids explore with different foods but we also never rushed them to start.

From around the middle of his fourth month, Singlet started showing interest in our food. Grabbing our utensils or cups mid-meal and shoving them into his mouth. We began to introduce single solids in the last week of his fourth month for three weeks and then moved to blending in the last two weeks. Here's the low down -


Thursday, January 10, 2019

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF

A day in the life of @jieames for the new mums who were asking what an average day looks like for Singlet (6mo) and I, this is specially written for you!


630am – Wake husband and Humblet
645am – Prepare both their breakfasts and get Humblet dressed / packed
715am – Kiss father and daughter goodbye before Singlet’s 1st milk feed
745am – Heat Singlet’s fruit, Singlet’s food tasting (usually around 40 – 60ml of steamed fruit)




815am – Put Singlet down for his 1st nap and have my breakfast
845am – Prepare soup for dinner and thaw my food for lunch (usually leftovers)
915am – Singlet’s 2nd milk feed
945am – Morning walk (usually to the park connector or grocery run)
1030am - Bathe Singlet
11am – Put Singlet down for 2nd nap and prepare my lunch
1130am – Have lunch (usually accompanied with doing readings for school)
12pm – Singlet’s 3rd milk feed
1230pm – Wake time for Singlet (currently tummy time while I do chores, laundry or dinner prep)
130pm – Put Singlet down for 3rd nap
2pm – More readings or editing work depending on which is more urgent
230pm – Thaw and warm Singlet’s puree (currently 30 – 40ml of steamed vegetable / root)
3pm – Singlet’s puree feed
330pm – Sensory play time on his high chair (typically related to the puree he just had, e.g. pumpkin seeds or leaves mixture)


430pm – Put Singlet down for 4th (and last) nap
5pm – Cook dinner (on toughest day, I cook with Singlet in the carrier)
530pm – Humblet is home (throw the baby to the father)
6pm – Dinner (Singlet sits in the high chair with teething toy of sorts
630pm – Play time for the siblings
7pm – Shower followed by wind down (usually reading)
730pm – Singlet’s 4th or 5th milk feed
8pm – Both kids are in bed (latest by 830pm)







Thank you for reading about my day!

Friday, January 4, 2019

WHAT'S THE BIG NEW YEAR DEAL?

A fellow SAHM raised an eyebrow when I told her we were heading out for a New Years Day party. She remarked that a new year made no difference since its the same routine day in day out with her kid.

That made me think about - why do we make a big deal of the New Year?

Here's why I think its important.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

AN ODE TO ALMOST CHILDREN

picture source


Amidst the festive cheer, I am reminded of four of my friends who lost their children at different points this year all before they had the chance to hold them in their arms. Two had birth defects so severe, one born way too early and yet another who suddenly had no more heart beat. As the Christmas season is upon us, many will have family holidays, family feasting and children will be gathering around to decorate trees, open presents and be decked in cute pajamas with snowmen all over. Before these, I would like to take a moment to consider those who will feel their lost loved ones even more this December.

You, dear friends, are mothers (and fathers) just like me, just like any of us parents. Special mothers who only got to enjoy their little ones inside of you for a very little while. For all those who told you motherhood is a pain, you are so fortunate you averted it. They do not know the pain they are inflicting upon your already broken hearts. But we acknowledge you and we remember your beautiful unborn children. We fully recognize you as mothers, no different from us who are struggling to put our fussy infants to sleep or chasing our toddlers round the park lest they fall.

We pray you will finally have the chance to hold your very own little one in your arms and cuddle them to bed at night in time to come. But for now, we stand with you in your pain. We acknowledge your loss this Christmas. The torrents of gifts you wanted to bestow on them with and how cute they would have looked in those snowflake rompers. We remember your babies who never got to become children and we just want to say, we love them too.

Have a very Blessed Christmas dear ones.