My First baby is Three

My baby turned three. She was once a three week old embryo, then a three month old foetus, a three week old newborn and three month old infant. She is now a three year old preschooler. There’s no stopping time, huh. We first knew of her existence through a blood test which caught my pregnancy at 4 weeks, the earliest that a pregnancy can be detected. Elise is quite a strong little girl. At nine weeks pregnant, I suffered from food poisoning which could potentially cause a miscarriage. During my delivery when my water bag was punctured by the gynaecologist, green fluid flowed out, a sign that she had pooped in the womb. When foetuses pass out meconium, it is a sign of foetal distress and can lead to respiratory issues if aspirated. Her heartbeat remained stable and I managed to push her out in time. My first comment upon seeing her was, “Wow, she has a dimple!” 

As my firstborn, she had the misfortune of being my guinea pig for everything. When she was four days old, I wore her out in a ring sling, swaddled. It wasn’t until I posted in a babywearing group that I became aware that babies in ring slings were not supposed to be swaddled. I was a post-natal, sleep deprived first time mom, but we made it through. I powered her fully on breast milk, pumping when I was away at work and latching when back home.

In her first year, she was a chubby and bubbly baby learning how to flip, sit, crawl and stand. Towards the end of her first year, we discovered a tumour in her right eye and it was a huge blow to us as the only way to save her life was to remove her eye. You can read more about this here if you haven’t already and are curious. I got pregnant with Didi after her prosthetic eye was fitted. Year Two involved her starting playgroup, going on play dates, playing soccer barefooted along the corridor and becoming a big sister without a choice.

In Year Three, her vocabulary exploded and she… sort of behaves like a mini-adult who voices out her preferences, likes and dislikes, requires alone time, tells her mama to “엄마, please go away”. She is All About Dinosaurs and loves making up her own stories to illustrations in books she has yet to read. She is generally polite and readily says “Thank you”, “Excuse me” and “Sorry” when the situation calls for it, yet resorts to hitting and biting as a sign of expressing her frustration.

No amount of coaxing, coercion or rewards can make her let us tie up her hair. Her favourite person in the world is her grandfather and she prefers to stay home (don’t we all?).

Her first and second birthdays were celebrated with friends and family. This year, she decided she would have none of it.

“Elise, do you want us to sing Happy Birthday? How about a cake where you can blow out the candles?”

“NOOOO OOOOO OOOOO!”

She is so over the fanciness and fuss of parties and celebrations. At three years old. What have I bred? Does she have a soul of a granny?! Her most commonly uttered phrase when Didi cries is, “Don’t cry Didi, Elise is here”.

We brought her out to Northpoint City, where we frequently go to stock up groceries at the Korean mart (super duper friendly until cannot Korean store manager).

At Kiddy Palace, we tried enticing her with COOL EXPENSIVE MADE IN CHINA TOYS like Super Wings, Tayo and Fireman Sam, to which she replied “No, not now. Next time.”

She had been pestering us for Lion King, which we were clueless as to what it meant. Eventually, she picked out a set of plastic safari animal figurines with rocks, fences and shrubs. Total price? S$9.90. 👍

We already have a set of plastic animal figurines. And Dino figurines. 🙄 What am I complaining about. Rather S$9.90 than S$109.90 right?

Let’s see what the future has.

Shaping Early Childhoods

Many children in Singapore are forced into highly competitive environments as early as 4 years of age. Their schedules are chock full of enrichment and preparation classes until they don’t even look forward to school holidays anymore because they have holiday camps and more classes.

These kids go to primary school and feel bored, causing the bar to be raised even higher for future batches of students. It’s a suffocating cycle. With two very young children at home, I wish to let them play and explore and ideally, pick up concepts and develop their own reasoning through play. 

Eventually, I will have to prepare them for primary school to ensure that they know enough to not fall behind their peers and suffer from low self-esteem. Before that, setting up an environment which stimulates learning will be beneficial for their holistic development.

My own childhood was less stressful and I remember having my own huge playhouse with working fan and lights, constructed by my father from a TV box. He crafted cardboard shelves from pizza boxes for my Barbie dolls and taught me to cycle. Okay, I completed Mixed-Up Mother Goose, watched my dad play Wolf 3D and Prince of Persia, so I wasn’t all Tarzan. I felt real academic stress when I started primary school.

Here’s why open-ended play is important. How do we start? Popular beliefs of open-ended play are that “Passive toys make active learners.” and “The best toys for babies do nothing”. Rather than buy an electronic toy drum set, hand them pots and pans. Start a collection of bread tags, bottle caps, toilet paper rolls, rubber bands, pebbles, leaves… things readily available in the household.

There are many ideas available online I’m only beginning to clear out my toys. In the meantime, I try to bring them out for playdates at least once a week to socialise and explore non-digital environments. On days that we don’t go out, we sometimes let them go to the playground to climb, run and expend all that energy. Letting kids sit on grass does wonders for their immune systems. Also, you know those electric shocks you get when you brush against another person? Standing barefooted on the ground, though icky, dispels static electricity from your body into the ground.

Children are like flowers; fragile yet with the right environment, they will flourish.

 

Same same, but different

It is 4:30 A.M.

You hear a faint whining coming from somewhere near you. 
You look around, and see that a person is lying down and has just soiled herself.

You are unsure if you should wake her up, or leave her lying down. You decide to clean her up a bit.

She appears to be thirsty, so you give her a bit to drink.
After being drinking, she proceeds to throw up over your tee shirt. 

Then she begins to laugh and smile at you. 
“What’s so funny”, you think to yourself.
She doesn’t respond, but continues to smile. 

She’s still smiling.

Drunk woman on the streets?
No. My daughter.

I woke up to her whining, and found that she had a wet diaper. I was about to wear a new diaper for her when she decided it was a good time to pee. I put on the new diaper for her nonetheless, hosed down the changing mat and fed her a bit. 

She continued whining after her milk, so I was cuddling her when she threw up over herself and my tee…and gave me a bright smile. She kept smiling even after I washed her up. I put her tummy to tummy, and she vomited again. -_- 

Thankfully my father took over and soothed her back to sleep. 

Just another day.  


“EHEHEHEHEHE”