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.

#ohmymats

About

#ohmymats are reusable colouring and dining place mats for children and children at heart. The mats are manufactured from food grade premium platinum silicone in a factory in Korea and has been lab tested as safe according to EU toy safety standards. The drawings in the current launch are designed by a team of four people from various walks of life, including a teacher and a pair of siblings on the Autism spectrum. There are designs which cater to children’s interests like dinosaurs, fairies, animals, educational designs like one with life cycles and insects (designed by a former MOE Science teacher) and Christian-themed designs (God’s Promise, Noah’s Ark).

Audrey, the creator of #ohmymats , took five years to bring the project to life as she wanted to be involved in the entire process from idea conceptualisation to manufacturing to make sure that the product was safe and suitable for children. As such, she spent time sourcing for suppliers, eventually settling on a factory in Korea that she had a long working relationship with. She invested in professional software to transfer the drawings from paper into a digital medium to be suitable for printing. Terming it as a “personal give back project”, she intends to assist struggling or new artists, persons with special needs and and other disadvantaged members of the community. 

I saw a pre-order sale for #ohmymats  and purchased three mats with a set of markers. I bought Vroom Vroom, Dino Land and Animal List, coincidentally all drawn by the same artist. The mats are packaged in clear plastic boxes and when I sniffed the mats, there was no odour. The mats come in two different sizes, small (38cm x 24cm) and large (48cm x 24cm).  

The mats are well made – the edges are rounded neatly with no jagged edges. You can roll the mat up like a wafer or fold it into quarters (cannot fold origami, sorry). When unfurled, there are no creases or fold marks. 

I tried scratching the black outline to see if the ink could be scratched off and no, it doesn’t come off even when I use my fingernail.

Any dry erase marker can be used with #ohmymats  but you can purchase the mats with a set of 12 Java antimicrobial markers from Korea. The colours stay on until you want to start over again. 

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Baby shark doo doo doo doo #ohmymats @ohmymats_sg

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The colours can be wiped off with wet wipes. I wet a piece of tissue for this video so there’re some black specks at the end. I was pleased at how the colours came off easily without staining the mat. 

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Cleans off easily too! @ohmymats_sg #ohmymats

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Time to put the mats to the test! The kids are in this Dino craze where they are enthralled by the ancient creatures. They play with the dinosaur figurines and flip through their Dinosaur encyclopedias (used to be mine, decades ago) every single day. Elise even learnt the word “prehistoric” from a Blippi song about dinosaurs. The mats have accompanying names and we happen to have a number of matching dinosaur figurines. She sat down and started colouring the dinosaurs, even remembering to cap the markers after she was done. 

Ta-da! Her creation. She chose the colours to use without any prompting from us. My husband wanted to clean up the colouring so it would be within the lines, but I think it’s neat enough for a 3 year old and it’s important that we recognise their achievements and not diminish their confidence by expecting them to meet our standards of colouring within the lines too early. 

The mats can be reused over and over and packed into bags for some quiet time during meals or flights. Many parents dread plane flights. It makes the non-religious pray (to whom?!) that their kids will not make a ruckus and get tsk-tsked by irritated passengers who are unable to escape from the plane. Out come the tablets and phones. “Shush, watch your Frozen”. OhMyMats were created to reduce reliance on gadgets and direct kids to a more wholesome and simpler activity. 

Since #ohmymats  can be used as dining placemats, your kids can colour while having their meals and everything can be popped into the dishwasher to be cleaned. It’s definitely worth buying since it can be easily washed off when stained with food.

Click here to purchase. 

GIVEAWAY

Win #ohmymats! Join the giveaway on Facebook and Instagram.

*** I made a special request for my order to be sent to me earlier for the purpose of this review. The actual stock will arrive in Mid November 2018. All the products were purchased during the pre-order sale and I did not receive any compensation for this review.

Number 3

No, it’s not a baby. Today, Elise will be undergoing her THIRD repair operation. In textbook model cases, only one operation is needed to remove the eye and insert a plastic round implant to replace the eyeball. Note that there is currently no procedure that can let her regain vision in her right eye, so everything is largely due to aesthetic reasons.

To recap, the first operation went pretty alright until discharge started leaking from the right eye and it was discovered that her implant got exposed.

The second operation to repair the exposed implant was a failure. She couldn’t open her eye even after the stitches were removed and it was all bloody.

The following week, a third operation was done. When her stitches got removed, the entire plastic ball popped out. The doctor advised us to leave it alone. Since then, she’s been functioning well without it.

Which brings us to today. The surgeon intends to do a fat graft to extract fat from her bum to place in her eye as the plastic implant obviously doesn’t work. Fat grafts in children have shown to work better as the fat somehow expands to fit the empty socket rather than shrink, which is what happens in adults.

Is this all necessary? The surgeon told us that we could wait to avoid her getting traumatised but it is a surgery that will have to be done anyway, so I prefer to get it over with. I’ve asked what will happen if we don’t do the surgery. As she is still very young, if there is a gap in her socket, the bones may not grow properly since there is nothing to support them. I decided to go ahead with the surgery.

Besides, it’s not the surgery but the post recovery wound care that affects her the most. She’s only just regained her appetite after recovering from cough, and everything is going to go down the drain again.

She’s at an age where she has started to elaborate and use full sentences to describe her surroundings and feelings. Even after so many operations and “staycations” at the hospital ward, the guilt never goes away. 🙁

We’ve been disappointed and disheartened and have questioned the surgeon on the multiple failed results. We don’t doubt the surgeon. He has decades of experience. I’ve asked him why he didn’t go ahead with the fat graft, but he was reserving it as a last option as it would leave a small scar at her back. Sigh. We all hope this will be the last op.