Unwell.

Recently, I returned from an overseas school tour to Vietnam. It was a short 5-day trip but man, I’m so exhausted! Being accountable for the lives of 40 students is a heavy responsibility and I only heaved a big sigh of relief once they were back in their arms of their parents.

When I was away, the boy shared that Elliott fell ill. He took him to the doctor’s last Friday evening and was given some meds. However, he was still ill when I returned and his runny nose developed into a hacking cough.

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He was also running relatively high fevers throughout the day and at night, his temperature would cross the 39 degree mark. Both of us slept very badly the past few days due to the frequent wakings to check on him. The poor bubu also had very interrupted sleep due to the violent coughing.

Unfortunately, both parents fell ill as well. The boy, who rarely falls ill, is also down with a runny nose and sore throat. Due to a lack of proper rest/sleep, I also succumbed.

I am just really thankful and grateful for Elliott’s Ah Ma and Por Por who stepped up to care for him.

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They came bearing food to feed me and helped to look after the little one so that I could rest.

I was desperate to make Elliott well again and suddenly remembered that a girlfriend who studies aromatherapy gave us some blends. I quickly texted her to ask if I can use them and she replied almost immediately: “Of course! That’s what they’re for.”

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This says “Anti-Germicongestion Blend” on the bottle and sounds perfect for our currently germs-filled environment. As the name suggests, it’s anti-germ and decongestion and importantly, baby-safe. This blend is made up of sweet orange, cinnamon leaf and fir needle essential oil.

I used 2-3 drops in our diffuser and other than making the room smell nice, I like to think that it helped in making Elliott (and us) sleep a little better.

On Wednesday, seeing that E’s cough wasn’t getting any better and the little chap was just miserable, we made a second doctor’s visit to my usual family doctor. He was prescribed with 4 days of Zithromax antibiotics, and some red liquid (forgot the name) with Ventolin.

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Thankfully, he looked a little better on Wednesday evening and could even manage to smile and clap along to songs. It was the best sight ever for the tired parents.

We spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday in this position because a sick child is a very very clingy child. Even though I was feeling less than stellar myself, it was the least I could do to make him feel better.

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Keeping fingers crossed that come the weekend, our entire family will be well enough to head outdoors for a bit of fresh air.

Happy Father’s Day!

For the boy who is very much a hands-on parent to the little man.

For patiently reading to Elliott;
For being the expert in making milk;

For putting the little man to sleep at night;
For being the more patient one between us;
For bathing Elliott and singing songs with him;

For (still) walking and feeding Moon twice daily;

For not batting an eyelid at having to change poopy diapers.

Happy (2nd) Father’s Day!

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Oh and I erm, have a little confession.

So I had this brainy idea that we’d make a card for Father’s Day. I headed to Popular bookstore and bought kids-friendly paint as well as a drawing block. I had it all planned wonderfully in my head – stick Elliott’s palm onto the paint and print it on the drawing block. Easy peasy, right? I planned to do it at the in-laws during one of the weekdays where I pick him up after work.

Well. Things didn’t quite go as planned.

For one, when I held Elliott’s hand and smeared it with blue paint, his happy face turned into one of pure shock and horror. It was as if his brain was going: WHAT IS THIS? WHY IS MY HAND BLUE? WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!

He then proceeded to clench his tiny fist tightly (yes, the one with the blue paint!!) and no matter how I tried, he simply refused to open up. To make matters worse than it already was, he started to bawl (in shock) as my FIL tried to help him open his palm. So there we were, 2 adults trying to get a 15-month-old to “please open your hand!“.

As if things couldn’t get worst, my poor little man then (ohmygawd) used his hand with the blue paint to rub his face. So now, I have a screaming kid with blue paint on his face. It got on his nose, his eyebrow and smudged his t-shirt. URGH! I think my in-laws were half amused and half shocked at what this mad mother was trying to do.

I had to quickly abort mission and whisked Elliott off wash his hands clean of blue paint, then used a wet wipe to clean his face. Amidst it all, we did giggle at him with paint on his face. So cute la.

So yeah, I had the best intentions but the execution had to be aborted due to a less than cooperative toddler. Oh and for the rest of the evening, my poor (traumatised) son kept staring at his palm. Hur hur.

I guess we shall try again when he’s older and can grasp the concept of paint :)

Flowery Fun Times at Gardens by the Bay

Note: This is a photo-heavy entry.

The last time C and I met was back in August 2014 when our babies were 5 months old. Oh how time has flown by! We decided that it was time for an overdue meet-up and decided to take the 2 babies toddlers to the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay. There is currently a nursery rhyme-themed flower display which should keep the 2 little ones suitably entertained.

We both took the day off last Friday and met at about 10am. It made me laugh when I think back about pre-baby days when at 10am, I would still be in deep slumber and wouldn’t wake till at least 11am. How times have changed :)

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As you can see, it is near impossible to get a good picture with toddlers where BOTH are looking at the camera. Pffft. Liz checks out Elliott (top picture), then it was Elliott’s turn to check out Liz. Aiyoooo.

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I  made it a point to take a picture of just us because it is easy to forget that we are friends first, then mothers :) So here’s a picture of the two of us against very pretty flowers with no photo-editing, okay?

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As it was still early with not many visitors (hooray), the Flower Dome was really really cold! If you are taking your young children to the flower display, please pack warm clothing just in case. I suspect it may get less cold in the afternoon when the sun shines through and more visitors fill up the Dome.

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These two. They melt my heart! How cute are they together?! It was really hard to capture this photo, by the way, I must have taken about 10 shots before this made the cut. It is added bonus that Elliott is smiling :)

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As both of them can walk, it was much easier for us mummies as they can be “let loose” to explore the place. As you can tell from these pictures, both were busy pointing out things that they recognised.

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“Elephant!”

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“Bee! Buzz buzz!”

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“Frowers!”

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“Look Liz! More frowers!”

The last picture looks like Elliott is out of a date at the park with his girlfriend. Hur hur. So young and already out on dates. C also quipped that it doesn’t look like Singapore. It sure does look like they’re in Europe, especially with Elliott in his pullover!

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There were loads of familiar nursery rhymes such as “Baa Baa Black Sheep”, “Mary Had A Little Lamb”, “Humpty Dumpty” and here’s us with “The Old Lady Who Lived In A Shoe” – didn’t see any old lady though. Familiar nursery rhymes were also playing on loop on the loud speakers and we sang along to the songs as we checked out the display.

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The flowers were really vibrant and beautiful. It was easy to be trigger-happy with the camera! Also, because it was still relatively early, we could get pictures without being photobombed by enthusiastic tourists. There were some but not crazy crowded, thankfully. The crowds started to arrive as we were leaving.

Oh and did you know that in celebration of SG50, senior Singaporeans and PRs above the age of 60 get to enter for free? This applies to both the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest and is valid from 1 June to 31 August 2015. Simply present your IC at the ticketing booth to enjoy this privilege.

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We managed to enjoy a quick lunch at Bakerzin (just past the entrance of Flower Dome) and had a quick runabout at the waterplay area before the rain came down in sheets.

Someone had too much fun and passed out in the toddler carrier (which rocks, by the way) and I ended up sitting/walking around Gardens by the Bay while my baby napped.

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Go check it out if you are looking for something fun to do indoors with little ones. Just remember to pack warm clothing as it can get cold. Also, try and go really early (the Flower Dome opens at 9am) to beat the crowds.

Teething issues

After trying unsuccessful to clean Moon’s teeth, we had to look for alternative methods to do so. Her teeth, especially the back ones, have quite a bit of plaque and if not removed, can become a health hazard. Also, it gives her bad breath. Pfffft. One of our fellow therapy dog volunteers told us that she uses a chinese herb called 木贼 (horsetail in English) which you can easily buy from any traditional chinese medical shop. I had to google how to pronounce it (mu4 zei2) so what we did was to simply show the shopkeeper a picture of the herb and we got this bag in return. We got these from a medical shop at Kovan and it only costs 50 cents!

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To use: Soak a few pieces in warm water until soft enough to fold. Fold one piece into two and use the entire flat surface to rub gently against the plaque on your dog’s teeth.

Here’s photo evidence of us trying it on Moon for the first time:

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In the first picture, you see a thick layer of plaque on one of her back tooth. After a couple of rubs, you can see plaque on the herb itself. SUPER SHIOK!

A word of caution: Do not scrap at the plaque as it will remove the protective enamel on your dog’s teeth. Instead, use the entire herb’s surface to rub against the plaque.

We try and do this once a week either before/after her weekly bath and also apply Topiclean’s Clean Teeth Gel every other day to (hopefully) speed up the process. Once a week, we try and brush her teeth too. I use the word ‘try’ because I’m not sure how much teeth we really clean vs Moon licking the toothpaste.

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Do you have any other tips to keep our dog’s teeth clean and fresh? Let me know!

My thoughts are with you.

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In 2010, my colleague and I led a group of about 40 students to Sabah for an overseas study trip. We did not climb Mount K but we admired its magnificence from afar. This is us with Mount K in the background which was partially blocked by clouds. How fresh-faced was I then.

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As news of the tragedy unfolded over the weekend, I felt a sadness I couldn’t place a finger on. I did not know anyone personally that was involved but my heart was heavy and laden. I found myself reading updates all over social media and with each piece of news that was splashed across the media, my heart ached.

As a mother, my heart ached for all the young lives lost. I cannot begin to imagine the sadness and grief that is facing these parents who have the daunting task of burying their child. My heart also breaks for the wives who lost their life partner and would have to now bring up their child(ren) on their own.

As an educator that has done such trips with students, this tragedy hits close to home because it could have been me and my students. To many who are not educators, an overseas study trip sounds like a “free holiday”. This can’t be further from the truth. The amount of work that goes into planning such trips take many hours and coordination. There is much paperwork to be done.

I remember feeling tensed throughout the Sabah trip because every single one of these students’ life was in our hands and their safety was our priority. I only breathed a little better when the plane touched down in Singapore and they were returned safely to their families who were waiting to receive them. So yes, I can’t speak for others but for me, overseas study trips carries with it a fair amount of stress on educators that accompany the students.

There have been writings all over the internet of how schools should stop sending young children overseas, and how parents should not allow this and that, and how MOE has blood on its hands (really?!), blah blah blah. Seriously. A rare natural disaster happened and we start pointing fingers. This saddens and angers me. I have chosen to simply skim through such writings and comments. Water off a duck’s back, as my BFF would say.

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I may not know anyone personally in this tragedy but as a fellow Singaporean mother and educator, my thoughts are with you. May you find strength to continue with life’s journey.