Note to Elliott – 29

Dear Elliott,

One of the major things I’ve noticed is how your vocabulary is expanding so quickly, I am finding it hard to keep track. The other day, we were in the lift on the way home when you surprised us by saying: “Mummy carry many things“. And you were right – I was carrying many things. You also like saying “Mummy so nice!” when I put on a work dress in the mornings. It is funny when I ask if Daddy is nice and you go: “Daddy not nice“. Alamak.

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You’re still loving your swim classes. Sometimes, you take a little time to warm up but once you get into the groove, you’re unstoppable. You leap into the water without much regard for your own safety and I’ve had my heart in my mouth on too many occasions.

That one time, you were holding hands with your BFF to leap into the water but he made a premature leap and pulled you in. You plunged headlong into the water and in that one instance, my heart froze. So many things could have gone wrong – you could have hit your chin, or your face against the concrete. URGH.

Thankfully, you managed to surface quickly but that sudden unexpected move must have given you quite a shock. You burst into tears and looked for me for comfort. As I held you, I repeatedly said that it’s ok, and that it was an accident. My heart was soon filled with pride as you stopped crying after that quick burst and was happy to get back to your swim class. To see you pick yourself up so quickly after, made me a proud Mummy.

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You have, in recent months, discovered the joys of pandan cake. To be more precise, pandan cake made by your Daddy. You LOVE them so much, you ask for them constantly. “Elliott eat pandan cake?“, you’d ask, whenever you spy a slice on the dining table. I have a hilarious video of you STEALING pandan cake off the dining table before stuffing said pandan cake into your mouth really quickly, all because I asked that you share a tiny bit of it with me. Pfffft.

At 29 months, you can now interact with Moon a lot better. You seem rather protective of Moon and would always include Moon as part of your family whenever we ask. Or we’d ask if you’d like to go for a walk and you’d always chime: “Walk with Daddy and Mummy AND MOON!“. It’s really sweet to watch you interact with her. You try and pat her head, and attempt to kiss her between the eyes. I have to state for the record that Moon is extremely patient with you and would allow you to do it even though she’s clearly quite comfortable.

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You are getting pretty tall and I’ve been told on a couple of occasions that you are ‘tall’ for your age. We haven’t really checked, nor marked your growth on a  wall chart (we really should eh?) but I do know that these days, you’re all lean arms and legs.

You are co-sleeping on our bed, wedged between us. Growing up so quickly means that sometimes, your legs end up on my back, or you end up smacking my face with your palm as you rotate yourself 360 degrees throughout the night. I always wonder when you will be old (and brave enough) to sleep in your own bed and/or in your own room? On one hand, I love having you so close to me yet on the other, I do miss having our own space back.

Our bedtime routine has pretty remained the same where you take your last bottle of milk and we’d read you a couple of books. Some of your current favourites are “Lost and Found” where you’d squeal really excitedly whenever the penguin is found (so cute to watch). In fact, you enjoy the book so much, we headed to the bookstore to get you “How to Catch a Star” by the same author. You also enjoy “I Spy With My Little Eye (First Colours)” and we’d spend a considerable amount of time pointing out the different colourful creatures.

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Speaking of colours, you are good with recognising colours at 29 months. You can also recognise all sorts of vehicles on the road and on our journey home each day, you’d point out all the vehicles excitedly and go: “Mummy look! Excavator” I guess we are lucky that in Singapore, these heavy vehicles ply our roads really often so it’s pretty easy to spot them on a daily basis.

The other day, Popo told me excitedly that she taught you how to spell your name and I was rather impressed that you can now spell your name. Well, kind of. You spell it with an extra “L” sometimes or forget the second “T” at the end but that’s ok. You’ve got lots of time to learn how to spell your name correctly, my child.

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People talk about toddlers having irrational fears and recently, you suddenly fear going down the playground slide the ‘normal’ way. For the longer (and scarier) slides, you prefer to slide with your tummy down. I never quite found out why though! Maybe one day, you’d gain the confidence to slide ‘normally’ again.

You enjoy playing with sand and water, and can play quietly on your own for a bit. The downside is, you end up putting all of your favourite toys into the sand table which means that I end up having to wash out sand from a lot of toys that really should not get sand in them. Eeeeeks. We have also caught you, on a few rare occasions, trying to eat sand.

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Happy 29 months, my little superhero. If only I can bottle you up and keep you small for just that little bit longer…

With all my love,
Mummy xoxo

Moon goes to the dentist

The last time we tried to get Moon’s teeth cleaned, it wasn’t very successful. Her breath still stank despite all the teeth brushing we did because of the plaque and tartar that has accumulated on her teeth. I was also concerned that the bad breath may be a sign of something more serious, health-wise. After she turned 9 years old, I decided that it was a good time to send her in for tooth scaling at the vet. Dr Lee at Gentle Oak Veterinary Clinic came highly recommended and we managed to fix an appointment on the same day that we were taking Elliott to the clinic. How cute that both babies got their teeth cleaned on the same day. Hehe.

Their dental appointments were 1 hour apart with one being at Ghim Moh and the other at Novena. As Murphy’s Law would dictate, there was a torrential rain that morning which led to heavy traffic everywhere. Pfffft.

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We finally made it to the vet and as you can see from her face, Moon wasn’t particularly looking forward to her dental appointment – not that she knows it.

We have been to quite a few vets and I must say that Gentle Oak has a lovely vibe to it. The nurses are friendly and smiley, and the entire waiting area was very pleasant and clean. I noted an unlit tea-light at a corner of the waiting area and there was a note that said that if the candle was lit, it meant that someone was saying goodbye to their pet and one should keep voice low. It struck me that it didn’t cost much to put up a sign with a tea-light but the level of empathy is high at this vet. This made me very pleased.

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We did not have to wait long before it was our turn to speak to Dr Lee who was chirpy and upbeat. I could tell that she genuinely loved dogs (animals) as she cradled Moon and gave her kisses and hugs while telling her that all is ok. As it was our first visit, Dr Lee suggested that a blood test be done to ensure that her health is in order before putting her under GA for the tooth scaling procedure. We agreed and left her at the clinic at about 10.30am while we rushed off to make Elliott’s appointment at Novena.

At about 3ish, we received a call to say that Moon was done and we can pick her up between 4 to 5pm. I could also hear her howling/whining in the background – oops. We got to speak with Dr Lee who jokingly told us that Moon’s whining gave her a headache – hur hur. She also added that she is in good health and that all her vital organs are in perfect working order. Hip hip hooray!

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The actual dental scaling costs $120 which is the norm but throw in the blood test and other miscellaneous, the total damage was close to $500 – OUCH. I console myself that this is a one-off procedure that will not be done anytime soon.

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This girl now has nice shiny plaque and tartar-teeth. And thankfully, no more bad breath. Woohoo.

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Look who’s 9!

I was good this year – I remembered to place an order for Moon’s birthday early this year. As usual, we went to The Barkery and chose this lovely Dog Bowl Cake because I thought that she’d enjoy the treats that come in the ‘bowl’.

When we unboxed the cake, I gasped because…would you just look at the number of overflowing treats in the bowl?!! Moon is so very loved by the ladies at The Barkery (thank yoooou!).

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This year, we celebrated it at a good friend’s home on a weekend (her birthday fell on a weekday). As usual, the birthday girl couldn’t wait to devour it but I made her take a gazillion photos first (but of course).

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As per tradition, we took a family photo. I love looking back at the photos from Moon’s birthday each year because for each year that Moon is older, Elliott grows a bit more too. One year ago, Elliott looked like a little baby. Now, he’s a little boy!

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We lit the ‘9’ candle and sang her birthday song with gusto. And guess who very enthusiastically helped to blow out Moon’s candle? Yes, Elliott. Of course. The boy snapped a video of it and I am sure it will remain a precious treasured memory in years to come.

We also make it a point to take a picture with her because it’s her special day. She’d always be our first (fur) baby!

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Happy 9th birthday, dear Moon! We love you to the Moon and back! 

Milestone Moment: To the dentist we go!

I’m a big advocate of good oral hygiene. I’m that colleague who brushes her teeth after lunch, and tells everyone that they should do half-yearly visits to the dentist because ‘it is very important to have clean teeth’. When Elliott finally got his full set of teeth, I wondered when it was a good time to schedule his first visit to the dentist. There were conflicting information on the web – some recommended after 3 years old when they can grasp the concept of a dentist better. Others suggested the first visit as soon as the full set of teeth appear just to ensure that everything is in order.

Decided to take him earlier than later because I remember growing up, going to the dentist was horrible and traumatic, no thanks to the school dental nurses who would bark at us for  not brushing our teeth properly. It took me many years and a kind gentle dentist to get rid of my fear of going to the dentist.

I did not want Elliott to grow up thinking that the dentist is a place to be feared so thanks to a recommended by a friend, I made an appointment with Kids Dental World. They come highly recommended and I only managed an appointment on a Friday for a few weeks later. Appointments for Saturdays were booked out for MONTHS, apparently.

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Before the actual visit (more like the night before, really), I prepped Elliott by showing him some videos on YouTube showing kids at the dentist and how AMAZING! and AWESOME! and FUN! the dentist is. By the time we got there, he was truly excited. “Air-yiot go dentist!“, he kept repeating.

The clinic is located at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital and when we got there, the carpark was full (!) so we resorted to using the valet service that costs $10 (excluding carpark charges). Ouch. Located on the 8th floor in the specialist block, the clinic’s entrance was tastefully done up in bright and cheery colours.

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I was already warned by my friend who recommended the clinic that there is a HUGE amazing train play-set at the waiting area. Call it mother’s instincts but I already knew that it will be very challenging to remove our vehicle-loving child from it.

The moment we walked through the glass door, his eyes lit up and he exclaimed in a breathy tone: “Mummy look! TRAIN!” It was like he discovered Nirvana or something.

It kept him busy (of course) while I filled in a 2-page registration form with his details, the purpose of our visit, etc. I thought that it was all very professionally done.

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There was also a TV, as well as game consoles (see the 2 small TV screens behind the train set?). I mean, I honestly don’t blame a child for not wanting to see the dentist when the waiting area is this fun!

We did not have to wait long which is good but when we tried to explain to Elliott that it was time to see the dentist, we had a MASSIVE MELTDOWN. Think big fat tears and loud cries. I glanced at the faces of the other kids who were in the waiting room and saw FEAR. Haha.

Dr Ong coolly told the boy to stay with Elliott first in the reception area while she asked me a couple of questions such as the type of toothpaste E uses, how often in a day does he drink from a milk bottle and whether or not he drinks before bedtime.

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I cleverly took a photo of his current toothpaste and toothbrush but when asked how much fluoride his toothbrush contained, I was stumped. As it turns out, this current toothpaste (which are meant for 0 to 2 year olds) only has 500 parts per million fluoride which apparently does not prevent cavities and tooth decay.

I also shared that I have been using Nuk oral wipes to clean his teeth after his last milk feed at bedtime (a bad habit that we need to wean him off before he turns 3 because all that sugar left on his teeth overnight is BAD – yikes). Dr Ong commented that it was good that I was cleaning his mouth after milk (better than no cleaning at all) and also recommended that we get another toothpaste with minimum 1,000 parts p.m.f. and to use a tinyyyyy bit of it (rice grain size) to rub over his teeth after the wipe down. This important step is to prevent tooth decay.

When my child finally decided that it was ok to step into the dentist’s room, I held him close against me. Dr Ong took out a pop-up book with various animals showing their teeth and spoke in an animated voice when narrating it. First, she tried to get Elliott to “check” the animal’s teeth with a dental mirror but he shook his head (uh oh). Doctor was unfazed. Without missing a heartbeat, she got me to check instead (“Ok, let’s get Mummy to check the lion’s teeth then!”) and handed me the equipment. We made a big show-and-tell out of checking the lion’s teeth (complete with dramatic roars and all) and when she turned the page, Elliott was now ready to do the checking himself (hip hip hooray!).

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He held onto the dental mirror and checked the hippo’s teeth, and even got to check my teeth. Hur hur (note to self – Should have brushed my teeth twice and gargled with mouthwash before the visit!). Most importantly, he allowed Dr Ong to check his teeth willingly! Whoop!

Ok, it wasn’t without hiccups though (other than that massive meltdown regarding that train table). Dr Ong asked that I bend him forward and let him lie on my thighs so that she can check his teeth (instead of us sitting on the dentist’s chair). He yelled, screamed and cried VERY LOUDLY.

I honestly don’t remember much at this point because I just held him down (bad mother moment) and let Dr Ong check his teeth really really quickly. After she was done (and she was really quick!), she cheerfully informed us that Elliott has no cavities – hip hip hooray – and proclaimed loudly to me: WELL DONE MUMMY! At that moment, I felt like AWESOME MOTHER OF THE YEAR, yo. Hur hur.

 

And just like that, we were done with Elliott’s first dental visit.

The damage for the quick visit? A painful S$160. Ouch. I was told by my friend who recommended Dr Ong that the first visit is always the most expensive so I’m hoping that on our next visit – one year later and appointment made!! – it will be easier on the pocket. Oh, but I also found out that you can pay using Baby Bonus so I should remember to bring his card the next time we are there.

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Still, I am a firm believer that prevention is better than cure and knowing that Elliott’s pearlies are in order makes me happy.

Days of being young and stupid

My mum passed me a bag of books the other day. She was moving and needed to get rid of “my things”. When I finally found the time to sift through the pile of dusty books, lo and behold, I found an old diary that I kept when I was in my 20s.

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Opening the diary brought back a flood of memories. Writing was (and still is) my coping mechanism and back in those days before the internet (and blogging), I used to scribble my thoughts furiously. More often than not, my scribbling was about emotional pain, or “my crumpled heart”, as I wrote so cleverly (hur hur). I remember tears between those paper pages. I asked myself questions, I questioned the Universe (!), and wow, I even found poems. Yes, I wrote poems.

Very drama mama.

I couldn’t bring myself to read the entries in its entirety because they bring me back to days of an unsettled heart that was constantly searching and hurting. Some people say that your 20s are the best times of your life.

Not for me.

In my 20s, I was uncertain, unsure and…clueless. I wasn’t sure what it was that I wanted in the love department which led me to dating quite a few “wrong” boys. You name it, I’ve probably dated one. (If you’re reading this Mum, I’m sorry. Hehehe).

In fact, after I found the diary, I texted the BFF:

Found my old diary. Sheesh, I was so whiny and needy. Amazed you didn’t slap me. 

She still jokes (or maybe she’s serious, I don’t know for sure) that I still owe her therapy and counselling fees.

I am so so glad that those angsty days are over. I much prefer being in my 30s, thank you very much.

I pondered over what I should do with the diary.

Keep it? (For what?)
Burn it? (Not good for the environment)
Shred it? (Maybe)

For the record, I threw placed it in the wardrobe and maybe one day, I’d take it out and read it again in its entirety. Just to remind myself that we were all young and stupid once.