Elliott Says.

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We were at a bakery and looking at bread. I told the boy that I needed to use the bathroom so off I went.

When I was done, Elliott was waiting outside. The moment he saw me, he asked in a chiding tone:

Elliott: Mummy, where you go? Why you lost?
Me: I went to the bathroom.
Elliott: Bathroom? I was looking at bread with Daddy. Why you lost, Mummy. Why?!

It made me laugh. It was his way of asking where I went without telling him. And that chiding tone really cracked me up. He’s only 3 years old! Aiyooooo.

Review: Lollababy Nasal Aspirator

Note: This is not a sponsored post. Also, this post talks about snot so if you’re squeamish about such stuff, consider this a warning!

I can’t remember how I came across the Lollababy Nasal Aspirator. Must have been one of those idle-surfing moments. It was selling at one of the baby fairs for $79 at a special promotional launch price and after a quick chat with the sales staff, I got one. Previously, we used  the Nose Frida whenever Elliott has a stuffy nose but he HATES it. He will struggle and fight, and it’d take 2 adults (me and the boy) to pin him down just to use it on him. Also, I did not like that I have to suck on the mouthpiece to get the snot out. Washing the Nose Frida also involved many parts.

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Last month, E had a snotty nose again. Think thick yellow snot and it was bothering him. I took out the Lollababy and used it on him. Amazingly, he thought that it was the funniest thing ever and kept giggling. He even asked me to keep using it again and again (!!). Honestly, I have NEVER seen him enjoy getting his nose cleaned this much.

I managed to clear both his blocked nostrils properly and when I removed the silicon cap to wash, there was a collection of thick snot. As strange as it sounds (especially to non-parents), it felt really good to see all that gross snot.  Also, it is really easy to clean. We simply remove the silicon tip (it comes in 2 sizes, a smaller one for newborns and a larger one for toddlers) and the plastic attachment and rinse it with water and soap.

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E has since learnt that this little contraption helps him in clearing his nose and would even ask to use it (never happened with the Nose Frida). We use it together with the Sterimar Sea Spray, i.e. we spray both nostrils before using the Lollababy to clear out his blocked nose. It’s really easy to use and in fact, he can use it on his own. I usually clear his nose properly before letting him have a go.

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As mentioned above, this is not a sponsored post. I paid for the product and found it useful so I’m blogging about it to help other parents who have to deal with snotty noses (and we all know this is a common occurrence with little people).

Parent teacher meeting

It was our first parent teacher meeting for the year. It was also Elliott’s first after he started pre-nursery class and full-day childcare. I was a little curious as to what his teacher would say about him because we all know how differently  children behave when they are at home and at school.

It was good to hear from his teacher M that he is thriving at school. Apparently, he’s a riot when he’s with 2 other boys. They’re apparently thick as thieves! Teacher M shared that they cannot stop talking (!) and if they’re seated together at lunch, 20 minutes will pass and no one would have touched their food as they’d be busy talking, laughing and play jostling.

She also shared that Elliott loves to sing and would break out into song whenever he feels like it. Interestingly, his classmates will join in and the entire class will be singing. Reminds me of Glee! She also showed us a video clip of him singing with his friends. Awww. She shared that he sings whenever – when they are doing activitivies at the table, in the shower, when they are playing….

We are just glad to know that he’s doing good at school and that’s all that matters.

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And you are 3.

Dear Elliott,

I have been a bad mummy. A very very bad mummy.

I was supposed to be writing you a note every month since you were born but I fell off the wagon after the 32nd note. I meant to write you notes until you turn 36 months so that you’d have 36 notes to read, but I fell short of…4 months. And this eats me up because your mother here is obsessed concerned about keeping to my words, deadlines and the such.

However, as the months whizz by, I stopped beating myself up. I may be taking a lot less photos and videos of you now as compared to your first year (have you seen how many photos you have?!) but I tell myself that it is ok. Motherhood does take up a lot of energy and time, and typing on a laptop is really the last thing I want to do at the end of each work day.

Yesterday, you turned 3 years old. That’s 36 months of you. It’s cliche but one moment you were a tiny ball of cuteness in our arms and suddenly, you’re an individual with your own (chatty) personality and quirks.

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These days, I find it hard to remember the newborn days. I think this is what people call ‘mumnesia‘ where we block out the crazy newborn days from our minds like those crazy moments didn’t happen. It is hard to remember because these days, you are truly a toddler with a mind of your own. Let me count the ways (as much as my hazy brain can remember).

You say the most hilarious things. Like that day when we stopped at the lights beside an ambulance with its lights on but no siren.

“Ambulance! Mummy look ambulance!”
“Yes that’s an ambulance! See the flashing lights?”
“Yes! But why no sound? Who take out the batteries, mummy?

You left me speechless with that question, my dear son. And I laughed. I laughed out loud as the lights turned green and we continued on our journey home. At this age, you say the funniest things (without meaning to, I’m sure) and I wish I can record every single funny quip because they are oh so fleeting.

At this age, you have a strong idea of what you want. Or don’t want. Like how you have decided that you only want to wear t-shirts (not shirts) and ‘soft’ shorts (not pants or proper ‘going out’ shorts). You also get obsessed about shirt labels and will insist that ‘Mummy cut’ if you spy the offending pieces of tags on your clothes. You also tell us that specifically that ‘you don’t want this green thing‘ (vegetables) or ‘no chicken, mummy. Only noodles‘.

Speaking of noodles, you have been in a noodles phrase. Before each meal, I get hopeful and ask: Elliot, would you like RICE (emphasised for effect) or noodles for dinner? You pretend to think for a bit and then say with conviction: Hmm, NOODLES! I am just glad that you are not too fussed about the type of noodles we give you – pasta, bee hoon, kway teow, mee tai mak, mee sua, yellow noodles, udon. You are good with all of them. You love them with soup and will always ask for more soup.

We have also, in recent weeks, switched you to full-day childcare. Your Ah Ma worries constantly about whether you are getting enough sleep and food as she thinks that you are such a “poor thing” to be in school for the entire day. The thing is, the majority of your classmates are there for the entire day. I’d admit that for the first week or so, you were constantly on my mind as I was also concerned if you were adapting well to the change in routine.

As it turns out, I am proud to say that you are adapting better than us adults. Other than the first few days of taking a while to fall asleep on your own at nap times, you have managed to fall nicely into your new routine without much drama. Oh, your teachers tell us that you do ask them wistfully if mummy is coming (my heart!) when your friends are picked up earlier but you do understand when they tell you that mummy is coming. And yes, my sweetie. Mummy will always be there to pick you up from school. It is always the highlight of my workday and I drive and walk a little faster just to get to you.

So as I was saying, you turned 3 yesterday and what a well-loved boy you are. You had 3 birthday cakes (THREE!) and received so many presents, I lost count. The day before your actual birthday, we celebrated it with your friends at school for the very first time. I was worried that you’d freeze up or cry when you see us but instead, you did very well! For the record, you told me repeatedly that you want a “chocolate cake with blue car” so we got your school cake from Prima Deli and topped it with a vehicle set from Toys R Us.

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You were a little stunned to see us but realised soon after that we were there to celebrate your birthday with your friends. It was wonderful to see you interact with your friends as it is not something we see everyday. I have a video clip where you are telling your friends excitedly “See? Car, truck, helicopter…“. Aiyo, everyone was so darn cute. I cannot.

The same evening, we headed over to Ah Ma and Ah Gong’s house for your 2nd birthday celebration. I am not sure who was more excited, you or them 🙂 And yes, you got a Paw Patrol cake (Bengawan Solo) and 2 fat ang baos from your doting grandparents.

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You asked to go to the zoo on your birthday and so we did. We’ve done so for the past 2 birthdays so it is a bit of a birthday ritual now. We also became Friends of the Zoo so hopefully, we’d be making many trips to the zoo this year. We only managed 2 exhibits (the sea otters and the Zoo-Rassic Park) before the rain came down in sheets. Pfffft. Never mind. Another time then.

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Plan B was to head to Future World exhibition at the Art Science Musuem but 2 of the exhibits were closed for renovations so we were done pretty quickly as well.

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In the evening, Yiyi and Popo came over for your last celebration at home. You were really thrilled to see them. I ordered a bunch of Paw Patrol balloons but you took one cursory look at them and erm, that’s about it. Tsk. Never mind. They made for a nice photo backdrop.

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This year, you sang your own birthday song with gusto, insisted that we all sit beside you for a photo and gave everyone big hugs. You also ripped your presents apart on your own. 3 seems like a terrific age to be and we can’t wait to see what the year has in store.

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Happy 3, dear Elliott. May you always  be joyful and healthy. We love you very much!

Love,
Mummy xoxo

T is for Tonsillitis

This is going to be a long rambling story about tonsillitis. Be warned.

30 Jan 2017, Monday

On the 3rd day of CNY, we headed out to ECP as Elliott wanted to ‘play sand’. I had a lovely quiet prata and teh tarik breakfast all by myself (ah, the bliss) while everyone else was baking hanging out at the beach.

He came out all fresh and clean from his shower and ran off like a speeding bullet towards the Marina Cove Playground that was conveniently located beside the kids-friendly shower area. I was hesitant about letting him head to the playground because being a public holiday, it was MAD CROWDED with children of all age and sizes. Call me paranoid mama but crowds = VIRUSES GALORE.

Too late.

He was way too fast for me to even get near him. I was holding onto Moon and obviously, I couldn’t drag Moon into the play area. Daddy was still washing the sand out of his toys so I could only look on (in dismal) as he climbed, crawled, hung and STUCK his face into various talking tubes (nooooo).

We headed straight to the car after and I stupidly forgot to clean his hands. Honestly, I don’t think it would have helped anyway.

Fast forward to evening.

We had a CNY dinner gathering at a friend’s new home. On our way there, E was uncharacteristically quiet. When we got there, he stuck to my side and refused to play with the other kids. Again, this is very untypical of him. He’s generally quite a sociable boy so warning bells were going off in my head. I felt his forehead and it was a little warm.

When I tried to feed him his dinner, he kept grimacing and kept saying: I don’t want to eat. He was also in tears which was again, quite odd. Finally, after only about 4 mouthfuls, I decided to stop and have my own dinner instead. I don’t like forcing kids to eat. He sat on the couch watching cartoons with the boy.

Halfway through my dinner, I heard a commotion from the sofa – E threw up. On the boy. Oh dear me. Thankfully, it was his friend’s home so he could borrow a clean t-shirt. I was also thankful that we had a fresh change of clothes in his bag. After we cleaned him up, he didn’t feel as warm to the touch and started to become more alert and cheerful. He even asked for ‘soup and rice’ which we gave. Towards the end of the evening, he was pretty much back to his usual happy and active self so I just put it down to just a random fever and something he ate.

The next day, he ran a fever with no other symptoms so we kept him home, away from school. One particular night, it hit a high of 39.8 degrees so we had to break out the Bifen suspension (commonly known as Ibuprofen). Poor kid was whimpering and tossing in his sleep but thankfully, he managed to fall asleep properly after the medicine. We pretty much kept him at home the entire week for him to recuperate.

First victim: Elliott

On Wednesday, he complained of pain in his mouth and was refusing his usual meals. This was unlike him as he usually likes his rice/noodles and soup. He was also starting to refuse his nightly milk which is a HUGE WARNING BELL. He just kept saying: paiiiin.  This kid loves his milk so for him to not want to drink milk? Ding ding ding.

I asked him exactly where it hurt and he pointed inside his mouth (I’m so glad that he’s old enough to verbalise what he needs now!). When I shone the torchlight into his mouth, I was shocked to see that his tonsils were covered in tiny white ulcers. OH DEAR ME! No wonder he had trouble eating. That probably explains the crazy high fever as well. I mentally beat myself up for not checking his mouth earlier. Sigh.

2 Feb 2017, Thursday

Got Popo to take him (because we had work commitments so we are always grateful for our village) to the family GP who asked why didn’t we take him in earlier (oops #mummyguilt right there). He said that there were many tiny ulcers dotting his tonsils and some were turning into pus. URGH. Diagnosed it as acute tonsillitis and gave him a dose of (toddler) Augmentin 70ml suspension along with a bottle of fever meds as standby.

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I knew there was no way E was going to ingest Augmentin on its own without putting up a huge fight. Honestly, I don’t blame him. It was powdery and flakey. Really quite gross. Thankfully, when we added it into his pre-nap milk, he finished every single drop. PHEW. That’s another thing to be grateful for – this kid will finish his milk regardless of how it tastes. We have added Flumicil (which is orange flavoured!) to his milk and he will still finish his bottle of milk. Hehe.

Thankfully, he got on the mend the next few days and was back to his usual active self. He was also starting to eat his usual solid food which was a relief.

Next victim: The boy

3 Feb 2017, Friday

The boy told me that he was having a sore throat and feeling feverish. He looked extremely sick and weak which is a RARE SIGHT. This husband of mine rarely falls ill so to see him in that sick state was definitely cause for alarm. I told him to PLEASE GO AND SEE A DOCTOR NOW (lunch hour) and thankfully, he listened to his wife for once and took a cab straight to the neighbourhood GP.

Not surprisingly, he caught the tonsillitis bug from E so he got given a bout of (adult) Augmentin, MAC lozenges and paracetemol for the fever. To cut a long story (slightly) shorter, he basically slept the next 2 days away. He was that sick. Barely ate anything except for plain porridge because it hurt too much to eat anything else.

4 Feb 2017, Saturday

We had another CNY lunch gathering and because the boy was still feeling ill (and we do not want to spread germs), E and I went for lunch. It was only after lunch that I started to feel the onset of that dreaded ‘sore throat’. I was hoping to put it down to sore throat from CNY feasting (because steamboat is heaty, yes?) but at the back of my head, I knew what it was.

Next victim: Me

True enough, that same evening, I burned up with a fever that hovered between 38 and 39.8 degrees. I was also shivering uncontrollably even though I was in a non-airconditioned room wearing long-sleeved pyjamas and pants, AND had the blanket over me. It was torturous. I swung between feeling mad hot to shivering, to sweating profusely after downing paracetamol to try and bring down the temperature. Needless to say, I was literally confined to bed and feeling absolutely S***TY.

Thankfully, the boy recovered sufficiently to take over parenting duties. He hasn’t recovered fully but at least he was able to get out of bed and be mobile. I was really thankful we both did not catch the bug at the same time. Count small blessings eh.

5 Feb 2017, Sunday

Survived the horrible night of crazy fever and made my way to the same neighbourhood GP who diagnosed me as – no surprises there – acute tonsillitis. But of course. Gave me the same meds as the boy and instructed me to stay home to rest (2 days of medical leave) with loads of water.

This is where it got interesting.

Ate my lunch and ingested 1 dose of Augmentin. 15 mins later, I threw up everything. Ugh. I could only tolerate the paracetamol. Was undecided if I should take another pill or wait till later. Decided to wait it out.

Dinner time came round. Had dinner, waited for a bit and swallowed another Augentin pill. Did I mention that I really hate it? It’s huge and GROSS. Same story – 15 minutes or so (I know because I timed myself), and I had to rush to the porcelain bowl again.

This wasn’t working. If the meds weren’t going in, I wasn’t going to get well.

6 Feb 2017, Monday

I was advised to see an ENT specialist to see if there are other meds that can help so I made an appointment with Dr Chan Kwai Onn who came recommended. Managed to get a 2.45pm appointment the same day so I made my way down. At first, I was surprised that it was empty but as I was filling up the registration form, streams of people walked through the door. Thankfully, I did not have to wait longer than 15 minutes before I asked to enter the consultation room.

I noticed that the room had little dinosaurs standing in a row, as well as various stickers strewn over his consultation table. As it turns out, he does Paediatric ENT Care as well. Good to know. He was friendly and introduced himself as Dr Chan. I told him the entire history of what happened and he scribbled them onto his screen (so high-tech). He then made me sit on the reclining chair where he explained that he will be using a spray-on aesthetic to numb my nose and throat so that he can do a scope.

He then asked that I wait outside for about 5 minutes for it to take effect while he attended to other patients. Very efficient, I like. It barely felt like 5 minutes when I was called in again.

Once again, I sat on the reclining chair and in front of me was a TV screen. I knew what was going to happen and realised that for the very first time in my life, I was going to see the insides of my nose and throat. It was a mix of excitement and slight apprehension as I have a strong gag reflex (my poor dentist) so I wasn’t sure how I was going to react to having a tube down my nose and throat.

He first asked that I stick out my tongue so that he could hold onto it with a piece of gauze. I made it a point to highlight that I have a strong gag reflex so please be warned 🙂 Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad as the tube didn’t go too far down. Yet. At this stage, he pointed out various tiny white ulcers dotting my red and swollen tonsils.

He then proceeded to stick another tube (or was it the same – I can’t remember) down my nose to check it. He declared that my nose was clear. However, as the tube moved further down my throat, it was pretty horrifying to see that my entire throat (and not just the top of it that is visible from my mouth) is covered in evil-looking white ulcers.

At that very moment, I felt like it was a scene straight out of a B-grade sci-fi alien movie. It was, for lack of a better word, GROSS. Dr Chan then explained that this is why it’s painful to even swallow saliva, let alone eat.

I showed him my box of Augmentin (which he took a cursory look at) and explained that Augmentin only works on infections caused by bacteria. As taken from this website:

Augmentin is one of the workhorses of the pediatrician’s office, prescribed for ear infections that are resistant to amoxicillin alone, sore throats and certain eye infections. The drug is also a powerful agent against bronchitis and tonsillitis caused by bacteria (though many cases of sore throat are viral in origin).

He shared that what I was suffering from is acute tonsillitis caused by virus and not bacteria. This means that no amount of Augmentin was going to work. He instructed me to stop taking Augmentin (WOOHOO!!!) and went on to prescribe me with Acyclovir 400mg which, according to this website, treats virus infections. I noted this important point from the website:

It’s important to know that acyclovir does not cure viral infections. However, it can make infections shorter and less serious for some people.

I left the clinic with this bill. Gulp. But! I am glad to have nipped the damn illness in the butt and also, I was told by the lovely nurses that the bill is claimable via insurance and Medisave (only for the scope but better than nothing!).

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I’m also putting a picture of the key meds in this blog entry so that I can remember what medicine it was that was administered.

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I’m now wondering: There must be tons of people out there who are taking Augmentin religiously after seeing the GP (like the boy) for tonsillitis and wondering why they are not well. For the record, the boy finished his 5-day course of antibiotics and still has a very sore throat. It is day 5 since the onset of the infection and I am pretty much back to feeling like a normal person. The fever has since abated and my throat no longer feels like a thousand knives are scratching against it.

Thank you for making it to the end of this very long winded entry. It is rare that I blog about illness and only do when it’s bad enough. Like this Bronchiolitis episode, and the other one for Croup. I just had to detail down this episode of tonsillitis that pretty much took down the entire family.

So here’s another PSA (public service announcement):

There’s a tonsillitis outbreak going on right now (doctor’s words, not mine). Please wash your hands THOROUGHLY and PROPERLY with SOAP as it is the only way to get rid of illness-causing viruses. Wet wipes work only if they contain a certain amount of alcohol (at least 70% alcohol!).

Stay healthy, everyone!