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Bible Verse of the Day

February 2008

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2008.


Scrap Credits
Template 41 from Jill & Jack ScrapDesigns
Emma kit from retrodiva {designs}™
Basic chipboard alphas from Dani Mogstad
Flower glitter from Pineapple Plantation Designs
Raffia stitched heart from Kim B’s Designs

Although Ethan cannot really speak in proper words yet, his communication skills in terms of signing has improved tremendously due to frequent exposure to the Baby Einstein DVD that incorporates signing, My Favorite Places.  He will now eagerly await the part in the program where the instructor or kid makes the sign for the appropriate word and often, he will sign the word even before the word appears on the screen.

As a kiasu concerned mommy who only wants the best for her child, I must admit that I am a tad worried that Ethan is experiencing speech delay.  They are some friends of mine who offer some form of consolidation and reassurance in that their own sons also went through the exact same phase.  It truly appears though that Ethan has lots to say, but it’s just that we cannot yet make head or tail out of what he is saying.  He understands what we say and can respond correctly, but when he needs to say something, he prefers to point or to lead us to what he wants to do.  For example, he will *throw* our hand at the fridge when he wants us to open it, or he will *throw* my hand at the milk bottle when he wants a feed.

I’ve also contacted a speech therapist in KL who recommended that we visit a local speech therapist in Penang.  I am hesitant because I do not wish to subject Ethan to (maybe) weekly therapy sessions.  If I can help it, that is.  Another suggestion brought forward, also by our pediatrician, is to expose him to as many of his peers as much as possible.  So we are currently looking into options for this as well.

Nevertheless, his ability to imitate and sign has spurred me to purchase a baby signing book and DVD.  Coincidentally, a few weeks ago, Pete’s good friend’s sister contacted me (blogging has many advantages you know!) and told me about her unique site, Baby Signs Malaysia.  She assured me that allowing and teaching Ethan to sign will not impair his ability to acquire speech, but on the contrary it would probably pave the way for him.  Just like crawling comes before walking, signing will come naturally before talking.  So I purchased the I Can Sign! Animals book + DVD from her last week (it was on offer at RM40; regular retail price RM60).  It contains a board book and a 20-minute DVD which teaches the baby the signs used for 6 animals, namely dog, bird, fish, cat, monkey and turtle.  I was excited to share this with Ethan, and when I did that evening, he was glued to the TV for the entire duration.  I know he loves animals so this was the perfect DVD for him.  He didn’t take to the signs at first but when I showed him the DVD again the next evening, I was delighted that he could sign dog, cat, bird and monkey.  Sometimes he still needs to be prompted, but to me this was definitely an achievement in itself.

I also bought My First Spoken Words: Babies, which introduces six words too, by playing the word as the baby turns the page.  Ethan took one look at this book, flipped it open and did some fiddling with it, and after a minute, we discovered to our horror that there was no more sound coming out from it!  We had to purposely drop the book on the floor to trigger the sound mechanism again.  SIGH.

Anyway, I really hope that Ethan will complement his signing with his talking soon.  I can’t wait to engage in conversation with this chatterbox of mine!

The way Ethan took to our hotel room at The Royale Bintang Damansara was like a duck to water.  Made us feel as though we need to plan hotel trips every now and then, because we simply love the look of joy on his face.  Of course, he slept for most of the car ride, so while he was fully charged when we checked into the hotel, Daddy and Mommy just wanted to grab some serious shuteye.

Yes, we took a drive down to KL last weekend primarily to visit Ethan’s new cousin Collin.  When we reached the hospital, Ethan refused to enter the room where Collin and his mommy, Pei Gee were in.  Baby Collin had to be put on the bilibed because he had infant jaundice, and he was rooming in together with his mommy.  My brother Allan thinks it’s the blue light from the bilibed that scared Ethan away.  According to him, perhaps Ethan still had memories of his bilibed experience and was a little bit traumatized by it.  Ethan had breastmilk jaundice for about a month when he was a newborn and had to be in the bilibed for many many days.  Anyway, we all didn’t believe Allan at first but when the blue light was turned off after we came back from dinner, Ethan happily came into the room to look at baby Collin.  Coincidence?

In any case, Ethan had a really good time throughout our trip.  You can tell just by looking at the pictures…

In fact, he enjoyed himself so much that he was tired out and he actually fell asleep in my arms in Italiannies while we were having lunch.  Must have been the soothing jazzy music they were playing too.

Anyway it was back home to Penang after that.  Oh, and for the record, he slept at close to midnight last night.  I have no idea where he gets his energy from.


Scrap Credits
Kit “True Love” from
Sueli Colbert
Boxed words from Chantal
Delight Series Red Inked Alphas from Foxy Designs

I knew weaning Ethan would not be an easy thing to do. In fact, I started trying out various weaning tactics when he was about 15 months’ old, but I was not firm with it and he certainly did not seem ready to be weaned yet at that time. No amount of distractions, meal substitutions and coaxing could wean him from the breast, not even when I started him on formula when he was about 15.5 months’ old, and I was afraid the weaning battle would become a stressful, terrible one. One of my fervent prayers to God was to have a smooth weaning process for Ethan, where neither he nor I would suffer, for I really cannot bear to see him wail and cry as if someone were abusing him or something.

Anyway, on our way to Singapore last year, one of the senior flight attendants (who obviously used to be a breastfeeding mother herself too) told me her secret method of weaning her boy when he was 17 months’ old. At that time, Ethan was roughly the same age. She told me she used Bonjela. Applied it to her nipples and after a few rejections from her son, he was off the breast. It was as simple as that.

I didn’t use this method immediately after we returned from our trip though. And I can’t remember when I actually purchased a tube of Bonjela. But when I tried it the first time on Ethan, he made a face when he tasted the minty Bonjela, quietly and (dare I say) obediently walked away. That was during one of the evenings after work. I didn’t try it again after that, because I was pretty confident Bonjela works.

When Ethan was a little older, it became apparent that he was ready to be weaned. He could go without breast milk the whole day long while I was at work but somehow he still “needed” breast milk during the day on weekends. I realized then that I was the one who was not ready to wean him off. I realized that all I needed to do was to be firm with him and hopefully he would comply. Although I used the Bonjela method off and on, I was wishy washy about it and so it didn’t really work as I hoped it would. Sometimes when I used Bonjela during the weekends, and Ethan (the smart fella) would patiently wait till the effects wore off before cuddling up for a feed.

But when Ethan was one month shy of his 2nd birthday, I told myself that if I wanted him to be weaned, nobody could help me but myself. Only I alone can do it. And so I crafted a plan. I religiously used Bonjela, slowly eliminating one feed at a time in the weekends. Weaning him off the morning feeds was easy, but it was an uphill task when I began weaning him from the afternoon feeds. A bottle of Pediasure would usually be ready at hand whenever I used the Bonjela method, so I hoped he would get the idea soon enough.

Well, he was soon able to take his afternoon naps without breastfeeding…which was good, except it took him longer to fall asleep, resulting in a more tired Daddy and Mommy. I so took the ease of breastfeeding baby to sleep for granted, I tell ya. And it was a struggle to get him to sleep without the comfort of breastfeeding.

After he turned two, about a week before Chinese New Year, the Bonjela method had already successfully gotten Ethan off the breast from morning till after his nightly shower. He still needed to be breastfed to sleep at that time, though. He would wait till I had had my shower before he asked for a feed. So I told myself that I would continue with the plan after Chinese New Year, since it was not a good idea to make changes to the routine while travelling. I knew it was gonna be a hurdle to wean him from the breast for his nightly feeds.

But God is good, and He answers prayers. A few days before Chinese New Year, Ethan started to go to sleep without the need to be breastfed. I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but it just happened. Sometimes he would just cuddle up to me, just to be close to me and he would fall asleep on his own. He would still wake up once or twice in the night for comfort suckling though, but that did not bother me, because I knew it would be another obstacle I had to overcome soon. I figured I would cross the bridge when the time came.

However, one of the nights during the Chinese New Year break, he started to sleep through without needing his comfort suckling. He still wakes up sometimes, but he will just snuggle close to me and will fall back to sleep. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t even see it coming.

His last breastfed meal was on the night we returned from our hometowns in Ipoh and Taiping. After his shower, he came up to me with this loving look in his eyes, propped himself on my lap for a feed and after a few minutes, he was done. He gave me a “Thank you Mommy, I love you” look and went about his usual business. It was done in such an endearing manner, that I could not help the tears trickling down my cheeks. It was as if he knew our “contract” had ended and he was saying his final goodbye.

Oh sorry…well actually that was supposed to be his last feed, but I breastfed him again a few days later when he was down with fever… out of pity 😛

Anyway, it has now been a little over a week that Ethan has been completely off the breast. What started out as my labor of love became a loving wondrous journey that lasted approximately two years and a week. I thought I would feel a sense of relief because the weaning was now over and done with. But what I felt was a tinge of emptiness…as if something I had grown to love dearly is now missing from my life. It is a sign that my Ethan boy, my darling Mr Bulat, has grown up somewhat, and I am just grateful that I was able to give him the best nourishment a mother can offer.

My sleeping angel


Scrap Credits
That’s Amore freebie from Cinzia Loosemore
Netter’s Alphas from Scarlet Heels
Brackets from Sun Porch kit by Amy Teets

Yesterday afternoon, while hanging out with Ethan at home, I witnessed a sleeping angel.  Ethan was sitting on the couch watching Baby Noah on the telly and I was flipping through the newspapers.  He hadn’t had his nap yet, and I knew it was about time he felt sleepy.  Usually he would look for me for a cuddle before falling asleep but yesterday, he suddenly crouched over on his tummy, found his really comfy position and drifted off to sleep, all on his own. 

What’s a blogger mom like me supposed to do?


Scrap Credits
Kit “Memory” from
Sueli Colbert
Netter’s Alphas from Scarlet Heels

Last Monday, the first day of work after the long Chinese New Year break, when Ethan woke up in the morning, my maternal instincts told me something was wrong.  His body felt slightly warmer than usual and when I took his temperature, it registered a slight fever.  However, it went down about half an hour later after I gave him the PCM suppository.  But when we arrived at Mrs Tan’s in the evening to pick him up, we were told that he was still nursing a fever.  That day, Pete and I had not had our dinner prior to picking him up, so we decided to go to Old Town for Ethan’s favorite chicken koay-teow.  Unfortunately they had ran out of koay teow that day, so poor Ethan boy had to watch us eat.  He didn’t want anything else except the koay teow, the poor dear.  After dinner, we decided to just swing by a chicken koay teow stall and buy him a packet, but he wouldn’t eat it at all when we got home too.

His temperature had gone up to 38.2°C then, so I sponged him down with some warm Eucalyptus water, gave him another dose of PCM and changed him into his pajamas.  After a few moments of watching Baby Einstein, Ethan, who was way much quieter than usual, fell asleep in my arms.

The next afternoon, we decided to take him to see Dr Jessica, just to be on the safe side.  No doubt his fever had diminished, his appetite was back to normal, and he was grinning away that day, we still felt better if we got some reassurance from the doc.  Ethan was very cooperative throughout the entire checkup, staying very still when the doc took his temperature and checked his ears.  He only complained a little when the doc wanted to check the back of his throat.  In fact, he even obediently sat still on the weighing scale while he was being weighed.  When his name was called in to see the doc, he didn’t want to go in, but when we were ready to leave, he didn’t want to go.  In the end, we carried him out with him giving Dr Jessica a loud flying kiss.

Dr Jessica said he was all right, and the temperature could very well be a viral infection, which our boy had fought off on his own.  When we heard that, we were so proud of our little fighter there… :) It really means a lot to me that he can fend off illnesses on his own now that he is no longer breastfed.  The two years of breastfeeding prove very worth the while.

 

At first I had planned to present it to Ethan’s grandparents for Grandparents’ Day last September, but I couldn’t get it ready then.  So I decided to try for Christmas instead.  Well, Christmas came and I was not even close to finishing it.  Then I adamantly targeted Ethan’s second birthday, but because of some hiccups with the file upload and ordering process, I rescheduled the targeted date to Chinese New Year.

Finally the photobooks are ready.  I received them three days before Chinese New Year, and got them wrapped up as presents for Ethan’s grandparents.  I had printed three copies of the photobook – no prizes for guessing who gets the third copy :)  The photobook contained pictures of Ethan which I had digitally scrapbooked with the used of Adobe Photoshop, no glue required.  All forty pages held memories which were dear to us, and I am sure Ethan’s grandparents would be thrilled with the book too.

We presented the photobook to both his Ah Mas and Ah Kongs for Chinese New Year, and I could see their faces light up with pride when they saw what the present contained.  May they enjoy hours and hours of flipping through the book and sharing Ethan’s photos with their friends and visitors :)  Someday Ethan boy will enjoy the book too… I just know it! 😀

 

This year, we spent our Chinese New Year reunion dinner in my hometown in Ipoh. Ethan felt very at home there, and although he didn’t really eat much during the dinner (actually he only felt hungry much later and I fed him some rice and tau-ewe-bak then), he had a good time walking around the house and checking everything out. He especially liked to step on the cute little pedal bin and throw pieces of paper into it, much like what we always do when we throw rubbish away.

He was also very intrigued with the chilled cans of Shandy, and loved to hold each can in his hands. I’ve also seen him trying to pry open the tabs on the can, but perhaps his favorite activity with the can is banging it against someone else’s when we say “Yum Senggggg!!!”  Just look how his face totally captures the spirit of the occasion!

My Mom and Dad, who had read all about Ethan’s drumming antics, surprised Ethan with a really really cute traditional Chinese drum, complete with drumsticks too. And when they brought it out for him on New Year’s Day, he was absolutely delighted. The size of the drum suited him really well, and before long he was excitedly banging on it over and over again.

On the angpow receiving front, Ethan would eagerly grab an angpow that was given to him, but only if he was in a good mood. Unfortunately, angpows were not the only things he received this New Year. On New Year’s eve, he accidentally fell from the chair after *playing the piano* in Ipoh, hit the side of his head and cried a little, but was okay after a few minutes, the pain apparently forgotten.   

And on New Year’s day in Taiping, he accidentally hit his forehead on a chair in the living room and received a *big bungalow* on his forehead. And when Pete tried to apply a cold compress to the bruise, he screamed and kicked as if he was being abused.  He would only allow Mommy’s kiss to make him feel better.

But one thing always gets his spirits up: DOGGIES! And barking ones add to the fun. He was so excited to see the barking neighbour’s dog in Ipoh, although it was so ferocious looking and when we were visiting a home in Taiping, he demanded that we take him out back where there were 4-5 doggies barking away. After all the dog-watching, I thought I heard him say “dog-dog”. And now even the slightest sound of a dog barking makes him smile, even while he is sleeping.

Ethan was a very good boy throughout the entire Chinese New Year visitation we experienced, from Ipoh to Taiping and the marathon one we had in Penang on Chinese New Year Day 2.  We returned home, tired and well, just glad to be back.  Had a good night’s rest and spent the rest of the weekend together, our little family.

Oh, and Ethan celebrated his Chinese birthday on the 3rd day of New Year too.  Such an easy date to remember, eh? :)


Scrap Credits
The Star kit from Digiscrap.ch

Basic chipboard alphas from Dani Mogstad

The inevitable Terrible Twos are upon us, and it certainly looks like Ethan has already taken the cue because he is fast exhibiting more prominence on being his own person and forming a cheeky, naughty personality of his own.

Weight

Feels like 11 kilos.

Height

82-85 cm

Teeth

Fourteen: 8 incisors, 2 canines (upper) and 4 pramolars (2 upper and 2 lower). There are signs that he may be teething soon, because he salivates a lot these days.

Motor Skills

  • Can slide down a slide properly.
  • Becoming quite the expert at climbing up the stairs and he had a lot of practice during Chinese New Year. He is rather cautious when he comes downstairs though, especially if the steps are steep ones.
  • Loves to swing arms around, as if he is exercising or something.
  • Can really throw a ball properly, sometimes way better than those footballers doing the throw-in during football matches.
  • Can kick the ball really well. Pete will soon be taking him to the field for a one-on-one football match.
  • Eagerly takes angpows when he is offered one.
  • Can take a balloon and swing it to hit people’s heads. Yes, he is quite violent…

Communication and Social Skills

  • We are seeing some progress in the communication aspect. New words he has learnt are
    • “Foo-bor” or “oo-bor” (football)
    • “two”
    • “ee”, “errr” (one and two in Mandarin)
    • “eat-eat” (eat – when we are driving out to dinner or lunch)
  • Watching Baby Einstein’s Baby’s Favorite Places has also paid off. Yesterday he amazed me when he signed the following when I prompted him:
    • School – place one palm on top of the other, in the sign of a book.
    • Library – form the letter L with the thumb and index finger and wave it around. (Actually he did the “library” sign before but now it is more consistent).
    • Driveway/sidewalk – points both arms to the front
    • Playing field/playground – waves both arms in the air
    • Garden – clasps both hands together. Actually the actual sign is to make like a blooming flower, but he is still practising.
  • Throws a mean tantrum whenever he doesn’t get what he want. For example, when we ask him to go somewhere and he still wants to play outside, he will bang both his hands on the wall or pillar or something in frustration. When we try to carry him, he will kneel down on the floor and protest. Or shake his head vigorously.
  • Has developed a preference for certain channels on TV. When the TV is tuned to a channel he finds boring, he will grunt or scream in protest, so we have to change the channel. If the Astro remote is not within our reach, he will bring the remote to us to ask us to change the channel for him. Oh, he prefers Channel V to MTV… don’t ask why.

Food and Feeding

  • In the words his Daddy uses, Ethan eats non-stop.
  • Ethan is now ALMOST fully weaned from the breast. I no longer breastfeed him in the daytime and in the evenings before he hits the bed, even when I am with him the entire day. He hardly asks to be breastfed too, and sometimes when he does, it is at night, and when I tell him “No”, he will obey. He can also fall asleep without comfort suckling now, which to me, is a great achievement. Immediately after his 2nd birthday, he automatically decided that he could go to bed at night on his own, of course, with me by his side still. Now, the final obstacle is to fully wean him from the breast for the middle of the night comfort sucklings. There were a couple of nights where he slept through soundly too.
  • Likes to feed himself. Sometimes he won’t even eat until I put the food on the plate in front of him so he can help himself to it.
  • Favorite foods: chicken rice, chicken koay teow, spaghetti, plain white bread, char siew pau, siew mai, Yakult, yogurt, apples and bananas.


Scrap Credits
Kit Bayadère from
MissVivi
Boxed words from Chantal
Kiss Me You Fool film strip from Dale Ann Cubbage/DC Designs 

One of Ethan’s favorite activities is climbing stairs. We don’t have stairs in our condo unit, so he is only exposed to stairs at our swimming pool and other places where there are steps. So it was akin to a child in a candy store when we visited his Ah Chek’s home that Saturday night after his early birthday party celebration. The newly-renovated house had a flight of stairs, just beckoning to Ethan. So as expected, he walked right up to it and started climbing. I was behind him all the way, and watched while he used the banister as a support and pulled himself up step by step, like an expert, all the way to the top. Everyone was oohing and aahing and saying how clever he was.  And of course, it was a great form of exercise for whoever it was that was supervising him all the way up.

But when it came time for him to come down, he wanted to step down two steps at a time! We had to guide him step by step, but he still didn’t get it. My Dad managed to guide him down properly once, making Ethan hold the wall for support, but that was it. The rest of the time, he wanted to go down the express way. High achiever, would you say?

I took the second half of the day off from work to spend some time with Ethan on his birthday.  Unfortunately, due to work commitments, Pete could not make it, so it was just my boy and me.   I picked Ethan up from Mrs Tan’s place after lunch and my first stop was at the D’View hair salon.  Ethan was due for a haircut and I figured if there weren’t too many customers around, we could try and see if he could get his New Year haircut then.  Pretty ambitious of me to attempt this on my own, but you know me, stubborn as a mule and determined as ever.  It was Ethan’s first time there, and at first he was a little shy to enter the shop.  But then Cindy the hairdresser offered him a cracker and turned the TV on to the Playhouse Disney Channel and he was hooked immediately.  Smiling away, Ethan allowed me to help him put on the cute little cloak around his neck, to ensure most of the hair wouldn’t fall on his shirt.  Then he obediently sat on my lap while Cindy did the magic.  After a very neat shave, all the while with Ethan munching away happily on the cracker while kicking his legs to the Mouskadance tune, Ethan looked very macho-like with his new haircut.  Well, now we know where to go for a fuss-free, scream-free, struggle-free haircut for Ethan, all for RM10.  See, I could even manage to snap a few shots for proof.

Next on the agenda, Ethan and I went to Gurney Plaza.  He was delighted to play at the children’s playground and today, he finally learnt how to slide down a slide the correct way.  Previously he would climb up the slide and then climb down without sliding.  Today, I showed him how to do it, by putting him at the top of the slide and then pushing him gently down.  That was it.  Over and over again, he would go up and down the slide.

We also made a stop at MPH, where Ethan had a good time playing *catch* with me.  😛  Then we went down to the basement where I bought a drink for us both to share.  Before leaving the mall, we made a final stopover at the children’s playground again.  You know why…

After resting for a while at home, and after he had had some milk, I decided to take Ethan downstairs for a swim.  He got all excited when I dressed him up in his swimsuit, and promptly brought his float to me.  We had a great time swimming, Ethan and me.  Ethan enjoyed the water so much, he even wanted to drink it on purpose, much to my horror!  And me, I managed to get SOME form of exercise done, at least for my lower body.  Heh.

We then washed up and got ready for dinner.  We picked Daddy up from work and headed on to Friday’s.  Ethan had his favorite spaghetti, of course, and everyone could tell he was enjoying himself tremendously.  We didn’t get the servers to sing the birthday song for him though, because Pete was concerned that Ethan might not be ready for their loud singing just yet.

What a fantastic day for all of us!  I’m sure Ethan enjoyed himself very much too, so much that he didn’t even have his daytime nap.  Happy birthday darling Ethan boy!