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My little girl is growing!

This last month has seen her do quite a few new things. She’s started sitting up on her own, can creep forward on her belly (with some combination of stretching and butt lifting), and she’s now progressed to trying to crawl forward, though not very successfully. Getting there.

Getting to sitting position from all fours

Getting to sitting position from all fours

Starting to move forward on her knees

Starting to move forward on her knees

She’s also got 2 teeth! On the day she turned 9 months she only had one tooth, but two days ago the second tooth erupted.

She’s developed her pincer grasp and now loves feeding herself, to the point that I often struggle to feed her porridge. She doesn’t want to eat from the spoon! So I resort to putting fingerfood on the table, and stuffing the spoon in her mouth when she opens it to eat the fingerfood she’s feeding herself. Some might say I could try to let her self-feed the porridge, but I can’t bear the thought of the mess!

Like Ellery, she likes savoury food. And they currently share the same favourite breakfast food- cheese toast! If her main course is too sweet, she doesn’t eat that much of it. I discovered this through observing her preferences on ready-made meals (yep…3rd kid eats ready-made meals when we go out sometimes). The sweetish flavours (the kind sweetened with a lot of fruit), she barely touches, but the more savoury concoctions she eats quite a lot of. The exception is when it’s fresh fruit, especially blueberries, apples, pears, and bananas.

I’ve stopped feeding her baby cereal because she almost always rejects that. Guess she thinks she’s all grown up now. In fact, the other day she managed to gnaw through half a peach with her one tiny tooth stub. Goodness. I was so amazed by that feat.

Self-feeding

Self-feeding

Slowly making her way through the peach

Slowly making her way through the peach

She’s getting more vocal. She started to make noises that have all the intonations of proper speech, but are made up entirely of nonsense. It’s really cute to see her point at something and say meaningfully, “ahbangngngngmagemawada!” “Mmm, yes!” I’d reply.

The one word she’s got down pat is “der!” (there). She sometimes uses it correctly, like when you ask her a ‘where’ question, but she doesn’t point in the correct direction hahaha. “Where’s the cat?” “der!” (pointing at the sky). The only time she gets it right is when it comes to Asher and Ellery. “Where is Kor Kor?” She’ll look around first, then point at them while wearing a big smile and saying in an excited, high-pitched tone, “DER!” She loves her brothers, that’s for sure :)

She still falls sleeps between 7 to 730pm, and I’m very grateful for that. I didn’t sleep train her. She just fell into this routine on her own. So I find that I’m now able to have a bit of time with just the boys before they go to bed.

Another rite of passage she has gone through – falling off the bed. All three of them have done it now. Ellery still holds the record for the most falls off the bed, but let’s hope none of them add to their count. It happened in the middle of the night. I suddenly woke to a thud. I had nursed her to sleep and didn’t pad the space between her and the edge of the bed enough. I woke to find her sprawled on the floor. I’m so very grateful that she didn’t land awkwardly and injure herself. Having said that, I must confess that it didn’t bother me that much. I picked her up, saw she was ok, could still say something, and put her back to bed and went back to sleep myself. I remember freaking out the first time Asher fell off the bed. Fast forward 6 years, look at me now.

She’s been a real darling and I’m very grateful for her!

Much taller now

Much taller now

Can't get her to sit still anymore

Can’t get her to sit still anymore

Feel the lurrvvee

Feel the lurrvvee

Taking up more space on the sofa now

Taking up more space on the sofa now

And not staying still! Trying to pull to standing

And not staying still! Trying to pull to standing

Flexible girl

Flexible girl

Can't wait for the day she can start ballet!

Can’t wait for the day she can start ballet!

Very grabby

Very grabby

Hi!

Hi!

Enjoying a swing ride

Enjoying a swing ride

Big love from Asher

Big love from Asher

Bye!

Bye!

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How time flies. Alyssa’s already 8 months old! In the midst of all the chaos of moving, I completely forgot to take a picture of Alyssa with Je M’appelle the bear when she was 7 months old.

Skipping one, here she is now! I remembered it late in the day, so I took the photo in a dim room because I didn’t want to get her too awake. But still, she got all excited anyway.

A bit too chirpy before bed

A bit too chirpy before bed

I'm not going to sleep mummy!!!

I’m not going to sleep mummy!!!

I’ve really been losing track of her milestones. Someone told me that at 8 months their kid could get to sitting position on her own and was crawling already. Alyssa isn’t. I don’t even know what she should be doing! People think that with the 3rd you know everything. On the contrary, with the 3rd you just don’t have the time to remember.

So I’m not sure if I’m carrying her too much (she gets whisked about all the time and doesn’t get to play much) but I’ve since been trying to put her on her tummy more. Just a few days ago started trying to lift her butt while on her belly. That’s a start! But she complains when she’s been on her belly for a little while. Slowly slowly she’ll get there :)

She’s been babbling more now, and it’s so adorable! I have no idea what she’s saying, it’s just a whole lot of nonsense syllables.

I’ve also discovered who makes her laugh the most. Asher and Ellery! She finds them soooo amusing. Sometimes it’s peekaboo. Sometimes it’s just random things they do that she’ll chuckle endlessly over. I find that very sweet and can’t wait for her to start being able to crawl and walk to chase them, and talk to them. Ok…I think that last sentance is one I’m going to regret when it actually happens haha. But for now, yes, that is what I hope.

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As usual I’m behind in updating my blog, and it seems to be getting worse.  I don’t think I’ll ever catch up!  Argh.

I’ve been busy with the kids.  Well, busier than usual that is.  They came down with HFMD!

I started monitoring the boys after the mom of one of Asher’s schoolmates whom we had a playdate with told us her daughter was showing symptoms of HFMD.  The incubation period is between 4-7 days.  Day 8 and they were fine, so we went for an outing to Punggul waterside park with my parents, aunts, nephew and niece.

Then Saturday morning on the 31st I noticed Asher had a few spots in his mouth.  On his previous brush with HFMD, it was so mild there were no spots at all, so I wasn’t sure if these were HFMD spots or not.  By the end of the day they had grown in number so I was pretty sure this was the real thing.  Also concluded that he didn’t catch it from his playdate friend, but from someone else in school since it was outside the incubation period.  True enough, come Monday morning we received notices that 2 other classmates also came down with HFMD.

The boys had been sharing food and water the entire time, plus they are almost always together, so I knew it was just a matter of time before Ellery caught it too.  And yepp…he did.  Thankfully his was much milder than Asher’s.

Asher got it bad this time around.  Besides the red spots in his mouth he also had 3 particularly painful sores on his gums.  As a result he couldn’t take solid food for several days.  I ended up boiling soup every day for almost every meal during the week, which thankfully he liked and drank a lot of.  It was a comfort to me to see him drink soup because his fluid intake was otherwise very dismal.  He avoided water and milk.  Every time he tried to eat something more solid he’d cry very badly because of the pain.  Poor boy.  Even yoghurt didn’t work.  I thought it would sooth his sores but it aggravated them instead.

Then we found a miracle food that he just loved and ate big bowls of!  The super silken tau hway!  There’s a stall at Redhill market which sells it in various flavours like durian, mango, almond, strawberry and yam (I can’t remember the name of the stall, will go check).  Asher really liked the durian, and absolutely loved the mango.  It was a perfect food because it provided some protein, and its consistency was like a solid/liquid at the same time.  It was solid enough so it wouldn’t spread all over the mouth and touch his sores, but soft and ‘liquid’ enough to swallow without chewing – it would just slide down your throat.

It was obvious when Asher’s sores started getting better because he would ask to eat this or that and was able to chew it without too much discomfort.  For the first time in his life I saw him asking to try so many things, and bearing with discomfort just to eat.  I think he had had enough of soft food :)

I haven’t been getting much sleep.  Ellery still doesn’t sleep through the night, so that’s quite normal.  But this week was particularly bad.  Ellery’s sleep patterns were improving and he’d often wake up just once before midnight sometimes.  But this past week he’d wake many times.  And when he one night, by some miracle, slept through the night from 830-6am the next day Asher was the one waking all night.  More often than not, when one was sleeping soundly the other would wake.  Like if Ellery woke and I settled him back to sleep, Asher would wake up crying next.  Then after I settled him and am about to try and settle myself back to sleep Ellery would wake up.  Some of the days I really dreaded the night.  I’d lose track of when I actually got to sleep properly.  And before I know it, the kids would be up (nowadays anywhere between 6-7am) and I’d be forced out of bed.

It’s like they are playing tag team to tekan me.  Seriously.

Anyway, I’m just really thankful they are well now.  I’m just looking forward to Ellery sleeping through the night consistently.  I’ve forgotten what it feels like to sleep soundly regularly.  It’s been what, 4 years?  When you’re pregnant you don’t sleep well, then Asher was born, he didn’t sleep through until 18 months, by which time I was pregnant again so no sound sleep still, then Ellery was born, and he’s still not sleeping through.  Soooo…….

Yes.  Sleep.  Uninterrupted sleep.

Ok, I gotta stop dreaming before I get too irritated when the boys wake up tonight.

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There are many other things I’ve yet to update, but here’s something I just wanted to note down.

We’ve reached a milestone with Ellery.  Since last Thursday I stopped nursing him at night in the hope that he’ll cut down on his wakings, and hopefully stop waking up at night altogether.

It’s been pretty good progress.  He now fusses/cries about 2-3 times a night on average, but often he’s actually still asleep.  He gets carried to soothe him quickly so that he doesn’t wake Asher.  But I think we’re getting there.  The other night he went to sleep at 730pm, woke once at 1130pm, and then again at 630am!  The best night on record!  But it’s not always so good.

Hopefully one day I’ll wake up and realise it’s daylight and he didn’t wake up at all!

The downside of stopping breastfeeding at night is….weight gain!  Argh.  So you know how I said I had lost more weight cos of the stomach flu?  Well, it’s all back on…and more!  Ack!  In such a quick time too!  Breastfeeding really is nature’s liposuction.

Ah well.  That’s how it is.

He still really enjoys breastfeeding though.  I still nurse him in the day, and when I ask, “do you want milk?” he gets super excited, flashes a big grin, and often laughs too :)  It’s very very funny.

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A Speedy Recovery

We’re home!  Ellery was discharged on Sunday afternoon.  The doctors were surprised at how quickly his condition worsened from the first A&E visit to the next where his chest scan went from clear, to showing an infection.  But the doctors were also surprised at how quickly Ellery was recovering. 

Praise God!  And thanks for your prayers :)

The doctors suspect that what happened was, Ellery caught a cough, then possibly coughed when drinking milk resulting in the milk going down the wrong pipe and entering the lungs.  An infection in the top right lobe of the lung, where his was, is usually the outcome of swollowing milk into the lungs.  That would explain why his condition deteriorated so quickly.

But by the middle of the second day, Ellery didn’t need to wear the oxygen mask anymore because the oxygen saturation in his blood was above 95%, the safe level.  It was hovering around 90% when he was first admitted.  Then by the evening he could be taken off the drip.  One more day of nebulizers and suctioning away of mucous, and he was deemed well enough to return home.

And it seems he knows what home is.  When we got back he suddenly became very happy and smiled and smiled and smiled!  It was as if he knew his hospital stay was over and he was home :)

One downside of the episode is that my milk supply seems to have dwindled.  He hardly drank, if at all.  Yes, I could possibly have tried to express more, but a combination of factors made it quite difficult.  Hmm…hoping it’ll get better soon! 

The other downside is…he’s rejecting the bottle now!!!  Since he fell ill I stopped giving him a bottle cos…well…so poor thing…he couldn’t even drink from me properly!  And then here we are almost two weeks later and he’s turning his nose up at the bottle :(  Hope this isn’t permanent!

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Illness

My poor baby is ill.  Ellery caught a potent bug from Jon and he’s been having a fever since Friday evening.  Until yesterday it hovered above 39 degrees, at one point going as high as 39.7 degrees (and maybe higher since I took the temperature after sponging him).  Thankfully it’s now around the 38 range.

But he has a terrible cough, largely due to the phlegm I think.  He doesn’t quite know how to cough it out yet.  He can have a loud, hacking cough for several minutes non-stop, and it’s very heart-wrenching to see and hear.  Already for an adult such a coughing fit would be so tiring, what more for a little infant.  After each coughing episode he’s so exhausted he falls asleep soon after.

He hasn’t been drinking much milk, and whatever he does get in often comes up again all over the floor.  And his stuffy nose, plus phlegm in the throat interferes with his nursing.

His cry, usually strong, is weak and quiet.  Sometimes we can hardly hear him, like he’s losing his voice.

He looks so sad and uncomfortable when he’s awake.

We’ve seen the doc and we’ve got the fever meds (they say there’s no need to medicate the cough), so just praying he’ll recover soon.  I know it’s a strong bug because Jon’s had it for the past 2 weeks and is still not fully recovered.

Something I’ve learnt from the doc though, that perhaps all of you already knew.  I always thought that a high fever can cause brain damage, that’s what I’ve been told since I was young.  But apparently that’s not true.  The body naturally keeps its temperature below the damaging level.  That’s a relief to know, and wish I knew earlier!

Now I’m hoping that Asher doesn’t re-catch the bug (since he passed it to Jon), and that I don’t fall ill too.

I miss Ellery’s smile.  Can’t wait for him to be well again!

We noticed that he likes to have someone hold his right hand when he’s ill.  When he starts or cries he calms down much more easily that way.

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On The Way

So this has been a long time coming. 

I’m sure by now if you’ve been reading the previous few posts you’ll know I’m expecting again :)  This pregnancy has been very different from the first.  For starters, I actually have pregnancy symptoms this time around!  The first time, except for the growing bump, I had no symptoms whatsoever.  No morning sickness, no nausea, no cravings, no aversions, no fatigue, etc. (altho Jon says I’m so greedy all the time it’s hard to tell whether I’m having cravings or not ;) ). 

This time, I experienced some nausea, especially when I was ill.  I hated that wanna-puke feeling!  I also had some aversions.  I normally eat all kinds of veggies and have always loved spinach, but for some reason, I suddenly just couldn’t stomach even the thought of eating the bayam variety.  It made me feel nauseous just thinking about eating it.  And the weirdest thing?  Water made me feel like puking.  Yes, water.  I could drink an entire glass of juice/soft-drink/any flavoured beverage.  But a few sips of water made me feel like throwing up.  At Shan’s wedding I was supposed to deliver a speech and was feeling cold (and nervous), so drank some warm water…which ended up making me feel nauseous.  I was quite worried that I would actually puke on the podium!  Thank goodness that didn’t happen.  It would surely have been a speech to remember.

Then there was the fatigue in the first trimester.  I just felt so tired everyday!  Needed to have a nap each day before picking Asher up from school. 

Thank goodness things have gotten better, and I can give Asher more of my time and energy. 

But I think that among the best things that resulted from this pregnancy was having Asher finally sleep through the night again.  He managed to do so from about 2-4 months old, but suddenly just stopped that good habit and woke up repeatedly every night.  At it’s worst Asher was waking as many as 12 times a night – that’s more than twice an hour.  And I had already gone back to work at that point.  I was frustrated and at a loss over what to do.  I half-guessed it was because Asher was at that time still breastfeeding, and was trying to wean him off his night feedings, which he nutritionally did not need.  It was nursing simply for comfort’s sake.  Even then, when I had managed to get it down to one night feed, and eventuallly just the 530/6am feed, he still woke up that many times a night.  Maybe he was always still hoping for a comforting nurse?  Prayed and prayed, hoping for a miracle. 

Then I found out I was pregnant and had to stop breastfeeding.  And then he started to magically sleep through the night again!  Oh, the joy!  Tempered by the fact that in the first trimester you tend to wake up frequently to head to the loo, but still, I woke up much less often than 12 times a night!!! 

So Asher’s breastfeeding journey went something like this:

  • Nov 08 – May 09: Exclusive breastfeeding (BF)
  • Mar 09: BF + very very occasional expressed breastmilk (EBM) from a cup just to get him used to it (he never took to the bottle)
  • May 09: BF + introduced cereal (used EBM)
  • Jun 09: BF + supplementing with formula milk (FM) when making cereal
  • Jul 09: Back to work.  BF + EBM from sippy cup + FM for 1 milk feed a day at infantcare
  • Sep 09: BF + EBM from straw cup + FM for 1.5 milk feed a day at infantcare (1 feed was mixed with EBM)
  • Oct 09 – Jan 10: BF (gradually reduced feeds to only before sleep, at night, & first feed in morning) + EBM + FM
  • Feb 10 – May 10: BF (before sleep, at night, & first feed in morning, gradually reducing the number of BF feeds starting with the pre-sleep one) + FM (stopped expressing completely)
  • May 10: Stopped breastfeeding completely.  FM only.

So in total breastfed Asher for about 1.5 years.  I have this feeling that with the second kid, I may not breastfeed for quite a long cos it’ll be tough to devote that amount of time to him without neglecting Asher.  I will probably end up expressing earlier too, something I find an absolute chore doing, but I think I may find to be necessary in order to have enough time for both children.

Now we’re in the midst making arrangments for Baby, and trying to prepare Asher for the arrival of his sibling too.  So far he seems to be taking well to the idea in concept, but of course, things will be quite different when reality hits.  I’m just hoping to make it as easy as possible for him. 

In the meantime, I try to continue spending as much time as I can with Asher, to make sure he knows I love him so much, whether in word or in deed.  I hope he feels secure and loved.  I can only try my best. 

At the same time, I do wonder what it will be like to have a second child.  I think that to some extent it will require deliberate attention on our part.  I’m sure we’ll love our child, but as a newborn, he won’t be as responsive and engaging as a toddler.  Just thinking about Asher, the most fun times are now!  We’ll have to make sure to give enough attention to our little baby while not neglecting Asher.  I’m hoping to involve him in caring for Baby, like with getting diapers, sponging Baby in the bath, maybe show Baby pictures in books…not sure what else.  Currently, in concept he is quite keen to hold Baby’s hand in the car, and bring Baby to see the animals in the zoo.  I hope that his good feelings will continue after Baby comes. 

But I am a little worried cos Asher is still very attached to me, so I’m not sure how he’ll take to sharing Mummy when Baby comes.  Again, I can only try my best.

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