Life with two kids

(First of all, excuse the quality of my pictures… My camera is not with my at the moment so I could only resort to iPhone pictures hehe)

So… Life with two kids. How is it? Definitely looks nice and fun on Instagram. But what is it like exactly?

Scenario #1

I rushed home from work because Alistair had refused bottle and was now hungry and crying for milk. But the moment I parked my car and got out, Amy greeted me at the door, jumping and shouting “Mama’s home!!! Mama!!!!” Then she promptly took some toys and asked me to play with her. But Alistair was crying. And hungry. I had to tell her, “Mama needs to feed Alistair first OK?” and looked as her face fell. My heart ached.

Scenario #2

Since Alistair is still an infant, he sleeps all the time. Now he has a bit more awake time, but normally it lasts about an hour or so only, and half of that usually goes to feeding time. So any time to play with him is precious. Finally, he was awake. I really wanted to play with him, so I walked over to his cot and carried him up. The moment she saw me walk over, Amy said, “Mama come sit down and play Lego with me.” I told her, OK, let’s play together with Alistair. She had the most innocent expression on her face as she pointed to the cot, “Mama put baby Alistair down. Mama put baby Alistair down here in the cot.” My heart was torn.

Scenario #3

It was bedtime. I was tucking Amy in and telling her bedtime stories, but suddenly my father-in-law came up to tell me that Alistair was crying for milk already. So, I had to leave Amy to feed him. Amy cried and cried and cried. My heart broke.

Scenario #4

It was bedtime. I was tucking Amy in and telling her bedtime stories. Again, Alistair started crying for milk before Amy fell asleep. I told her I needed to go downstairs to feed Alistair, and she could choose to sleep with papa or yeh yeh (grandpa) first. She said, “Um… Papa! OK mama go down. Mama go down feed Alistair.” My heart warmed.

 

Scenario #5

We took the kids out for a meal and did a little shopping together. It was chaotic. Madness. Tiring. But at the end of the day, the hubby and I looked at each other and said, “That is parenthood!” Our hearts were blessed.

Scenario #6

We took the kids out for a meal with friends. It was strangely peaceful. Amy behaved so well throughout the dinner. Alistair slept through. The hubby and I looked at each other and said, “Wow. Unbelievable.” Thank You God.

Scenario #7

I had finally rocked Alistair to sleep! My arms and back were starting to hurt because I had been carrying him for almost two hours. But now, he was finally sleeping! I put him down and sat myself down on the couch, ready to rest a little. Then Amy threw her toys down. Or laughed super loudly at ‘Angry Birds’. Or threw a tantrum. And Alistair woke up. And I had to do it all over again.

Scenario #8

Alistair had finished feeding, so I was carrying him and trying to burp him. I also took the chance (as always) to smell him and kiss him and enjoy him. Then, suddenly, Amy fell down from the couch and landed on the floor. She cried in pain. I was shocked and quickly put Alistair down in the cot so that I could attend to Amy. Alistair was shocked, and cried. I now had two crying babies.

Scenario #9

Alistair was chilling by himself in the cot, staring and talking to the ceiling fan. Amy was playing by herself nearby, with toys and books. I was relaxing by myself with my drink and book. This might only last for 5 minutes, but it was bliss anyhow.

Scenario #10

Life was all about schedules. When to feed Alistair, when to feed Amy, when to cut Alistair’s nails, when to cut Amy’s nails, when to bathe Alistair, when to shower Amy, when to wash the bottles, when to shower myself, when to take Amy up for nap, when to change their diapers, etc.

Scenario #11

Amy asked me to tell her stories, and I said, “Why don’t you tell Alistair stories?” She promptly turned to Alistair who was in the cot, and told him her own made-up stories.

“Once upon a time, there was Mr Sun. Mr Sun was in the sky, and then the dark clouds came and covered Mr Sun. Oh no, it’s dark. Oh no, it’s raining. Everybody ran away. Mr Sun fought with the dark clouds. He fought and pushed and fought and pushed, and finally, he pushed the dark clouds away. Hurray! Mr Sun is back in the sky! The end!”

That was actually the story I told her and she could recite it totally now. Sometimes she would replace Mr Sun with TV. Or Monkey. Or whatever she fancied at that moment.

Scenario #12

Alistair was protesting and complaining and crying a little in his cot, but nobody was attending to him because everyone was busy with something or another. Amy climbed up a stool, sat on it and pat Alistair, saying, “OK K K K K… it’s OK K K K…”

And then she looked at me as I approached her, “Mama sit down here. Mama sit down here, rock baby Alistair.”

 

There are so many other scenarios. Some of them make me laugh. Some of them make me want to cry. Some of them make me say “Oh help me God.” Some of them make me say “Oh thank You so much God.”

Life with two kids is definitely a handful. When the days get crazy, I’ll take a deep breath and remind myself to take one hour at a time (haha). But most of the time, I find myself smiling at the both of them, and giving thanks to God for blessing me with these two little munchkins.

 

Love,

Natalie

Alistair’s full moon

So this little guy turned one month old recently.

It’s been the longest and shortest one month ever. I don’t really know how to explain, but, some days I felt that the month was really going by slowly because I felt as though Alistair has been with us forever. Yet, other days I felt that the month has zoomed by so quickly because I felt as though Alistair has just been born!

Being a mother to these two is a great privilege. The hubby and I still sometimes say to each other, “I can’t believe we have two kids now.”

It’s been a challenge, definitely, juggling these two. They both need me equally, but there’s only one me. My heart sometimes feel heavy for Amy, because she now has to share mama’s attention. Sometimes, she has to wait. Sometimes, she will only have me until her little brother cries for milk.

Just last night, it was her bed time. My mother-in-law was ready to put her to bed, but, after changing into her pajamas, she ran out of the room to look for me. I was breastfeeding Alistair. Amy looked at me, put a hand on my arm, and said, “Mama sleep? Mama sleep with Amy?”

My heart melted. My little girl still wanted me to sleep with her. But now, she has to learn to wait. She has to learn to be a big sis.

At the same time, I also feel (a little) sorry for Alistair. Unlike his sister, he does not get to enjoy the full attention from everyone. I spend a lot of time playing with him and bonding with him, but it is so different from the time I spent with Amy. He will never get the exclusive time and attention. I mean, even his toys and stuff are mostly hand-me-downs. Haha. Welcome to being the second in the family, my son.

The star of the party was too busy asking for milk and trying to sleep to pose for the camera.

My little one. You are so precious to me. I thank God for you, and I pray that you will be blessed all the days of your life. May you grow up to be a great young man, with strong values and fear of God. May you be full of joy and hope and faith. May you be strong yet gentle. May you reach your potential and live your destiny.

I love you my little man. I am so proud to be your mama. You are the perfect addition to our family.

 

Love,

Natalie

Amy meets Alistair

When I was pregnant with Alistair, I constantly wondered about two things.

Firstly, will I be able to love both kids the same? What if my love for Amy lessens? Or what if I could not love Alistair as much as I love Amy? Would I be unfair to them? How would I be able to give them equal time, equal attention, equal love?

(I have no answer yet for any of the questions above.)

Secondly, how am I going to introduce Alistair to Amy?

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I told Amy about it. However, as she was barely 2 years old at that time, she knew nuts about what I was talking about.

As my belly grew, I constantly talked to Amy about baby Alistair. I told her there’s a baby inside mama’s stomach. Soon, she was able to repeat that: “Babyyyyyy inside mama’s stomach.”

In the last few months, she was even able to remember that baby inside mama’s stomach was baby Alistair, and she would sometimes voluntarily caress and kiss my belly.

Yet, I doubted that she understood the reality of it all.

A few months before Alistair was due to be born, I started planning the best ways to introduce them and to help Amy adapt to the new addition to our family.

Unfortunately, the first moment of introduction was kind of spoiled. I had envisioned a nice, intimate setting where Amy and her papa would come visit Alistair and me in the hospital, with just the four of us, and she could have that magical moment of meeting her brother.

That only happened in my mind.

I delivered Alistair in the morning, but by the time Amy was brought to the hospital to visit me, it was night, and I had a lot of visitors with me in the room at that time. So when her papa carried her into the room, she was extremely shy to see all the visitors. She was happy to see me, but didn’t dare to run over to me. And I could only do a quick “Look Amy, this is baby Alistair! He’s your brother!” while all the other visitors looked on.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciated my visitors coming to see us. I was just disappointed at the timing that Amy came in to see her brother.

We also did a gift exchange. While I was still pregnant, Amy and I sort of chose a toy for baby, and I wrapped it up for him. Unbeknownst to Amy, I also wrapped a gift for her “from baby Alistair.” So at the hospital, we did the gift exchange. Honestly though, I don’t think Amy knew any of the significance. She was just happy to get a present and couldn’t wait to open it up.

So anyway. The reality really hit when Alistair and I returned home. I guess Amy suddenly realized that this baby is here to stay, and he has brought about change in the family. She now has less attention, and more people are fussing over the baby.

She has been nice to Alistair, but her tantrums have escalated. She is suddenly even more opinionated and stubborn (and she was already very opinionated and stubborn before this), and would go into uncontrollable screaming and crying over small things (and sometimes over nothing). We try to be patient, but sometimes she does get on our nerves. Yet, I remind myself that she is just a 2-and-a-half-year-old. It’s tough for her to suddenly have to share mama and papa.

At the same time, some of her reactions have been really cute.

Scenario 1: 

She saw me breastfeeding for the first time, and gave me such a look of shock, horror and disgust. (I was like gee thanks Amy, you were a breastfed baby too okay)

I told her baby is drinking milk. And she said, “Baby drinking milk. Amy dowan milk,” while shaking her head vigorously. So I said baby drinks from mama’s breasts while Amy drinks from bottle because Amy is a big girl now. From then on, she loves to say “Baby drink milk from mama’s nen nen. Amy drink from bottle!”

Scenario 2: 

We took out the baby cot in preparation for baby, and Amy became super interested in it. She has been asking to go into the cot, and said she wants to lie inside the cot like baby. And when we put her in, she would just enjoy herself inside.

Scenario 3:

She sometimes still points to my tummy and say “babyyyyyyyy”. Then I would explain that there’s no more baby inside my tummy, and that baby Alistair is already out. And I would show her Alistair. She would look confused and just walk away.

***

Well, life has certainly become more interesting now with a toddler and a baby. I have no confinement lady, so I’ve been hands-on with Alistair since the day we returned from hospital. My parents-in-law are helping me out with Amy as well as with cooking and some housechores. But whenever I can, I will spend time to play with Amy, or change her diaper, or put her to bed.

Needless to say, I’m exhausted! And sometimes I wonder if I would be able to finish this month of confinement in one piece. But then again, I would never trade this for anything else. And actually, I found that I could really enjoy Alistair’s newborn stage this time round. (During Amy’s time, I was freaking out as most new moms would haha)

Every day I remind myself to enjoy Alistair’s every milestone, and also not to miss Amy’s development. They grow up way too fast.

 

Love,

Natalie

Amy and febrile fits

It was the most terrifying night ever.

We had just returned from Port Dickson the day before. Everything was fine, except that Amy was beginning to have a little runny nose and a little cough. We didn’t think much of it, because little kids have runny nose and cough all the time.

However, on Tuesday night, as I got Amy ready for bedtime, I noticed that her cold was becoming worse, and so was her cough. I told my hubby that I’m worried she was going to develop a fever.

As she watched her iPad videos, her eyes began to tear, and I thought it was because she was too tired. I encouraged her to lie down and sleep, but she didn’t really want to lie down, because, I presumed, it was hard for her to breathe with her blocked nose. So I got her to lie on a pillow, sideways, with her head slightly elevated.

When I touched her body, it seemed to be a little warmer than usual, but nothing that warranted concern yet. In any case, she fell asleep quite promptly. In retrospect, I should have taken the ear thermometer to measure her temperature.

About ten minutes after she fell asleep, I decided I should sleep too, as I was exhausted. I turned off the room lights, and got settled down. The first thing I noticed was that Amy was breathing harder and faster than usual. Yes, it was because of her cold and her blocked nose. But still, I couldn’t rest and was wondering how to know if she was wheezing. At this point, I was worried that she might develop asthma or something.

Then suddenly, her heavy breathing stopped. She was completely quiet. And in the darkness, I saw one of her hands (the one closest to me) shaking in mid-air. In that first second, I thought she might be scratching herself. But it didn’t seem right.

Immediately, I rolled off my bed to turn on the lights, and when I turned back to Amy, I was horrified.

She was lying on her back, facing the ceiling, with her eyes opened and her hands in mid-air, and she was twitching.

Immediately, I knew that she was in a seizure but I did not know what that meant and what I should do. I panicked!

I quickly lifted her up to a sitting position while calling her name multiple times, and then yelled for my hubby. He rushed into the room and I told him she was having a seizure. But I think by the time he came in, her fits were over. It only lasted a few seconds.

But then, we were washed over by another worry: WAS SHE BREATHING?

Because even though the fits stopped, she became totally unresponsive and lifeless. My hubby carried her up and we kept calling her name and tried to wake her up to no avail. We woke my in-laws up, but nobody knew what to do and everyone was in full gear panic mode.

At this point, my hubby noticed that drool was flowing out of Amy’s mouth, but we still didn’t know if she was breathing. We tried to perform CPR, and was wondering if we should call the ambulance.

But I decided that we should just drive to the hospital, because the ambulance would take a while, and the hospital was just near our house.

We rushed into the car, and my hubby drove like a mad person to the hospital. Throughout the journey, I held on to Amy and kept calling her name, trying to wake her up. I tried to do CPR, but then I realized she was moving her head away from me every time I tried to blow into her mouth. Then I began to hear her breathing.

That assured me a little, but we were still scared. All we could do in the car was pray and pray and pray, and I spoke life and health into her again and again and again. And I kept telling her, “Amy, you must be strong. You must be well.”

The moment we reached the hospital, we ran into the emergency department, and the medical officers took over. I told them this was the first time Amy had fits. They asked if she had fever, and I said the last I touched her body, she was a little warm but I did not measure her temperature. When they took her temperature, it was 40 degrees!

Immediately, they administered medication, stripped her, and sponged her with a wet towel.

And then, she opened her eyes, and began to cry.

The sweetest sound ever!

Still, although she was crying, she was not moving, so I was still worried! Two things in my mind: Did the seizure have any effect on her? Even if it didn’t…. did the high fever leave any damage??

She kept crying as she was being sponged, while I kept talking to her and comforting her. Then when the medical officers tried to put in the IV drip into her hand, she started struggling and KICKING them with all her might!

That’s my girl!!! That means she’s OK!!

But at this point, I still had one worry: her eyes, although opened, didn’t look quite focused. Did the fever affect her sight?!

So I tried to ask her, Amy, where’s mummy?

Amidst her crying, I saw her eyes jerk over to my face when I asked her that. That was when I finally breathed a sigh of relief.

My little girl was OK.

After the medication and the sponging, her temperature soon reduced. She was admitted for the IV drip, further tests and observation. Her fever kept coming back, and we had to monitor it closely because we wanted to avoid her getting into another fit. In the end, the tests showed that she had some bacterial infection, so she needed antibiotics. But other than that, she was fine. Three days later, she was finally discharged.

What we found out was she had febrile fits, a seizure or convulsion that is caused by fever. Apparently, it’s quite common in young children aged between 3 months and 5 years. It normally happens because the child’s temperature went up too high too fast, and it’s the body’s way to protect the brain (or something like that).

So, generally, febrile fits are harmless, although absolutely terrifying to see.

And apparently, once the child gets febrile fits for the first time, there is a high chance that she may get it again if her temperature goes up too quickly again the next time.

Here are some things to do if and when your child gets febrile fits:

1. DO NOT PANIC

Of course, my whole family totally went into panic mode. But the most important thing is to stay calm so that you can continue the next course of action.

2. Note the time of onset of fit

It’s important to note roughly how long the fit lasted, because doctors would want to know. I’ve been told that most fits should last about 30 seconds to 1 minute, even though they feel like a lifetime. Anything longer than 5 minutes might need medication and medical help.

3. Loosen the child’s clothing, especially around the neck.

4. Turn the child to the side, on a lying position.

This is to let whatever drool or vomit flow out of the mouth, because when they are in a fit, they cannot swallow and might choke.

5. Do not insert any object into the mouth.

We’ve heard some people say they put a metal spoon or whatever into the mouth of a person who is having a fit because they were scared that the person might bite his own tongue or something. But the medical officers told us, NOTHING INTO THE MOUTH.

6. Do not give any fluids or medication during the fit.

Take the child’s temperature, and if it’s very high (like in Amy’s case), sponge her down with a wet towel. Wait till her fit is over before administering medication.

7. Wait for the fit to be over.

The child might lose consciousness after the fit, due to tiredness.

8. Bring the child to a doctor to check on the fever.

As mentioned earlier, a child who has gotten febrile fits for the first time would most likely get it again, as her body might be unable to regulate temperature properly. Therefore, if and when the child has a fever, it is very important to be diligent in monitoring the temperature. For Amy’s case, the moment it is above 37.5, I must administer medication already, because it might spike up to 40 very quickly, and that would bring on a fit.

The good news is that febrile fits are generally harmless, and most children outgrow them by the time they turn 5 years old.

I am praying and hoping that this would be a one-off and that Amy will never ever ever ever get it again. Because, even though now we know that it is generally harmless, and we know what to do, IT IS STILL SUPER SCARY.

I am so going to sign up for first-aid courses for infants and children after this.

 

 

Love,

Nat

Things Amy Says

Amy is now at the age where she begins to say the funniest things.

Example #1: 

She plays and laughs and everyone laughs with her.

Amy: Amy soooooo happy!!!

Me: You’re so happy?

Amy: The end!

Me: The end?

Amy: Correct!

Me: …

Background commentary: My bedtime stories to her always end with “Amy / so-and-so is soooo happy! The end!”. So now every time she hears “so happy” she says “the end”. 

Example #2: 

Since Amy was born, I made it a point not to say things like “shame shame” when she’s naked, because I didn’t want her to start yelling “shame shame” whenever she sees me naked.

Unfortunately, she has learned to say “bogel” (naked in Malay).

So now, whenever she is naked:

Amy: Amy bogel!!!!!

Or when her papa is changing:

Amy: Papa bogel!!!!

Or when I am changing:

Amy: Mama bogel!!!!!

And if I ignore, she would repeat that 10 times and it gets louder each time.

Note to self: It may not be a good idea to bring her into fitting rooms with me at the malls.

Thou shall not lie… to your kids

A few nights ago, the hubby told me that a friend of his was telling him how exasperated she was because her young son has started lying to her. She was incredulous; where did he learn to lie at such a young age? (I think he is 3 or 4 years old) She said she and her husband never told him lies, so how did he pick up this bad habit?

My first response was that kids don’t need to be taught how to do wrong. The sinful nature is within each and every one of us and we would somehow know how to do wrong things even without being taught.

However, after thinking about it more, I turned to my hubby and said, “Actually it is not true that parents do not teach their kids how to lie.”

Think about it. How many times have your parents told you a “white lie” when you were growing up?

For example:

“If you’re naughty again, the policeman will come here and catch you.”

“If you are good, I will buy you all the toys you want.”

These lies may not be big, bad lies. But they are lies nevertheless.

And I do not blame parents (or even grandparents). Because sometimes it’s easier to throw out these white lies to get the kid to behave, rather than spend a long time explaining and disciplining.

But here’s the thing:

Your children see what you do more than they hear what you say, and they follow your actions more than obey your words.

So if you tell them “do not lie”, but they see you doing it all the time to them, guess what they would do?

They can’t differentiate a white lie and a bad lie. A lie is a lie. If you said you will get them that toy but you didn’t, it’s a lie. If you said you will let them watch the iPad if they finish their dinner but you didn’t, it’s a lie.

And once you have made that first lie, it breaks their trust in you. They will now know that your word is not your bond. They will have that feeling of “Yea whatevs, that’s what my dad or my mom said, but they always say that. Pfft.”

That is why, as far as I am able, I am determined not to bluff Amy in any way. Every reward that I dangle in front of her, or any threat that I make, I have to follow through. Which is why I do not threaten lightly, and I do not offer a reward easily.

If I tell her, “If you throw down the toy again, you cannot play with it today”, then I have to make sure I follow through if she throws it down again.

If I promise her that she “can watch iPad if you let mummy shower you now”, then I have to honour my word, even if she forgets about it after shower.

If you don’t think you can carry out a particular threat, then do not even say it! Resist all temptation and swallow it back down. For example, “If you are naughty, I will burn all your toys!”

Number one, I don’t think you would actually burn all the toys, which would then make your statement a lie, and then cause your kid to undermine you.

Number two, if you do burn all the toys, I think it’s too harsh an action and your kid would probably think you are mad. And think of all the money you just burned.

Finally, never assume that your kid doesn’t understand what you are saying anyway and therefore you don’t really have to follow through. Your kid is smarter than you think, and from as young as they are, they are already learning values and principles from you.

 

Love,

Nat