Friday, 23 November 2007

First scary night

Culture Shock

I'm just beginning to settle down in this new country and my new role as a housewife (aka stay-at-home Mom) when he vomited - twice - tonight.

At around 7 pm, we'd just returned from another major shopping trip from Walmart. On our first time there, he was pretty good and even fell asleep in the stroller.

This time around, he was very cranky on our way out of the noisy, crowded mall and just cried, screamed and kicked until I picked him up and held him all the way home. This stupid Mummy didn't realize that he was already feeling out of sorts...

Falling Sick

He was supposed to take his dinner but I guessed he wouldn't be keen since he was so tired. I prepared his usual bedtime bottle but he finished only 3/4 of it and passed it back to me, with Hubby sitting nearby chatting.

Horror of horrors - lying on a pillow, he started vomiting the milk and his lunch. I quickly set him to a seating position and tried to remain calm as my little boy continued gushing like a volcano. Poor guy!

He was quite shocked too and looked at me in fear but I soothed him with, "Ok...ok..." until he finally stopped. Hubby ran to turn on the water heater while I heaved him gently to the bathroom to clean him up. He didn't cry but was whimpering a bit but luckily, the bathroom routine settled him.

He busied himself with the plastic toys while I stripped him piece-by-piece and hosed him down. He got over the fright and went back into his supervisory/commanding role of pointing to me bits of vomit I had to spray away (he does that too when I wash his butt).

He kept on pointing to me with frequent loud "Ohh! Ohh!" and I said, "Yeah,'s your vomit.
Ok, it's going down the drain...the floor is clean again."

Hubby cleaned the sheets as best he could (we need another spare set) and I quickly put on a fresh set of clothes on the kid. He was subdued but sprang back to life when he saw his half-finished bottle of milk.

He demanded that I top it up and we all went into the hall, where he also asked for his Sesame Street VCD. I decided to give in just this once and he quietly laid on the couch to finish the milk. I was hesitant about giving milk to him so soon after the heave but I guess he knows his own body better.

After he finished it, the naughty fella decided to romp around - to the extent of arching his back across my lap. I scolded him and told him to sit up. Too late - he sat up and vomited the milk all over the sofa this time.

As it's pretty cold tonight, I didn't want to expose him to water again but quickly changed him out of the soiled suit. This time, he knew that he was wrong and even pointed to himself for the mess.

Vomit once, I can handle. Vomit twice, I need to panic. I quickly called my Mum, who's out of town visiting relatives and was thankful that she picked up the phone.

I was confused as to whether I should give him another bottle of milk or boil some bland porridge instead.

Mum said to let him rest 30-60 minutes or so before he takes anything again. He was sitting on my lap and was happy to hear Grandma's voice =)

He was quite tired out from the ordeal that I brought him back to bed and turned out the lights though it was only 8.00 pm.

Since my side of the bed was a sodding mess, I shifted the pillow to the foot of the bed. The little fella decided to join me and also shifted his pillow right next to mine!

Grabbing his bolster, he scooted very near to me and did his usual routine of first touching my nose, hair, forehead, eyes, chin and neck and then his while I name each part.

I patted him gently and in a few minutes, he dozed off. I'm waiting for him to wake up anytime now for his milk since his tummy is quite empty now. I pray that he'll be alright tomorrow. What a first experience! Huge, heavy sigh.

Updates He had watery diarrhea twice this morning and vomited again at 2 pm. I'm monitoring him closely now to determine if it's food poisoning or a stomach flu.

Gave him diluted apple juice to prevent dehydration until I read the links below about NOT giving him apple juice. His appetite is still good so I'm feeding him bits of mashed potato and carrot from my chicken soup. He's eating half a banana now. Will call his paed tomorrow if things get worse. Thank God for the internet, Skype and doctors who pick up their phones!

Notes: SMECTA - Adults - 3 envelopes per day (in acute diarrhea the dose may be doubled at the beginning of the treatment). The powder is diluted in ½ glass of water. In medicamentous enemas - 1-3 envelopes in 50-100 ml of water 1-3 enemas per day.

Children less than 1year - 1 envelope per day diluted in a feeding bottle with 50 ml water and is distributed during the day. It may be mixed with other liquid food too (broth, juice atc.),

1-2 years - 1-2 envelopes per day,

over 2 years - 2-3 envelopes per day. The drug is administrated after meals if oesophagitis and before meals in other cases. Links:

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Farm Animals by Luana Rinaldo and Louisa Sladen

Synopsis: Come to the farm and meet all sorts of animals: a cow, a pig, a horse, and a rooster. Pull the tab to see their colours magically appear.

I stumbled upon this cased board book for my toddler while browsing for books that will amuse him and hold his attention. Did it do the trick? You bet!

This is a wonderfully creative book that features bold, colour illustrations of a farm backdrop. One by one, the farm animals are introduced until the last page when they gathered together.

The “magical” part of the book is a tab on each page that transforms the individual farm animal from a black-and-white marker pen outline into its unique colours.

For example, you first see a black outline of a cow amidst a farm backdrop – the text reads,
“Here is Cow. Can you guess what colours she is?”
Pull the tab and the monochrome cow assumes a pink jaw and its Jersey appearance. Text above the cow reads,
“Cow is a bold black and white!”
The book delights my son each time I read it with him:
• At 9 months, he’d giggle gleefully when we pull the tab;
• At 1 and a half years, he could point out the individual animals when I named them;
• At 2 years, he could say the names of the animals and pull the tabs himself.

The book is great for introducing farm animals and basic colours to babies and toddlers. I also use it to teach numbers because each progressive page features the animal before the current one. At the end of the book, the child sees all the farm animals in full colour.

Children will also learn about the animals’ homes and I appreciate the fact that the author alternated between “he” and “she” when describing each farm animal.

On the down side, I find the binding flimsy and the book rather poorly constructed to withstand a toddler’s rough handling (ours have been taped all over!).

The colours of the animal on the “magic” tab are also a shade lighter than the illustrations, which causes some arguments between my toddler and I when I read out the accompanying text :)

In any case, this is one of our favourite books!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

If book awards are given for value-for-money, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" will certainly win it. I'm not surprised then to know that this American classic published in 1969 has been translated into over 50 languages!

Reading this book, young children will learn:
  1. the metamorphosis/life cycle of an egg --> larva (caterpillar) --> pupa (cocoon) --> butterfly
  2. days of the week
  3. numbers 1-5
  4. different types of fruits and snacks
The richly illustrated book also encourages interaction with holes punched through each page, showing that the caterpillar has eaten its way through the types of food.

Another useful lesson is the stomachache the caterpillar gets after eating too many snacks on Saturday morning!

Buy "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and other books by Eric Carle:

Initially, my son (at about 20 months old) wasn't interested in the book until I asked him
"Where's the caterpillar?"
That jumpstarted an eagerness to trace the caterpillar's path from page to page. After reading each page, I'll ask the above question and he eagerly points out the caterpillar emerging.

To encourage him to speak, I'll prompt:


Sometimes, he's lazy to point to the page and will only lift a little finger. I'll ask in a puzzled voice,

"Where? Where's the caterpillar? Show Mummy..."
He'll say, "There!" and puts his little finger on the page :)
He also loves the Saturday page with all the colourful foods, which is the ONLY page I have cause for complaint as it's got all the tempting, junk food found in American culture: a lollipop, a chocolate cake, cupcakes.

Oh, well, I've taken it as an opportunity to teach him about good nutrition, emphasizing that these are snacks to be eaten once in a while!

And also what happens if you indulge in too many snacks :D