While it was "TGIF!!!! WoooHooo!!!" for everyone else, mine is always a tricky business. And one particular Friday was waaaayyyy the other end of the TGIF spectrum. Her toys lay neglected. The little champ came home "drunk" on a basket of whines and a bottle full of crankiness.
Repeated attempts to have a decent conversation in a meeting was driving me up the wall! I was around 28 weeks, coupled with a heap load of squatting, carrying and bending over to her, I developed a huge discomfort in my abdominal area. You think its over. A walk to the car had her trip and scrap her knees. "OHHHH!! You've got to be freaking kidding me?!" I rolled my eyes in disbelief at how much worse things can get. As difficult as it was, I chose to breathe in real deep. I kissed her and talked to her through her whines and cries. I held in it like a bottle of champagne, shaken and about to burst open, foam spilling out. When she'd finally fallen asleep, I quickly retreated into my escape: A shower.
The gentle stimulation of hot water slowed down my breathing and heartbeat. My muscles less tense. The all superb finale, comforting and soothing? My "need-to pamper-for-sanity" bath capsules. I'm serious. The smell, fresh and absolutely divine. Lathering up the creamy bath wash, I was greeted by the aroma. It brought me memories of my trip to the Maldives a few years back, the familiar smell of a spa, the clear waters, the feeling of a relaxed vacation. THAT bath was my very short but oh-so-important private time! I'd emerged from the bathroom, a happy bird. A supermom with an imaginary cape! I walked with a bounce in my strides.
One who is familiar with psychology is aware that smell is highly emotive. Pleasant smells stimulates the olfactory system of the brain (connected to your sense of smell) which then sends a signal to the limbic system (one that controls emotions and recalls memories), releasing chemicals in the brain that can relax, calm or stimulate you.
I'm soooooo glad I had that short yet lovely ‘retreat’! Happy mama, happy family.
Oh, and mommies, should you be tempted to join me and indulge, this giftbox is DEFINITELY it. It's every lovely thing combined! Nurture self, nurture baby.
No need to run helter-skelter! With the help of some mommies and daddies, we've compiled a list that'll help dads along this journey!
Daddies- every woman is different, so don't assume it will be the same for your partner- ask her what will be helpful to her.
Mommies- be open to share of how you'll like/prefer the daddies to help around.
Remember, this partnership works best with love and communication! Expectations and assumptions may only end in resentment.
'BUT I'M OUT WORKING ALL DAY!' Now now, calm down. Every parent is working. While one goes out during the day, the other who stays at home with the baby is also working a day job. Looking after a baby 24/7 can be crazy demanding and it can leave mommy feeling messed up and isolated. When both parents are home, taking care of the baby is a shared job. Moreover, during the early days of sleep deprivation and intensive caring, your help is BIG. If mommy is well rested and healthy, she'll be in the better frame of health and mind to take better of your baby. A WIN-WIN! So take heart!
EENIE-MEENIE-MY-NEE-MO! IM A GREAT DADDY, LET ME SHOW!
Take your pick! Here's some ideas to choose from, it ain't a list or a demand. Key point to remember: don't underestimate her need for support.
And, lads, your partner’s need for support does not magically end at the full moon celebration or four months after. Keep this list in hand if you need to ( secret or not), ask, refer or repeat!
Mommies, if you’ll like to, you can be specific with the help you need and have your man refer to the checklist above that you've chosen. SPEAK YOUR MIND.
Peeps, be flexible, tweak along the way and as long as the both of you are open with communication, your relationship and parenthood just keeps getting better!
I was just reading a motherhood magazine and was surprised to know that about 60% of women have not heard of folic acid! When it comes to family planning, there's quite a number of things you need to know and folic acid is definitely one of the things on the list. If you’re pregnant or hoping to get pregnant, this post is just for you.
To put it simply, folic acid is a supplement that is most beneficial when taken months before pregnancy. Why that early, you may ask! Well, here is the part to get more scientific. Folic acid helps to prevent neural tube defects, of which relates to serious birth defect of the spinal cord (such as spina bifida) and the brain (such as anencephaly). This is particularly crucial in the early stages of pregnancy where major organs of your baby starts to develop. However, many a times we only realise that we’re pregnant when we miss our period, of which the baby would already be 1-5 weeks old. Hence, don’t wait to realise that you’re pregnant to start taking folic acid. Instead, it’s best if you can take folic acid months before you start trying to conceive.
Studies have also shown that women who take the recommended daily dose of folic acid starting at least one month before conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy reduce their baby's risk of birth defects. These defects can include cleft lip, cleft palate, certain types of heart defects, blood cell production and preeclampsia - a serious blood pressure disorder too!
So please go ahead and grab that folic acid of yours when you’re planning for a family! You can also buy it for someone who is planning to start a family. Do go around sharing this piece of knowledge with your girlfriends too :)
My Reality: Its evening time and the toddler is back from school. She may need soothing after a long day and imagine this infused with a whole lot of whining and being clingy. I have to go through the motions of both the physical and mental aspect of things.
My 2nd pregnancy: more lethargy, heartburn and indigestion during my first trimester, resulting in a lot of discomfort, especially in the evenings. My tummy gets all bloated to the very top that walking, squatting, bending and even laughing hurts. As my pregnancy progresses, with the belly getting bigger and heavier, caring for a toddler has never been more of a challenge! You know, they are only of a certain height, what are the chances of not bending, kneeling and squatting often?
My battles: Physically, I battle with my own discomfort. Aside from part time involvement of working and activities. I fetch her from school, tend to her needs such as soothing, bathing, preparation of dinner, encouraging her (to eat on her own despite a long day and feeding oneself is hardly a favorite) and playtime. Nursing is her main source of comfort. Since pregnancy, latching becomes a sore and slightly painful affair but knowing how this brings her comfort and emotionally stabilizes her, I do it.
Mentally, when one gets tired, patience is rarely top notch. Honestly, I'm no angelmama. I still do swear from time to time. Don't get me wrong. I don't swear at people. I swear at situations gone wrong or something bad happens. E.g. A child falls. I’d spew something out. Not at her but at the unfortunate incident. With much mindfulness, this act of mine may have decreased dramatically since the toddler was born. It does take quite an effort to hold back, breathe, grow a longer temper and not flip out myself. Easier said than done right? It's true. I realized that it gets tough, especially when the challenges accumulates.
I hit the wall. It happened. I was not conscious of how it was until my husband rebuked me. He brought to my attention that it was getting a little frequent lately and I've got to take a step back. My heart cringed and I backed into the bathroom. Tears welled up. It wasn't intentional. However, it wasn't right too.
It wasn't right, because the child not only hears of the word, she may think that I'm frustrated at her. Think of it this way. A father frowns when he reads the papers. It's his way of concentrating, a habit. A child approaches him, "Papa! Look what I've found!". He looks at her with the same frown he had reading the paper. What does the child think? 'Oh, Papa is angry with me. What did I do to make him angry? Did I disturb him? Did I do something wrong again?'. The father does not mean what the child thinks but his expression exudes the very same facial expression when one is frustrated or disapproval.
Conscious parenting brings awareness to such a situation. The truth hurts. I may be physically and mentally challenged but my child should not have the brunt of it. I've got to get a grip.
For those who want to know more, here's an article that is a good read:
Strangely, it happened to me in the middle of the night. Just 2 days ago, while I was sleeping halfway through, I did the usual stretching and rolling over to my side for a change of sleeping position. Lo and behold, a sharp crampy pain crept from my toes right up to my calves! With this growing belly, I wasn't able to stretch forward to my toes as fast as before. Hence, all I could do was to shout for Mr J who was sleeping soundly right beside me! He jolted awake and sprang into action, bent my front feet and toes towards me. That’s all! Wala~ In a split second, the cramps went away. My hero J, in the wee hours of the night!
Some medical experts suggest that while it may be due to deficiency in calcium or magnesium in the diet, it could also be the weight that is now pressing on the nerves connected to the legs. Consulting my gynae, he’d mentioned that it's common among preggies.
To help with this, one may look to increase your calcium intake and to rest more often. You can do so by taking calcium supplements or prenatal vitamins on a daily basis. Feel free to ask your doctors and they will advise and prescribe food and supplements just for you and your baby! So the next time you experience this cramps, you know that you’re not alone and you know exactly what to do ;)
“Mama! Lift up your shirt! Don't cover your tummy, I'm going to sing to Olive."
"Mama! Don't cover your tummy, I want Olive to see her JieJie do art and craft."
"Mama, where is Olive’s head? I want to lie down beside my sister".
"Olive.... I love you in the daytime... I love you in the night" *rubs my tummy and plants a kiss*
Those exclamations right there, belong to my toddler. And 'Olive' is our way of addressing her sibling in my tummy for now.
To have another child was a planned move. The little champ was our first and precious. She was also our "guinea pig". Hence, we had decided to spend the first 2 crucial years, coupled with whatever effort we could, to learn and love her.
And oh, how blessed we were, that as soon as we’d decided to try for a baby, I became pregnant a month after. Months before, we had started to introduce the idea of a sibling to the little champ. So, imagine our excitement when it was becoming a reality! I'd started to read on ways of introducing a baby to the toddler and had ordered 2 books for bedtime reading. We raised her awareness to the surrounding neighbours and school friends whom had siblings, and my very own siblings and the family tree. Moreover, her school had also a curriculum that taught the children independence and also to take care of a baby, where the children had the opportunity to bathe, dry and and clean the baby doll.
Hence, when the books arrived, it was as if she knew of what is to come! She adores the books and we never go by many nights without reading these books. She’d even memorised the narration by heart!
Each book has a different way of introducing the new sibling.
Things to help the toddler to understand the concept of a new sibling:
(Applicable before and after the birth of a new sibling)
I had also included the unborn baby (whom we’d dearly address as olive, because we didn't know of the gender then) in most of our conversations. I'm aware that in time to come, the little champ may still require about 3-6 months of adjusting to the new addition, and may even regress to baby behaviours to obtain the same attention. That, my husband and I will have to try our best to be kind and flexible in our caring methods.
If I were alone, I think I would be sitting or lying down on the floor. Thank goodness Mr J was beside me. He led me out of the train to the nearest seat to get more air and away from the crowd. I started regaining my vision and my breathing slowed down. What a scare! This was new to me but I found out it is quite commonly experienced by pregnant women.
After visiting my gynae, I learnt of two main reasons that cause dizzy spells during pregnancy:
Now that you know what to expect, here are some tips that you can take up to reduce your chances of dizzy spell!
So there you go! Take care my dear preggies, and share the knowledge to support others out there:)
Walk past my corridor and you would hear her cry bloody murder. A min past. Two. Soon, it was 20mins and her angry cries hasn't stopped. Her fists thrown up and down in the air, face all red and wet from tears. My mom was visiting and to witness this bawling made her soft-heart cringe. Me? I’d sat beside the angry toddler. Held her when she wanted to.
I neither interfered nor rebuke. My toddler was frustrated about a routine gone wrong (or so I’d thought), her emotion impulses took over and she had no control over it. We had to allow this sense of rage pass. Witnessing a small window of calmness, I swooped into action, probing a little. Turned out, my toddler had mistaken the washing-machine for a bin. She liked her “old” clothes and had wanted to keep them despite having new ones. It sure took me sometime to convince her that we were merely washing it and that they were safe from the bin. FANCY THAT?!
It may have somewhat seemed like eternity. But she’d calmed down and walked to me for comfort. I hugged my little angry chick and showered her with kisses. I’d reaffirmed to her that all was okay.
Without understanding beforehand of what this could have been, I could have erupted too! However, I knew this was one of the many possible ways a toddler of 2 years would act in times of frustrations, and it was not her fault.
In fact, as my husband and I did our "homework" by reading and communicating to supportive parents , we became aware of the intense milestones and developments that our little champ was going through. And I must say, it helped our sanity when situations like these arise. You may recognize a few of the common things from a 2-3 year old, includes and not limited to, the following that my very own daughter experiences:
So there you have it: the difference milestones, night terrors, teething, caring for a child who fought the cough-flu-fever upon commencing school childcare.. etc. These could had easily drove us up the wall if we didn't understand most of what was happening!
Moreover, having another child so close in gap may also have meant the division of attention, and with this emotional development going on, adults could easily just "lose it" without having the space to step back, breathe and approach.
Yes, every yearly development milestone would surely have it's challenges. However, being equipped with information, together with the better stability in her emotions and understanding as she got older, we had then decided that it was time to “add another to the nest”.
Honestly, it was a step up with our confidence as parents. Us, equipped with the armor and strategy for "battle". Fingers crossed!
Pressure bands. To begin with, I was totally clueless about pressure bands in general. This is another alternative and a tip to share with all you lovelies:) You may ask,” What band is that? Does it really work?” Months ago, I was having a work dinner with some doctors and I shared how I was feeling during my first trimester. Just imagine having to attend a fine dining dinner with slight nausea. Even people noticed I had a ‘gonna throw up face’ when I was eating. So I told the doctor I heard of pressure bands sold at drug stores and I wanted to try it out! I really did not want to take medications every day since mine was not so severe. She said yes she does recommend it to her patients to try. Whether it relieves the nausea or make one feels slightly better, why not!
Here is what I have found, “The pressure band harness the natural effect of acupressure and continue to provide effective relief today, by applying continuous pressure on the P6 (or Nei-Kuan) point on each wrist using a plastic stud.” There’s also a research conducted where by women wearing the pressure bands also reported less anxiety, depression and hostility. Especially for those who are travelling when pregnant, these bands are surely a must! These pressure bands also help to relieve motion sickness! It works the same way. Last November, I was on a road trip vacation in South New Zealand with my family. To make the road trip a more relaxing one, I chose to wear these bands everyday.
Since it is a non-invasive method, give it a try! They are safe and do not have any interactions or contraindications. I prefer this natural method which did not involve medications. As shown in the pictures below, you simply wear the bands three fingers below your palm on each hand. To all my mommies-to-be experiencing nausea, I hope the pressure bands will help you as much as it did for me! :)
The little champ is having her nap. Oh how alluring the soft bed is! I was close to succumbing to passing out completely on the bed, but I peeeeeeled myself off it to engage in a movie with the husband. The movie started screening, the coke sizzling and the nacho cheese was piping hot. With a smile as wide as a Cheshire Cat, I sinked my teeth into the yummy crunchy chips when…. softly but surely, you hear it in the background : "mama... maammaaaaa! Why am I aloneeeeee?"
I looked over to my husband and our eyes screamed, " NOOOOooo!!!!!"
You know how it feels to be interrupted just because the "little grizzly bear" has woken? Hence, I vote enthusiastically for dates! No worries about the child, I can immense myself in a movie, a good relaxing brunch without fretting or just beer&chips talk at home. You'll think I'll happily tear myself away from the little champ? It ain't that easy and I believe many mommies would know the feeling!
This struggle is especially hard if both the little champ and I had a tough episode or after a few days of little hours together. It's as if I'll want to make up for it by spending time with her. Guilt may start creeping in when I'm with my hubby alone, tugging at my heart strings, but I'd mindfully push it away.
The husband and I have recognized that with a child, couple time between husband and wife is tougher to obtain and it takes effort. Spontaneity with "last min dates" has made us very adaptable to changes in situations or time tables. Key word: FLEXIBILITY! With help and support from family to babysit the little champ, dates are possible.
It ain't about me. It ain't about the kid. Because the husband deserves my time. Because my marriage started off just me and the husband. Because having a healthy relationship will mean a healthy family relationship. It ought to deserve my attention. And gladfully, I did.
All 3 of us sisters will be sharing stories from our different perspectives. The good, the bad and the ugly, we're telling it as it is.