Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Language at 2.5 years (30 months)

I was just reading the entry about the Little Man's Vocabulary at 19 months, and thought I'd update on the situation. The Little Man underwent a language explosion shortly before his 2nd birthday. Im not sure exactly when, but I do remember the comment my father made at his birthday celebrations about how he was talking a lot more after not seeing him for more than a month (42 days +/-).

At 2.5 yrs, he is speaking in full, rather complex sentences and has been for quite a while now. I really cannot remember when he started. He talks all the time now, narrating what he is doing as he plays and making up stories.

Two stories I managed to capture:

One morning James woke up and out popped Percy and Thomas. They went to the forest and waited for Salty. And they all fell into a ditch. - 6 October 2012

One morning, Percy woke up. Out popped Gordon and went down the ramp very fast indeed and started to fall into a ditch. He landed on Percy and Percy cried. James helped all of them. - 19 October 2012

He has completely stopped signing. Up till late September/early October, he was still signing "Please" occassionally, especially when agitated, but that seems to have disappeared completely.

I'm now "Mummy". I think it was around the time he turned two. I miss the "Mama".

He understands comparative concepts, takes on different personas - Percy, James, Skarloey etc, understands cause and effect. However, his sense of the past is restricted to "just now" regardless of if it just happened or if it happened a week or more ago. He also has difficulty with the personal pronouns "me", "myself" and "I".

Felt Christmas Tree

So we put up our Christmas tree and the Little Man kept pulling down the ornaments. To try to distract him from that, I made him his own Christmas tree from felt with felt ornaments. Since felt sticks to felt, I thought he might have fun decorating his own tree and taking down the ornaments again. The success has been mixed. While he does decorate and take down the ornaments on his tree, he still removes the ornaments on the main tree too.

Big piece of green felt. Mine was about 70cm wide and 1m tall.
Sheets of coloured felt, assorted
3M Command strips to attach to wall

I cut one large triangle and then cut tiers and a trunk.
I cut the coloured felt into different shaped ornaments - round, long, bell and one yellow star. i made sure to have ornaments of different sizes so that we could develop his language and mathematical skills as well (colours, size, bigger, smaller.)
Then I attached the tree to a blank wall with 3M Command strips and introduced my boy to his new toy.

He spent some time the to decorate the tree the first time round. After that, he was more interested in taking down all the ornaments and leaving them on the floor. Recently, he has taken to arranging the ornaments to make faces.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Homemade Scented Playdough

I finally made up a batch of playdough for the Little Man. At playgroup, he has finally warmed up to manipulating the bread dough, rather than watch me do it, so I thought he might enjoy playing with playdough. I could have bought some store-bought playdough, but what stopped me was the memory of the smell of store-bought which I dislike (not sure if things have changed since), and the memory of cooking up playdough when I assisted in a kindergarten many, many, many years ago. So I searched throught the internet and found a wealth of playdough recipes! There is a basic/classic one which I based my recipe on, and put my own little twist on it, just because.

The above recipe calls for cooking, but if you have no wish to cook, just replace the 2 cups of water with 2 cups of boiling water. At least, that is the only discernible difference I could gather from the recipes I see online. I haven't tried it myself, though, so don't take my word for it. This recipe though, is wonderfully smooth and I love playing with it too, and my hands smell heavenly afterwards. The glycerin is supposed to make the colour nice and shiny. As I have not made a batch without it yet, I can't make a comparison.

I used the above recipe, but halved it to make two different colours, purple, his favourite colour for the moment (it used to be green), and yellow. For the purple, I mixed red and blue foor colouring, more red than blue, as a little blue goes a loooooonnnng way.

I wanted to engage not only the Little Man's sense of touch, but his sense of smell as well, so I added a few drops of essential oil to the ingredients. To the purple batch, I added some Lavender pure essential oil, and to the yellow, I added some Chamomile. I'll add Rose to red playdough next time. You could always add seasonal scents, for example pepermint for Christmas and so on.

The Little Man most enjoys combining the two colours at the moment. He has fun using cookie cutters and using the playdough to cover his trains as well.

Saturday, 24 November 2012



The Little Man more or less has a regular weekly schedule going.  To teach him the days of the week and the passage of time through the week, I came up with a simple schedule/planner for him that shows the different weekly activities, with a train counter that indicates which day of the week it is.  He is rather fascinated with it at the moment and keeps wanting to move the train. :)

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Missing Pictures

Hmm... my pictures seem to have disappeared. I'll have to sort this out.

Homemade Magnetic Fish Game

Ever since the Little Man and I started Playgroup, I've been bitten by the crafting bug.   It started with the adorable cat I made during Playgroup.  Since then, I've discovered Pinterest, and was inspired to make a magnetic fishing game for the Little Man. 
And so I did. It took me *forever* to finish it, as I was only able to steal moments away from both kiddos to sew. Sometimes, I would get no more than a few stitches in before my attention was needed. Once, I got as far as threading the needle. Anyway, I finally finished it and presented it to the Little Man today. :)
He played with it for a little while, but was more interested with his trains, so we used it as a pond for under the bridge.
For educational/learning purposes, I made them of different colours and sizes, each with a different number of beads.  The beads vary in shape and colour, but are not completely unique - some fish have same coloured beads, and some same shaped beads, for comparison purposes.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


The Little Lady used to sleep so well.  But maybe that was because of her jaundice.

She did not sleep so well last night.  Ergo, I did not sleep so well last night. (It's fun to use "ergo" in a sentence.  When I am sleep deprived, simple things make me happy.)

It's not easy to burp her at night.  Partly because she's sleepy, mainly because I'm sleepy.  So I keep her upright and try to burp her.  She does not burp, but I keep dozing off, which makes me scared that I'll drop her.  So I figure I've kept her upright long enough (usually between 20 minutes to 40 minutes) and I put her in the cot.  So she spits up milk.  Which makes her hungry.  So I nurse her.  Then I try keep her upright and try to burp her.  Then I doze off, which makes me scared that I'll drop her.  So I figure I've kept her upright long enought and I put her in the cot. So she spits up milk.  Which makes her hungry. 

Lather.  Rinse. Repeat.

Life with a new(ish) born is tiring.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Listening to Children

Something else that came my way via Facebook.

Are you listening to your children, or merely hearing them.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Kipper gets some help.

Kipper has a problem. 

Someone or something had been nibbling a hole in his toybox. 

So The Little Man decided to help him out and fix the toybox.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Welcome to the world, Little Girl!

Someone decided to make an early appearance.

The Little One was rather anxious to make her appearance.  She was born on the day she turned 36 weeks via a natural birth (VBAC) with no epidural, about 40 minutes after we arrived in the hospital.

Friday 6 July 2012
I had my 36 week gynae check-up in the morning.  Everything was a-ok, and I was given an appointment to go back a week later for CTG monitoring.

Saturday 7 July 2012
I was awoken in the morning by the girl doing yoga inside. It was accompanied by some abdominal cramps that felt like menstral cramps that came and went. 

Never having experienced contractions before, I googled "contractions" and downloaded a contraction timer app and timed my cramps. I monitored the pain for about 3 hours, and they were coming every 5 to 10 minutes, and lasted from between 45 seconds to 2 minutes. 

The pain/discomfort was bearable, but I still wasn't sure if they were contractions, so I called the gynae's clinic at about 12noon to ask what contractions were. When the told that they were coming every 5 to 10 minutes, I was asked to go to the hospital for CTG monitoring.

Interestingly, during the drive, the pain got more bearable and less frequent. At the labour ward, they hooked me up to the CTG machine for an hour but could not detect any contractions, even though I could feel the pain (no longer merely discomfort at this point in time) and said that I was probably just experiencing cramps. I asked how to differentiate between cramps and contractions and was told that for contractions, the whole tummy would be painful, not just the lower abdomen/bikini line area. Also, the whole tummy would harden, not just parts of it, which was probably due to baby doing yoga inside. They discharged me and The Hubby and I had lunch at Delifrance. I commented to The Hubby that if the pain and discomfort I felt were merely cramps, I don't think I could handle contractions.

So we went back home where I tried rather unsuccessfully to rest.  We went over to my in-laws' for dinner, and my cramps got more intense.  In addition, I was feeling a dull backache with each cramp.  However, as it still only involved my lower abdominal and was not accompanied by a hardening of the tummy, I disregarded them. 

At home, I asked The Hubby to put The Little Man to bed, as the periodic pain was rather distracting, and I did not want to worry the boy who would get upset if I say "ow" too much. I managed to doze off in front of the TV for a bit, but was awoken every now and then with cramps and the need to pee.  

I decided to turn in early, but did not manage to get much sleep as I kept waking up due to the cramps. Going to the toilet to pee did help relieve the cramps, as did sitting on the toilet. So I tried sleeping sitting up as well. I did manage to doze off, but was getting extremely annoyed as I was not getting any quality sleep. As time went by, the pain got worse, and I was trying my best not to wake Evan up with my getting up and down, and the groaning in pain. 

Sunday 8 July 2012
As I sat on the toilet during one of the episodes, I thought to myself that I was going to wake The Hubby up and ask him to send me to the hospital, just to get pain medication so that I could get some sleep. It was about then that I noticed that I had some show. So off to the hospital we went.

The Hubby suggested dropping Little Man off at his parents', but I could not wait that long to get pain relief, so I said to bring him along. In the end, we brought The Help along with us as well.

At the Delivery Ward of the hospital, I was asked if I wanted an epidural, to which I replied with a resounding "YES!"   I was also asked to change into a hospital gown, but I declined as I really needed to lie down.  The midwife came along and checked my cervix.  When the first nurse informed her that I wanted an epidural, she said that it was too late, and to wheel me into the Delivery Room. Shocked, I asked her how dilated I was, and was told that I was already 8cm.

So the CTG monitor came off, and I was wheeled into the Delivery Room.

By now, I was definitely feeling the pain of the contractions, and was breathing in the only pain relief available to me at this point - nitrous oxide. I can't remember if they hooked up the CTG to me or not. I'm sure they did, so that they could monitor the baby, but I just have no recollection. I blame the nitrous oxide.

In between contractions, The Hubby came in to check on me, and I could hear The Little Man wailing in the background (Good thing we brought The Help along with us in the end), so I asked him to go out to calm him down.

After a while, Dr Kee came in, checked my cervix, said I was ready and asked me to try pushing. I was not having a contraction at the time, but tried pushing anyway. Apparently, the baby decended one to two inches in that push alone. Dr Kee then called The Hubby and told him to come in as the baby would be born within the next 5 to 10 minutes.  The Hubs came in, and I remember Dr Kee breaking my waterbag and feeling the rush of warm water. Then came a contraction and I was asked to push. The only problem was, I did not know how to push. I had not attended any prenatal classes, and The Little Man was delivered via emergency C-Section without my feeling any contractions, despite being 3cm dilated when Dr Kee checked me. I did not feel any urge to push either. I was more concerned with bearing with the pain. So the midwife had to coach me on when and how to push, to work with the feeling, rather than against it. After a couple of pushes, I felt the head come out, which relieved a lot of the pain. I was asked to hold on (not push) for a while. When I was asked to push again (I assume I had another contraction), I did, and the baby was out.

The nurses cleaned the baby up, weighed and measured it and prepared the Certificate of Live Birth while I delivered the placenta and Dr Kee stitched me up - a small tear, according to Dr Kee, though he did ask for another length of suture.

While waiting to be transferred to my ward, I latched baby on and she sucked like a champion.  The Hubs also called Mum up in Perth to let her know the news. As she had not even been in Perth for 24 hours, and since both the baby and I were perfectly fine, I told her not to rush back.

Eventually, I was wheeled out of the Delivery Ward and met up with The Little Man,  The Help and my PILs, whom The Hubby had initially called to bring the Little Man to their place.

After I was settled in my room (527), everyone went home and I tried to get some rest, but I was too wide awake for that.

I'm really glad that I managed to give birth naturally after my previous emergency c-section.  Recovery was a lot easier.  I was up and about within hours.  Although the stitches (and eventually piles) caused some pain and discomfort, it was mild compared to the pain of my c-section wound.

Although the Little Girl was only 36 weeks along (officially pre-mature), she was of a good weight (2.73kg) and passed all her tests and did not need to be in the NICU at all.

Welcome Little Girl!
(In case you're wondering, we have not decided on her name yet.)

Monday, 25 June 2012

How to Really Love a Child

Something I saw on Facebook that struck a cord with me as a parent.  I will try my best to parent with love and with the child in mind, rather than simply go through the motions or with my needs and wants in mind.

Monday, 16 January 2012

How Not to Raise a Child

I came across this today:
The following has been attributed to the Houston Police Department, who supposedly put out a pamphlet with the above title, and listing the following rules of raising a delinquent child.
1. Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living.
2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think he’s cute. It will also encourage him to pick up “cuter phrases” that will blow off the top of your head later.
3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is 21, and then let him “decide for himself.”
4. Avoid the use of the word “wrong.” It may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him and he is being persecuted.
5. Pick up everything he leaves lying around—books, shoes, clothes. Do everything for him so that he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility on others.
6. Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but don’t worry about his mind feasting on garbage.
7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your children. In this way they will not be too shocked when the home is broken up later.
8. Give the child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his. Why should he have things as tough as you did?
9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink, and comfort. See that every sensual desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.
10. Take his part against neighbours, teachers, policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.
11. When he gets into real trouble, apologize to yourself by saying, “I never could do anything with him!”
12. Prepare yourself for a life of grief. You’ll surely have it.
I must say that I am guilty of some of the above, namely 1 and 9, which, to me, are closely related.
Admittedly, I do say “No!” to my 19 month old, but probably not as often as I should. If I have to withhold anything from him, I tend to try to distract, rather than to refuse him outright. I know in my head that letting him experience frustration is good for him and will build character, but I cannot bear to see him cry. Partly, it breaks my heart, partly I get very frustrated when he does. Hmm… maybe I’m the one who needs practice in dealing with frustration here.
Anyway, I agree with all these points in general, and before I had Evan, I’m sure I would have said a resounding “Yes!” to Nos. 1 and 9 too. I guess it is time to let my head, and not my heart, take the lead.
As for the rest, some are not applicable yet (he has no use of money at the moment), and some are good reminders – picking up after him, arguing in front of him.
What do you think of these? Which ones do you agree with, and which ones do you disagree with?

Monday, 9 January 2012

Vocabulary at 19 months

The Little Man has been a little slow in speaking, and has only in the last month expanded his verbal vocabulary by 50%.

  1. Cat – I believe this was his first word ever, but I cannot remember when he said it. He can’t pronounce the ‘C’, though, so it comes out as ‘At’.
  2. Mama – this comes out in various ways – Mum-mum-mum/Mama/Mum-Mum
  3. Dada – A-ga-a-ga
  4. Roar – Not really a word, but he does like to roar like a lion.
  5. Tiong Bahru – three syllables for sure, but he can’t really pronounce the ‘Tiong’ yet. The ‘Bahru’ is pretty good though.
  6. Egg
  7. Hang
  8. Home – First word of 2012
  9. Over – more like ‘ober’, but I’m not complaining.

The interesting thing about his choices of words is that they are generally not words that anyone has tried to teach him to say, other than Mama and Dada. In fact, the words that The Hubby and The Grandparents have tried to teach him, such as ‘ball’, ‘taxi’, ‘bus’, ‘car’ and so on, he has not uttered a single one. The words that he has decided to pick up tend to be very random, uttered after hearing one of us say them in our normal course of conversation.
In addition to his verbal repertoire, The Little One has a vocabulary of signs too.
  1. Round and round – usually to indicate the fan blades going round and round, but also used when he hears the song “The Wheels on the Bus”. Index finger moved in a circular manner
  2. All Done – As per American Sign Language (ASL). Usually to indicate that he is full and does not wish to eat any more. However, he is using this less and less, and generally with one hand, rather than two, recently.
  3. Please – as per American Sign Language (ASL). He picked this sign up extremely quickly – I only had to show him how to sign it once or twice.
  4. Milk – as per ASL, but it took me forever to teach this to him.
  5. No – indicated by twisting his wrist repeatedly. Usually used to indicate no more, not moving or not switched on.
  6. No – indicated by shaking head from side to side. He’s used this sign for a very long time, usually to indicate that he does not wish to do something.
  7. Wave – waving arm from side to side. Used to indicate both ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’.
  8. Flying Kiss – Standard flying kiss motion, but does not always follow through with the ‘flying’ bit.
  9. Apart |
  10. Together |– These two he kind of came up with on his own while playing with me and Floppy, his stuffed rabbit in the car one day. He uses ‘apart’ to get us to help him take some of this toys apart, or to get us to open boxes of his toys.
  11. One – Generally used to ask for ‘one more minute’ of playtime.

I think there are a couple more, but I cannot recall them at the moment.

According to the American Academy of Family Physician’s article on Speech Development, a 19 month old is supposed to have a verbal vocabulary of 20 words.  So The Little Man is a little slow in that regard, but I am honestly not too worried. He understands us perfectly fine, and is generally able to communicate his needs and wants. Besides, he does not display any signs that indicate anything more worrying. According to the article, the most likely cause of his speech delay is “Maturation Delay”, which is apparently a condition more common in boys, and he will most likely outgrow it by the time he enters school.
I am looking forward to his increased vocabulary, so that there is a lot less guessing on my part and less frustration on his part when he tried to communicate. In the meantime, I am enjoying the relative peace and quiet.


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