Growing Up in a World of Technology

Back when Isaac was younger, he showed no interest in what videos can be played on the ipad and his attention span on things was short. Hence, it was easy to keep the tablets/phones out of his reach. We’d also remind our parents not to show him videos on their phones because we were afraid that he’d become addicted to gadgets when he got older. However, in this age of technology, we finally gave in to exposing our child to the use of the ipad. Why? The main reason has got to be because everyone around him is using it. We, as adults are constantly on the phone / ipad / laptop most of the time. Be it work related or not, our kid sees us using some form of technology when he is with us. As he starts to get more curious at his age, how is it fair for us to tell him ‘no’ if he wants to see what we are doing. I remember it actually started with FaceTime. He realised he could still see his gramps or aunt even though they are not at the same place. It was only later on that he got more curious by what his cousins and friends were watching on the screens all the time. Am i guilty about starting him on the use of ipad? No. Here’s why:

  1. I believe kids learn faster when they are having fun. We are careful about what he watches on the screen. I must say I am a huge fan of the YT Kids app. I can personalize my settings on the app like turning off the ‘Search’ function so it restricts the experience to a limited set of videos. The content that my kid is allowed to watch are suitable for toddlers of pre-school age. Best part of all, I can even set the timer to how long he is allowed to be watching the videos. In fact, he has learnt the words like ‘excavator’,’fire truck’ and ‘garbage truck’ from the videos. We are cool with him watching the videos as long as we are around (next to him) when he is watching them. Ooh yes, how can i even forget to mention how much he loves the Sesame Street?
  2. Many people think that by giving kids the tablets, it will eventually replace the bond between the parent and child because more time is spent on the device. To which, I think it is not entirely true. That bond is only replaced if parents neglect their kids by letting them watch videos all day long. I’d take the time to sit next to my little one when he is watching and ask him questions like “what is that in the fire truck?” and he’d tell me what he thinks. From that, I actually learn what he is thinking, or his imagination of what is in the fire truck. After that, he’d tell me he aspires to be a fireman or a police when he grows up. Communicating with him is key. Bond is not broken by the gadgets. It is broken by what people fail to do. Quite honestly, I think watching the videos with him is actually bonding time for us.
  3. I get to steal abit of ME time when he is kept occupied (of cause not all the time we’d occupy him with the ipad). I get to take a slightly longer shower, we get to eat in peace, we get to complete watching a movie. Sometimes parents just need a break.

That being said, we limit the time he is on the videos and try to balance it with other activities. When he asks for the ipad, we’d encourage him to play with his toys or read books with us. He usually co-operates knowing there are other fun stuff to do other than staying home to watch videos. Going outdoors usually does the trick.

At the end of the day, technology is here to stay. I am just going to take a step back from all our parenting book of rules and embrace it. 🙂

screen time

 

 

 

 

Isaac is 2!

In just a blink of an eye, my baby has turned 2. I find it hard to believe that he was once so tiny and could be carried with just an arm. Nowadays, when i carry him for more than an hour, i will start to feel like my arms/shoulders are breaking. When he was just a baby, we were afraid we will roll over and squash him at night (we co-sleep). Now, he does not fail to remind us every night that he is there by giving us “back massages” with his mad kickings. Regardless, I cannot express how much joy he has brought to our lives and I am thankful everyday for him. Here are some memorable moments between his 1st-2nd year.

He enjoys performances by buskers and once, he attempted to dance even before he could walk by himself.
Enjoying performances by buskers and attempting to dance even before he could walk by himself.
Had his first haircut & didn't shed a tear
Had his first haircut & didn’t even shed a tear
Finally decided to try walking at close to 15 months
Finally decided to try walking at close to 15 months
I missed his facetime call for the first time during a work trip and he was not too pleased. LOL!
I missed his FaceTime call for the first time during a work trip and he was not too pleased. LOL!
Someone was quite a climber
Someone was quite a climber!
He has this crazy love for books
He has this crazy love for books
Extremely pampered by his papa! Even up till today, there are still many unopened toys in his room.
Extremely pampered by his papa! Even up till today, there are still many unopened toys in his room.
We brought him to marina barrage and introduced him to bubbles. He could not contain his excitement!
We brought him to marina barrage and introduced him to bubbles. He could not contain his excitement!
Brought him cycling for the first time thinking he'd be excited. Who would have known he decided it was too boring and insisted I carried him to sleep. I ended up carrying him in my arms and cycling at the same time. Thank God the rental was only for 2 hours!
Brought him cycling for the first time thinking he’d be excited. Who would have known he decided it was too boring and insisted I carried him to sleep. I ended up carrying him in my arms and cycling at the same time. Thank God the rental was only for 2 hours!
He had his taste of beer. IM KIDDING! we didn't let him drink it even  though he was insistent.
He had his taste of beer… IM KIDDING! we didn’t let him drink it even though he was insistent.
visited the pasar malam for the first time and he was really proud that he won for himself a beach ball
Visited the pasarmalam for the first time and he was really proud that he won himself a beach ball
First staycation at M Social and all he wanted to do was go up and down the staircase.
First staycation at M Social and all he wanted to do was go up and down the staircase.
The helpful little one who loves helping out with laundry
The helpful little one who loves helping out with laundry
'Shimming' is his favourite sport
‘Shimming’ is his favourite sport
At USS, where he found his new loves - Sesame Street
At USS, where he found his new loves – Sesame Street. We ended up getting the annual pass and going to visit USS as frequently as we can just to watch the stage performance by  sesame street.
Got him a drum set and the neighbours never had any peace ever since.
Got him a drum set and the neighbours never had any peace ever since.
We let him put up the first ornament on the christmas tree last year and he gave the christmas tree a name - Oh Kimmy
We let him put up the first ornament on the christmas tree last year and he gave the christmas tree a name – Oh Kimmy
Soon we had so many presents that people told us we can put Oh Kimmy on top of the presents instead of the presents under the tree. The biggest presents belonged to isaac.
Soon we had so many presents that people told us we can put Oh Kimmy on top of the presents instead of the presents under the tree. The biggest presents belonged to Isaac.
CNY 2017 - First day of CNY and he was down with high fever. Even so, it did not dampen his mood to get out there to meet everyone.
CNY 2017 – First day of CNY and he was down with high fever. Even so, it did not dampen his mood to get out there to meet everyone.

It has been so much fun watching this little one grow up and I would never trade that for anything else in the world. If there is one thing he should know, is that he is deeply loved by many. No matter what the future brings, mummy and daddy will always have his back. Grow up well my little one.

Mini celebration at home after our return from cruise with his sesame street gang
Blessed 2nd Birthday my baby!

Lessons Learnt Through Parenting

After more than a year into this whole parenting thing, I’ve grown to realise just how much I have learnt from bringing up this tiny human. As a person who is stubborn as a mule, I am surprised myself at how my perception of things are now, in a good way of cause, and how I continuously look forward to being a better individual. I did not occur to me until recently when Isaac got bitten (twice) in toddler class. I’ll get to that later. Meanwhile, here’s what I’ve learnt.

“Patience is a virtue” – I used to think whoever came up with that saying must be a saint. I do not know how it is possible for anyone to wait for anything without getting annoyed, or keep their cool over the slightest frustration when they have had a bad day. All I want to do is have everyone just leave me be until I have cooled off. Of cause now that we have a toddler at home, I cannot possibly ask him to leave me alone. Even when he tests my patience further, I find myself taking a deep breaths and dealing with the situation in a very calm manner. Simply because he is only a child and I do not want to be filled with guilt after losing my temper at him.

“To err is human; to forgive, divine” – As mentioned earlier, Isaac was bitten in school last week. His teacher wrote us a note to inform us what happened because she could not get us over the phone. According to her, Isaac did not want to share with another kid in class which led to the biting incident. My mister and I did not pursue the matter because we knew for a fact that children fighting/biting is inevitable in school. It only made me think what if the kid who had bitten someone else was Isaac? Would I want the other kid’s parents to scold my child? I sure as heck hope not! I must admit I was upset to see such a big bite on his chin. But we decided to teach Isaac to share the toys instead of fighting back. That same week, he was bitten again. By another kid this time. At this point, I started having doubts about telling him not to retaliate. Did I indirectly teach him not to defend himself? After all, what’s done is done. I chose to teach him to forgive. At the same time, we informed the school to watch after the kids closely because children will be children. I do not blame the kids, I am just upset that the school’s oversight allowed this to happen.

“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach” – I cannot agree anymore with this quote. Especially at this age (21 months), Isaac is extremely impressionable. He is good at mimicking commercials or anything that we do. Once, he saw his daddy toss a book onto the sofa. The very next moment, he picked up the book and did exactly the same thing. Did his daddy have the right to tell him not to throw anything? Sure, but it contradicts his actions which he had just displayed. With such an impressionable toddler around us, it constantly reminds us to behave how we would like him to behave. Without a doubt, our little one is an unique individual. However, I do see some of our behaviours in him. I strongly believe that if we show him to be kind and respectful to others, he will mimic our behaviours even if he does not understand it yet.

“Better bend than break” – When I was much younger and before I had my own kid, I had in mind exactly how I would raise my child. I knew for a fact I was going to be a very rigid parent. I would probably end up being the one setting all the rules, while the kid has very little power and say. But as I grew older and entered parenthood, I noticed the need to be more flexible with the way I see things. I remember how I used to think that I would not expose my son to the television programmes until he is 2 years old. But I gave in before he even turned 1. Did it stunt his growth in any way? Nope. He ended up learning to sing, dance and count while watching Elmo’s World. All that I want from being flexible, is for my child to know that he has the right to make choices and I am always willing to listen. This will also help to develop his confidence and decision making skills in future. At the end of the day, it really is his feelings and our relationship that I value the most.

“A little more kindness, a little less judgement” – Every time I see any parent dealing with an upset child, I no longer judge. Simply because I do not know that mom/dad. It is certainly not the easiest job in the world being a parent. After all, a little bit of kindness / compassion goes a long way.

Life lessons
It is really amazing how a tiny human can make such a huge impact in our lives. While in the process of teaching our little one to be a good person, I realised that we are actually teaching ourselves to be a better every time. This is undeniably the best journey in life thus far.

My Amazing Little Toddler
My Amazing Little Toddler

Because… There are Super-Dads too

Today, I slept till 12pm…For the very first time in 17 months after the arrival of our child. When I awoke, my husband, G had already fed, bathed and clothed my son. When he saw me walk into the kitchen, he casually asked me if I wanted a cup of coffee when he was already making a glass for me. I thought to myself – “Wow, what did I do to deserve this today?” What may seem like very small gestures to others actually mean so much to me because I was well rested and happy to know that the daily chores had been taken care of.

To be honest, I consider myself very fortunate to have married someone who is extremely involved with taking care of our kids. Someone who fully understands that it is not all about fun and laughter, but there are also times when our patience is tested. Being the more impatient one between us, G often reminds me to keep my temper in check when our child misbehaves. He may not be a perfect dad, but to me, he is good enough.

G the ‘Bad Cop’ – Prior to the arrival of our child, G and I had agreed that there has to be a bad and good cop at home. He had decided that he would be the bad guy who will discipline our kid (or future kids then) when it has to be done. I remember him telling me how he did not mind our kids getting upset with him or disliking him when they grew older as long as the kids turn out to be good people.

G the Mentor – As a firm believer that children should try to venture whenever they think there is an opportunity, G always tells me to let our child try everything. Even if it results in a failure, the experience will teach them to try and do it better the next time.

G the Baby Wearing Dad – I can almost count the number of times I have used the baby carrier or rather, the lack of it. G carries the baby almost all the time. Right from the time we used the baba sling (when Isaac was an infant) to the time we switched to the Ergobaby carrier now that Isaac’s a toddler. I always like to see baby wearing dads because it just makes me feel that it is extremely sweet. If I have to tell you when do I think G’s the sexiest, it’d probably be when he is using the baby carrier (partly because it covers his belly too)!

G the Comforter – I remember when Isaac was diagnosed with Herpangina (mouth filled with ulcers), G carried him the whole night and tried to comfort Isaac to sleep. All he kept saying was “it is ok, daddy is here”. I have never been an emotional person, but hearing him say those words, I could feel tears welling up in my eyes.

Sometimes it is funny how simple gestures can trigger me to think so much. I am just so thankful for the amazing people in my life. I hope that one day, my kid(s) will grow up to be like their dad. 🙂

G & Isaac
Dad & Son

The ‘W’ Word

Here I am lying in bed feeling extremely happy that it is a peaceful night tonight. So what is so different about tonight (and the past three nights) compared to the other nights? It is because we have been waking up multiple times in the middle of the night to attend to a cranky baby. Why? Because we are weaning Isaac off of his beloved pacifier. 🙁

I remember before Isaac was born, the hubs and I were adamant not to give our him a pacifier. However, somewhere along the way, hubs read about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and studies have shown that using a pacifier reduces the risk of SIDS. Logic behind it is that sucking on the pacifier keeps their tongues forward and prevents it from blocking their airways. Hence, Isaac was given a pacifier.

The first night without his pacifier, he struggled for a bit, but managed to sleep. In morning when his daddy dropped him off at gramps’, he told them not to give isaac the pacifier. Ok, actually hubs confiscated the pacifier from them. Want to give also don’t have! [[inserts evil laughter here]]

When we picked him up in the evening, my MIL said “he was like a druggie fighting an addiction” and FIL said to bring back his pacifier the next day. But we didn’t. [[inserts even more evil laughter here]]

The second night was probably the worst. I was nursing a wisdom tooth extraction, Isaac refused to sleep, kept wailing even though he was obviously very tired. I carried him, walk around the room, kept telling him everything was gonna be okay and that I am there with him. I almost caved when I saw how upset he was. But I kept telling myself it will be worse if we tried to wean him off when he is older and reminded myself that many children have endured and gone through this phase as well. After a while, he finally calmed down and was about to doze off when the hubs opened the bathroom door a little too loudly, startled the boy, and the whole saga repeats… 

By the third night, he was too tired to even finish his milk before bed time. He fell asleep the moment his head hit the pillow. We had it easy. I was telling the hubs how I think he would wake up in the middle of the night in hunger and then we are gonna have to deal with his crankiness in the wee hours. Surprisingly though, he slept till 6am like usual. Today as we picked him up from my in laws’ place, they said he was a lot better today. Although still some difficulties in sleeping without his pacifier, but there seems to be a lot of improvement.

Tonight is the fourth night. Isaac has somehow forgotten about his pacifier (I hope). He finished his milk and blabbered a whole lot to me before falling asleep.

I’m really comforted that the awesome hubby helps out in the middle of the night during this challenging time. 

If anyone is going through this horrible period of weaning your kiddos off anything (pacifier/breastfeeding/any sort of gadgets) just know that you are not alone. Stay strong and don’t give up because you will definitely make it through this. 🙂 

 

How Superheroes Came About

Today as I sat down and thought about how Isaac is turning 1 in the blink of an eye, I started to think how he has changed my life after his arrival. In fact, I think I’ve unlocked some of the superhero powers that I’ve always had unknowingly. Yep, I’ve always secretly thought that I’m a ninja or a superhero of some sort. Now I am just further convinced that I was right all along.

1) Superhero: Wolverine
Skill set : Enhanced sense of hearing
I remember how hubs and I used to watch the telly or listen to music at dangerously high volumes because we kept saying we are unable to hear the words well. With Isaac in the house, my ability to hear has enhanced greatly. Even while he is in the room and I’m in the kitchen, I can hear him or his movements without him having to cry or scream. In more extreme cases, I can even hear my neighbour’s baby’s cries and be able to identify that it is not coming from my baby.

2) Superhero : Miss Invisible’s
Skill set : self explanatory
Whenever the hubby is out, I will have a spectator whenever I use the bathroom. In order not to be out of isaac’s sight, I will sit him down on his high chair while I plant myself on my inspirational throne. Most of the time, I try to pretend I am invisible and that he is not able to see me because it is just so awkward. Hopefully he doesn’t get nightmares from watching me. 🙁

3) Superhero : The Flash
Skill set : Probably the fastest superhero there is
Once I put Isaac down for his afternoon nap, I will take my shower as quietly and as quickly as possible. Hair Shampooed or not, lather washed off properly or not, the moment the baby wails, i am all wrapped up in my towel in less than 5 seconds and out to check on him, hoping that he falls back to sleep.

4) Superhero : Deadpool
Skill set : Accelerated healing factor
I’ve always had a weak immune system since I was a kid, so I tend to fall sick very easily and recovery time is usually slow. Ever since I had Isaac, not only do I fall sick less often, I also recover in a much shorter time when I fall ill because I am determined to get well to look after him. More importantly, because I do not want to pass on any virus / infections to him.

5) Superhero : Shazam
Skill set:  Unknown strength limit. Does not need to eat or sleep when in superhero form
This probably related the most to me during  the first few months of parenthood. Waking up in the wee hours just to feed / express milk, and getting up to check on Isaac  whenever he made the slightest sound. The first month was probably the most tiring since I had to wake up every night to look after Isaac myself. I would wake up multiple times with an hour and a half to sleep in between feeds. There was this one time, I don’t remember sleeping at all and I was way beyond tired that I felt extremely high. Thank goodness Isaac stopped waking up at night for milk when he turned 2 months old.

When hubs returned to work after his paternity leave, I looked after Isaac by myself in the day. When I started out, I did not know his sleeping patterns well and I tried to do the housework while he slept. I thought I would nap once housework was done. Only to realise that once I had my housework done, the baby would wake. My poor management of time led to a sleep and food deprived me. Slowly I learnt how to deal with this by monitoring his routine. In a nutshell, baby’s nap time equals to mummy’s nap time. I simply left the housework to the husband (LOL!), or at least when he is around to look after the baby.

Actually the more I look at Isaac, the more I start to think he may have inherited some of my super genes. Just look at him.
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Now where’s my cape?!