Archive | November 2012

Enrichment Classes

By Mom…

As Cassiel reached 4 months old, I could not wait to send her to enrichment school! You know, since I believed that she did not have the advantage of breast milk, I feel that I needed to make it up to her in some way. Also being not very highly disciplined in doing all the pre-natal developmental enhancing work, I was hoping she could get the developmental she needs in her own way. Great time to bond too.

 
I searched for many classes and looked through large volume of feedbacks on forums. I thought the best way forward is to go for trial! I love trials, you get to see all the works yet you need not commit. My experience was that some classes can be taught on your own, depending on your own interest and expertise, of course. I am a certified yoga instructor and my husband and I do Aikido, as such I do not see a need to send her for gym classes. Actually at 4 to 9 months, she was just loving everything she experiencing so I could not tell if she likes it. Still, just for my own achievement sake, I put her through more classes. A wake up call came that during one of the classes when the teacher forced her to cross a tunnel, a really small one and she is now afraid of tunnels or enclosed spaces. So much for making up to her developmental needs. So I thought it would be safer to just go for classroom settings. Flashing cards cannot be too frightening, but she simply could not catch up in a flash. So I opted for slower paced class, it worked! She likes it, at least she was sitting in front of the teacher and not wailing and crawling for the door. 🙂 That was when she was 9 months old.
 
I think she liked it until she started walking. Now she totally shows no interest in what the teacher is saying. I tried to ask her to identify things she learned in class….hmm not much success. I have better results flashing cards to her myself in my own pace and method. In that class, only when the music comes on, she started responding and joins back the class. I noticed that and decided to trial for music lessons instead and WA-LA, music is the answer to her interest! She is highly cooperative, shows interest to interact with other kids and her speed of learning is much faster! Most importantly, she looks happier.
 
So moral of the story is the best enrichment for your precious is what intrigues him or her, maybe art, gym, music. You have got to observe and see the reactions, if you are just looking to expose him or her to different things, you are better off with trials.

You Are Pregnant?!?

By Dad…

How does one react when your wife tells you that she is pregnant? Some husbands dance for joy, some enter a state of catatonic shock which takes awhile to get out of, others demand a second opinion and then there are the few who faint.

I did none of the above…

Let me set the stage. I did not like kids. Unsurprisingly, my wife and I had no plans for kids. No, we planned to use all the money we would have spent on kids to travel the world instead. We loved surfing, wake boarding,  cross country ATV, and dreamed of picking up scuba diving, skiing, skydiving (ok, skydiving was just me). The point is, our life plans left no space for a child. Added to that, my experiences with kids completely rid me of any romantic notions of fatherhood. I was a full-time Aikido instructor who taught students of all ages from  3 to as “young” as 70. I would see upwards of 500 different students each week. Sure there were cute kids, but most were, at best, little balls of energy which would put vibrating molecules to shame and at worst, shockingly defiant spoiled brats. You know the kids on YouTube who refused to vacate the nursing room for a breastfeeding mom? You will be surprised at how common kids like that are. Dealing with such kids everyday and seeing the tired expressions of their exasperated parents did not leave me with much fatherly inclinations.

So when I picked up my phone and heard “Dear, I am pregnant. What are we going to do??” my initial reaction was “Oh crap”. Of course, had I expressed that particular thought at that point of time, I might not be around to write this now. Not that my wife was expecting a positive reaction to the news. She had given up her dreams of kids because she knew how much I disliked children. Unlike me, she loved kids and had an innate talent of communicating with them. She was popular with the children and could always sweet talk them into cooperation. The children of my classes naturally gravitated to her and I never forgot the sacrifice she was making for me in deciding not to have kids. And suddenly, she was pregnant…

I knew that as much as I might feel that my world was falling apart under my feet, it had to be much worst for her. So I surprised her and myself with a calm but rambling response:

“Umm..Ok. Is that why you have been throwing up so much recently? Yeah, there must be it. Makes sense…Ok..We’ll talk about this tonight ok?”

Granted, it was not a Hollywood worthy response, but it was the best I could manage at the moment. I hung up the phone and just felt numb. How were we going to afford raising a baby in Singapore where the cost of raising a child is so high? We would not be able to afford our pursuit of our hobbies, not be able to travel adventurously anymore, no more relaxing weekends, late nights, and carefree existence. I literally felt my dreams slipping away from me. Even more frightening that that was the realization that I was going to become one of the tired, exasperated, soulless dads I pitied every time I ended my classes and watched the children resume their reign of terror over their parents. And I actually considered the alternative..

Perhaps it was fated that just at that moment, a child ran screaming across my path. I looked at him and realized that if I really chose to abort the baby, I would forever regret it. I would be haunted every time I looked at a child, reminded that I ended a life simply cause I was too selfish. And what would an abortion have done to my wife? Given her love of children, she would have been even more devastated. “Is this what my baby would look like today if he was alive?” “Would the baby have been a boy or a girl?” “If we had kept her, she would be 5 years old now..”  Thoughts like those would haunt us both forever. I knew we would never recover from it and that sooner or later, it would tear us a part.

No..I could not live with such a selfish act nor could I put my wife through such torment. Neither was I going to be trapped in a nightmare for the rest of my life. When I discussed it over with my wife and we decided to keep the baby, I told myself that this was going to be a good thing. I took the first step in changing my mentality towards children. We would love the baby and raise him or her well. The little one would not become one of the little terrors, and my wife and I were not going to one of those burned out parents. We would enjoy our life together. Sure it would be tough, but we would experience the joys of parenthood that everyone keeps talking about.

Right?

I had no idea the ride I was about to step into….

to be continued…

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Bigger better?

By Mom….

While I was pregnant  many people kept telling me that my daughter was going to get lots to eat. Being a 36B, I was happy to hear that. Think of all the benefits that comes with breastfeeding: the best nutrients, be able to travel light, less hassle of scrambling for water and all the savings! We were so happy and all set to conquer the fear and challenges that breastfeeding may have.The first day of her life, my daughter was carried to me and all she did was SLEEP!! Not wanting to suckle no matter what we tried. She finally suckled a little and stopped. Fearing dehydration, the nurses suggested for me to give her cow milk. I reluctantly agreed. Then many family and friends tried to give me tips and help on getting started on breastfeeding. Then the nurse who could not get my daughter to latch, blamed it on the shape of the tit. We got the shield, puller, supplements, skipped sleep to pump milk, whatever helps. No matter how painful, I would still try. But she just would not latch or suckle for long and my milk supply was at best 40ml. I paid for lactation nurse to help in other hospital, went to a pediatrican who encouraged me to starve her and she will drink out of survival instinct. To think that I believed him! But my mother’s instinct took over after she skipped her feeding twice and I went for powder.

My confinement nanny tried to help by cooking me fish soup and during feeding, she pushed my daughter’s face to the breast and pushed her cheeks in to suckle. My heart aches….

My hubby was supportive of whatever decision I made and finally after a few weeks, I realised its not her, its me. I am just not having as much milk as I or many others thought I should. I spoke to many others for help and one with smaller breasts told me she has so much to spare that she helped to feed her sisters’ twins!

I accepted the fact but was devastated that I am not what I hope to be. I was blaming myself for many weeks. My hubby then comforted me and got me to come round to accepting that being a good Mother is not solely dependent on milk supply. And looking at the reasons I want to breastfeed, it was mostly about me! My hubby is good at letting me indulge in my own world of hope and self pity then at the right time gives me a whack on the head to wake me up. Of course its an art to grasp the right timing, just like surfing, you got to time for the right wave. So the next time your partner tells you something hard to hear, its for your own good, just maybe at an off timing.

Well back to breastfeeding, so I attest to the fact that being bigger may not mean better. I still support breastfeeding but if Nature doesn’t have the same plans, I am here to tell you its all right. The bonding between a Mother and her child is not only about food source but how you interact with your child..