Monday, February 26, 2007

waving bye bye

she's known how to wave bye bye for months now (since last oct) but only recently has she been using this rather...um...indiscriminately. she now waves bye bye almost as if to direct someone to get lost!

apart from doing "so big" (did i cover this pan-european grandparent trick in a previous post?), dd can now point to her belly-button when asked where hers is.

anyway, on "so big": this comes from leah's paternal grandparents (nai nai and ye ye). they'd ask dd, "leah, how big is leah?" and as she stares at them, they'd continue, "so big, so big." and hold their arms straight up. this is repeated until one day dd actually held both hands up to shoulder level with her palms facing upwards (as if in a plea of "who me?") in answer, acceptable enough a response to ye ye and nai nai.

the day i discovered that "so big" is not confined to the ameri-english world was when i went to visit a friend who had just given birth to her 3rd son in hospital. her mom-in-law, a german who only speaks german (aptly what), was at the ward visiting too. this sweet lady took a shine to dd and came over, squeezing her thigh or arm like a ripe melon, commenting on how chubby she was. (even though i don't know a word of das deutsch the universal language of grannies seem to cross cultural barriers.) later, when i had dd on my lap, she came to us and raising her arms up high, said, "so gros? so gros?" a lightbulb flashed in the dimness of my brain...ahhh something the brits can share with the continentals even as they disparage the euro.

besides cats, dd can identify flowers and butterflies too - in books, on her clothes.

her expanding vocabulary

at her paternal grandparents' in january, dd uttered her first real word: cat (it sounds weirdly like "kad" or "dat"). her maternal grandparents will argue that it's actually 'bird' - as my dad always brought her to look at birds.

new words are: dog. duck. round (from "round and round the garden, like a teddy bear", which dd renders as "wawwn wawn").

tonight, i am not sure but i think dd tried to say caterpillar. it came out as "wawawiwa" as she shook mr caterpillar (a lovely colourful toy).

Sunday, February 25, 2007

2nd major illness: gastroenteritis (with rash)

this year, chinese new year celebrations threatened to be more stressful than the usual relatives' gossip merry-go-round when leah's bout of gastroenteritis recurred with a vengeance.

but let's go back to the beginning: she first started having bad tummy pains*, vomiting and diarrhoea on thurs 8 feb. after a couple of days on diarrhoea medication she appeared to be getting better so i took her to her hospital paediatrician for her mmr vaccination (for which she was actually way overdue).

*that morning she was shockingly subdued and only wanted to sit bent over double, hugging her toes, whimpering.

her dr advised us to postpone the mmr and to substitute that with the chicken pox jab instead. so dd had varilux, and we were told to watch out for mild fever. her appetite was good that day and also the next day. but on wed 14 feb she started rejecting food again although she was still quite active. unfortunately, she had a crappy night and couldn't sleep well for long periods, which meant the same for me...it was all getting a bit ominous for our trip to singapore the next night, and i hoped she would get better the next day.

...naturally, that hope was dashed. leah was again off her food and possetted/puked a little bit after each nursing. she wasn't in very poor spirits but she would sometimes come over to lay her head down on my lap and hug me, looking a bit sorry for herself. i told myself that we would bring her to the dr's in singapore if things didn't improve.

the car journey down to sg wasn't too bad but just as we got to the singapore immigration checkpoint dd promptly puked --- her father, the wag, said his daughter was merely expressing his own feelings towards the city-state (we have a long gripe about the LTA and their regulations on Malaysian cars). we settled in very late --- around 2am --- and dd had a restless couple hours' of sleep after we tried to force Calpol on her, culminating in a large vomit at 5am. that jolted us wide awake and dh was all for driving to the nearest hospital or clinic.

we ended up going to a baby and child clinic in bishan a few hours later. the dr prescribed some oral vomiting and diarrhoea medicine and said that her gastroenteritis was responsible for all the violent vomiting.

that day (friday) dd was still vomiting but not as much after nursing. she was still a bit off food but her spirits were better. she got even better the next day (chinese new year eve) and was almost her usual bubbly, nosy, happy self. her appetite was still off but she seemed to have stopped vomiting completely.

thus we were caught off guard on "chu yi" (chinese new year day) itself when i saw that dd seemed to have developed a semi-spotty rash. i noticed that it was all around her knees and shins and a little bit around her wrists and forearms. she was still a happy little girl though and the strange rash was brushed off as part-mozzie bite and part-heat rash.

however, the rash spread an hour later when i put her on the potty. and she had pooed into her nappy: diarrhoea poo. seeing the rash conquer vast parts of dd made me very nervous and i panicked. we decided to send dd to a paediatric hospital immediately.

this new dr told us that the rash was likely the result of the gastroenteritis. she recommended antibiotic treatment but wanted to see the results of a blood test first. so poor dd's little finger was pricked the blood test; she howled and raged and glowered and howled and whimpered throughout the procedure.

we had to wait for the dr to ring back with the test results (it took about 1.5 hrs later) at home, but meanwhile dd got spottier and spottier till she looked like a right specimen for chicken pox AND measles. although one of the tests came back negative (i can't remember the medical term for it) the dr couldn't rule out a bacterial cause for the gastroenteritis, and thus instructed us to start the antibiotics medication (3.2ml of Klacid twice a day) asap.

thus it was that dd was at her most repulsive looks-wise (with that scary rash) for ALL her relatives and friends on the 1st and 2nd days of cny. her po po lamented that no one will believe how gorgeous she actually is, and this is after she had been touting her granddaughter's beauty to all and sundry.

the turning point was the 3rd day of cny with the rash slowly receding, turning a faint latte hue. she was in good spirits, quite bubbly and her usual dictatorial self (she'd utter, "buh?!" and demand to be brought to wherever she was pointing at.) she had stopped vomiting completely by then too and her appetite came back. the relief i felt is indescribable.

we went back for a follow-up check on the 5th day (thurs 22). the dr said that the antibiotics obviously worked ruling out a viral cause. we were told to continue the antibiotics till sunday (a full week).

it is wonderful to have my lovely, fun and funny dd back to normal again!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

a happy crawler...tunnel vision etc

12.5 months notes:

dd seems to really enjoy her gymboree classes now. at her level there is a lot of climbing up and down obstacle courses and crawling through tunnels (barrels of different sizes and lengths). in the beginning she would balk at crawling through the tightest tunnels, which were a bit darker and narrower. but no longer. she seems happy to crawl through anything so long as there is a prize (e.g. a ball) or sometimes just to get to the other side to me!

at gymboree there is one 'game' for the tots that involves all of them standing up and rolling a large, long 'log' from one side of the room to the other. i can see that dd is now much more stable on her feet and can keep pace with the rolling whereas before she would sometimes trip because she only took tentative steps.

at home she does lots of cruising along the furniture (our tv screen is coated with her little finger prints) and likes to pull herself up to one of our major electrical appliance to press buttons (e.g. the different ones on the desk fan, dvd and video player, etc.). all quite scary and i dread to think what she will get up to when she starts walking on her own and running everywhere. yikes. (thankfully we were given a child harness by dd's step-cousin, and i am sure it will be very handy when the time comes.)

much to my dismay, my once chubby little michelin baby is no more...she's lost quite a lot of weight since she insisted on self-feeding and crawling lots. one of the mothers at gymboree was surprised to hear how light dd is now, even though as she put it, "she looks so fleshy." i had to inform her that dd is small-boned hence even though she doesn't weigh a lot, there is still a lot of 'meat' on her bones.

leah's first birthday celebrations & other 1sts

technically, leah's 1st birthday should be when she was born, shouldn't it? anyhow, this post is about some of her 1sts...

dd's first...
major illness: contracting bronchiolitis while in the uk in oct 06. ok, so this happened BEFORE she turned 1, but it concurred with her first...

long distance travel: to the uk to see her great-grandfather, who has since passed on. we're so relieved we made the effort to go back to see him and it was such a wonderful, beautiful sight to see him so happy to meet leah. i will always treasure this memory.

hospital stay: for bronchiolitis (see above!).

birthday: we didn't make a big deal of this as these first b'days are usually for the benefit of the parents --- the kiddos don't appreciate all the fuss! we were in wales with the paternal grandparents and dd had a little cupcake with a single candle which we helped to blow out. she was blase about it all naturally.

during our welsh visit (about 10 days) dd decided that she wanted to feed herself and refused to be spoonfed, clamping and pursing her lips and turning her head away whenever we tried to get a spoon near her. this arrangement would be fine except that as a novice self-feeder she seldom got more than a spoonful of food into her mouth by herself. she was also really fussy about the food she was served and sometimes all she did was played with the meal with the spoon - pushing mush around the bowl. as she had always been a hearty eater, i was most upset to see her lose her interest in eating. in fact, she spent 3 weeks doing this and has only recently begun to eat a bit more.

stomach flu/bug: a couple of days ago dd suddenly contracted a nasty stomach bug. she vomitted a few times in the morning of thurs 8 feb, and was acting unusually quiet and forlorn. in fact, she sat doubled over in her cot making little whimpers, making me even more anxious. she was whisked off to the paediatrician immediately. dd is still suffering the effects with a loose tummy. other than the bad bottom, she is still her bubbly cute self though so fingers crossed that she will get over this very soon.

word: apart from dada and mama, we think that dd's first word is going to be (or IS already) "cat". she seems besotted by them, starting with nainai''s little black and white one. she loves looking at pictures of cats and can now point to cartoony representations as well.

champagne: her introduction to alcohol was courtesy of yeye at nainai's 60th birthday party. (we hope this doesn't mean she will cultivate expensive habits.) a champagne flute was proffered and at first she just dipped a finger into the liquid, followed by 3 fingers and then her entire fist was crammed into the glass. when even this didn't slake her thirst she tried to grab the glass with two hands to drink.

bite: one of dd's twin cousins bit her on her right index finger on her 1st birthday. the 2 of them were about to poke each other with their indexes and it was anyone's guess who would strike first. unfortunately, her cousin is a year older and quicker on the draw. the howl and look of disbelief and recrimination was tragi-comic and she was nearly inconsolable. i can't remember how we managed to calm her down, but her cousin didn't apologise for giving in to temptation, although a look of cheek and shock lit up his face when leah burst out.