Monthly Archive: August 2015

Bedtime conversations – Speechless moments

I started the routine of telling bedtime stories to little man after the lights are off. I find them extremely useful to reinforce good behaviours and habits and explain certain things to him, that perhaps when it happened in the day, he was too cranky and caught up in his emotions to listen to me.

Sometimes, I simply tell him stories I have read before and I think he will show interest in.

This evening, after telling a couple of stories about his favourite dinosaur character made up by yours truly, I proceeded to tell him the story of <武松打虎> (Wu Song beats the tiger) to end for the night. When the story ended, he became so quiet that I thought he has fallen asleep. When I was about to get myself out of his squeezy little bed, he turned around and asked me,“妈妈,老虎为什么要打死武松呢?” (Mama, why does the tiger want to kill Wu Song?).

In the end, I had to re-tell the story again to explain to him that it was Wu Song who killed the tiger, not the other way round.

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I have always prayed for little man while accompanying him to sleep. Sometimes, when he hear me whispering, he will ask me what I am doing. I will tell him that I am praying for him. These days, little man will often ask me to pray to end for the night. This evening, he asked again. And I prayed with him.

At the end of our prayers, I said “Amen”. Little man turned around and asked me, what is “Amen”. I simply told him, this is how Mama prays for him.

Little man once again stayed very quiet for awhile, and then turned to ask me again, “Then, Mummy, what is Ironman?”

Milestones @ 34 months

How time flies.

Little man is coming to three years old in 2 months time, and he is growing up and learning new things so fast, I cannot catch up.

There are a few important milestones achieved in these 2 months and I felt neccessary to put it down in writing.

1. Diaper-free in the day
It has been a few months since we tried to get little man go diaperless. Not because we are in a hurry to save money on ever-so-expensive diapers, but according to his teachers, quite a few of his peers are without diapers in the day, hence we felt it is a good opportunity to introduce the idea of peeing in the toilet, rather than diapers.

However, little man was rather resistance to the idea and refused to wear his underwear instead of diaper, both in school and at home. He felt very insecured without his diapers. Seeing how much stress it caused him, I told the teachers that we shall not force it upon him, but just patiently ask him every day, until he is more ready.

One day, when he was sleeping over at my parents’, my mother lied to him that I have forgotten to pack diapers into his stayover bag. She asked if he can wear underwear for the time being. Somehow he agreed, and that is how we finally started him on underwears instead of diapers.

He has been diaperless in the day for a while now. There were a few times when he peed, releasing entirely while playing. He saw that I looked angry while cleaning the dirty floor and soiled clothes, so he came to me saying that he wanted to wear diapers again. I explained to him that I was upset not because he has peed on the floor, but because he knew he needed to pee, but refused to do so because he wanted to play instead. I made him promise me that he will not procrastinate peeing because of playing or watching television programmes. Later that night, I told him a story of how a boy hold in his pee so much that it made him sick, and the doctor has no choice but to give him an injection. I think he somehow got the idea, but much reinforcement is still needed for these few weeks.

2. Pacifier-free
If you follow our “pacifier story“, you would have known that little man is still holding on to that pacifier he can’t quite chew on. Anyway, long story short, I took the opportunity to throw away that pathetic pacifier while he stayed over at my parents’. He has been looking for it for a while now after coming back home. I told him that the pacifier was at Grandma’s house, he must have forgotten to bring it back. He keep saying that he will ask my mother about it, but every time he sees her, he forgot about it. Today when he asked me again, I told him that Grandma could not find that pacifier as well. He took it pretty well. I guess it will still take some time for him to completely forget about it. 我长情的小宝贝。

Going with the (eczema) flow

Things that work now,
may not work later;
things that do not work now,
may work later.

This was what the Chinese physician, Dr Mark Chern wrote in our online consultation.

It is very true, after having going through this eczema journey with my little man for the past 4 months. Every time when something works and makes his eczema better, I am so happy and prayed for complete healing. But every time, this happiness is short-lived, because the eczema will somehow stop reacting to the current remedy and go back to square one, or worse.

As mentioned in my last eczema post, we brought little man to see a 谢雅应医师 at Chung Hwa Medical Institution. Little man and I have been seeing a regular tcm physician at the clinic for my acid reflux and when little man’s cough and flu does not go away. So far, little man has been reacting well to her prescription. However, she is not expert in treating eczema, hence she once suggested that perhaps we would like to try the specialist in the clinic.

In a desperation bid to rid little man’s eczema, we decided to give him a try, despite the really bad timing of his consultation. Truth to be told, I was really disappointed by the consultation. He probably did not even take a good look at my son and his eczema. And he was not even listening carefully when I try to tell him that little man was developing a bad cold. On top of that, when I asked if I should boil the medication to rid the alcohol in it, he nonchalantly mumbled that we can heat it up if we want it to be served warm. I started to be rather doubtful as every tcm physician we go to will always remind us to boil the medication before feeding little man. But Hubby said that we should give his medicine a chance, since we took the trouble to go down despite the bad timing. I agreed to give it a try, but will probably search for other physicians if his medication proves to be not suitable.

Anyway, he prescribed little man with oral medicine consisting 四物汤 and 防风通胜汤. I asked Dr Chern and my regular tcm physician, both advised me to not take his medicine for the time being because of little man’s cold.

We went to see Dr Chern again after that visit to get some ointment to relieve his eczema as Chung Hwa Medical Clinic does not give out topical ointment according to 谢医师. This time, we (both of us and Dr Chern) were wondering if we should give acupuncture a try. Hence, we tried to distract little man with Peppa Pig videos, while Dr Chern tried a needle on him. Little man was so sensitive and could immediately sense that something bad is about to happen. That needle lasted less than a minute on his leg. However, his skin looked so good the next morning, Hubby and I have been discussing how to convince little man to give it a try again. It is difficult, given he has been so dramatic and emotional about everything lately, but we will try.

The search for a good tcm physician whose medicine works, is tough. But I am not giving up, because from my experience when my acid reflux was at its worst and I look everywhere for help, there will be someone who can help you if you do not give up.

Apart from TCM, we have reintroduced magnesium flakes to little man’s bath time routine, because ACV suddenly does not work anymore. Somehow, little man seemed to be able to tolerate the magnesium flakes and his eczema reacted well to it. For about a week, during the long National holiday, little man’s eczema looks so much better. It was not as swollen and red as before. Pity, this is short-lived as well. And now, we are back to using ACV again.

In the midst of struggling with work, little man’s terrible two/three-phase and his eczema, I came across this blog. It was heartbreaking to read the little child’s eczema story, but it gave me hope that eventually, little man will be alright too. I must not give up.

Hence, I will probably be trying out the lemongrass balm mentioned in the blog and praying hard for full recovery.

Go away, eczema. You are truly not welcome.

Bedtime conversation

It has been a while since we weaned little man off his pacifier.

We did not apply medicated oil on his pacifier as advised by many well-meaning elders as we were not too comfortable with letting him consume something that is not considered edible. Instead, I cut off his rather broken pacifier one day, and told him that it was completely torn because he has been very rough with his chewing. He was really upset but agreed to stop crying after I promised to “look for a new pacifier”. I told him that his kind of pacifier is not selling in many stores anymore.

He bought my story but was very adamant in keeping what’s left of the remaining pacifier. And he continues to chew the remaining small portion of the pacifier before bedtime, like it’s never broken.

Today, I decided to put an end to this unhealthy relationship once and for all. I cut off the remaining “chewable” portion of the pacifier before his bedtime. When he realised that he is unable to chew anymore, he asked me why. I told him that he must have chewed off the remaining portion, and chided him gently about being too rough with his pacifier. And just like before, I promised him that I would go and look for a new pacifier, although I kept him prepared that many stores are no longer selling such pacifiers. And I was truly amused by what he told me.

“妈妈,我明天穿 Batman 的衣服跟你一起去找奶嘴。我们飞去找奶嘴,叫 auntie 给我们奶嘴。”

The long weekend of Batman series playing on Channel 5 must have left such a deep impression on him, that he thought being a batman will give him a higher probability of getting a new pacifier.

My cutie pie. 😀

Let there be light

It pained me to think that for the past 4 months, despite all efforts and remedies, little man’s eczema was not cleared. Instead, it becomes bigger in area and looks worse than before.

We have been through quite a bit in these 4 months, and I just want to document it down so that I can refer back when the need arises.

Following the visit to my dermatologist, I went online to read more about all other alternative remedies and creams people have recommended. We have spent money and time on the following:

  1. Moogoo Irritable Skin Balm (ISB)
  2. Moogoo MSM cream (MSM)
  3. Dead sea salt bath
  4. Magnesium flakes
  5. The Home Apothecary zinc balm
  6. Oliva Forte capsules
  7. Apple Cider Vinegar wash
  8. TCM physician – Dr Mark Chern
  9. The Eczema Diet

The first 4 items have been recommended and blessed by an old friend whose daughter also suffers in the hands of eczema. She, like me, is still seeking ways to completely unroot it.

Sad to say, little man does not seem to agree with the dead sea salt, magnesium flakes and zinc balm. He will complain of pain after soaking (just for a few minutes) and his raw patch will turn redder than before. Zinc balm made it worse. I have tried twice, and twice the patch became worse, hence I totally stop using them for the time being.

The 2 Moogoo creams work briefly on him. I was so elated to see mild improvement in the appearance of his patch, that I immediately when to Kiddy Palace to buy a new tube each. I layered the creams, first with ISB and then MSM as instructed by the eczema group members. With these 2 new friends in hand, I was hoping for a miraculous heal during our trip to Taiwan. Sadly, the improvement was short-lived. The patch grew bigger, and we are back to square one, and worse.

Then I heard raves about Oliva Forte capsules, how taking it long-term can help heal one’s leaky gut, which is said to be the reason for eczema. I went ahead and spent a bomb on 3 boxes of it. Little man has been taking it for almost 2 months now, and I didn’t see his eczema get better because of consuming Oliva Forte (just like Lacto GG). However, I must say that his immune system is getting stronger, likely to be due to this Oliva Forte, according to my gut feeling. He recovers so much faster from his illnesses ever since he started on it, hence I am still continuing him on this supplement.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is one thing that I have often read about online, but hesitated to try. One can imagine how acidic can ACV can be, and applying it on one’s raw skin is almost inhumane to me. But it came a time one day when I was feeling really desperate and it happened that I suddenly developed eczema on one foot, hence I decided to buy a bottle of cheap good ACV, dilute it with water and apply to my own eczema. Surprisingly, it felt really cooling and my itch went away shortly. After a few days, my eczema actually died down. It gave me the courage to try it on little man, and I must say, I think it is working, slowly but surely.

At this same time, I also brought little man to see Dr Mark Chern for the first time. This TCM physician was recommended by the eczema group members. Dr Mark saw little man and commented on how hard it is to “cure” him because his eczema is unlike most of his patients who have wide-spread eczema. Nevertheless, he gave us a cream containing 黄芩, asking us to try on little man to see if it works. Initially, his cream works a little. Little man’s patch started to turn brownish and peeled. I was so happy, thinking it is the start of healing. But Dr Mark advises me that the cream is just to control the eczema, and probably is not able to heal it. Just like what he predicted, the patch came back, and the process of peeling and turning brown just happens over and over again, without any healing. In our 2nd visit, Dr Mark gave us an herbal wash together with the same cream. Again, he was doubtful that these can “cure” him. And he is again right.

Personally, I think Dr Mark is a great TCM physician who does not see patients to earn money, like some private physicians do. However, because he himself professed both times that he is quite lost about what else to do with little man’s condition due to his age and his “not-so-serious” patch, I have decided to seek a 2nd opinion.

However there are a few things I have learnt from our visits to Dr Mark.

Steroids Withdrawal Syndrome is like a drug allergy. Some people gets it, some people don’t. There is no explaination, just whether your body accepts the drug or not.

  1. Different cream/solutions work for different people. One that works for others, may not work for you. You will just have to keep trying and figure out a formula of your own, one that fits you.
  2. Trust your first instinct and feeling after applying a new cream/ointment/solution. If the first application feels irritating, time to try something else.
  3. The Eczema Diet by Karen Fisher

The next thing i want to talk about is a book recommended by Dr Mark. The Eczema Diet. I borrowed the book in times of desperation. I am glad I did. It gave me a lot of new insights about eczema, and I am really relief to know that there are so many other solutions I can try on little man.

Because I am a working mother and little man attends a full day childcare, it is more difficult for me to strictly control his diet. Hence after much discussion with Hubby, we have decided to take dairy products and eggs from his diet for the time being. I am delighted to say that after 5 days of dairy and egg-free, his eczema looks so much better, with everything else going status quo.

So now, these are currently what we will still be doing:

  1. A capsule of Oliva Forte & Lacto GG every day
  2. ACV wash as often as we can
  3. Oat bath
  4. TCM cream given by Dr Mark
  5. Dairy & egg-free diet
  6. Cod Liver Oil
  7. TCM medicine to bring his immune system back on track

Dear God, let us see light at the end of the tunnel. Let there be light.

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