Author Archive: Mama Ong

When your child is hurt

unintentionally by another child of yours, what would you have done?

Something happened yesterday. Little pea was lying on his baby throne and I was sitting beside him. Little man was at the other side of little pea, looking through photos of jet-fighters in my mobile phone and drawing them on his Boogie Board. He wanted to show me the photo he wanted to draw, hence he took the phone and attempted to show me by holding above little pea. All of a sudden, the phone slipped out of his small hand and dropped right at little pea’s right eye.

Immediately, his eye was red and there was strains of blood. I screamed, shoved the phone away and carried my crying pea. When he has calmed down, I tried to inspect the extent of his injuries, praying very hard that he suffered nothing serious. There was a small bleeding cut extremely near the corner of his eye. The bottom of his eye was swollen and red. He was crying softly, making voiceless husky sounds. Throughout all this, little man was crying very loudly. He kept saying that he was sorry and he did not do this on purpose. He wanted me to carry him.

However, I did not.

I was badly affected by what happened, tearing badly as I inspected little pea’s injury. I was trying to hold back my words and emotions towards little man and calm down, before deciding what to say to him. At that moment, I just felt really sad for little pea. He had gotten a bad cold from his brother and now an eye injury. I just felt so sad he had to suffer so much.

I know at the back of my mind that it was not little man’s fault. He adores his little brother and would never hurt him deliberately. Hence I knew I had to calm myself down and deal with the situation carefully.

After making sure that little pea is alright, I reached out to little man, who by then was feeling hurt, scared and isolated. It took awhile for him to make sure I was not going to be angry at him. I hugged him for the longest time. When he finally calmed down as well, I tried to explained to him that he has to be more careful in the future and asked him to sayang Didi and apologise.

When hubby called that evening, I broke down while trying to tell him what just happened. And I realised how thankful I am that little pea’s eye is alright. There must be some angels watching over my little baby. That cut is so very close to his eye that something very bad could have happened. Thank God for your protection of my little ones. Please continue to watch over them.

I also realised that I could have reacted better. My first reaction was to scream. And I think perhaps unknowingly, I threw an angry glance at little man. My poor boy must have been very scared too. For a while, he doesn’t dare to go near his baby brother. It was an accident, it could happen to anyone.

It made me to think of the discussion topic in a motherhood FB group that was brought up. What would you do if a child of yours unintentionally cause the death of your other child? Just the thought of it makes me cringe. I would not wish it upon my worst enemy. For now, I just pray very hard every day for God’s protection for them.

Life skills and knowledge

A few weekends ago, we were feeling brave again and took the two kids out to celebrate Hubby’s birthday.

We were at the shopping mall waiting for the lift, with me baby-carrying little pea and Hubby pushing the empty stroller. Little man was standing right in front of us, not wanting to rest in the stroller even though we tried to get him to. When the lift opened, little man rushed in without checking if we were entering the lift as well. I saw it as a teachable moment and started this conversation with him.

Me: Do you know that it is very dangerous for you to go into the lift without us? What happens if the lift suddenly closes and Mama and Papa are not yet inside with you?

LM: Sorry…

Me: If that happens, what would you do?

LM: ….

Me: Remember, if that really happens, you should press “1” and wait for the lift to go to the first storey. Mama and Papa will also go to the first storey to look for you.

I tried to come up with various scenarios and asked what he would do to check for understanding. He seemed to be a little confused and started to come up with irrelevant stories, hence I dropped the topic, keeping in mind that I will go through the scenarios with him again another day.

It dawned upon me that other all the academic skills and knowledge I intended to teach him, these are important life skills and knowledge he should have as well.

Just the other day, I was fetching him from school together with little pea. We were chatting and I started telling him about how some people will come out to kidnap children. Again, I gave him a scenario and asked what he will do, and then guided him on what he should do when such an event really happens to him.

I also started making him memorise our (his parents) full name and mobile numbers. I think these are really important information a child should have in case of emergency. I explained to him why he should know all these information and tried to re-enact a possible scenario that requires him to tell people such information to ask for help. Knowing how to make a phone call is also an important skill he is trying to learn. He is not quite there yet, but I think it’s a good start.

What else do you think I should be teaching him?

Quote

from an old friend who contacted me upon reading my post on SAHM:

The effort as a full time mum
will pay off when your kid grows up.
The difference between a stay at home mum vs a working mom
can be seen through the child.

 

In fact, there were many who messaged me privately to tell me their thoughts on this and encouraged me to go ahead with my decision. I guess this is an issue that will continue to plague mothers in Singapore, unless the government starts to do more to change the situation, rather than just talk. Hence for now, it’s up to us to decide how to manage according to our unique circumstances.

PS: Full-time Working Moms face a whole set of different issues, so it is just as tough for them.

PPS: There is no need to compare and compete to see who had it worse. 女人何苦为难女人?

SAHM

A few days ago, I spoke to my big boss again about my plans of taking long leave to take care of little pea. I needed her approval for my submission. Once again, she tried to help me think of alternatives. She sounded disappointed when I told her that this is my only option, and the conversation ended with her saying, “Think about it again. The long break will jeopardise your career.”

This stuck with me for awhile after our tele-conversation. I felt sad and indignified to hear that from her, although I understand her perspective. There is a reason why she is now up on the ladder. She did not “sacrifice” her career for her children. But why in the first place is that a sacrifice?

For me, this decision is not a difficult one. I have tried to put my career before my child, and look what happened to little man’s immunity. I dare say that all his current problems are due to those early days in infant care. Before he went to infant care, he was never sick. When I put him in there at 6-month old, within a short period of 6 months, he was hospitalised 4 times, given endless antibiotics that caused his gut flora to mess up. All problems are stemmed from those days. Hence I told Hubby that if we are going to have another child, I will not let him go through that mess again.

Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom is not easy. Go ask any SAHM. It is not a break. It can be more tiring than work, because you are “working” 24/7. You can have a nice lunch break at work. You have to gobble down your lunch at weird timings because your baby may wake up anytime. You sometimes have to hold your pee and poo because your baby needs you more. In between breaks aka your baby nap time, you have to try to do some housework. You are stuck at home with no adult conversations. And then you will start to feel like you have lose your shine, especially if you do not make an effort to keep yourself in touch with the outside world. The worst part is, people do not recognize what you do. They think that you are having a “break”. Best still, your husband’s words sometimes reveal that he thinks that way too.

That is SAHM for you. A thankless job. But why do I still decided to do it? Why do so many capable women still decided to do it? Because anyone can do your work, but not anyone can be a mother to your child. My children are my priority for now. Because I have made the decision to have them, I must be responsible for them. This is especially so when I am not able to get any reliable help to take care of them.

I think our society has not been very fair to SAHM. I don’t know about the past, but most SAHM whom I know are doing much more than just housework. Because they are much more educated, they try to make a difference in their children’s learning and development while they are at home. Of course, they do not do these for recognition, but the society’s perception certainly needs to change.

Birth story of little pea

This is a post that has been in my head since the day I delivered little pea but did not get to put down in words because there were simply too many things going on right after his birth, and I was just too exhausted. However, late as it may be, I had to dedicate a post to this, because it was an entirely different birth experience from the delivery of little man.

The delivery of my beloved firstborn was a traumatic, energy and emotionally draining experience as recorded here. This experience caused me to develop mild postnatal depression after that. And for a long time, I couldn’t think of having a second child again.

This time, however, I felt really good about the whole delivery process. I felt well taken care of and very much involved in the entire process. This is how important the gynecologist is.

My first gynecologist was an old doctor, Dr G Tan who had a clinic at Gleneagles. His service was not expensive, but he showed no interest nor concern in the health of his patients. Many times, he was playing with his mobile phone during our consultations. And he showed up in the last minute just before little man made his appearance in my entire 16-hour delivery. I felt like giving him a tight slap when he showed up in his “Hawaiian” flowery shirt and said jokingly, “You thought I am not coming right?”

Still, I did not know a gynecologist can make such a difference, especially in the delivery process. I decided to switch gynecologist when I found out I was pregnant because of some very positive experiences with my current gynecologist, Dr Benjamin Tham. Although the way the clinic’s nurses work can be rather frustrating and you are never able to reach the doctor directly, Dr Tham made up for that in major ways. He is always very reassuring and makes me feel that I can trust his judgement.

Dr Tham has always been very concerned about little pea’s weight as he felt he was on the higher end of the scale. Perhaps due to my petite frame, Dr Tham felt that it was better for me to keep check of little pea’s weight if I do not want a big tear on the day of delivery.

At week 37, Dr Tham asked me if I would like to choose a day to induce the baby as I am already 2cm dilated. According to him, baby has reached 3.1kg and is now safe to be induced. I said I would think about it, but frankly, I was not prepared for an induction. I have always wanted for little pea to stay in till week 40 as I have read that it is for the best. However, after speaking to my mother, who felt that it is better to choose a date for induction than to be caught off-guard like my first delivery, Hubby and I gave it a serious thought.

We first decided to induce little pea on the 19th May, which means I had to get to the hospital on 18th May 11pm. However, I caught a bad flu bug on 17th May and was not feeling very well. I called up the clinic and requested for a later date, but as predicted, the nurses are just not helpful at all. I was really very upset and I remember telling Hubby that I will just not show up if they refuse to give me a later date. I really do not want to deliver in such a bad state.

The next morning, on the 18th, I went to the toilet as usual and found unusual discharge with streaks of blood. Immediately I knew it’s mucus plug, even though I have not seen nor experienced that before. A quick check with my good friend, Mr Google confirmed my suspicion. I called up the clinic and asked for my gynecologist. Just like every time I tried to get to my gynecologist, a nurse got back to me instead. She then advised me to monitor the situation and if there is a bloody show or contractions, I should immediately get to the hospital. As I was tested positive for GBS, the nurse advised me to come in earlier in case my waterbag broke. I had to be put on IV antibiotics for the entire delivery process for the safety of my newborn. Hubby decided to work from home just in case there is any emergency.

At noon, I started to feel some contractions. More mucus plug came out with more streaks of blood. I decided to go down to the hospital to check it out, but not without first taking a good lunch and bath. By the time we reached the hospital, it was 3pm. We met Dr Tham on our way to the delivery room. He was on his way home. He was amused that we took so long to come down to the hospital and told the nurse to monitor my condition and update him. “If everything is alright, you can go home and I will see you tonight.” I remember exchanging glances with Hubby. We were hoping that this is not a wasted trip. Turned out that, I am 4cm dilated, but the contractions are not strong. Dr Tham sent us back home and told us to come again late at night.

I was quite amused by how things turned out. I have always wanted to let little pea decide his own delivery date and was rather upset at the thought of induction. But God has his plan, and now little pea has chosen to come out on 19th May. In a way, it doesn’t feel much like an induction at that point in time.

It was not such a bad thing to be sent back, because we managed to spend time with little man, had dinner with him and put him to bed before going off to the hospital again. When we reached the hospital, I was still 4cm dilated. The nurses at the delivery room was very kind and helpful. One of them told me to let them know earlier if I want the epidural as I was already 4cm dilated. Things can come fast and furious suddenly, and it takes time for my appointed anaesthetist, Dr Yvonne Lim to come. She was the anaesthetist for my first delivery as well, and she was excellent.

After some time, I decided to ask for the epidural. When Dr Yvonne Lim came, she asked if I had any experience with epidural. I told her that I did and I vomited badly the last time. She then ordered some anti-nausea medication for me. I was stunned to hear that there is such a thing. Instantly, I felt that I have suffered in vain for my first delivery. After a while, Dr Tham came by and check on me. He heard that I was still feeling slightly nauseated and ordered for a stronger medication. The rest of the night is just a breeze as compared to my first nasty experience.

Initially, I was not yet induced as Dr Tham wanted to see if I can dilate further. However, I was dilating to slowly, in the end Dr Tham had to order to induce me. Then everything started to move very fast. Before we know it, I was 10cm dilated. Dr Tham came down and started preparing me for what is to come. He then guided me through the whole delivery process patiently. For the first time, I felt that I was truly involved in the whole delivery process. I could feel little pea coming out of me, though my entire lower body was numbed. Then without even asking, Dr Tham placed little pea gently on my chest. Little pea was crying when he did that.

I”It’s alright, J. Mama is here.” I remember telling little pea. Then, as though he recognised my voice, little pea stopped crying and looked at me. My eyes were brimming with tears at that point, not only because I was touched, but also due to the fact that I will never be able to do that for little man. It is one of my greatest regret, and it always will be.

Due to the good delivery experience, I felt really good after that. Unlike the last time, when I cried so much after the whole process, I felt strong emotionally. I felt like I was able to take on the challenges that come later and not get down to depression. And true enough, except for the serious lack of sleep, the past 6 weeks have seen me becoming a more patient person.

This is probably my last pregnancy as two is really enough. But I will definitely go back to Dr Tham again, if there is a third one. *fingers crossed* 🙂

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