Sunday, December 31, 2006

Why tell me such thing?

What mom just (less than 20minutes ago) said pissed me off!

She stayed over since Athena was asking her to, and they both slept on Athena's bed. I heard her coughing through the baby monitor and walked over to check on her.
Then mom said "how come she keeps coughing.... she never cough so much when she stayed over at my place?"
What does she mean when she said those words?
1) That my house's possessed?- so she's coughing more at my place?

Then mom said "you got any medicine to give her or not?" "I have been giving it to her everyday what?!" "And you don't expect it to cure so fast?"
"Give her some more now.."
"I give her now she'll still cough what! You already know that a person coughs more when he/she is lying flat.."

And how can she blame me??
►She knows how many times I've been warning her and my family about not caving in to her requests in buying sweets for her, even if she does sit down on the floor in protest.
►She knows how displeased I am when they do give it to her
►She knows how frustrated I am whenever I past this remark "you jolly well know that the chinese sinseh advised us that in order to stop her bronchitis from getting worst; is to stop giving her anything sweet for the next 2 years. Everytime, you all start giving her sweets.. she starts coughing. And when she starts coughing, who takes care of her? It's ME! Don't throw her back at me!!

And it's not like I've got the patience in the whole wide world to take care of her, since now I've to take care of the little one - exhausting me out.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Japanese Food

Athena has asked to dine at Sakae again, so we met brother, Pauline & mom for lunch at TM.

And that set me thinking... I've tried making Sushi, Katsu-don & Katsu curry before (not forgetting a funny tasting Green Tea ice-cream) so I think I should try my culinary skills again? Haha! Not when I made everyone scared to eat my cooking. I must admit I'm a horrible cook, but I was pleased when my Japanese cooking all turned out presentable & won't die from eating.

I 'm suddenly so inspired to make Athena's favourite items in Sakae :

Salmon Skin gunkan (where to find so many salmon skin when we don't even eat salmon?)
I know Knorr came up with the recipe that was given in NTUCs but the lady let me try.. and it's damn saltish. I'm already worrying if I'm getting diabetes and here is one lady trying to kill me by spoiling my kidneys?!?
Mom (the expert cook) says she tried before but it's difficult to control the fire, and her chawanmushi turned out funny -let alone me attempting this on my own. Umm.... think it might end up in the bin.

* 3 eggs
* 2 3/4 cups cooled soup stock [chicken stock + fish-based stock (powdered or liquid form acceptable) + dash of sake and soy sauce]
* 4 slices of gu (filling, such as fishcake, shiitake mushroom, or chicken breast, parboiled)
* 4 cilantro leaves (also known as chinese parsley)

Servings: 4 persons

1. Gently beat the eggs using a fork or chopsticks, not an eggbeater.

2. Add soup stock a little at a time while you stir the eggs. It can be lukewarm but not hot.

3. Place a slice of the gu in each cup, and pour in the mixture of egg and soup stock.

4. Place a cilantro leaf on top.

5. Boil water in a steamer, and turn the heat down to medium.

6. Place the cups in the steamer, and steam for approximately 12 minutes.

Try not to overcook; good chawan-mushi shouldn't have any air bubbles.
Salmon Skin gunkan
This one is simple, but I need to find salmon skin to deep fry

This one should be simple since can buy the batter from supermarkets.

Simple! Like cooking instant noodle

Yay! I'm on my way to be a cook now!!

Neptune Theatre

As the curtains draw for the last night in Neptune Theatre, I start kicking myself for not booking a table to have my last meal there. Shit!

I think this place would bring in more memories for my sister. She always asked to see the "feathers", insisted on being brought for the cabaret shows when she was young. As for the gluttony me, I find this place with my nice Tim Sum, with my favourite Fried Wanton. I wonder where is the restaurant moving to. Anyone any idea?
As I find solace in my food, I am brought back to my memories of my lunch dates with Wilma there; of my "last meal before I popped" for both pregnancies. They should have something to honour faithful patrons like me.

Nagging too much??

I have been coughing quite badly lately.. it can't be from Athena.

Anyway, despite my stupid cough, I am still nagging at Athena for this & that. I wonder why..........why am I the only one who's always nagging at her? Why am I always the one flaring up in the house? And hubby's a relaxed & stress-free person and also the angel in Athena's eyes.
I nag at her for nitty gritty stuffs, is it because I'm too 'yim jim'- fussy?
- I am the disciplinarian
- I hate it when I see toys lying around the house
- I warn her about where's she's walking into (when we're outside)
- I........
basically nag too much!!

I wonder if hubby finds me a nag. If he found the house quieter without Athena or me around. Which one?
Then I wonder if Athena likes me nagging at her. She must have hated me to the core for poking my nose in everything she does.
Then I wonder...............would it be better if I'm a mute just for one day? Just one day is all I can ask so that I can stop nagging. But then again, I can see and hear what she's up to. So, wouldn't it be better if I've lost all senses (let me be deaf & blind) just for one day to relax myself, let me not bother about her and let my heart beat normally??

Child Safety

If you want to talk about safety, it all begins from your home and you. By providing a safe environment is an important part of caring for your new baby.

By creating an environment conducive to learning and safety. Take a walk through your house and garden today with the view to finding possible dangers and then practice child safety at home.

These are some tips that can help to keep your baby safe and secure :

* Take your baby home from hospital safely in an capsule or other approved child restraint for newborns that faces the back of the car.
* Provide a safe environment at home.
* Provide a safe environment when you are out.
* Provide a safe environment where your baby sleeps – this includes SIDS prevention.

Travel with your baby in a child restraint
Use an approved convertible child seat or capsule if you transport your baby by car. By law, all passengers must be restrained at all times when travelling in a car in Australia. Your local council or RACV organisation can advise you on the correct fitting of the restraint. Make sure your baby is adequately restrained while in the child seat or capsule (follow the manufacturer’s instructions). Never leave your baby unattended in the car – not even for two minutes.

Be aware of your baby’s comfort
The air circulation in some capsules is not always ideal – and babies may overheat. Be particularly careful in warm weather, or when your baby will be in the capsule for a long period of time. On a hot day, your baby may just need a light singlet or nightdress, and a light blanket. Check the baby regularly – you can feel the temperature of their body just by touching them: for example, on the tummy.

Provide a safe environment at home
Newborn babies have very little protection against infection, so it is important that you provide a clean hygienic environment. One of the most important things you can do is to make sure that anyone who handles your baby – including you – have washed their hands before touching the baby. People who have contagious infections – for example, colds or flu, or ‘cold sores’ (herpes simplex) – should not come in contact with your baby. Cold sores can be particularly dangerous to a newborn baby.

General safety tips at home
Make sure your baby is safe at all times. You should:

* Supervise young children near the baby.
* Keep animals away from the baby.
* Avoid hot drinks from coming into contact with your baby.
* Make sure that any equipment that comes directly in contact with the baby is clean and, if it is likely to go into their mouths, it must be sterilised (free from germs).
* Make sure that when you change your baby you put them down in a safe place – for example, use a change table with a little raised edge to prevent the baby rolling off – but never leave them alone on the change table.

Make bath time a safe time
When you give your baby (or child) a bath:

* Always supervise your child in the bath. The carer should always be within arm’s reach of the child. Anything less than constant supervision, within sight is not enough.
* Do not use a baby support to prop up a baby in the bath
* Never leave an older child to supervise a younger child in the bath.
* Take your child with you if your telephone or doorbell rings while you are supervising your child in the bath.
* Empty the bath immediately after use.
* Always keep the doors to the bathroom and laundry securely closed.

Provide a safe sleeping environment
Many parents worry about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Recent research has shown that there are some simple things you can do to reduce the risk of SIDS:

* Put the baby on their back when you put them to sleep.
* Don’t have fluffy toys, ‘bumpers’ or doona covers in the cot or bassinette – they can cause babies to overheat or suffocate.
* If the cot is large, make up the bottom of the cot with blankets and sheets, like you would a normal bed, and place the baby with their feet at the bottom of the cot.
* Keep your baby's head uncovered while they sleep.
* Don’t let anyone smoke in the house or around your baby.

Keep your baby safe when you’re out
Make sure you use a baby stroller or pram correctly, don’t hang shopping bags from the handles as it could cause the stroller to tip over. Make sure your read the manufacturers instructions and use the safety features. Always put the harness on your baby, even for short trips.

Remember to protect your baby from the sun and wind. A simple cloth thrown over the stroller may be enough, but it needs to be very light otherwise you could trap heat inside the stroller. Sunshades and storm covers can be bought from baby supply stores.

Parents must know - First Aid for children

I feel that all parents should equip themselves with some simple knowledge of First Aid especially when they have young children, they help to save their own children's lives while help (paramedics) is on the way.
I guess I should be thankful that I was given the training in SQ, if not - I wouldn't have realised the importance of Safety & First-aid. But at the same time, I haven't had anyone (thank goodness) to practice my First Aid on, so...I have to revise it on my own once in a while.

When I got to move out to start my family, the first thing that came into my mind was to get a Fire Extinguisher & First Aid Kit. * Please remember to go through your FAKit once in a while to check on the expiry date as well as the expiry date on the Fire Extinguisher (halon works for all sorts of fire)*

I have listed some First Aid information here :


CPR is a lifesaving procedure that is performed when an infant's breathing or heartbeat has stopped, as in cases of drowning, suffocation, choking, or injuries. CPR is a combination of:

* Rescue breathing, which provides oxygen to the infant's lungs
* Chest compressions, which keep the infant's blood circulating.

Permanent brain damage (4 mins without oxygen) or death (4-6 mins) can occur within minutes if a infant's blood flow stops.

First, determine that it's safe to approach the person in trouble. For instance, if someone was injured in an accident on a busy highway, you'd have to be extremely careful about ongoing traffic as you try to help. Or if someone touched an exposed wire and was electrocuted, you'd have to be certain that he or she is no longer in contact with electricity before offering assistance, to prevent becoming electrocuted yourself. (For instance, turn off the source of electricity, such as a light switch or a circuit breaker.)

Once you know that you can safely approach someone who needs help, quickly evaluate whether the person is responsive. Look for things like eye opening, sounds from the mouth, or other signs of life like movement of the arms and legs. In infants and younger children, rubbing the chest (over the breastbone) can help determine if there is any level of responsiveness. In older children and adults, this can also be done by gently shaking the shoulders and asking if they're all right.

The next step is to check if the victim is breathing. You can determine this by watching the person's chest for the rise and fall of breaths and listening for the sound of air going in and out of the lungs. In a CPR or basic life support (BLS) course, participants practice techniques for determining if breathing or circulation is adequate. If you can't determine whether someone is breathing, you should begin CPR and continue until help arrives.

Whenever CPR is needed, remember to call for emergency medical assistance. Current CPR courses teach you that if you are alone with an unresponsive infant or child, give chest compressions for 5 cycles (about 2 minutes) before calling for help.

The three basic parts of CPR are easily remembered as "ABC": A for airway, B for breathing, and C for circulation.

* A is for airway. The victim's airway must be open for breathing to be restored. The airway may be blocked when a child loses consciousness or may be obstructed by food or some other foreign object. In a CPR course, participants learn how to open the airway and position the child so the airway is ready for rescue breathing. The course will include what to do to clear the airway if you believe an infant or child has choked and the airway is blocked.
* B is for breathing. Rescue breathing is begun when a child isn't breathing. Someone performing rescue breathing essentially breathes for the victim by forcing air into the lungs. This procedure includes breathing into the victim's mouth at correct intervals and checking for signs of life. A CPR course will review correct techniques and procedures for rescuers to position themselves to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to infants, children, and adults.
* C is for circulation. Chest compressions can sometimes restore circulation. Two rescue breaths should be provided and followed immediately by cycles of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths. It is not necessary to check for signs of circulation to perform this technique. This procedure involves pushing on the chest to help circulate blood and maintain blood flow to major organs. A CPR course will teach you how to perform chest compressions in infants, children, and adults and how to coordinate the compressions with rescue breathing.

How to do CPR on Infants

♦ My advice : CPR is a skill that needs practice, instructors will teach you the correct way to 1)blow air correctly without you going out of breathe yourself 2) identify how to find where to do compression 3) to use the correct pressure for the compression♦

From kids washing up under a too-hot faucet to an accidental tipping of a coffee cup, burns are a potential hazard in every home. In fact, burns, especially scalds from hot water and liquids, are some of the most common childhood accidents. Babies and young children are especially susceptible — they're curious, small, and have sensitive skin that needs extra protection.

Although some minor burns aren't cause for concern and can be safely treated at home, other more serious burns require medical care. But taking some simple precautions to make your home safer can prevent many burns.
Common Causes

The first step in helping to prevent your child from being burned is to understand the common causes of burns in children:

* scalds, the number-one culprit (from steam, hot bath water, tipped-over coffee cups, cooking fluids, etc.)
* contact with flames or hot objects (from the stove, fireplace, curling iron, etc.)
* chemical burns (from swallowing things, like drain cleaner or watch batteries, or spilling chemicals, such as bleach, onto the skin)
* electrical burns (from biting on electrical cords or sticking fingers or objects in electrical outlets, etc.)
* overexposure to the sun

Types of Burns

Burns are often categorized as first-, second-, or third-degree burns, depending on how badly the skin is damaged. Each of the injuries above can cause any of these three types of burn. But both the type of burn and its cause will determine how the burn is treated. All burns should be treated quickly to reduce the temperature of the burned area and reduce damage to the skin and underlying tissue (if the burn is severe).

First-degree burns, the mildest of the three, are limited to the top layer of skin:

* Signs and symptoms: These burns produce redness, pain, and minor swelling. The skin is dry without blisters.
* Healing time: Healing time is about 3 to 6 days; the superficial skin layer over the burn may peel off in 1 or 2 days.

Second-degree burns are more serious and involve the skin layers beneath the top layer:

* Signs and symptoms: These burns produce blisters, severe pain, and redness. The blisters sometimes break open and the area is wet looking with a bright pink to cherry red color.
* Healing time: Healing time varies depending on the severity of the burn.

Third-degree burns are the most serious type of burn and involve all the layers of the skin and underlying tissue:

* Signs and symptoms: The surface appears dry and can look waxy white, leathery, brown, or charred. There may be little or no pain or the area may feel numb at first because of nerve damage.
* Healing time: Healing time depends on the severity of the burn. Deep second- and third-degree burns (called full-thickness burns) will likely need to be treated with skin grafts, in which healthy skin is taken from another part of the body and surgically placed over the burn wound to help the area heal.

What to Do
Seek Medical Help Immediately When:

* You think your child has a second- or third-degree burn.
* The burned area is large, even if it seems like a minor burn. For any burn that appears to cover more than 10% of the body, call for medical assistance. And don't use wet compresses because they can cause the child's body temperature to drop. Instead, cover the area with a clean, soft cloth or towel.
* The burn comes from a fire, an electrical wire or socket, or chemicals.
* The burn is on the face, scalp, hands, joint surfaces, or genitals.
* The burn looks infected (with swelling, pus, increasing redness, or red streaking of the skin near the wound).

For First-Degree Burns: * Remove the child from the heat source. * Remove clothing from the burned area immediately. * Run cool (not cold) water over the burned area (if water isn't available, any cold, drinkable fluid can be used) or hold a clean, cold compress on the burn for approximately 3 to 5 minutes (do not use ice, as it may cause the burn to take longer to heal). * Do not apply butter, grease, powder, or any other remedies to the burn, as these increase the risk of infection. * If the burned area is small, loosely cover it with a sterile gauze pad or bandage. * Give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain. * If the area affected is small (the size of a quarter or smaller), keep the area clean and continue to use cool compresses and a loose dressing over the next 24 hours. You can also apply antibiotic cream two to three times a day, although this isn't absolutely necessary.

For Second- and Third-Degree Burns: * Seek emergency medical care, then follow these steps until medical personnel arrive: o Keep your child lying down with the burned area elevated. o Follow the instructions for first-degree burns. o Remove all jewelry and clothing from around the burn (in case there's any swelling after the injury), except for clothing that's stuck to the skin. If you're having difficulty removing clothing, you may need to cut it off or wait until medical assistance arrives. o Do not break any blisters. o Apply cool water over the area for at least 3 to 5 minutes, then cover the area with a clean white cloth or sheet until help arrives.
For Flame Burns:

* Extinguish the flames by having your child roll on the ground.
* Cover him or her with a blanket or jacket.
* Remove smoldering clothing and any jewelry around the burned area.
* Call for medical assistance, then follow instructions for second- and third-degree burns.

For Electrical and Chemical Burns:

* Make sure the child is not in contact with the electrical source before touching him or her or you may also get shocked.
* Flush the burned area with lots of running water for 5 minutes or more. If the burned area is large, use a tub, shower, buckets of water, or a garden hose.
* Do not remove any of your child's clothing before you've begun flushing the burn with water. As you continue flushing the burn, you can then remove clothing from the burned area.
* If the burned area is small, flush for another 10 to 20 minutes, apply a sterile gauze pad or bandage, and call your child's doctor.
* Chemical burns to the mouth or eyes require immediate medical evaluation after thorough flushing with water.

Although both chemical and electrical burns might not always be visible, they can be serious because of potential damage to the child's internal organs. Symptoms may vary, depending on the type and severity of the burn and what caused it and may include abdominal pain.

If you think your child may have swallowed a chemical substance or an object that could be harmful (for instance, a watch battery) first call poison control and then the emergency department. It is helpful to know what chemical product the child has swallowed or has been exposed to. You may need to take it with you to the hospital.

The Heimlich Maneuver for CHOKING
A choking victim can't speak or breathe and needs your help immediately. Follow these steps to help a choking victim:

Lay the child down, face up, on a firm surface and kneel or stand at the victim's feet, or hold infant on your lap facing away from you. Place the middle and index fingers of both your hands below his rib cage and above his navel. Press into the victim's upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust; do not squeeze the rib cage. Be very gentle. Repeat until object is expelled.
You can treat many minor eye irritations by flushing the eye, but more serious injuries require medical attention. Injuries to the eye are the most common preventable cause of blindness, so when in doubt, err on the side of caution and call your child's doctor for help.

What to Do:

Routine Irritations
(sand, dirt, and other foreign bodies on the eye surface)
* Wash your hands thoroughly before touching the eyelids to examine or flush the eye.
* Do not touch, press, or rub the eye itself, and do whatever you can to keep the child from touching it (a baby can be swaddled as a preventive measure).
* Do not try to remove any foreign body except by flushing, because of the risk of scratching the surface of the eye, especially the cornea.
* Tilt the child's head over a basin with the affected eye down and gently pull down the lower lid, encouraging the child to open his or her eyes as wide as possible. For an infant or small child, it's helpful to have a second person hold the child's eyes open while you flush.
* Gently pour a steady stream of lukewarm water (do not heat the water) from a pitcher across the eye. Sterile saline solution can also be used.
* Flush for up to 15 minutes, checking the eye every 5 minutes to see if the foreign body has been flushed out.
* Because a particle can scratch the cornea and cause an infection, the eye should be examined by a doctor if there continues to be any irritation afterward.
* If a foreign body is not dislodged by flushing, it will probably be necessary for a trained medical professional to flush the eye.

Embedded Foreign Body
(an object penetrates the globe of the eye)
* Call for emergency medical help.
* Cover the affected eye. If the object is small, use an eye patch or sterile dressing. If the object is large, cover the injured eye with a small cup taped in place. The point is to keep all pressure off the globe of the eye.
* Keep your child (and yourself) as calm and comfortable as possible until help arrives.

Chemical Exposure
* Many chemicals, even those found around the house, can damage an eye. If your child gets a chemical in the eye and you know what it is, look on the product's container for an emergency number to call for instructions.
* Flush the eye (see above) with lukewarm water for 15 to 30 minutes. If both eyes are affected, flush them in the shower.
* Call for emergency medical help.

Call your local poison control center for specific instructions. Be prepared to give the exact name of the chemical, if you have it. However, do not delay flushing the eye first.

Black Eye, Blunt Injury, or Contusion
A black eye is often a minor injury, but it can also appear when there is significant eye injury or head trauma. A visit to your child's doctor or an eye specialist may be required to rule out serious injury, particularly if you're not certain of the cause of the black eye.

For a black eye:
* Apply cold compresses intermittently: 5 to 10 minutes on, 10 to 15 minutes off. If you use ice, make sure it's covered with a towel or sock to protect the delicate skin on the eyelid. If you aren't at home when the injury occurs and there's no ice available, a cold soda will do to start.
* Use cold compresses for 24 to 48 hours, then switch to applying warm compresses intermittently. This will help the body reabsorb the leakage of blood and may help reduce discoloration.
* If the child is in pain, give acetaminophen - not aspirin or ibuprofen, which can increase bleeding.
* Prop the child's head with an extra pillow at night, and encourage him or her to sleep on the uninjured side of his or her face (pressure can increase swelling).
* Call your child's doctor, who may recommend an in-depth evaluation to rule out damage to the eye. Call immediately if any of the following symptoms are noted:
o increased redness
o drainage from the eye
o persistent eye pain
o any changes in vision
o any visible abnormality of the eyeball
o visible bleeding on the white part (sclera) of the eye, especially near the cornea

Head injuries fall into two categories: external (usually scalp) injuries and internal head injuries, which may involve the skull, the blood vessels within the skull, or the brain.

Fortunately, most childhood falls or blows to the head result in injury to the scalp only, which is usually more frightening than threatening. An internal head injury could have more serious implications because the skull serves as the protective helmet for the delicate brain.
External (Scalp) Injury

The scalp is rich with blood vessels, so even a minor cut to the scalp can bleed profusely. The "goose egg" or swelling that may appear on the scalp after a head blow results from the scalp's veins leaking fluid or blood into (and under) the scalp. It may take days or even weeks to disappear.

What to look for and what to do:

* Call your child's doctor if your child is an infant or has lost consciousness, even momentarily, or if your child of any age does any of the following:
o won't stop crying
o complains of head and neck pain
o becomes difficult to console
o isn't walking normally

* If your child is not an infant, has not lost consciousness, and is alert and behaving normally after the fall or blow:
o Apply an ice pack or instant cold pack to the injured area for 20 minutes. If you use ice, always wrap it in a washcloth or sock; ice applied directly to bare skin can cause frostbite damage.
o Observe your child carefully for the next 24 hours. If he or she shows any of the signs of internal injury (see below), call your child's doctor immediately.
o If the incident has occurred close to bedtime or naptime and your child falls asleep soon afterward, check him or her every few hours for twitching limbs or disturbances in color or breathing.
* If color and breathing are normal, and you observe or sense no other abnormalities, let your child sleep (unless your child's doctor has advised otherwise). There's no need to keep a child awake after a head injury.
* If color and/or breathing are abnormal, or if you aren't comfortable with your child's appearance (trust your instincts), arouse your child partially by sitting him or her up. Your child should fuss a bit and attempt to resettle. If he or she doesn't protest, try to awaken your child fully. If your child can't be awakened or shows any signs of internal injury (see below), call your child's doctor or an ambulance.

Suspected Internal Injury

The brain is cushioned by cerebrospinal fluid, but a severe blow to the head may knock the brain into the side of the skull or tear blood vessels. Any internal head injury - fractured skull, torn blood vessels, or damage to the brain itself - can be serious and possibly life threatening.

There are different levels of injury that require different levels of concern. It can be difficult to determine the level of injury, so it's always wise to discuss a head injury with your child's doctor. A clear indicator of a more serious injury is when your child loses consciousness or has signs of confusion.
What to look for and what to do:

Call an ambulance if your child shows any of the following symptoms:
* unconsciousness
* abnormal breathing
* obvious serious wound or fracture
* bleeding or clear fluid from the nose, ear, or mouth
* disturbance of speech or vision
* pupils of unequal size
* weakness or paralysis
* dizziness
* neck pain or stiffness
* seizure
* vomiting more than two to three times
* loss of bladder or bowel control

If your child is unconscious:
* Do not try to move him or her in case of neck or spine injury.
* Call for help.
* If you've been trained inCPR, follow the recommendations if they're appropriate.
* If your child is vomiting or has a seizure, turn him or her on the side while trying to keep the head and neck straight.
* If there's swelling, apply an ice pack or cold pack.

If your child is conscious:
* Do your best to keep him or her calm and still.
* If there's bleeding, apply a sterile dressing (bandage).
* Do not attempt to cleanse the wound, which may aggravate bleeding and/or cause serious complications if the skull is fractured.
* Do not apply direct pressure to the wound if you suspect the skull is fractured.
* Do not remove any object that's stuck in the wound.

Concussions are also considered a type of internal head injury. A concussion is the temporary loss of normal brain function as a result of an injury. Repeated concussions can result in permanent injury to the brain. One of the most common reasons kids get concussions is through sports, so it's important to make sure they wear appropriate protective gear and don't continue to play if they've had a head injury. However, it's possible to get a concussion that's mild and just requires observation.

If your child sustains an injury to the head, watch for the following signs that indicate that he or she may have a concussion:
* seeing stars and feeling dazed, dizzy, or light-headed
* trouble remembering things, such as what happened directly before and after the injury occurred (this can happen even with mild concussions)
* nausea or vomiting
* headaches
* blurred vision and sensitivity to light
* slurred speech or saying things that don't make sense
* difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions
* difficulty with coordination or balance (such as being unable to catch a ball or other easy tasks)
* feeling anxious or irritable for no apparent reason
* feeling overly tired

If you suspect a concussion, call your child's doctor for further instructions.
Preventing Head Injuries

It's impossible to prevent your child from ever being injured, but there are some things you can do to help keep blows to the head at bay. Make sure:

* your home is childproofed to prevent household accidents.
* your child always wears appropriate headgear and safety equipment when biking, in-line skating, skateboarding, snowboarding or skiing, and playing contact sports. (By wearing a bike helmet, for instance, your child can reduce the risk of getting a concussion by about 85%.)
* your child always uses a seat belt or child safety seat.
* your child takes it easy, especially after a concussion, and doesn't go back to rough play or playing sports until the injury has healed. (If your child reinjures the brain during the time it's still healing, it will take even more time to completely heal. Each time a person has a concussion, it does additional damage.)

Although they can be scary, nosebleeds are rarely cause for alarm. Common in kids ages 3 to 10 years, nosebleeds often stop on their own and can be treated safely at home.

What to Do:
* Stay calm and reassure your child.
* Sit your child upright in a chair or in your lap and have your child tilt his or her head slightly forward.
* Gently pinch your child's nose (just below the bony ridge) with a tissue or clean washcloth.
* Keep pressure on your child's nose for about 10 minutes; if you stop too soon, bleeding may start again. It may also help to apply ice wrapped in a paper towel.
* Do not have your child lean back. This may cause blood to flow down the back of the throat, which tastes bad and may initiate gagging, coughing, or vomiting.
* Have your child to rest for a while after a nosebleed. Discourage blowing, picking, rubbing, and any rough play.

Call your child's doctor if your child:
* has frequent nosebleeds
* may have put something in his or her nose
* tends to bruise easily
* has heavy bleeding from minor wounds or bleeding from another place, such as the gums
* recently started taking new medicine

Seek emergency medical care or call your child's doctor if bleeding:
* is heavy, or is accompanied by dizziness or weakness
* is the result of a fall or blow to the head
* continues after two attempts of applying pressure for 10 minutes each

Preventing Future Nosebleeds
Most nosebleeds are caused by zealous blowing or picking, or a blow to the nose during rough play. In the wintertime, especially, if your child's bed is near a heater, the membranes inside the nose can become dried and itchy, causing your child to pick at his or her nose and further irritate the nasal tissue. Colds, other viruses, and allergies may also irritate the lining of the nose.

To help prevent your child from getting nosebleeds:
* Keep your child's nails short to prevent picking.
* Keep the inside of your child's nose moist with saline nasal spray or dab petroleum jelly gently around the opening of the nostrils.
* Humidify your child's room with a vaporizer (or humidifier) if the air in your home is dry. You can buy a cool mist or hot steam (also called warm mist) model. If you go with the hot steam kind, make sure to keep it out of your child's reach to avoid scalding. It's also important to keep vaporizers clean to prevent mildew.
* Make sure your child wears protective athletic equipment when participating in sports that could cause injury to the nose.

Even when taking proper precautions, your child may still get a bloody nose occasionally. But the next time your child gets a nosebleed, try not to panic. They're usually harmless and are almost always easy to stop.

The two greatest risks from most insect stings and bites are allergic reaction (which may occasionally be fatal) and infection (more likely and less serious).

What to Do:
Bee, Wasp, Hornet, and Yellow Jacket Stings
* A bee will leave behind a stinger attached to a venom sac. Try to remove it as quickly as possible. One way is to gently scrape it out with a blunt-edged object, such as a credit card or a dull knife.
* Wash the area carefully with soap and water. Do this two to three times a day until the skin is healed.
* Apply a cold pack, an ice pack wrapped in a cloth, or a cold, wet washcloth for a few minutes.
* Give acetaminophen for pain.
* For pain and itching, give an over-the-counter oral antihistamine, if your child's doctor says it's OK; follow dosage instructions for your child's age and weight. You could also apply a corticosteroid cream or calamine lotion to the sting area.
* A sting anywhere in the mouth warrants immediate medical attention. That's because stings in the mucous membranes of the mouth can quickly cause severe swelling that may block airways. You should seek medical care if you note a large skin rash, a large area of swelling around the sting site, or if swelling or pain persists for more than 72 hours. You should seek immediate medical care if you notice any of the following signs, which may indicate a serious or even potentially life-threatening allergic reaction:
o wheezing or difficulty breathing
o tightness in throat or chest
o swelling of the lips
o dizziness or fainting
o nausea or vomiting

Spider Bites
The black widow and the brown recluse (or violin) spider are found in warm climates.

* Wash the area carefully with soap and water. Do this two to three times a day until skin is healed.
* Apply cool compresses.
* Give acetaminophen for pain.
* To protect against infection, apply an antibiotic ointment and keep the child's hands washed.
* If you have any reason to suspect your child has been bitten by a black widow or brown recluse spider, apply ice to the bite site and head for the emergency room. Symptoms include:
o a deep blue or purple area around the bite, surrounded by a whitish ring and a large outer red ring
o body rash
o muscle spasms, tightness, and stiffness
o abdominal pain
o headache or fever
o general feeling of sickness
o lack of appetite
o joint pain
o nausea or vomiting

Check your children and pets for ticks carefully after you've been in or around a wooded area. Common types of ticks include dog ticks.

If you find a tick on your child:

* Call your child's doctor. The doctor may want you to save the tick after removal (you can put it in a jar of alcohol to kill it).
* Use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to your child's skin.
* Pull firmly and steadily on the tick until it lets go, then swab the bite site with alcohol.
* Don't use petroleum jelly or a lit match to kill and remove a tick.

Most small cuts don't present any danger to your child. But bleeding from large cuts may require immediate medical treatment. Depending on the type of wound and its location, there can be damage to tendons and nerves.

What to Do:
For Minor Bleeding From a Small Cut or Abrasion (Scrape):
* Rinse the wound thoroughly with water to clean out dirt and debris.
* Then wash the wound with a mild soap and rinse thoroughly. (For minor wounds, it isn't necessary to use an antiseptic solution to prevent infection, and some can cause allergic skin reactions.)
* Cover the wound with a sterile adhesive bandage or sterile gauze and adhesive tape.
* Examine the wound daily. If the bandage gets wet, remove it and apply a new one. After the wound forms a scab, a bandage is no longer necessary.
* Call your child's doctor if the wound is red, swollen, tender, warm, or draining pus.

For Bleeding From a Large Cut or Laceration:
* Wash the wound thoroughly with water. This will allow you to see the wound clearly and assess its size.
* Place a piece of sterile gauze or a clean cloth over the entire wound. If available, use clean latex or rubber gloves to protect yourself from exposure to possible infection from the blood of a child who isn't your own. If you can, raise the bleeding body part above the level of your child's heart. Do not apply a tourniquet.
* Using the palm of your hand on the gauze or cloth, apply steady, direct pressure to the wound for 5 minutes. (During the 5 minutes, do not stop to check the wound or remove blood clots that may form on the gauze.)
* If blood soaks through the gauze, do not remove it. Apply another gauze pad on top and continue applying pressure.
* Call your child's doctor or seek immediate medical attention for all large cuts or lacerations, or if:
o you're unable to stop the bleeding after 5 minutes of pressure, or if the wound begins bleeding again (continue applying pressure until help arrives)
o you're unable to clean out dirt and debris thoroughly, or there' s something else stuck in the wound
o the wound is on your child's face or neck
o the injury was caused by an animal or human bite, burn, electrical injury, or puncture wound (e.g., a nail)
o the cut is more than half an inch long or appears to be deep - large or deep wounds can result in nerve or tendon damage

A broken (fractured) bone requires emergency care. Suspect a possible broken bone if your child heard or felt a bone snap, if your child has difficulty moving the injured part, or if the injured part moves in an unnatural way or is very painful to the touch.

A sprain occurs when the ligaments, which hold bones together, are overstretched and partially torn. Simply overstretching any part of the musculature is called a strain. Sprains and strains generally cause swelling and pain, and there may be bruises around the injured area. Most sprains, after proper medical evaluation, can be treated at home.

What to Do:
For a Suspected Broken Bone:
* If the injury involves your child's neck or back, do not move him unless the child is in imminent danger. Movement can cause serious nerve damage. Phone for emergency medical help. If your child must be moved, the neck and back must be completely immobilized first. Keeping your child's head, neck, and back in alignment, move the child as a unit.
* If your child has an open break (bone protrudes through the skin) and there is severe bleeding, apply pressure on the bleeding area with a gauze pad or a clean piece of clothing or other material. Do not wash the wound or try to push back any part of the bone that may be sticking out.
* If your child must be moved, apply splints around the injured limb to prevent further injury. Leave the limb in the position you find it. The splints should be applied in that position. Splints can be made by using boards, brooms, a stack of newspapers, cardboard, or anything firm, and can be padded with pillows, shirts, towels, or anything soft. Splints must be long enough to extend beyond the joints above and below the fracture.
* Place cold packs or a bag of ice wrapped in cloth on the injured area.
* Keep your child lying down until medical help arrives.

For a Suspected Sprain or Strain:
* If the injury involves your child's neck or back, do not move him unless the child is in imminent danger. Movement can cause serious nerve damage. Phone for emergency medical help. If your child must be moved, the neck and back must be completely immobilized first. Keeping the head, neck, and back in alignment, move your child as a unit.
* It may be difficult to tell the difference between a sprain and a break. If there is any doubt whatsoever, phone your child's doctor or take your child to the nearest hospital emergency department. An X-ray can determine whether a bone is broken.
* First aid for sprains and strains includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (known as RICE).
o Rest the injured part of the body.
o Apply ice packs or cold compresses for up to 10 or 15 minutes at a time every few hours for the first 2 days to prevent swelling.
o Wearing an elastic compression bandage (such as an ACE bandage) for at least 2 days will reduce swelling.
o Keep the injured part elevated above the level of the heart as much as possible to reduce swelling.
* Do not apply heat in any form for at least 24 hours. Heat increases swelling and pain.
* Your child's doctor may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

i hope this is useful in "hopefully I'll never practice but thank goodness I know some knowledge."


It seems like yesterday I was carrying her for the first time in hospital.

Fast forward >>>> 4 months later, I see her growing in all aspects.
She has been complaining to us alot of late, shouting out loud(so funny) when she's angry or irritated. Umm.... I think she's going to be fiercer (small but fierce) than Athena & bully her instead? And she's vocalized words like "poo" "ah ge ge." She takes great interest in our conversation and she'll have one with us; smiling at the same time. (very smiley girl)

She turns to sound now, and she'll look for me and she does look at her sister when she's dancing.
We've let her hold onto a rattle, and she looked at it and when her hands moved her eyes seems to follow the same direction.

She has been drooling too! And I must admit she's a smart girl - she takes the person's (who's carrying her) finger and puts it in her own mouth. Haha! Smart girl, she'll not inflict the pain on herself. I think she should cut her first teeth sometime in 4 months+??

I must thank God for giving me two easy children to care. Aricia is now sleeping through the night only waking up at 6+ close to 7am or sometimes at 7am. Her last feed is usually 11pm, but for the past 2 days that sleepy head fell asleep after her 8+pm feed and 'kun' all the way. I've heard of parents complaining that their children have been waking up every few hours in the night, I'm glad my 2 children were sensible enough to let their pig mummy sleep. Infact Athena was a superbly good baby that she slept through at around 2 months. Aricia though slightly a little later.. better than never!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Long weekend

I feel like I'm having a long weekend. Why? Because hubby's been at home for the whole week... and you know its weird that he's around in the daytime on a weekday, so I kept thinking it's a weekend. When I get up in the morning, I always try to recall what day it is today and then I'll get out of bed.

This week too, Athena benefitted by pontang-ing school 2 days. Oh boy! Was she happy!!
Mon (25th) - Public Holiday
Tue (26th) - @ Compass Point
Wed (27th) - Went school. Picked her up at 4+pm to go Plaza Singapura
Thu (28th) - @ Ikea & Courts
Fri (29th) - Finally stayed at home

Bet hubby feels like he's having a long holiday too (infact he did suggest going for a short trip but....2kids ah....quite difficult.) So, there's tomorrow; the day after; Monday and Tuesday. Wow! 11 days - included the weekend before Christmas.

Baby is small

I am used to the stares that I get from people, I get stares with Baby Athena too - but not as much as Aricia.

I am used to seeing people gasp at the sight of the 'little mouse', with her eyes opened big & smiling & head held up looking at things around her. She does look like a little mouse. But...........she's cute. I like her this way, I'm not saying this just to counsel myself. But many a times people tactfully tell me, "it doesn't matter if they're small at birth, most importantly they must be healthy." I don't know if they mean it or they were just being polite.

I mean, what can I do? Some people have big babies despite their small size, I am destined to have small babies (probably each time getting smaller) Honestly speaking, I wouldn't mind a small baby coz' it'll be easier for natural delivery. Darn! If not for the "fate of the child" for Athena, I believed I could have just popped her out just like that. And it saves me from the pain from C-section for both deliveries.
And I shouldn't worry about my baby being small too, coz' Athena did very well and she's grown up to be like any 4 year old. Infact, now I get remarks from "huh? she's 4 years old. So big.." So why should I worry??
Aricia might be like her sister, whose going to be taller than mummy. (Thanks to daddy's genes) Even if she doesn't grow big, she might make up with her being a "sharp" young girl. There's this girl called Xinhui in Athena's school, she's one year older but she's really small - even Athena towers over her - but she's a very sharp and streetwise child.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

She's becoming a lady

I see myself in Athena, when she asked for a pair of high heel shoes on Christmas Day - I was happy! I was happy that finally she did ask for something different. ( I wonder when she'll ask for a ear hole)
I was happy that I didn't have to fork out the money, all I asked her was to manja with the daddy.... and he bought her a KILLER high heel shoe!

After buying the shoe for her, she insisted to wear it at that time. Of course you'll hear the 'click clack' sound. It's very irritating I must admit. But then again, that's what I did last time. And I'll deliberately choose those nice shoes with a hard front and start kicking people.

She had to accidentally stepped on my toes twice in that short span of 1hr!! Ouch!

When we got back home, the moment she stepped into the house without her shoes.. her remark to KZ was "Aunty Zet, why is the floor high low high low." We found it funny and bursts out laughing at her remark.

The next day (26th) she wore her shoe with her home lousy clothes and she began noticing what strangers wore. She said "nobody's shoe nice nice. My shoe nice nice."

Today, she gleefully asked to wear her high heels. Without protesting she did ask to wear a dress to match the shoes (as we told her no shorts/T-shirts with high heels)I helped her match her clothes today as she picked out a funny co-ordination. I must admit she does really look good.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I'm F.A.T

Kai Zet told me that I've put on weight. I thought so too........afterall I've been eating like I'm never gonna live past tomorrow. And I know the reason why I haven't been able to lose weight - I'm not doing any housework!

Well, I can put on some of my pre-pregnancy clothes.. but some... it's getting tighter after each pregnancy.
I have been trying to get a skirt which I can use as a casual wear but haven't been able to find one that fits me or don't bring out the "fats from waist, thighs & buttocks.

It is really disheartening that I've grown from M to L and now to XL. And you know what?! I was in a shop in Plaza Singapura asking the lady what the siZe number means. She kindda whispered to me trying not to be rude by saying it's XXL. I replied "oh well, I think it'll fit me!" Argh! And nope I didn't get that skirt coz' it was too short and not like I've got flattering thighs or buttocks to show off. My thighs are like a tree-trunk! I can't imagine myself in an escalator with that skirt on, puke at the sight when guys think they can ogle from below.

I doubt I will ever lose the weight.. I mean look at what I'm eating; look at my weakness - chocolates and sweet stuffs. And when I try to be healthy by having only PohPiah, I end up telling the uncle/auntie " Uncle/Auntie 多多甜浆" When I feel like eating Dumplings soup, I end up ordering a Cheng Teng. ???
And when a trip to Carrefour had me asking hubby to buy the Patigel L'Opera ($21.50 but worth it!)
So much for my determination to lose weight
I guess it will be of no use even if I lipo myself everywhere, the fats will come back with the stuffs I'm stuffing myself.

So, what can I do? Lock myself up in a room with no food except water?

Looks like I gotta be more hardworking and hit the gym daily.
Feelings : depressed

Do you know how to interpret your baby's cries??

No parents, even if they're parents of 3 kids will dare to tell you that they don't panic when their baby cries. Because all babies are different. As parents, they will try all means to pacify the child; may risk having a wasted milk (if interpret wrongly) until the child finally stops crying.

Of course, give a carer a few weeks or probably a month or two to interpret her baby.

I must admit it was a challenge to try to understand what Aricia wants. She's quite a hum-bao and "complains" alot. But as her mother, I was able to guess it right (read it carefully, it's based on intuition) what she wants after some time. Many times would tell hubby or KZ that she wants this & that.Even when she decided to change strategy, I was able to catch up with her. What can I say?? I'm her marder what?!

Was surfing online and thought this is interesting and would like to share it with you.

Priscilla Dunstan, founder of Dunstan Baby Language, has found that newborns use specific 'words' to express basic needs, such as hunger, gas or tiredness. The Dunstan Baby Language teaches parents how to identify these words within their baby's cries, therefore allowing them to respond appropriately to their baby's physical need and eliminating any trial and error by the parents that often leads to frustration and a decrease in self-confidence.

Independent research has proven that the use of the system results in happier, more contented babies who sleep longer and cry less. This breakthrough takes the guesswork out of parenting a new baby, and builds confidence in the parent's ability to care for their newborn. Unlike other newborn communication tools or programs, the Dunstan Baby Language is effective from day one and can be put into practice the day the baby is born.

The Words
The Dunstan Baby Language is truly universal. It is a primal, human language which we all share. The language is created by a reflex to a physical need -- just like a burp or hiccup. When a baby is hungry, has gas, is tired or simply uncomfortable, they produce a sound to communicate that condition. While babies have always communicated in this way, the Dunstan Baby Language is the first system that has identified these sounds and can teach their meanings to parents.
The Dunstan Baby approach has enormous potential to help all mothers and fathers better understand their newborn's cries and set each family on a path toward less stressful, more enjoyable parenting."

Key Figures and Statistics
As Priscilla viewed footage of crying babies from countries across the world, she quickly observed that all babies use 'words' to communicate their needs. In 2006, Dunstan Baby commissioned independent research that was guided by Brown University's leading global infant development centre. Results in Australia and the United States confirmed what Pricilla had identified -- the existence of a universal baby language independent of race, ethnicity and country of origin.

Key findings in Australia and the USA include*:
-- 90% of mothers believe that the language is valuable and would
recommend it to other parents
-- 70% find their child settles down faster after using the system
-- 70% feel more confident as a mother
-- 50% reported unbroken sleep for themselves and their baby
-- 2 out of 3 fathers also reported reduced levels of stress, greater
paternal involvement in the baby's care, and more positive marital

Dunstan Baby Language

This was only launched some time in November so I'm at the losing end. Those who benefit would be those who are expecting now.
Nevertheless, I tried to pick out the words from Aricia but her cries all sounded the same to me.

Attempts to lactate Day 6 / Day 7 & ... I've lost track

Apparently due to the long absence in blogging (stupid server problem), I've lost track of the days.
To sum it up, not successful!
1) Couldn't do it every feed for her. Still gotta get busy with that big girl. Everytime I try (esp evening time) she'll whine for me.... argh!
2) Holiday season leh.... the mother also take a breakkie, and only did direct once per day.
3) Suckle & sleep. End up syringing it. Tedious? No, but I would say waste of time on the time while trying to make her drink from "me"... not productive. Know what I mean??
4) Read this - THE MOTHER END UP SLEEPING - luckily I didn't drop her

Initially had intended to leave Athena in mom's place for the whole of this week since she doesn't have any music lesson on Wednesday, but didn't know that hubby had taken the entire year off to clear his annual leave... which means he'll want Athena at home & go jalan-jalan.
With her out of the house, at least I can try to fully concentrate on latching Aricia 100%, every feed.

Okay, pumping amount is still that miserable though I've been drinking almost 1.2l per day, and popping in Fenugreek. Coz' technically I need the demand to get the supply.

So have decided to push back Athena's daily home studies (which is to start in Jan), and let her stay in mom's place while I try to be stress-free and give my full attention to Aricia for one week - which I hope is a sufficient time to relactate. Well, I hope I get the full support from everyone around me. If all fails, then I will be more 心干情愿 to stop breastfeeding.

I will still continue pumping that miserable amount to do a direct syring for her. At least it doesn't stop my milk supply for the time being.
As for the LC, I don't find it necessary to see her anymore coz' basically the help that I need now is the latching on (which Aricia sometimes siao siao can get it, sometimes just wants to suckle as a pacifier).

Monday, December 25, 2006


Well... this mother wants some fun but real lazy to do it. Well, you can't blame me, I've exhausted myself with Athena's birthday party... and like you should know her birthday falls exactly a month before Christmas.

I want to get into the Christmas spirit but I aint a little girl anymore. So.... I pass it on to my little girl (which I know I'll get the tsk tsk from my readers about telling Athena about Santa - when I should be talking to her about God). I hope I have the opportunity to travel to Lapland to see Santa's village and tell him how much I would love to believe in him. But why is it that he never came to give me presents when I had been a very very very good girl all these years (minus my bad temper). And even though we have no chimneys, he could still come rapelling down my block or take the lift. Well... I'm sure he can read - 12 (12th floor)so why isn't he here?

Anyhow, the night before. I asked Athena if she wanted to leave cookies & milk which she did. Of course as a mummy, I cheated on the sweets in her Santa bag. I took the sweets from our fridge and bought her the Toggi mini chocolates coz' she said she wanted chocolates and I didn't want to disappoint her- she knows what chocolates we have in the fridge.
I hid the Milo and put the cookies back in the cookie jar. (haha!)

This Christmas morning, I felt so elated just like I've always been every year. But I know Santa didn't leave any present for me.. Infact I know every package under the tree. Sigh...

I have the family over at my place. Why? Actually every year my siblings and myself like to dine together ( and like we see each other everyday). But I guess it's just a way for us to be closer and talk rubbish. I mean, we were fated to be siblings so we gotta stick together. Okay.. don't cry at my sob sob story. Anyway, hubby suggested having it at our place instead coz' it's basically expensive everywhere. So, we were stuck with "your house or my house?" Then mom suggested my place coz' with one part of the living room cordoned off for the domestic helper to sleep, it didn't look nice to have guests over.
So.. it's at my place and like as if I can cook. All I can do is to eat and eat. So it's not surprising that the bulk of the food came from mom. On our side, we prepared 2 simple nicknacks - sotong balls and sausage. And we bought the log cake.

In the morning, I asked Athena to do the cupcakes. I let Athena do the decorations, wanted her to pipe in the cream nicely with the piping syringe but I think I'll end up dead (from screaming) on the table before she does her second piece. So what I did was to help her spread it on the cupcake. I changed some colours for her too. It's rather simple so I think I will do something more next time.

Once she finished with the decorations, I wanted to collect the cake from Compass Point - only to have hubby nagging "why buy ice-cream cake from Swensons? Waste of money!" I don't know what's his real reason for nagging - too far away? Anyway, the order's been placed so there's nothing he can do.

Read Athena's blog to find out what happened during the simple feast.

I had everyone present to draw numbers and asked Athena to help distribute the small gifts. At first she was so happy and did so well and then she remembered and asked " then me leh..." That girl is so funny. She sat down at the tree, opened up all the papers to select the gift that she wanted. Of course she chose the biggest one.

I had wanted to decorate the Gingerbread House which I had purchased from Ikea. But because it is going to be very sweet with all the sweets and biscuits up on the house. Athena has been coughing quite badly, I decided to give it a miss. Anyway, it won't expire that soon.. so I hope to have it up when Athena's better.

My Christmas present :
What I got from sister is a timer (you know those used for bakery??). She wrote on the gift tag :- for the control freak. I can imagine myself shouting "Athena, I'll give you 5 minutes to keep your toys!" and then start setting the timer. And what my SIL gave me - a Relaxing; New Age CD. Haha! She must have known I'm a highly stressed person.

Feedback : The Chocolate Noel (ice-cream cake) from Swensons isn't that fantastic at all.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Tis' the seasons to be jolly

Ritually we'd join the throngs of people in Orchard on the Eve. Strange that this year, it didn't seem crowded and it didn't sound ridiculous having to push a stroller in Orchard Road.

But, alas! The rain came.. when we had already left the car somewhere in one end of Orchard and having lunch on the other side. No rain shield for the pram, no umbrellas for the Ah Pek & Ah Soh. Yalah, that's why we're the APAS (ah pek, ah soh). Actually the APAS can walk in the rain, infact the AS enjoyed walking in the rain so much that she and Jasmine deliberately walked the long way to another bus stop along East Coast - opposite St Pat's.

Anyway, in order to get the kids in the pram. We asked Athena to carry her mei-mei. And once she heard us talking "cham lah, Aricia's legs will get wet. The plastic cannot cover her legs." Next minute, I didn't see the legs, apparently Athena was clever enough to bring up her sister's legs.
Then during our outing, she attracted alot of stares and smiles from people who were pleased that a child at her age could take care of her sister.
I won't go on about what we did, just read Athena's blog.

Our conversation : The Santa & Bible retold

This conversation happens only about an hour ago as I put Athena to bed. I had to lie to her about Santa coming and leaving milk & cookies for Santa blah blah.... Yah, I know I shouldn't be influencing my child this way... but I was not given a chance to believe in Santa or knew the story of Santa. Yah, ask my mom she say I siao, only got Justice Bao in red suit.
Anyway, you only get to be a child once. A small lie won't make me go to hell right?

M : Athena, you have to leave milk & cookies for Santa tonight. Tell Santa what you want & ask him to put in this bag.
A : Mummy, I dun have milk, I only have chocolate milk and carrot juice. Can?
M : Can
A : I don't have cookies............(about to cry)
M : Have, we have cookies
(leaves a pack of unopened Milo and shortbread on the console next to her bed)
A : Mummy, I open the Milo for Santa
M : No, no. Santa can open it himself (better don't open, otherwise I have to drink it up)
Photo of her / Note from Santa ahem.. moi the next morning

As she was slowly getting into kuning-land.
A : Mummy, where Santa stay?
M : In North Pole
A : Why?
M : Becoz' he needs his reindeers to bring him around to give out presents to children. And reindeers can only live in cold country
(okay... I gotta read on why the North Pole or Scandinavian = Santa)
A : Mummy, Got( God) stay where?
M : Got what?
A : Got stay where?
M : Oh........
A : Or! I know. God stay in a hot country
M : God stay in a hot and cold country. God is everywhere
(as she mumbles into kuning-land)
A : God stay in a garden
M : Garden (without letting me continue my sentence, she rattles on again)
A : Or! God stay in a sand
A : Or! God stay in a boat
A : God stay in a river
M : (trying to connect everything) You mean, God stays in a boat that is in a river?
A : Yes!
M : Which river
A : Punggol river
( *slap head*)
M : Okay.... go to sleep. Santa is coming tonight. It's Jesus birthday tomorrow.
A : No! It's Jesus birthday that day in school. We celebrate in school....
M : Tomorrow is Jesus's birthday
A : Okay, Santa is coming. (being childish myself, asked her this next question) Santa is coming by??
M : By train
(* slap head*)


To my readers, where ever you are - I hope this is not too late (due to time difference)


Joyeux Noël & une bonne année
Fröhliches Weihnachten & ein Glückliches Neujahr
Buon Natale & un anno nuovo Felice

To put it simply, In English it is :

Friday, December 22, 2006

Winter Solstice 冬至

Today marks 冬至 in our Lunar Calendar. Mom made some early in the morning as offering to the Gods and ancestors. And then she had to make some more for us to eat, I helped her - ah.... only 2 lah (got excuse mah.. Aricia crying). Being the chocoholic, I suggested putting chocolates inside which she thought it was a good idea and rattled on "infact you can put anything inside what!" (my mind wondered off to durians; jackfruit etc..)
''Ma, you think M&Ms can or not huh?''
''You try lah.''
I know not many people make the tang yuan - 汤圆 now that we can easily buy them from supermarkets, and find them in various fillings eg. peanuts, black sesame and red bean. Infact, since it's available all year round you can eat it anytime. But somehow I still like the homemade ones with brown sugar (gula melaka) where I can sit down with my mom at the table and try to help a little and then run away (no patience, short attention span.) and chat with her. And when everythings' done sit down and eat. Haha! Honestly speaking, I haven't got the patience and would prefer to buy. I wonder who I inherited the impatience from, so I can't blame Athena for being so impatient?!

Anyway, mom made a variation this year. She, seeing that I like ondeh ondeh, bought freshly grated coconut and made these. Not bad ..... she wanted to find peanuts to make muah chee
but couldn't find any. Umm... the Gods and grandparents are lucky hor?

Video of mom making tang yuan (minus my sister's backside in view- hahahaha)

The recipe for 汤圆 I found online

The Chinese observes a few festivals yearly:-

* New Year's Day
First Day of the First Month of the year

* The Lantern Festival Yuanxiao Jie 元宵节
15-th Day of the First Month of the year

* Qingming - The Clear & Bright Festival

* Dragon Boat Festival - Duanwu Jie 端午节
5-th Day of the 5-th Month of the year
Sweet Dumpling
Dragon Boat Races

* Festival of Qi Xi Jie 乞巧节
7th Day of the 7th Month of the year
Sometimes called the 'Chinese Valentine's Day'

* Moon Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival
15-th Day of the 8-th Month of the year

* Double Nineth (Elder Day) 重阳节
9-th Day of the 9-th Month of the year

* Dong Zhi - Winter Solstice Festival 冬至 December 22,2006

About Winter Solstice 冬至

As early as 2,500 years ago, around the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), Chinese people determined the winter solstice by observing movements of the sun with sundials. It falls on December 22 or 23.

In the Chinese idea of Yin and Yang, Yin symbolizes feminine, negative and dark qualities of the universe, and yang masculine, positive and fiery qualities, and when something goes to one extreme it then goes to the opposite. Winter solstice in the northern hemisphere is the shortest day and longest night. After it, days become longer, which ancient Chinese thought meant yang qualities would become stronger, so should be celebrated.

The winter solstice became a festival during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) and thrived in the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279). Han officials organized celebrations and it was recognized as a holiday; frontier fortresses closed and business and travel stopped. In the Tang and Song dynasties, it was a day to make offerings to heaven and people’s ancestors, something both emperors and common people did. According to records from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the day was regarded to be as important as Spring Festival (Chinese Lunar New Year).

The kinds of food people eat during Winter Solstice Festival vary due to different local customs.

In some parts of northern China, like Beijing, people eat dumpling soup (huntun) on this day. It’s said that in the Han Dynasty, when Hun tribes attacked China’s borders, two tribal leaders were the fiercest. One was named Hun and the other Tun. So when people made food to offer to their ancestors and celebrate the festival, they called the dumpling soup they ate huntun to show their hatred for their enemy.

In other parts of northern China, such as Henan, people eat dumplings in honor of a famous doctor named Zhang Zhongjing (150-219). Zhang is remembered not only as a brilliant physician but as being very kind to the poor.

According to local custom, one year the winter was so cold that many people in Zhang's hometown of Nanyang suffered from painful chilblains. Seeing that his small clinic was no longer able to accommodate an ever increasing number of patients, Zhang asked his brother to put up a tent in the village square. A large cauldron was placed inside the tent to prepare medicine, in which Zhang had dumplings stuffed with mutton boiled. Every patient got a bowl of the soup with two dumplings, and their chilblains disappeared in a day or two. Zhang's mixture soon became a popular recipe, and when he died, people began to eat dumplings on the day of the winter solstice in his memory.

In northern China, many people eat mutton and dog meat because these are believed to be hot yang foods, bringing warmth to the body and dispelling the cold of yin.

In parts of southern China, people eat tangyuan (rice dumplings), a kind of stuffed small sweet ball of glutinous rice flour. Tangyuan can be used as offerings to ancestors or gifts for friends and relatives. The Chinese word tang (meaning “soup”) sounds like tuan, which means reunion, while yuan means perfect and happy. The entire phrase tangyuan therefore symbolizes "tuanyuan" (family reunion), and eating it at the winter solstice signifies family unity and prosperity. For luck, some families prefer to have pink tangyuan mixed in with white ones.

In other parts of southern China, whole families get together to have a meal of red beans and glutinous rice to drive away ghosts and evil. According to one tale, a man named Gong Gongshi had an evil son who died on the winter solstice. After death, he became a spirit that made people ill, but Gong knew his son was afraid of red beans so he taught people to cook red bean rice to keep him at bay.

People in Taiwan have a custom of offering nine-layer cakes to their ancestors. They make cakes in the shape of chickens, ducks, tortoises, pigs, cows or sheep with glutinous rice flour and steam them in different layers of a pot. These animals all signify good luck in Chinese tradition. People of the same surname or family clan gather at ancestral temples to worship in age order.

Noodles are popular in many areas; as the days get longer there is s saying that each gets longer by the length of a thread. So noodles specially made for the festival are called Long Thread Noodles.