Jul 17, 2007 - Parenting, Philosophy, Random    No Comments

Growing up…

I know it sounds so cliche but I was thinking the other day about how quickly children grow up (don’t we all?), and then it occurred to me that to a great extent, it is how much and what we expect of them.

And then I had yet another ‘West meets East’ parenting revelation….

Type ’17-month old toddler’ in to Google and you are inundated with a whole host of (very good, mostly Western) websites detailing, the milestones your child should be reaching at this age, how he/she should be walking or climbing, saying some words and then we come to the bit about self-feeding. Most of these websites will tell you, that your child can at this age feed themselves, mostly using their fingers and eating finger-food. They are also learning to grasp the use of a spoon at this age, and some will master it more quickly than others. So, in a nutshell, expect to be able to sit your child down at the dining table during mealtimes, give him/her food on a plate and while you are warned to expect mess, your child should without a doubt be able to eat independently.

Now, Georgia does perfectly fine…she has perfected the art of using her spoon. In fact, this evening she showed us she could use her spoon in both her left and her right hand. And if I keep a hawk’s watch on her and move at lightning speed to catch ‘raining’ food, there’s hardly any mess on the floor at all.

A week ago though, she went through a funny phase of only wanting to use her fingers, and sometimes she got fed-up and just sat with the baby-bird-type of open mouth waiting for food to magically appear.

This was when I had a flash-back to when I was about 5 or 6-years old, in my grandmothers house (Penang, Malaysia) playing with my cousins. We were all cleaned and washed and were being fed dinner out in the garden, which meant, we could pretend to be aeroplanes flying about and come back for food as soon as we were done chewing. By being fed, I mean either my mum or aunt had a plate of  food from which they were feeding us from. And I seem to remember this happening quite often. This… in contrast to my 17-month old, feeding herself at the table consistently at every meal-time.

Do Western parenting philosophies and ideologies expect children to grow up more quickly than Eastern ways?

Jul 11, 2007 - Parenting    No Comments

To have or not to have …the MMR

InjectionsThe huge hullabaloo about the MMR vaccine continues to plague the decision making process of most parents with toddlers and I am no exception. Tony Blair has refused to comment on whether his youngest child, Leo was given the vaccine, while current Tory leader David Cameron told the press that all his children had been given the MMR.

What of all the evidence that points to the fact that MMR is linked to autism and the mountain of evidence scientists have attempted to put forth disclaiming the link? Lucky for me, I have easy access to all those journal articles, including the original Wakefield study that many later claim was exceedingly flawed.

Based on science, it does seem that there is little to suggest a direct link between MMR and autism. That is not to say the vaccine is safe. As with all vaccines, combined or separate, each contains either the dead or weakened live form of the disease. Apparently, for the MMR, the individual jabs are not necessarily any safer than the combined one.

The anecdotal evidence however is much, much more scary. How can you not feel fear grip it’s icy fingers about your heart when you read of parents convinced that their children were perfectly healthy and reaching all developmental milestones until their MMR jabs. Worse still, of the child who was accidentally given the second dose of this triple dose vaccine instead of the first…..apparently he never recovered.

Tabloid fodder or not, it does not make a parent any more confident of the MMR when the former Chief Scientific Officer claims that the UK Government has not evaluated properly the risks posed by the vaccine. One does wonder why he did not do more to stop the use of the vaccine during his time in the Government.

The notion that either measles, mumps or ruebella is fatal, seems rather difficult to swallow in it’s entirety when we live in urban communities with almost instant access to health-care if necessary. It is a completely different story, in the rural outback if one had to travel miles and miles on foot or for days to see a doctor.

The long and short of it all, I am not convinced the MMR is a complete safe bet. So Georgia will not be getting it for now.

Jul 4, 2007 - Parenting, Random    No Comments

Multitasking baby

You know how everyone just knows that women are better than men at multitasking?

Well, Georgia showed me something, actually multiple things (!) that I believe puts to rest the question ‘why ?’

 Clara Cow wraps up warmAt the tender age of 16 months, this ‘kidd-o’ mine is able to walk, read her book (Clara Cow wraps up warm) AND jig to music all at the same time.

 Doesn’t that just explain why women can multitask and men (well, most men anyway) can’t…..we start young!

Jul 3, 2007 - Parenting, Random    No Comments

16-month old Fasion Diva

Would you believe that one day short of turning 17 …. months – that is, Georgia has decided, (rightly so, I might add) that I do not have a fashion sense.

There’s something about being a Physical Science Academic that throws fashion out the window. What’s the point when you’re always in a white lab coat or worse, awe-inspiring grubs might be forever stained with UV-reacting silver chloride or potassium permanganate! And so my little one has twigged early on, that my dress sense is not the best or worst still, non-existent!

So yesterday, when I tried convincing her, off-gray long-sleeved t-shirts were necessary, in this mad central-heating induced summer. She shook her head NO! NO! NO! so violently i could not get the t-shirt on. And what did she want??

Her pretty pink, Minnie-Mouse-lounging-in-the-sun t-shirt! (Aunty Mei and Uncle Brendan would be oh!-so proud!)

Well, I gave in, clearly the girl knows how to dress up, more than I can say for me!

Jun 29, 2007 - Parenting    2 Comments

Languages, how many at a time?

In the privacy of our own home, we are really very laid back about how we communicate.
We generally speak English, with bits of Hockkien and Malay and very occasionally smaterrings of Mandarin also end up in our conversation. Thus it is hardly surprising that G takes all this in her stride, and understands  us well enough.

It does however cause me some concern in how we communicate with Georgia in front of ‘company’. Do we maintain our pot-luck of different languages and ignore the fact that absolutely no one else, (unless they are from ‘our part of the world’) would understand what we say, or do we say everything in English, although we would not normally do so?

This thought threw me off this morning as I dropped G off at nursery.

She had been going round the house holding on to her favourite blue Minnie Mouse t-shirt, trying to put in on and parading it for me every time I asked about ‘your Minnie Mouse sah’.

Lu ai cheng (hockkien: do you want to wear) your Minnie mouse sah to school? [Affirmative nod]

Hor mummy kua (hockkien: Show mummy), is it pretty-pretty?
[A little jig, and an attempt to model the t-shirt]

Ok. Afterwards you show Bethan at school OK? [Another affirmative nod]

At the door to the nursery, Bethan is waiting and I try telling Georgia,

There! Show Bethan….your Minnie mouse… (very silent) sah.

I was at a loss….’t-shirt’ would have been the appropriate word, but that didn’t come out, because I had not thought about what I would say so that someone else other than her dad would understand the conversation between us.

Jun 28, 2007 - Parenting    No Comments

See a doctor???

No way…not for love nor money.

One would imagine that really, in a modern developed country, access to healthcare would be routine, simple even, but wait a minute, the last two instances when I’ve rung to try to get Georgia an appointment to be seen by a doctor, it’s NOT happened. 

So yesterday, after four doses of Calpol and one of Calprofen, and she still had a fever, I decided to ring the surgery for a phone appointment with the Doctor, a Doctor, ANY Doctor! Because you see, at 10.30 am, it’s too late in the morning to expect to be allocated an appointment.

So anyway, after describing her symptoms to the receptionist (does she have medical training too???) she asks, Are you sure you’re happy with a phone consult? 

Me: Well, do you have any more appointments left? 
Receptionist: Well, no…but wait let me go ask.

After 5 minutes she gets back on the phone and whaddya know, i’ve now gone from ‘yes a doctor will ring you’ to…. the urgent duty nurse will ring you later this afternoon. That’s demotion of importance in my book!

Anyway, that was yesterday. G had her fever until mid-morning today and then all was well again, thankfully!

And what off that phone consult with the nurse? Well, she was a nice, polite, seemingly caring nurse, but the healthcare professionals must have lessons in medical-diversions. See, in the end, we took a drive to the surgery to let the nurse look over her, and we ended up with three, I kid you not, three different sample pots for a urine sample, just in case it’s a urinary tract infection….  

And me, well, I fell for it. I know kids with UTI, they are usually in agony, in hospitals. It was highly highly highly unlikely that Georgia had UTI. And in hindsight, the three urine samples holders were a decoy, just there to make me feel like something had been done for her…..

And we are always left with the same advice…

If you feel she is getting worse or really needs more medical attention please don’t hesitate contact us again.

…. that’s because we won’t do anything for you now!

Jun 27, 2007 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Sore thumb – What's a Thumbsucker to do??

Just keep on sucking and scream when it starts to hurt! SIMPLE.

 Well that’s Georgia’s solution.

It doesn’t really matter that her left thumb is swollen and has the ugliest welt in the world. She will only suck her left thumb. She tried for two seconds to work on her right index finger….but i guess that didn’t taste quite as nice

Jun 27, 2007 - Parenting    No Comments

Nursery – A black hole….

Overall I’m impressed and generally pleased satisfied with Georgia’s attendance at the nursery ‘down the road’. It did occur to me recently however, if and when we leave no longer live here, we and more importantly, she, would have no record of having spent time at nursery…. by this I mean, no photos with her friends or playmates, no videos… nothing apart from some art and craft and the weekly scarily-luminscent coloured cup cake or biscuit.

Having thought this through, the simplest solution to all this was, I thought, let’s just loan them our camera or video camera for the week and the staff could at their discretion take videos or photos for us.

Alas….this was not to be.

You see, because apparently, apart from not being allowed to see the babies in the nursery setting, once we hand them over, we are also not allowed to have photos of any of the other nursery children.

I was told,

Sorry, but we cannot have any other children in the photos. We could have Georgia playing with some toys, if you like, but we can’t have any other children in the photos.

I understand the fear concerns and the need for security…but this really is extreme, surely??