Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monday = Parkday

It's nearly noon. We are running about in the sunshine and breathing in air that smells of hollyhocks and daisies.

Stardust and his Proud GrandPs are playing in the playground.

I am not sweating.

I am not obsessing over mosquito repellent.

I am not watching out for poisonous plants or creatures.

And I am loving it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Time check

Stardust spent:
6 hours sleeping
4 hours traipsing down the aisles
2 hours attempting to dismantle the seat
1 hour harassing the stewardesses
30 minutes crying

followed by

2 hours fighting with the carseat
2 hours singing
1 hour eating
20 minutes sleeping

before reaching our destination!
What a journey!
I cannot believe I was so gung-ho - travelling with Stardust in tow and no safety net. Fortunately for me, Stardust was generally rather well-behaved. He is now comatose in the cot that the Outlaws (now promoted to Proud GrandParents) lovingly prepared for him.
I am pretty close to collapse myself.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


1. Packed suitcase - check
2. Cooked 10 days worth of food for MDH - check
3. Confirmed flights - check
4. Secured bassinet for Stardust - check
5. Developed disgusting rash - double check
6. Visited dermatologist - check
7. Skin biopsy done -check
8. Collected cocktail of medications - check
9. Collected bell - check
10. Created sign reading 'unclean' - check

Monday, June 15, 2009

Basic First Aid for Anxious Parents (Part 2): Burns and scalds

The number one cause of accidental burns in children is sunburn! Sunburn is treated the same way as any other burn.

It is actually quite unusual to see a kid with burns from open flames or fires as parents tend to be very careful to keep children away from such obvious heat sources. Additionally, with all the child safety equipment available nowadays, it is also uncommon for children to acquire burns from electrical sources or from household chemicals like bleach, antifreeze, weedkiller and insecticide. Apart from sunburn, scalds from hot liquids or steam are probably the most common type of accidental burns one would expect to see in children.

Here are a few things parents should do before taking the child to see a physician:

Step One: Remove yourself and child from burn source

Step Two: Take Control (details here) - try and do this at the same time as Step Three.

Step Three: Cool down the burned area

1. Cool the burned area under cool running water for at least 20 minutes. If you do not have running water available, then apply a cold wet cloth to the burned area. Do NOT apply ice or any form of lotion or moisturiser because this will either cause more damage, or increase the risk of infection (the exception to this rule is for mild sunburn - you may use aloe gel or calamine lotion or aftersun cream in this case, as long as you are confident that your child is not allergic to the creams).

2. Completely undress your child - this is because there might be other smaller burns on the body that you may have missed because your attention is automatically drawn to the largest burn. Clothes also tend to 'stick' to burned areas, so if you were slow in removing the clothes and they appear 'stuck', do not rip them off or you will cause more damage (you should cut off the rest of the clothes in this case since they are probably ruined anyway).

3. After running the burns under water, apply a cold wet compress to the burned area whilst you examine it.

4. Resist the temptation to peel flaking skin or burst any blisters that have formed!

Step Four: Observe burn and decide if professional help is required

1. Consider the severity of the burn
- if the burned area is white and painless (i.e. is completely cooked), or black and painless (i.e. charred), or is caused by a chemical or electrical source, you must take the child to the hospital, regardless of how big the burn is or how normal your child appears.

2. Consider the extensiveness of the burn
- if the burned area is the same size or larger than the size of the child's palm, you should probably take the child to the hospital

3. Consider the location of the burn
- if the burn forms blisters over the sensitive areas (such as face, genitals, feet, hands), you should take the child to the hospital

Step Five: Aid healing

1. If you have decided to take the child to the hospital, you must protect the burn site. Cover the burns with normal kitchen clingwrap, using the clingwrap in layers instead of wrapping around like a bandage. Alternatively, you can cover the area with a clean plastic bag.

2. If you are confident to treat the child at home, you can leave the burned area open to air and try to keep it clean and dry. If there are blisters forming, just leave them alone - do not pop them! If the blisters burst, you can cover them in clean gauze (don't use cotton wool or tissue paper or anything that has fluffy bits that can come off).

3. Do not apply sticky plaster or sticky bandaids to the burned skin!

4. Watch for signs of infection - if it looks infected in the coming days, go and see a GP or your local clinic.

Basic First Aid for Anxious Parents (part 1): Cuts and scrapes

I've just remembered all the times when anxious parents brought their kids in to the emergency department with simple problems that they could have solved by themselves at home. Children are far more resilient than we give them credit for, and they heal better too.

Inquisitive children are bound to have an accident or two whilst they are starting to explore their world. So here are a few things a parent should do BEFORE taking their kid to see a doctor.

Step One: Take control
You need to have a good look at your child's wounds but you also need to take control over the situation first. This means creating an atmosphere where you can adequately manage your child. Here's how to take control:

1. Keep calm
Just take a few deep breaths and say "oh dear, let me have a look" or "come and give me a cuddle" in your most normal and reasonable voice. No shrieking, please! Your child needs you to be calm. If you are frantic, then your child will know there is a reason to panic and will freak out beyond the point of reason. That is, they will make a greater fuss over their situation - which means it will be more difficult for you to access their pain levels.

2. Comfort your child.
Never mind if he or she is covered in mud and gore. Give your child a close cuddle whilst you think of what to do next. Do not bounce or rock your child or fuss over them with words - this might overstimulate them and they are already feeling very emotional. Quickly bring them to a quiet place and allow them to hold you. Try giving them a drink of water to break the crying cycle. Chances are, if your kid is crying from shock rather than pain, a good cuddle will settle them down.

3. Observe
If you are calm and your child is easily comforted (that is, they stop crying after less than 10 minutes), then you can start treating the wound and you probably will not have to bring them to hospital.
If you are calm and your child is quiet after taking more than 10 minutes to calm down but is still whimpering and looking sad, then it is worth giving some painkillers before treating the wound- baby paracetamol or baby ibuprofen should be ok.
If you are calm and your child is still screaming hysterically at the top of their lungs after 15 minutes of quiet cuddling and shows no signs of backing down, then go and find a doctor.

Step 2: Treat the wound
1. Wash the wound under running water - don't use soap or scrub the wound with your fingers because you will only grind the dirt into the wound. Just rinse.

2. Apply direct pressure to bleeding areas using a thick layer of gauze or a clean dry cloth for at least 5 minutes. Don't use tissue paper if you can help it, because the tissue paper fibres will stick. Apply firm pressure (you will know it's firm because the tips of your fingers will turn white) and resist the temptation to check if the wound is still bleeding until after 5 minutes are up. If you keep checking the wound every half minute instead of applying direct pressure, it will not stop bleeding. Try cuddling your child or getting your child to sit in your lap and look at a toy or book, so that they are sufficiently distracted to keep still.

Please note:

- If your child is trying to jump off your lap and run away to play, chances are they aren't really badly hurt - so you probably don't have to try to do anything at all. Don't even bother applying a bandaid in this case. They'll be fine.

- If, after 5 minutes of direct pressure, the wound is still oozing fresh blood and showing no signs of stopping, then take the child to a doctor.

- If, after less than 1 minute of direct pressure, the gauze or dry cloth is totally soaked and dripping, continue to apply direct pressure and quickly change or add another layer of dressing, then take the child to a doctor. On the way to the doctor, lie your child down and try to elevate the bleeding area above the level of the child's heart whilst applying direct pressure to the wound.

3. Consider antiseptic treatment - as long as you are confident that your child is not allergic to it, you can consider painting weak antiseptic lotion over the wound such as iodine or gentian violet or whatever treatment makes you feel like you're doing something useful. Or you can just leave the wound open to air and just make sure it is kept clean and dry.

4. Consider dressing - if you are uncomfortable leaving the wound open to air, you can apply a clean dressing to it. Gauze held in place with surgical tape will do the trick, but if your child tend to pick at things like this, use a sticky band-aid.

Step 3: If you cannot fix it, find someone who can

1. If you are not confident to treat your child yourself or you are freaking out, then please get help from someone nearby.

2. If your child has cut themselves with something that is clearly filthy (eg. a rusty nail), then they might need a tetanus shot. Go to your GP or local clinic.

3. If there are objects lodged within the wound, do NOT try to remove them yourself! You might cause more damage. Bring them to the emergency department.

4. Watch for signs of infection - if it looks infected in the coming days, go and see a doctor.

Friday, June 12, 2009


The bumps, the bruises, the grazed knees...their appearances are inevitable, now that Stardust is walking around by himself.

MDH and I both want Stardust to be a brave boy who manages pain well, so we always try to maintain a calm exterior when accidents happen. We know from experience that a vulnerable person needs lots of assurance from their authority figures. It is not enough to simply reassure with gentle words and smiles - one's body language has to be relaxed as well. Any show of tension will only reinforce the feeling of anxiety in an already vulnerable person.

This calm, relaxed expression is a very well-practiced facade that has been cultivated over the years of medical training. We know that it makes a big difference to a patient when the doctor is confident and cheerful, instead of fearful and stressed.

So Stardust falls over and scrapes his knee, I restrain myself from exclaiming loudly in surprise and immediately scooping him up into my arms. Instead, I smile and say "Whoops!". I wait for him to pick himself up. Then, I help him to dust his hands and knees off, and we continue on our way. Afterwards, I will rinse his cuts under running water and make sure they are clean.

But in my head, I am observing his walk for signs of a limp, I am watching his face for signs of pain, I am wondering if his shoes are giving him enough support and I am considering whether to apply a dressing over his cuts or paint them with antiseptic.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Nu Schu

I bought a pair of new shoes today. They are soft, soft leather in muted pink and grey, with a pale pink ribbon at the back holding in place a sparkly pink and silver bijou.

They are happy. They are girly. They twinkle when I walk.

And they are flat as flat can be. Happy banana flats.

I blame this self-indulgence on my dear friend, Shopping Queen, who happened to be with me at the time. She is a big, big fan of flat shoes.

To her credit, she managed to save me from buying a pair of bright neon pink ballerinas.

Update (at LiLi's request):
I love the classy muted colours and the whimsical charm at the back. It somehow reminded me of spring mornings in Europe.
Anyway, I went home and looked up the brand - all the designer are from Paris and Milan, which is why they have that simple, chic continental look. The lady who founded the brand, however, seems to hail from this end of the world, which is why the prices are low.
Here's a picture of my chassures purchased from:
Wisma Atria
Unit B1-12.
I must say that not all their designs were as comfortable as these banana flats. I tried on a gorgeous snakeskin heel which looked great but I felt like my toes were being sawn off by a rusty blade.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


I've been pruning my shoe cupboard this week and I've sent some mouldy relics to the compost heap.

My shoe collection now consists of the following:
1. Silver and green Nike trainers - 4 years old
2. Brown and gold Nike sneakers - 4 years old
3. Khaki leather Converse sneakers - 5 years old
4. Navy canvas Converse sneakers - 5 years old
5. Green leather moccassins - 2 years old
6. Black leather flats - 2 years old
7. Red Crocs sandals - 2 years old
8. Pink and gold Havaianas flip-flops - 6 months old
9. Black leather Salvatore Ferragamo ankle boots - 8 years old (and in storage - it's too hot to wear boots here!)

Last week, I attended a wedding and had nothing pretty to wear with my dress. In the end, I wore black leather flats which changed my outfit from 'chic' to 'smart casual'. It was...very sad. Somebody even asked me which secondary school I was attending.

As you can see from my list of available footwear, I've been wearing comfort shoes everywhere. This started during my pregnancy and it has become a habit. And I am thoroughly sick of treating myself like an aging crone. At this rate, I'll soon be complaining of bunions and wearing nude coloured Scholl sandals as I shuffle my way to the market.

I need to get some new heels. Maybe a pair of summery wedges? Or something naughty with a 2 inch stiletto? Strappy sandals that can be both dressy and casual? Sweet little Mary Janes that are quirky and cute?

I'm not sure where to start looking.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Walking fun

Since Stardust started walking, I like to take him to random locations to let him practice his new skill in a variety of environments. It is such fun for me to watch him explore his surroundings and see how he reacts to new stimuli.

Last month, I noticed that the Vivocity shopping mall sported huge shaded balconies overlooking the harbourfront and I thought that would be a great place to wander around in the afternoon.

Stardust had great fun stomping up and down on the wooden decks, looking for loose boards or squeaky joins and talking to himself in baby-gibberish.
It was quiet and breezy, and I allowed him all the space he wanted to run about in. All I had to do was make sure he did not play with the balcony grills which were spaced just wide enough for him to squeeze through.
Of course, he was allowed to hold onto the grills and look out over the harbour, or watch people strolling on the promenade below. There was so much to see - fountains where streams of water spiralled endlessly, tops of trees where birds perched on the highest branches, the ferry to Sentosa Island paddling steadily across the water, the cable cars glinting and swinging like beads on a string.
After a while, he ran towards me and put his head on my shoulder.
It was time to take a very tired little boy home.

Monday, June 01, 2009


I am not really sure what the fuss is about.
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