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Friday, March 19, 2010

Start Them Young

Came across this post some days back from Terri of Hunger Hunger and thought it would good to share with you. While I could not load the video (not sure why), but reading what she wrote is enough to convince me. She is a sincere blogger and writes what she believes in. Do hop on over to her blog as the areas covered by her are vast. I am picking out just one of points mentioned as I was astounded by the message Jamie Oliver wanted to bring across. The amount of sugar found solely in milk consumed by a child over a period of 5 years is incredible. After knowing this, it would make any parents think twice about giving out carbonated/cordial drinks, sweets and chocolates freely. Below, are some of my efforts to introduce healthy eating habits to my kids.

Speaking of which, I am guilty of giving my kids cordial drinks like Ribena. Though I did not start this habit but I did not stand firm enough stopping IH from buying it. These 2 months however, I started buying barley and boiled them with some pandan leaves. The kids are getting use to this. It's now either barley water or just water. As for sweets, chocolates and carbonated drink, as long as you don't have them at home, they can't ask you for it. Simple as that. I don't stock sweets, chocolates and ice cream at home. Occasionally, I will buy them sweets and chocolates in smaller packagings or ration out to them. We bring bottles of boiled water when we are out, so no excuse for ordering carbonated drinks.

Being a baker, it is inevitable that there will always be cakes, bread and cookies at home. One benefit of homebakes is that you can reduce the amount of sugar used. That is what I did for most of the recipes I have tried out. With the constant supply of homebakes, I would always ask my helper to share with my neighbours, their kids and helpers. This way, my kids learnt about sharing. In fact, my kids must have gotten tired of my bakes these days.

I breastfed Ah Girl for 6 months and Ah Boy for a year. When they were weaning, the first solids were vegetables puree which I made myself. Pumpkin, carrots, potatoes, chinese spinach, corn, peas are some examples. All of which are unadulterated with seasoning. My mom had advised me to feed them pork bone or fish porridge but I believed that by starting them with vegetables to their untainted palate, they would be more receptive towards vegetables when they are older. Indeed, nothing makes me happier to hear my kids say, 'I want vegetables' or 'I want some broccoli'. Though they are quite picky when it comes to fish, I'd rather that than them picking out vegetables from their plates.

As mentioned before in my earlier posts, I do not offer deep fried food at home. Once in a while, IH will bring them out to McD's. Probably due to the lack of exposure to deep fried food, they usually cannot finish the chicken nuggets or french fries. It is some relief that McD's now offers yoghurt, apples and corn cup in their kid's meal. I believe all kids love McD's for a reason. The same for my kids; its toys. In general, Ah boy and Ah Girl prefer homecooked meals. There is pros and cons about this. They usually can't eat much when we eat out.

A must-have for my kids is soup. Particularly, clear soup. Soup is good for 2 reasons; nutrients in soup are easier absorbed by body and it hydrates the body. There must be soup in 1 of the meals for them. Besides the regular ABC soup (potato and carrot soup), below are 2 soups which I usually cook for them. For soups to be clear, it is important to remove the scums during boiling.

I believe that all parents want to inculcated healthy eating habits in their children but sometimes, we adults who are 'young at heart' inevitably fall into temptation ourselves. If we as parents do not check ourselves, wouldn't it be hypocrisy to ask our young kids to exercise self restraint?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Febrile Seizure & My Grievance

Okay, so I took an even longer break. I hope everyone had a wonderful Chinese New Year. I was so busy with the preparation, pineapple tarts sale, cake orders and tending to a sick child, I didn't really get to enjoy my break. At the busiest time of the year, Ah Boy fell sick. Just first week of February, it started out with a mild grade fever in the morning. When I was about to leave office for home in the evening, I received a panic call from IH. Ah Boy's fever escalated suddenly and went into seizure. Ambulance was called in and Ah Boy was sent to hospital. The journey from office to the hospital was torturous. What happened to my mischievous and active boy?

Being afraid and uncooperative in an unfamiliar environment is normal for a toddler. Even more scary for him as he was in the isolation ward. Fortunately 1 of us was allowed to accompany him. While he was still very alert after the seizure, he was afraid of the masks and medication time. Later, the paediatrician explained to me that what occurred was Febrile Seizure . It is a type of seizure that usually lasts less than 15 minutes and is caused by a sudden rise in temperature. As the child's brain is not fully developed, it is unable to handle this and thus shut down. Usually, after the seizure, some children will fall asleep. After Febrile seizure, the child will appear normal and alert. According to the doctors, Febrile seizure is unlikely to cause developmental problems or impairment of intelligence. However, when seizures occur, it is important to send the child to hospital to rule out other possiblities such as Meningitis and Encephalitis and to identify the cause of fever. In Ah Boy's case, I was worried about Dengue Fever. Just a day ago before Ah Boy's seizure, I was informed by the people from NEA that there is 1 case of Dengue Fever in my block, just 2 levels below me. Then there is H1N1. Dengue Fever was ruled out. It was diagnosed as viral fever and since Ah Boy was alert, he was discharged that night.

Unexpectedly, the next morning, Ah Boy had another seizure and fell alseep after that. According to the doctor, the recurrence of Febrile seizure is not uncommon (about 30%) but it is not common for it recurr again in 24 hours. We had no choice but to send him back to hospital for another check. He was admitted and tested for H1N1 but was cleared. Still, he had to stay in the hospital for observation. He was alert and played with his toys. Ah Girl was rather shaken by the experience and cried when Ah Boy had to stay in the hospital. Due to my earlier commitment, I had to stay home that night to finish my order. My helper stayed the night with him in the hospital. For once, I hated myself for having to bake and decorate.

I would like to share my experience of handling seizure at home. Not that I have lots of experience but what was taught by the doctors. My hope is none of the parents has to go through this frightening and dreadful experience but it is important to know what to do if it does happen. First, when seizure occurs, turn the baby/toddler to his/her side. Do not attempt to stuff anything into his/her mouth, including your own fingers. Try to stay calm. I tried to talk to Ah Boy in an assuring voice and pat gently on his back. Meantime, observe the duration of the seizure, the child's response such as, clenched fist, twitching body, eyes staring forward or rolled back. Did the child let go of his bladder? What happened after the seizure? These are the questions doctors will ask you when you bring the child in.

The worse was yet to come as after being discharged from the hospital as you have to monitor the child's temperature. Besides Panamol, he was also given Ibuprofen. These 2 medication will manage the fever but will not stop seizure from recurring. I was given some anticonvulsants to be administered through the anus should the seizure last more than 15 minutes. In Ah Boy's 2 instances, they lasted less than a minute. Ah Boy was really cranky and refused fever medication which was understandable. My helper and I took turns to carry him throughout the nights so that he could catch some sleep. What was unacceptable was an adult, acting like a kid throwing tantrums at the slightest thing. I believe that a child can sense the emotions of his/her parents. It is important to remain calm and assuring. It is no wonder, throughout the entire time, Ah Boy refused to be carried by IH. And especially at times like these, I find that a helper is more valuable than a husband. Usually, it took me 2 hours to cook pineapple jam. But having to take care of Ah Boy intermittenly, I took 6 hours. I received no help from him except he kept pressing us to administer medication. Just minutes after I started sponging Ah Boy, IH measured took his temperature again and said sponging didn't work. Then IH blamed me for not being there when the first seizure occurred. I was exasperated. I did not have the energy to deal with IH. A leopard will never change its spots. 狗,始终改不了吃屎。 Ah Boy cried at the sight of medicine. My helper and I wept when he hugged us and cried, 'Please, please, no more medicine.'

Finally, Ah Boy has fully recovered after Chinese New Year, gained back the 1.3kg he lost during his sickness. What I got in return is a healthy and active boy and a cough which tormented me for 5 weeks. Thank you for reading this lengthy and pictureless post. I can't promise that I will be more regular in my posts but I'm glad to be back.