Alex the handful

Alex Buddy has just recovered from a viral cum bacteria infection. He started having fever two Sundays ago, and had spikes of high fever for the next few days. Other than that and runny nose, Buddy didn’t have other symptoms. In fact after we gave him ibuprofen for the high fever (above 39 deg C or 102F), he got back on his feet pretty quickly and was active and fed well. I had hope that the fever would go away after three days or something but my husband didn’t think so. Based on past experience and what the doctor at KKH children’s emergency department had told us, it would last 5 to 7 days. In fact it might become a bacteria infection.

So when Buddy still had fever on the 4th day, my husband took Buddy to see Dr OK. Turned out he did develop bacteria infection and OK had to prescribe antibiotics (Augmentin). She also gave a lot of other drugs for his runny nose, sore throat, eye discharge, and nasal block etc. The cost of medicine was S$100, which caused my husband to get a sticker shock. But once Buddy took the antibiotics, his fever was gone, and this prompted my husband to wonder if Buddy was actually on the verge of recovery when he saw OK. Though he didn’t have much appetite when he was taking all those medicine. He only had solid meal once a day and a couple of milk feeds. Rest of the time, when I tried to feed him, he only wanted biscuits.

When Buddy was sick last week, he couldn’t go to daycare, and so it was left to my husband and I to care for him. (Actually it was my husband who cared for him most of the time since he has a more flexible work schedule.) We realize now that it’s really not easy to take care of Buddy, and have a lot of respect for the teachers in daycare, because it was exhausting handling Buddy for even a day. Perhaps he wasn’t feeling well, but he wanted us to cuddle him most of the time. He would point all over the place and wanted us to carry him there, and whine when we weren’t doing what he wanted.

Even though Buddy should be at home resting, but my husband found that it was a better option to take him to the mall. It was easier to put Buddy to nap by pushing him around in an air-conditioned environment, whereas at home, it was a Herculean task trying to get him to sleep. He got bored with the toys and wanted us to bring him around the house to play with the light switches. Yes, he is fascinated by how light comes on and off just by pressing the switch. He also got bored with hitting Tom Cat (Talking Tom) on the iPad, and kept pressing the home button and swiping screen to screen. (He figured out the button and the touch screen functionally, and pressing the X will close the message box.)

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post “Oh no, I created a walking monster” (dated 6 August) about how Buddy was walking everywhere once he got used to the shoes. Unfortunately that turned out to be short-lived. Buddy only wants to walk when he feels like it, when he spots something interesting like a cat or dog, or when he’s at the playground, or when he is curious about the environment. When he is not, he refuses to walk and would squat or sit on the ground, and starts wailing when we refused to carry him. I’m honestly not sure how to get him to walk when we want him to. And even when he does walk, he refuses to allow us to hold his hand and lead him.

We also have a problem with Buddy during bath time. You would think babies and toddlers love it since they get to play with water. But not him. He would cry when we bathe him, even enticing him with duckies doesn’t work all the time. He doesn’t like bath time ever since he was a newborn. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy playing with water, because he does, but just not at bath time.

We thought maybe it was the foldable bath tub that Buddy didn’t feel stable in it, so we tried to bathe him in the shower, but no he didn’t like it either. My husband then got a rigid tub for him which he can sit in it, and even took it into the living room and let him play in it with the duckies. He accepted it and when bath time came, he enjoyed playing with the water. So we thought we had fixed the problem. That was until last week when he fell sick. He didn’t want to bathe but we had to make him.

We tried explaining to Buddy that he would be stinky without a bath (though that’s not true as he doesn’t smell, probably because he’s still a baby), and he would feel comfy after and sleep better. When we tried putting him into the baby bath tub, he struggled and wailed like a banshee. So now my husband has to get into the big bath tub with Buddy sitting on his lap so that I can bathe him. So far this strategy seems to be working, since he is less distraught. I checked with one of the day care teachers, and she told me that Buddy is ok with bath there though he would cry a little when his hair is being rinsed (he especially hates this). She also told me that the wall around the shower facility is covered with handicrafts of sea creatures like fish, crab and prawn, to make it look like underwater world. When I told my husband, he exclaimed, “how do we compete with that?!”

Buddy is in a structured environment in daycare, and we are amazed at how he tends to listen to the teachers. Lately he didn’t want to get into the car seat when my husband took him home in the evening. But when teacher Yati came over to tell him to go horn, he acquiesced quietly. Though for the past couple of days, my husband resorted to bribing him with cookie snacks which he accepted enthusiastically. But I told my husband we can’t be bribing him to do as we say. The problem I guess is that he can’t communicate to us effectively at this stage.

During the parent-teacher meeting a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised to learn that Buddy actually knows a lot of words. The teachers told us Buddy is a smart child with very good focusing ability, but he tends to get emotional and cries when he doesn’t get what he wants. We were told not to be too indulgent on him (which I have to say my husband is the main culprit.) The teachers also told us that Buddy is a rather considerate child. He doesn’t fight with babies younger than him. When they take his toys, he gives in to them. But if it’s someone his age, he will stand his ground. I was pretty amazed that, at 18 months old, he can tell the difference. I guess he must be a perceptive child. Anyway my husband and I know it will get more difficult to handle him as he gets older, but we just have to find a way.

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