Buddy is 20 months old now, and has never stopped to amaze us with his behaviors and antics. We found out that he actually knows a lot more than we realize, things he learned at day care or somewhere else.

Like two nights ago, I used a piece of tissue paper to clean the mucus from his nose. He took the paper from me and continued to clean his nose with it, and when he was done, he went to the the bath room, lifted up the thrash bin cover and threw the paper into the bin. That took me by surprise; I didn’t know he can do that. I mean he still can’t put on his socks; at least he doesn’t do it when we tell him to. So we aren’t really sure what exactly he knows. But he is definitely learning new things everyday.
Buddy is also asserting his independence rather quickly. He wants to feed himself, which he has already started to do so more than a month ago. It’s a very messy affair; we have to lay a floor mat beneath the baby chair, put a scooper bib on him, lay a piece of towel cloth or paper towel on his lap during each meal time at home. He still gets his clothes dirty every time. When we have meals outside, the mess extends to the table, chair and floor. But this is something we have to live with.

When we give Buddy water from his bottle, he doesn’t mind taking it. But once we start drinking water from our cups, he wants to copy us and insists on having water from our cups as well. We wouldn’t allow him to hold the porcelain cup on his own since he might drop it. And even with plastic cup or bottle, he still doesn’t realize he has to tilt it according to the water level to avoid spilling. So we always hold the cup or bottle for him, though he will try to grab it from us.

Buddy still can’t speak in sentences yet. At one time I was a little concerned about it (I thought babies could talk at 18 months old). I guess I was expecting too much. Just like I was wondering how come Buddy couldn’t feed himself at 15 months old because some mom wrote about her baby feeding herself at 12 months. I know such comparisons are ridiculous, and I shouldn’t bother with it. But it’s really easy said than done. Strangely we get strangers and family members alike expressing amazement that Buddy can feed himself. We had initially thought it was expected for his age (and I even thought he might be a little slow).

It is also difficult to lead Buddy by his hand when we are walking. He doesn’t want to be dictated by where we want to go. (He is showing his independent streak at a really young age.) I’m thinking of trying out a lease attached to a baby backpack which he can wear, a gift from a family friend. Buddy might hate it though. At least he doesn’t insist as much on my husband to carry him. On the other hand, with me, he is more likely 9to walk. Anyway, at more than 11.2kg or about 24 lbs, he’s getting to be rather heavy for me to carry him around. Now that he has a good pair of shoes from ‘See Kai Run’, he has no problem running around, even on wet ground. My husband also bought him a pair of crocs with cute doggie clips on. (The shoes are actually a little big for his feet but they are the smallest size available and my husband figured he can grow into them.) He put them on for playing at the patio.
We sold our outdoor furniture recently so that we have a larger patio space for him to play ball. He also has his little car, and a little chair where he will sit and watch the Dibo videos on the ipad, while having a snack, out at the patio.

Strangely Buddy is not as crazy over playing balls like he was younger. We are not sure why the change in interest. He still likes to look at books, play with the floor wiper (which I will cover with the wiper sheet and tell him to clean the floor for me), and bubbles. It’s funny with the latter. He saw us blowing bubbles using the wand but he didn’t know how to do it himself; so he pretended to blow imaginary bubbles. We also showed him the bubble gun but his hand is too small to grip the trigger still. His preference is still the wand, and he now wants to blow real bubbles even though he still hasn’t got the hang of it.

Buddy’s eczema problem has gotten better now. It flares up when he is ill, but the condition is not as bad as his younger days. When we took him to the River Safari for his one year old birthday celebration, the heat caused a flare up on his cheeks. We were careful about not taking him to places which are warm and humid. As he gets older, we notice an improvement, and my husband suggested going to the zoo during the Chinese New Year holiday since Buddy is interested in animals.

We went to the zoo on the first day of CNY, and the weather was nice and windy, not very warm. Buddy’s eczema didn’t flare up, and he was taken in by the sights and sounds, particularly the animal shows. In fact he was so distracted that he didn’t nap at his usual time. By the time it was late afternoon he was completely knocked out. I think he enjoyed the trip more than the River Safari one, but that may be due to the fact that he’s older now and able to appreciate the animals better. He can’t really pronounce many of their names properly yet and will call them by their sounds. For instance the dog is called “wowo”, cat is called “kitty” (even the cartoon tiger is lumped under this name), snake is “ssss” and duck is “quack quack”. I’m trying to get him to learn the correct names, and he’s quite good at repeating after me.

As Buddy gets older, he doesn’t fall sick as often. Though recently he was ill for a week after he had a viral followed by bacterial infection. My husband took him to see Dr OK at Thomson Pediatric Center and she diagnosed him to have developed bronchiolitis. She told my husband Buddy needed the nebulizer. My husband said we have the breathing puff at home that we bought at KKH (in fact we have two sets). But OK implied that the puff wasn’t as effective as the nebulizer, and insisted that we had to rent it from the clinic for seven days in order to nebulize Buddy at home. My husband took her words for it though he wondered why KKH uses puff instead of nebulizer. Buddy was also given a lot of medicines, and the bill amounted to more than S$250. My husband had a sticker shock; this was the second time he was given a big bill at the clinic. (Thank God I told him earlier that we have xyrtec, singulair and the fever medicines at home, mostly from KKH.)

My husband decided to google about the efficacy of the nebulizer and found a research done that showed it was not really better than the puff. In fact the puff is more effective because it provides the medicine fully to the patient, whereas the nebulizer mask has leakage. This explains why KKH, the preeminent hospital that specializes on children, uses the puff instead of the nebulizer for treatment on bronchiolitis. Anyway we decided that TMC is starting to charge the patients indiscriminately, and that is a bad sign! We decide to switch to more cost effective choices like the polyclinic (government clinic). I know it has a bad reputation for long queues, but babies and young children do get priority. Like in early last month, we took Buddy there for a vaccination shot, and we didn’t wait long for our turn. There was even an evaluation done on him, and the shot plus the consultation was free. We only paid 30 cents for the paracetamol medicine! So for minor non – urgent cases, we will take Buddy to the polyclinic, and for emergency, it’s the trusted KKH. Over there, the consultation fee of S$92 includes basic medicine like those for fever.

Back to Buddy, I must admit he seems to be growing up rather fast. He won’t be considered a baby soon, but I’ll still regard him as one. I guess it’s natural for a mother.


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