Last Saturday, my husband had to be hospitalized after a wound he suffered got infected. He had seen the family doctor last Thursday and received antibiotics. The infection seemed to have gotten better until he did weight exercises that evening. He had to see the doctor the next day and was sent to the A&E (Accident and Emergency) of the nearest hospital, which is luckily less than 10 minutes’ drive from our home. He had to be hospitalized that day, and put on a stronger dosage of antibiotics while the attending doctors examined him for possibly surgery.
With my husband in the hospital, I had to care for Buddy on my own. Unfortunately it’s not easy for me to get a babysitter. For one thing, I don’t trust the babysitting service, not with a stranger. For another, Buddy doesn’t go with anyone else easily. So far we can only leave him alone with my in-laws for a few hours, but they don’t come to Singapore often. Buddy is of course happy in school, but day care is only available till 2pm on Saturday and close on Sunday. He is not as comfortable with my mom and I know if I leave him with her, he would wail like a banshee, least alone a friend of mine. So that left only me.
Perhaps it’s because Buddy has been by our sides since the moment he was born, barring a few days in the hospital due to jaundice when he was a few days old. Both my husband and I were his sole caregivers, until he went to infant care and now day care. And even then, for a long time, he was more clingy towards my husband. When he was younger, he could allow my in-laws to cuddle him for long. But now, if we are around, he prefers us over them. When one of us leaves, we have to have proper farewell, like we have to say “bye Alex” and he reciprocates. I guess this is not a bad thing since we are building a close relationship with him, and he knows we are there for him. Of course we also know that we cannot molly-coddle him. So it’s good that he is enjoying school a lot and having fun there.
Anyway during the weekend I was initially afraid that Buddy would miss my husband and be inconsolable. But turned out he was fine with only my company. I could feed him, play with him, bathe him and tuck him in bed without any problem. In fact for the past week or so, I’ve been able to bathe Buddy on my own without my husband’s help. For a long time since birth, Buddy didn’t enjoy bath time unlike many other babies. He would be wailing and struggling during bath and it required both my husband and I to bathe him. Even though we tried enticing him with rubber duckies and whale, they didn’t work.
A few months ago, I found out from the infant care teacher that, after the initial upset episodes, he was fine with bath time at the center. It turned out the shower facility is decorated with underwater world images. So that got me thinking about how I could decorate the bath room for him. We bathe Buddy in the bath tub, and so I decided to get lots of animal stickers including the water-themed ones, and stuck them on the tiled wall. they really help to get him interested to enter the tub. Now we have also given him a showel and pail, and when it is time for bath, we tell him “it’s water-play time!” (Buddy has water play in day care and he really enjoys it; and now bath time is associated with fun time.)
I took Buddy to visit my husband at the hospital, and Buddy was wary of him, dressed in the hospital garb with tube connecting to an IV drip. Buddy was resistant to my husband cuddling him, and even when we insisted he struggled when my husband held him. When we left, Buddy didn’t wail and was actually happy to go. At home, I skyped with my husband and Buddy was a little puzzled why papa appeared on the cell phone screen. But he still tried to communicate with him, despite not able to talk (at least not in sentences), even showing my husband his ball-kicking skill.
Thank God my husband was discharged on Monday. It is not easy to take Buddy out on my own. Buddy doesn’t like to be in a baby carrier since he was an infant, and we didn’t force it on him. We have been taking him everywhere in the stroller. Unfortunately for me, though I have a driving license, I can’t drive due to lack of practice. So going to the hospital was either taking the bus or taxi, and luckily it was a very short trip. And luckily too, there are food joints and supermarkets within walking distance from our home as well, so I could take Buddy there in the stroller. But I had to carry him when taking the public transport. With Buddy weighing at close to 12kg or 26 lbs, that is weight training for me. It was a relief when he was happy to walk from the lunch joint to the hospital, and allowed me to hold on to his hand.
That evening we went to pick up Buddy from day care. When he saw my husband, he cried out excitedly, “Papa, Papa!”, did a little jig before running toward my husband. Unfortunately, because my husband didnt bid Buddy farewell before he went to the hospital since he was in a hurry, Buddy got sensitive when my husband wasn’t around, like when he left the room. He started to wail as if he was abandoned. So my husband had to reassure him that he was around. I guess Buddy is still a baby and he needs to know we are not leaving him behind.