Monday, August 31, 2009

Handling Nerves After Child Birth

All my life I believed I am good at handling my nervousness until I did my driving exam recently at the age of 30. (Yes, I was late to realise that I need to drive as it was not necessary for me before migrating to Australia as I could easily catch a public transport anytime of the day in Manila.) However, the loudness of my heartbeat during the test feels defeaning. My blood is pumping so fast. I can't control it as good and smooth as I controlled my nerves during exams, oral presentations, and job interviews in my life before being a mother. I tried singing softly to myself to control it but it did not work as I expected. The

After 3 attempts at it with silly mistakes I have never done while I do regular driving practice, I am thinking giving birth might have an effect on how I handle my nerves now like how child birth affected my memory -- I have no scientific basis for this though just a gut feel. Having realised this, I have to take double efforts to conquer my nerves and put my memory and reaction back to what they were before.

But, in the meantime, I will not stop until I get that licence as I know I can safely drive without the nerves. It's good learning from my instructor the other day that I can actually talk during the exam as long as I don't engage him and the testing officer in a regular conversation. Hopefully talking works next time. We'll see.

How about you? How do you cope with nerves? I might learn a few things from you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Testicle issues

Kimi was 13 month old when the Child Health Nurse in Sydney noticed his testicles were not in the scrotum or somehow difficult to locate. It was not a problem when he was born or even during his previous required check-up at 6 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months so we were really surprised. I remembered we took effort in "heating" Kimi's testicles when he was a newborn until he reached 3 months. I did that during the regular morning massage by rubbing my palms with baby oil and placing my palms on Kimi's testicles to transfer the heat that helps develop the testicles.

Upon learning about the possibility of undescended testicles, the worried mom in me researched about it in the internet. Undescended testicle occurs when the testicle or both testicle are absent in the scrotum and are lodged instead in the groin or in the lower abdomen. The testicles may be undescended at birth especially for premature babies or those with low birth weight. But, they may eventually descend at 6 months. If that doesn't happen, a surgical procedure may be needed to correct it to allow full development of the testicles and prevent associated health problems like hernia, testicular cancer, trauma, infertility, and poor self-image. Reading about that made me more fidgety.

On the other end, hubby and MIL (mother-in-law) requested a referral from the GP and booked an appointment with a Paediatrician. I couldn't believe it takes 3 weeks wait to see a Paedia in Australia even with a private doctor. I reckon this doesn't happen in Manila under the same circumstances. And mind you the doctor's fee was really at the roof. We paid $160 for a less than 10 minute check and only recovered about $66 from Medicare. The good thing, though, is that Kimi doesn't have an undescended testicles but retractile testicles. In this case, the testicles are in the scrotum but they are hiding somewhere especially when it's cold. It doesn't require corrective surgery but should be regularly checked and monitored. What a relief!

Since then hubby checks them on a regular basis especially after a bath. However, few weeks ago, he was a bit concerned as he can only locate one of the testicles. So even without the need to have an 18 month check with the GP, I booked one with the GP who checked him at 6 weeks to appease us once again. I would have sent him to a Paediatrician again if it was not expensive.

During the appointment, GP emphasised that she doesn't do 18 month check. I told her I knew about it and I've booked with the Maternal and Child Health Nurse (MCHN) for next month. I expressed our concern with Kimi's testicles and two other things (that need a separate article). She checked them and in less than 30 seconds, showed us both testicles at the same time. She advised there is nothing to worry about and she thinks Kimi is progressing well.

Parents always want to be assured that their baby is doing great and developing well. If you come across with the same dilemma, don't hesitate to have your baby checked by the doctor. Afterall, it is best to know from the expert.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Laughing Tigger

While I was reading a Winnie the Pooh and Tigger book (from Ninang Tiff) to Kimi the other night, I thought out of the blue to dress him up in his Tigger costume. It was his Trick or Treat attire last year so we might as well use it to entertain ourselves...

His excitement and smile were priceless, jumping and giggling in elation. He even kissed his image on the mirror. Loved it! Is it a sign of narcism? I don't think so. I reckon it is just a stage that he appreciates himself as he discovers more.

Watch out our for more dress up days. Or, should I say nights?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fishy, fishy where are you?

How we spend our free time has really changed over the past two years. The environment including my migration from Manila to Australia has a big factor on that change. We are now into having picnics, strolling at the park and waterfront, and just a few days ago hubby tried his hand in fishing. We were invited by family friends to go to Rippleside Park, which is a further walk from the Western beach and still part of the whole stretch of the Corio Bay. While the boys had gone fishing, the ladies and the kids played and cooked sausages and rissole. It was lots of fun. Kimi loved running on the grass and raising his hands at the same time as if trying to reach the blue sky. He also loved the sand pit in the nearby playground, reminding me to bring a small bucket and a shovel next time.

When the sun started to set, we followed the dads at the jetty. Hubby proudly showed me his first catch ever (and only catch for the day). The fish, a whiting I think, was bigger than I had imagined. Took some photos and went home to feast on his catch. Not bad for hubby's first fishing experience, you think so? Well, let's consider the fact that there were lots of ducks and pelicans at that time.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Spending Weekend

Our house is only a 7 minute-walk from the Geelong waterfront. The walking and biking trail from the Western beach to the Eastern beach spans about 4 kilometres. Actually, it is very convenient to enjoy a walk and the scenery when we do not feel lazy. Last weekend was one of those days. With Kimi around we will definitely have more!

The sun was up and it was not so cold. Yes, a good sign that spring is coming. The grass is green with yellow wild flowers in bloom -- a delight to see along the edge of the walk path. It was very tempting to pick the flowers. In fact, little girls walking past were usually carrying a bunch, happy and contented with what they got.

The walk including pushing Kimi on his pram was not tiring. We only had a leisure walk, nothing heart pumping unlike others who went there to exercise and sweat. Upon reaching downtown, we went straight to Westfield for lunch at a Japanese fastfood and snagged a Sylvester Stallone's Rocky movies collection. I am not a big fan but for $37 for 6 movies, I made hubby smile and reminisced those days I watched action movies with my Tatay and brothers.

It is another quiet weekend full of chuckles and cuddles.

NB: We managed to see the 6 movies in less than 24 hours. :D

Monday, August 10, 2009

big screens

When I started with my current job in mid-2008, one thing I liked is the 2 big computer screens. Yes, each one of us has 2 big screens like this photo of my work station. It's very handy when viewing and copy-pasting two different documents at the same time. I don't have to write down bits of information that I have to input in another application. One program on one screen and another one on the other. It makes work life a lot easier, isn't it?

I already get so used to it that I find it difficult now using the laptop at home -- even if our laptop's screen is big compared to other notebooks. It's still small by my new standards.

For those setting up an office and not money-strapped, this can be good for you too. One disadvantage, though is when you are slacking off a bit. Everyone can see what you're doing on your computer screen.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Quiet Sunday

We did not have anything planned last Sunday. After breakfast, the sun was up, a rare occasion these days, so I decided to bring Kimi to the small park across our house and for a short walk around the block -- our bonding time sort of since I work full-time. I quickly dressed him in several layers of clothes and jacket, prepared his small bag and ‘smart’ trike, and in less than 15 minutes, I was already pushing him. Have to move fast. The dark clouds might come anytime -- as you might know Melbourne and surrounds including Geelong is notorious for its four seasons in one day.

The walk to the park was great. Kimi was excited as always. He was even glancing and giggling back at me while I was pushing him and his trike. I put him in the swing and I told him to hold the side straps tight while I was also holding his hands then lightly swing him. He loved it! I found a front strap to buckle him up a bit. After a few more swings and enough confidence, I slowly let him go that I was able to snap photos of him.

He moved his feet and body to fit between the strap and the swing. (Imagine him inching and wriggling his body). I knew right then and there that he wanted to walk around so I unlocked the buckle around his waist and put him down.

He went straight to the seesaw and I positioned and held him to make sure he would not fall over. After a while, he motioned to go down. He explored the area, ran after me, and laughed his heart out.

After a few more minutes, the wind was getting strong so I decided to start our walk around the block before eventually heading home in time for his morning nap. He enjoyed the walk, smiling to everyone that walked past and saying aw aw! to the dogs.

Upon arriving home, he probably missed his Tatay (dad in Filipino) that he went to him for a cuddle straightaway and slept in his arms. They were such a bliss to watch, isn't it?

Life is tough moving away from our comfort zones, leaving family and friends behind, starting anew. However, simple outing like this makes me like living in Australia. The open spaces and parks and the priority they put on families and raising kids are really great -- something that can outweigh the benefit of access to affordable nannies in the Philippines. :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Shoes Please

As I have mentioned before, Kimi finds it difficult to speak yet. He is still babbling words we can't figure out and is using actions, gestures and all body language he could think of for us to understand him. He understands us pretty much though and follows our instructions, in both English and Filipino, most of the time especially when it favours him.

This is very evident a few days ago. When I came home, I found Kimi looking and waiting at the screen door while hubby is fixing something outside. He could not get out of the house and run after his Tatay (means father) since the screen door is locked. Had it not been locked with a key, he could easily open it by tip-toeing and slowly turning the door handle. I was really amazed when I first saw him do it a week ago. I was both proud and worried, though. Proud because he uses strategies to get what he is after and he doesn’t stop practising until he gets things right. Worried because he can easily get out of the house.

To continue, he was all smiles seeing me approaching. He probably knew that he could persuade me with his big hugs and masarap na kiss (sweet kiss) to carry him outside and see what Tatay was doing. He reached out his hand as if asking me to carry him. I did not. Instead, I stoop down and opened my arms wide. He showered me with big hugs and his masarap na kiss. After a few minutes, he was tugging me towards the screen door – a strong indication that he really wanted to get out. I still did not carry him.

I noticed that he was wearing only one of the pair of his squeaking sandals. So, I gave him instructions to get the right shoe and give it to me. I said the instructions a couple of times in both English and Filipino to make sure he grasps both language. As usual, he quickly followed. I motioned him to stand still while I was telling him that he should wear the other pair. I knelt down, put the other shoe near his right foot, opened the strap and asked him to put his foot inside the shoe. With not much thinking, he eagerly followed and lifted his right foot while trying to balance himself. He could not lift it too far though. After trying a couple of times to no avail, he suddenly just sat flat on the floor without looking what his bum might hit. It happened so quick that it made me have a good laugh while putting on his shoe. He was really in a hurry to go out.

I walked him to the door and watched him while he happily inspected Tatay’s work. The less than 10 minutes hullabaloo made me realise something. (1) Kids are really funny. And the more important, (2)Kids even without speaking are great negotiators. They can get things their way if you let them.

Oooopss... I must be warned!