What’s the magic word?

“Can I have some cake daddy?” asked my now almost 5 Little Missy.

As I’m still trying to inculcate my children with a habit of adding “please” into any requests, I looked at her and said, “What’s the magic word?”

She then looked at her daddy earnestly and said, “bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.” 🙂

(For those of you who didn’t get it, “bibbidi-bobbidi-boo” are the magic words Cinderella’s fairy godmother used to turn a pumpkin into a carriage, mice into horses, horses into horsemen and Cinderella’s rags into a beautiful gown. It’s from the old Disney Cinderella animated movie and my kids had just watched it at their grandparents’ over Chinese New Year. They loved it. Click here to watch Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo in action.)

Sleeping Beauty

One fine day, a day just like any other day, I tucked my normal  (spunky and bossy) little girl in for her afternoon nap. I gave her a big hug, a big kiss, said, “I love you, good-nap,” and closed her room door. An hour and half later, I opened the door quietly to take a peek only to discover…

My 4-year old had turned into a princess! 🙂

How precious is this? My very own Sleeping Beauty. I hope she lives happily ever after.

An Unfashionably Long Overdued Update

I had such lofty ambitions for this blog (note: had – past tense). It was going to contain lots of information about occupational therapy, a little more about speech therapy and some information about hearing loss.

That was wa..aaay back in 2010. Er… wait a minute, it is still 2010, I mean waaa…ay back in April 2010. It is incredible how fast the months fly by and yet somehow it feels like a millenium has passed. I guess that’s how it is when the going gets a little tough. Yup it has been tough and not too long ago I came to the realisation that I was suffering burnout. I discovered that when my friend posted this as her Facebook status.

BURNOUT (Definition @Merriam Webster): a) exhaustion of physical or emotional strength usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration

I was caught up in a whirlwind of trying so hard to help Hubby-jr “catch up” in school.

As a result of his delay in his language abilities (i.e. processing and expressing information in English) and his sensory processing issues, Hubby-jr had problems coping with school work. Not only was some of the things taught in class hard for him to fully grasp, it was difficult for him to pay sufficient attention in class to begin with. He was not able to filter out background noise or movement and focus as “normal” kids are able to do so. This is beyond the usual kids are easily distracted type of thing.

So, I have been helping him with his school work at home (read: tuition teacher) which has NOT been easy. There were many times I felt like I was teaching him everything from scratch. I felt like I was as good as homeschooling him with the added pressure to help him keep up AND I had to contend with lousy leftover time after school in the afternoon when Hubby-jr would rather do his own thing at home! Why didn’t I just pull him out and homeschool him? For one, he was happy in school. Seriously. Despite everything he enjoyed school. Two, I couldn’t hack it, I would be more nuts than I already am.

Besides helping Hubby-jr with his school work, I was also pushing hard in the area of occupational and speech therapy, trying to do as much as we could at home in hope of helping him “normalise” as quickly as possible. Ambitious right? I was just so driven. I just wanted him to reach a point where he could cope on his own with minimal help from me.

Needless to say, ALL of it wore me down. There were days where I could see sparks of hope and there were days I saw a never-ending tunnel. It was (is?) an emotional roller coaster. Honestly I thought I was pacing myself pretty okay, slowing down when I needed to and taking occasional breaks. And maybe I was. But I was burnout. Most of my free time was spent on mindless activities such as TV and retail therapy. I couldn’t write much and most of the time I didn’t even want to try writing.

The good news is the tide is finally changing. ALL my our (hubby’s, hubby-jr’s and my) hardwork is paying off. There has been significant improvement in school — his teacher reported he is now much more attentive and participative in class. He speaks much more fluently and confidently. AND… drumroll… the latest… just this week news… he has progressed to group occupational therapy every fortnight instead of his weekly single sessions previously. Needless to say, we are elated with the progress!

The journey filled with therapies (language and occupational) is not yet over for us. Hubby-jr still requires a fair bit of help with his school work albeit a teeny weeny bit less… but the latest good news has given my spirits a much needed uplift. 🙂

I hope to write a little more often but I’m afraid I can’t promise my intentions however sincere will come to fruition (I have learnt my lesson and not take on more than I can handle!)

Why Do Stay Home Moms Have No Time?

A friend shared an article on Facebook and I had to, HAD to post it here. All stay home moms (especially those with kids 5 and below and no domestic helper) will be screaming, “YES! YES! YES!!!” After reading it. And if you are not a stay home mom or a mom with young kids you should read it too. It’ll help you get us moms a little better as it fabulously captured a day (more like everyday) in a life of a mom.

Without further ado, please click here.

Handwriting

Handwriting. Yup, handwriting was one of the two key reasons that led us to occupational therapy (OT). Yes, believe it or not, it was handwriting (or the lack of) that convinced me.

We were recommended to send Hubby-jr for an OT assessment way back when we first looked into his speech/language development delay in 2007 (he was four then). But when we received the news he had mild/moderate hearing loss in his right ear – which helped explain most of his developmental delays – we didn’t pursue the OT assessment. We thought we had it figured out, more or less.

Perhaps my judgment was clouded at that point in time by the initial shock of his hearing loss and formal confirmation of his developmental delays (social and language). Looking back I think I was simply overwhelmed and I found all of it hard to digest. So much so I couldn’t bear the thought of one more assessment. Why go through it if it was not absolutely necessary?

Well that was then, I was wrong and in hindsight I regret not going through with the OT assessment.

So what was different this time round that made me take that step? Desperation? In part I guess. But honestly – his serious difficulty with handwriting tipped the scales. It gave me a tangible reason to seek OT. To me it was the only visible symptom.

Okay, some of you may be wondering how bad could his handwriting have been. Hmmm…let me count the ways. His letters were poorly aligned, for example his “r” was as tall as “h” and “t” was as short as “a”. There were no spaces where there should be (in between words) and random gaps between letters where there shouldn’t be. This despite me having taught and drilled him in K2. It was also either too dark (too much pressure on the pencil) or too light, there was no middle ground.

I also received feedback from his class teacher (and his previous kindergarten teacher) that he was very slow in his written work. At the beginning of the year (P1) he was always the last in copying from the board and he almost never could complete any written work in time. If the teacher gave him time to complete his work, she had to ask the rest of his classmates to do some colouring while waiting.

At home, I could see for myself how labourious it was for him. It took him tremendous amount of time and effort just to write neatly. A five sentence handwriting assignment could take him 30-45 minutes just to complete!

I began to seriously wonder why it was that difficult for him to do something that shouldn’t be all that difficult. I also knew I had to do something. How on earth could he survive school if he continued writing at this rate?

Hence when I was recommended to send him for an OT check (the second time), I was very open and we just went for it. Like I said, I was desperate. I was desperate for any explanation, more importantly for any solution.

Having said that, the results of the OT wasn’t what I expected. I kept thinking it had to be his fine motor skills. Well turns out, Hubby-jr’s difficulty with handwriting had little to do with his fine motor skills. It had more to do with poor core muscle tone which probably is a result of his vestibular and proprioceptive sensory issues.

Poor core muscle tone?! I must have gaped when the occupational therapist told me that. Hubby-jr is an active boy who has amazing stamina. He climbs, runs and slides down “fireman poles” at the playground which he visits almost every evening since he was almost 2?! As a friend of mine aptly exclaimed when I told her the diagnosis, “that is SO BIZARRE!” She has often seen him at play.

Well, I guess that’s why we pay the experts. They can pick up stuff that seemingly look normal to us. For more information on the basic skills needed for handwriting check out this link.

The occupational therapist was right (in case you were skeptical). Since we started OT in March, Hubby-jr’s handwriting has improved signficantly. His pencil control is much better, he can write neatly (when he wants to) and quickly now. In school, he can now complete his work in time! Amazing.

But he is not done with OT. He still needs it. Handwriting was only the tip of the iceberg.

Life will never be the same again.

I can’t remember the last time I was so overjoyed when the weekend arrives. Last Friday night at the dinner table I looked at hubby and just burst out with both my hands up in the air, “there’s no school tomorrow! Hurray!!!” And hubby echoed my sentiments with equal gusto (both hands in the air), “Yay!!!”

You have no idea how the last two weeks has been for us.

No, Hubby-jr did not have any problems adjusting to primary(junior) school which started 2 weeks ago on 4 January 2010, much to our relief. He’s taking it amazingly well and we’re just brimming with pride. He likes his school (thank God) and is quite thrilled to be in primary school! Incredible huh? Given his past.

Hubby and I on the other hand are suffering. Life as we had known has completely been altered. Our lives will never be the same again… ladies and gentlemen, dear friends and loved ones… hubby and I now have to wake up every school day at some ungodly hour, before the sun even comes up, 6.45am to be exact.

I know, I know, some of you are probably thinking, “what?! 6.45am is not that early! We have to be awake by…. blah, blah, blah”

Well for hubby and I, 6.45am is ungodly enough an hour. We are not, absolutely NOT morning persons. The last 2 weeks have been sheer torture. Torture!!!

P/S: I started out wanting to write a longer update but my poor brain has yet to fully adjust to the seismic shift of waking up early. My brain has been on perpetual screen saver mode since but… the last 2 days have been a teensy weensy bit better. Alas, a glimmer of hope. I may just be able to get used to this waking up early thingy. Sigh. That’s life being mommyfied!

Not So Good News

Early this morning…

Hubby told me “Your son has rashes on his bum,” a few seconds later, “Dear! Come and see! Do they look like chicken pox to you?!” He exclaimed.

Chicken pox?! “Cannot be lah, he’s already had chicken pox!” I bellowed in reply but headed over to take a look anyway.

“See! This rash looks just like chicken pox,” hubby pointing to a small bubble like thingy.

“I don’t know lah. I think it’s just rashes. I honestly can’t tell what’s chicken pox and what’s not but he’s already had chicken pox so it can’t be. Just put some cream lah,” was my abrupt reply as I left the scene. Yup, I was grouchy. It was morning and although I had my cuppa, caffeine hadn’t kicked into my system yet.

Then just as I was cleaning up the usual breakfast aftermath, I had an epiphany. I rushed back to my son, made him sit down and checked the bottom of his feet, the palm of his hands and his tongue. Yup, yup, yup, I was right. My son has Hand Foot Mouth Disease (HFMD). It fits (Dr. House would’ve been proud). He was running a low grade fever the evening before and was complaining of a sore throat.

Since bringing Hubby-jr to the doc’s and confirming the diagnosis, Hubby has whisked Little Missy to his mom’s to minimise contact. I’ll only see her nights. Sniff.

As for me, I’ll be under house arrest together with my son for the next 7 days, after which (fingers crossed that no one else catches it) I’ll be heading back to my parents’ in Malaysia for a week. So dear all, I’ll be taking a short break (about 2 weeks) during this time.

Till then… I hope things are and will be on a healthier front for you.

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