Category Archives: Ally

The Homestretch

Ally had to undergo surgery nearly 3 weeks ago. We had prepped her beforehand, letting her know what the procedure would be like and explaining about the post-op care. We knew there would be a substantial amount of pain post-op and we told her so as well.

The surgery went smoothly and she was home the very next day. We were extremely relived and the boys were happy to have her home. Little did we know that she had picked up a virus, we assumed that her high fever was surgery related. She was weak, tired and extremely irritable for about 4 days. She neither ate or drank very much and lost weight rapidly. It was no surprise that she soon became depressed, she couldn’t do much besides rest and this didn’t sit well with her active nature. We were very concerned, it was unlike Ally to get so down. We tried our best to cheer her up and I helped her put her feelings down into a story. It was a difficult week for everyone at home.

3 weeks on and I can confidently say that the worst is over. Ally is back to her old self and her surgical wound seems to be healing nicely. We had fantastic support from family, friends and medical staff, for which we are extremely grateful. Ally can know talk about the whole experience without bursting into tears and I think she’s come out of it an even stronger person.

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Tough Stuff

Ally had her first gymnastics competition today. She has been looking forward to it for months and has spent countless hours practicing, both in the gym and at home.

We reached the gym bright and early to give her time to settle in. She joined her friends for the warm up and was starting to enjoy herself. Her first apparatus was the beam and she did a fantastic job remembering her routine and executing it.

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Then came the bars, Ally’s favourite. She saluted the judge, got ready to jump and catch the bars when it happened. She caught hold of the bars but her hand slipped and she fell, hard, onto the mat. She fell on her elbow and immediately started to cry. Her coach ran over to check if she was alright, we iced her elbow and tried to calm her down. At first Matt and I stood back to let her coach see to her, we both knew Ally can be very dramatic over the slightest thing and we didn’t want to make the situation worse. But I soon realise that she could actually be hurt. She could move her arm but didn’t have much strength in her fingers. We knew nothing was broken and so we spoke to her and she agreed to continue with the rest of her competition.

 

I had tears in my eyes watching her compete. It was obvious that she was in discomfort but she held it together enough to finish her routines. Sure she cried every now and then but when it came for her to perform, she did. The rest of the parents applauded her efforts as well and I’m grateful for their support.

Doing her floor routine

Doing her floor routine

This was an unfortunate accident that could have happened to anyone, anywhere. More importantly, Ally showed us that she had the determination and courage to carry on despite it all. We are so proud of her, my girl is made of tough stuff.

Always a champ in my eyes

Always a champ in my eyes

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Undeserving

I lose my temper with them more often than I should. At times I choose my computer over playing games with my children.  I forget to praise them when they deserve it but I’m quick to point out their faults and wrong doings. Yet tonight, while putting Ally to bed, she grabbed me and gave me a tight hug. Then she whispered in my ear ” You are the best mama I could ever want”

I felt so undeserving…. and so grateful for their unconditional love .

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An Article on Cleft Palates

That’s my girl!

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Eye Checks

In the last few months we have noticed that Ally seemed to have trouble with her eyes. She would rub them or tilt her head at a certain angle when reading. We made an appointment to have her eyes checked at KKH.

For her first visit, they did the usual eye sight test and they also inserted drops into her eyes and re-tested her. Some things to note, the first visit takes a LONG time, we’re talking about 3 hours. In fact we were there for 4.5 hours as it was the school holidays and the clinic was especially busy. Secondly, prepare your child for the insertion of the eye drops as the drops sting. It can be quite daunting for the younger children especially when they hear others crying. The drops are inserted 3 times, with a 5 minute interval between each time.

Insertion of the eye drops, she cried the first time but was very co-operative after that

 

Getting her eyes tested

We had a very patient doctor who explained that Ally was slightly shortsighted and that she had amblyopia or lazy eye. The short-sighted diagnosis wasn’t surprising as she had failed a routine eye screening at her pediatrician. But I didn’t realise that she had amblyopia as well. This meant that we had to patch her good eye for 2 hours a day , everyday, to encourage her brain to use her weaker eye. It also meant that she needed glasses to help with her astigmatism and short-sightedness.

Ally took it all in her stride, we let her choose her own frames and a few days ago we picked up her glasses. So far she’s been co-operative with the patching but we shall see. To further help her, I might explore home vision therapy to see if that would help.

Trying out different frames in the shop

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An Extremely Happy Girl

It’s the school holidays and we spent the early weeks of it dealing with sick boys. Ally was the last women standing and thankfully didn’t succumb to the horrible virus.

As with every school holiday, shopping malls would have free stage shows and Hi 5 was back once again. As a special treat I took Ally down to watch the show and once again I managed to get the time wrong. It’s a good thing we went earlier rather than later.

Ally loved the show and was on her feet dancing to the songs. I know I’ve mentioned it before but Hi 5 are really fantastic with the children. They would reach out to shake the kids hands, give them high 5s …etc. The crowd was insane but thankfully we had front row seats.

After the show we lined up for the photo taking session, Ally had prepared a card for Lauren once again and this time she had gifts for everyone as well. Lauren actually remembered her from camp last year which thrilled her to bits.

Waiting for the show to begin, she made friends with the little girl sitting beside her

Meeting the cast AGAIN, the blue paper in her hand was the card she made for Lauren

Group picture!

A big hug from her idol

One last picture before we had to go

The cast were also kind enough to sign a shirt for Ally! After we left she could not stop talking about the show and was jumping around all excited. Needless to say, I had a very happy girl the entire day  🙂

Her extremely special and very precious shirt

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Just Some Photos

Max and Luke have both been down with a bad cold/cough, thankfully both boys are on the mend. It didn’t stop us from having some outdoor fun at the Botanics, we had beautiful weather, overcast but no rain.

The boys playing hide and seek

Who knew umbrellas could provide so much entertainment?

You can’t see me

Max honestly thought he had the best hiding spot

This was taken on our ” Max and Mama’s day out” at his request, we went to the airport and sat the sky train no less than 10 times

Both kids waiting for Daddy to come home from work

If you’re wondering why there are no pictures of Luke, its because he was mostly asleep in his stroller. My not so little man is now a whopping 7.2kg at 2 months, pictures to come soon.

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Speech Videofluroscopy

The day finally came for Ally’s speech videofluroscopy. She needed to have it done so that her speech therapist and plastic surgeon could check the movement and length of her soft palate and decide what needs to be done next. We made this appointment a month ago and I have been gently prepping her for it. I knew she would have no problems sitting through the X-ray, but the barium insertion was another story. They would insert a small tube into her nostril and she would have to swallow the barium, this allows the structures in the mouth and throat to be clearly seen on the X-ray. Ally is good with most medical procedures but I knew this would be stretching her limits. She was scared and asked if it would hurt, I didn’t lie to her, I just told her it would be uncomfortable.

Her speech therapist asked her to lie down on the X-ray table and showed her the syringe and tube which would go into her nose. First she dropped one tiny drop, Ally swallowed it without any problems. I was a bit alarmed to see that she had drawn out 5ml of the solution, in my mind I was thinking there is no way Ally was going to let her insert that much!

Then the time came for the real thing. She pumped a little bit more liquid into her nose, as expected Ally gagged and struggled. Her whole face turned red but she didn’t cry, we had her favourite penguin beside her and I was holding onto her hand. Once she swallowed that liquid we had to do the other nostril. Again she gagged and spat some of it out , it was clearly uncomfortable for her but she held back her tears. Luckily she had swallowed enough and we didn’t have to subject her to it anymore.

Once they got her into position, she had to repeat the phases that her therapist said. Oh, did I forget to mention that we had to remove her earrings? This cause more tears and drama than the barium insertion itself! She finally allowed me to take them off and we could continue with the X-ray. It was really cool watching all of it on the TV, I could see all her bones, the structure of her mouth, and lots of other things that I couldn’t identify. From the X-ray you could clearly see that her lower jaw has still some way to catch up with the upper. Once the lateral view was done, her therapist decided that we needed to insert more barium. Since she cried when I had to remove her earrings, her tears had diluted the solution and it wasn’t showing up clearly on the X-rays. When they gently explained it to her, you could see she was very upset but she bravely held back her tears and nodded her head. My heart went out to her , she behaved so bravely and maturely for her age. It went a lot smoother the 2nd time round, I guess she knew what to expect and didn’t gag so much.

After the whole procedure was done, we bought her a present as promised and told her how proud we all were of her. She still has a nasal scope coming up at the end of the month, I’m hoping that would go as smoothly as the X-ray.

 

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Meal Time Survival 101

I had this whole meal thing down pat, taking Ally and Max out to lunch on my own was second nature by now. Most days I could get all 3 of us fed without much drama. Then we had Luke and suddenly meal times became complicated affairs.

Taking 3 young children out for lunch on your own is a feat in itself. First location is very important, hawker centers are out of the question cos a) the pram doesn’t fit at any of the tables,  b) either one or both children are slipping off those little round seats since they have to perch on them to reach the table and c) poor Luke will be melting in his pram by the time we are done eating.

So that leaves us with food courts or restaurants. When one is at a food court, it’s all about location. You need to find a table that close enough to the stalls you are buying from so that you can keep an eye on the kids. This can be tricky if one child wants to eat something at this end of the food court and the other child wants something at the other end. What does one do? You either tell the kids to choose food from stalls in the vicinity or you take all the troops with you to one stall, buy the food, walk them to the other end , find a table and get everyone settled while you buy food for second child. By this time you probably look harassed and overwhelmed and hopefully some kind soul will help you carry your tray.

Even the type of food that you have to buy can pose a problem. Suppose you need to buy something from this end and walk over with kids in tow to the other. Now , if its a rice dish that isn’t too bad, but what if its a bowl of steaming hot noodles? Do you attempt to carry the tray with one hand while pushing the pram with the other and at the same time shouting at the other two kids to follow you? I choose to ask the stall holder to help me carry the tray, at least I know I won’t end up burning one of my kids! Most of the time they are willing to help but of course you get the odd one or two who couldn’t give a damn.

Once the food is actually bought, cut up and served to the kids, now its time to feed yourself. Gone are the days of buying what you actually felt like eating. Now I choose foods that I can either eat with one hand or gobble down in 10 minutes. No more hot soups for me! The meal goes rather smoothly if Luke stays asleep, but should he wake up in between then that’s when I wish I could grow an extra set of arms. Luckily for me, Ally is old enough to eat on her own and loves her food so I don’t have to constantly remind her to stop day dreaming and eat. Max is a different story, he can feed himself but will take forever and will fidget, day-dream and do about a 100 other things besides eat. So I end up feeding him half the time to make things quicker. Take today for example, we were all having lunch when Luke woke up and needed a feed. So while I fed Luke, I was trying to feed Max and myself all at the same time. By the time lunch was finished, I was ready for bed.

If Matt is around that makes thing much easier, in fact we can even have a decent conversation over meal times. Sometimes we end up playing what I call ” pass the baby” which just means one of us carries Luke and tries to feed ourself while the other manages the two older kids. Then we do a swap so the person carrying Luke can now finally use both hands to try and finish his/her meal.

Is it tough handling all 3 on my own during meal times? Of course it is! But I know it’s one of those things that won’t last forever. As the kids get older it would hopefully get easier , in the meantime , I’ve better master the art of speed eating.

 

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Co-sleeping, The Kids Version

Ever since Max turned 1, Ally and him have shared a room. We bought Ally a trundle bed once she moved out of the cot and we placed the cot and her bed adjacent to each other. Even at that young age, Max loved Ally’s company. Soon the little monkey found that he could climb out of his cot. Images of cracked skulls and broken collar bones immediately filled my head so I bought a net to put over his crib. Needless to say he HATED it and cried each time we put him to bed. Matt suggested letting the two kids share a bed and that’s what they have been doing ever since.

Until recently, both of them shared Ally’s single mattress but they’re starting to find it quite a squeeze so we pulled out the trundle, propped up the legs and turned it into a queen size bed. The kids are in 7th heaven, they have a lot more space to sleep play about .

Eventually Luke and Max will share a room and Ally will move into her own room. But while they are still young, we’re going to keep all 3 in the same room. It definitely strengthens the bond between them and they have so much fun, sharing little games/ secrets before bedtime.

Ally 3 monkeys squeezing onto my hospital bed the day Luke was born

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