Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Chapter 435 - Tokyo Adventures (with a Toddler)
So this was our second overseas trip with Matthew (who is now 14-months old). Travelling with Matthew was pretty much a logistical nightmare! Esther had to ensure that we packed enough diapers, milk powder, toys, clothes, medication, etc etc for the trip, and this post shares some of the things that we had not expected when travelling in Tokyo with a Toddler (from a Singaporean's perspective)

1. There are staircases, staircases and staircases
While most parts of Tokyo are wheelchair (and therefore stroller - Japanese call them "Baby Cars") friendly, not all subway stations are wheelchair-friendly. Well, at least we can't always seem to find escalators, or elevators (lifts) at the exits/entrances that we are headed for. In these cases, Esther and I would have to carry Matthew (whom we termed our "Little Prince") up/down the stairs in his throne (aka. Baby Car).

Creative feeding in a tatami-styled restaurant
Some people may prefer a baby carrier over a stroller - however, we'd definitely still prefer a stroller, as it allows us to take a break when Matthew falls asleep - we could leave him alone for a while, and not have to carry him around for a bit. This was especially helpful, since we were out for most parts of the day.

2. Baby high chairs are not a given
Baby chair at the Chef Mickey restaurant
In a number of the restaurants that we went to, baby high chairs were not necessarily available. And if they were available, there may not be a harness/strap to strap the toddler in. Some restaurants were able to provide a belt, or even a rope to help "tie" the baby to the chair (sounds horrible eh?). If you definitely need a strap for your kid, you may want to consider bringing an extra belt (in which case, you can even just belt him to a normal chair).


Matthew pictured here sitting at the counter in his stroller

When baby chairs were not available, the strollers came in real handy, as it meant that Matthew could still sit at the table with us in his stroller. Just make sure that the restaurant that you go to has got enough space, and that they are okay with the baby. (Some places simply won't allow babies! E.g. Daiwa Sushi @ Tsukiji Fish Market refused to allow us to enter, even though Matthew was securely strapped in his baby carrier!)

3. It is not easy to find baby food / diapers / milk powder


In Singapore, we are used to getting our supply of baby food / diapers / milk powder at the nearest supermarket. However, in Japan (Tokyo), most of the supermarkets only sell fresh food/produce, and such items are only available at the "drug store" (or pharmacy). Only problem was that not all "drug stores" carry baby products, and you will need to find one that is big enough to sell them. Some places where we found them were at Tokyo Sky Tree (drug store at Level 1), Toys R Us (or rather Babies R Us) and some department stores (check out the baby/kids section - e.g. Mitsukoshi @ Ginza). Just to be safe, it would be best if you could to bring enough baby food / diapers / milk powder to save you the trouble of having to find them.

4. Baby Changing Facilities (Two Thumbs Up!)
Although baby high chairs are not a given (we think that's because it may not be common to eat out with a kid in Tokyo), baby changing facilities in Japan / Tokyo are FANTASTIC! Just visit any department store, and the baby room is amazing! The baby rooms are huge, and have numerous cubicles for changing and for nursing mothers. Not only that, the rooms are clean, and have hot water dispensers, which dispense water to the right temperature for baby formula. Not just that, the baby rooms were often stocked with Stokke chairs! (okay, this last point may sound a little bimbotic... ;p)

5. Childrens' Play Area
And it's not just baby changing facilities - the kids/toys section in most department stores allow free-play of the toys for kids. This could mean 30 minutes (or more, depending on you) of allowing your child to explore some toys. We found a lovely play area in Muji @ Ginza for kids too and spent no less than 45 minutes, letting Matthew play with the other children.

6. Invest in an inflatable bath tub
Bath time with ducky!
Tokyo apartments/hotels tend to be on the small side, and we found our little inflatable duck (from Munchkins@ Mothercare) to be one of the best buys for the trip. As the bath tubs tend to be small, and too high, it was much easier to shower Matthew in the inflatable bath tub, as seen in the picture below.

7. Consider staying in an apartment instead of a hotel
We booked an apartment through Airbnb.com, which we found to be really useful, as the apartment has a kitchen (useful for washing bottles), and a washer (for washing soiled clothes, and also means bringing less clothes for the trip!). If possible, we'd strongly recommend getting an apartment with separate bedrooms, rather than a studio - allows the parents to watch some tele while the baby is asleep!

I hope this post has been helpful and documents some of our own learning from the trip! :)

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Posted by yellowlemonie at 8:52 AM | 0 comments
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Chapter 434 - A Tale of 2 PiSaIs
Last night, baby Matthew was crying uncontrollably on the way home and we just couldn't figure out why. He didn't want to drink nor was his diaper in need of changing. He even refused to sleep on the journey home (which he usually does). 

Of course, we had to dig deeper. 

Upon reaching home, we finally managed to settle him down to take some milk, and we were about to give him his usual 9pm wipe down before bed time and that's when I noticed it - The Booger aka Pi-sai, in both nostrils. Of course, I didn't think much of it initially since it was not an uncommon occurrence. So I took a cotton bud to try and get it out. Unfortunately, both decided to go deeper into the abyss. Thankfully, the left Pi-Sai came out on its own soon after (all hail gravity!) and that's when we saw how big that Pi-Sai was! If there was a Pi-Sai rating, I'd think it'd have been a 700! (Near choking levels) One can only imagine the amount of dust and mucus that went into that!

So of course, must get the other one out too right? Unfortunately, the cotton bid wouldn't do the job, so that called for more "specialised" tools. You know that metal rod with a scooped end that people dig their ear wax with? That's the one we used. And in it went into the right nostril. Without much effort, we'd struck gold again! This time, the Pi-Sai was one that could easily match the other Pi-Sai. 

And well, Matthew seemed visibly relieved that his Pi-Sai rating dropped considerably and his comfort rating was steadily improving. With that, he had his usual bed time milk and went to bed.

The end.

PS:If you find any PSI related jokes in my post, I can assure you it's purely coincidental. 

P PS:it's a real story btw, not a made up one. :)

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Posted by yellowlemonie at 8:12 AM | 0 comments
Monday, June 03, 2013
Chapter 433 - Achievement unlocked!
Last night, Matthew unlocked the "managed to put fingers into mouth" achievement! He's been at it for a while now but only managed to put his mitten into his mouth, but last night (while his mitten was off and I was away from the room) I heard sucking noises coming from the room only to discover a very satisfied baby with a new found sensation! 

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Posted by yellowlemonie at 9:26 AM | 0 comments
Monday, May 27, 2013
Chapter 432 - Lessons learnt from Baby Matthew
So anyway, you might have guessed - that our lives now revolve around Baby Matthew, with him being the centre of the universe. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing though. I think. ;p Just thougth I'd jot down some of my thoughts, and lessons learnt. 

 Lesson #1 - Be Patient 
One of the most important things to note when taking care of Baby Matthew is to be patient. For example, when you are tapping him to sleep at night, you have to be extremely patient to make sure that he's completely asleep (i know it's funny to say "completely" asleep, but well, babies have this funny ability to be semi-asleep that they actually are omni-sensing even when they look like they are asleep) before you can actually put him down in his cot, and walk away. Oh did I mention that even putting him down from your arms is a delicate skill - you need to do it in steps, so that he "thinks" that he's still being carried, and even when you've put him down, you need to be at bay to make sure that if he startles (oh no, where is daddy's hand?), you are able to assure him that he's safe and secure.

 Lesson #2 - Be Happy (always) Sometimes when Matthew is asleep, he smiles to himself - with such genuinity that you would really think he was having sweet dreams. I do often wonder what he dreams of though. (oh, and he does also "cry" in his sleep, and then stops and goes back to sleep - nightmares I presume. Perhaps milk shortage? ;p) But anyway, this point here is really to say that there's no point being angry - like when Matthew refuses to sleep (and gives you that most innocent looking face, looking about curiously at the room), or when Matthew decides to poop on you right after his shower. But yes, I guess that's all part of the whole parenthood package. You've just got to take it in its stride. 

 But all in all, good fun so far. Wish I could be more helpful with the night feeds (Matthew's being breastfed for now).
Posted by yellowlemonie at 4:32 AM | 0 comments
Monday, May 13, 2013
Chapter 431 - Reflections of a 1-month Old Father
(Just to clarify though - the title of this post just means that the father has only experienced fatherhood for 1 month and not a 1-month old who has fathered a child... ;p)

Anyway, so you may have heard, but Baby Matthew was born on 3 Apr 13 - the same birthday as me! I guess it's got to be the best birthday present for me and as my wife says, all she has to do is to wrap up Matthew every year as my "birthday present". (We'd joked about this during Esther's pregnancy since the estimated due date was supposed to be 2 Apr, but we had not thought that it would come true... Haha)

Baby Matthew was born after about 3 hours of labour. Esther had gone for a check-up on 2 Apr thinking our doctor would just ask us to wait for labour to occur naturally. But because her blood pressure was a little high and the baby was full term, the doctor decided to induce labour with prostaglandins... 

The first attempt on 2 Apr was not successful and the second attempt was on the morning of 3 Apr. And labour came fast and furious. So much so that by the time Esther had gone to the labour ward, she was too far on to have an epidural. And in the end, because baby Matthew was facing the wrong way (his face was facing forward instead of facing backwards), thus he had to be delivered assisted. By the use of forceps. And boy were the forceps huge! I describe it as distorted badminton rackets - the size anyway. Not quite your small science lab forceps you normally encounter. 

So anyway, after a long story, here's a photo of Baby Matthew:

Baby Matthew lying on mummy right after birth. I guess it's gotta be one of the best feelings in the world to finally look at your own child.

Soon after baby Matthew was born came many sleepless nights of which the first came on the night of 3rd Apr. (yes, the very first night). Matthew kept making noises every hour and would keep quiet only when we started talking to him. And we were cooing over every little noise he made and every action he made and I remember us remarking that he was cute even when he was crying! Haha. (Ok, maybe not so cute when it's in the middle of the night and when you're tired) 

And we have soon come to realise a few things:

1. The times when he is asleep are the "golden moments" and you should rest as much as you can
2. When the diaper is off is when sh*t happens. For that short period of time when the diaper is off is when the sh*t and the pee comes. Don't ask me why he doesn't pee or poo during the couple of hours when we don't change the diaper and only does it when we change the diaper. I guess it's his way of marking his territory perhaps? ;p 

Anyway, long post. Will stop for now. Here's another photo of him on a recent trip to Great World City.



Posted by yellowlemonie at 7:38 AM | 0 comments
Sunday, January 06, 2013
Chapter 430 - A Story of the Ear Wax
Have you ever had this feeling, that when you were cleaning the house, that you've discovered a dirty, dusty spot that has not been cleaned for years, and after you had cleaned the spot, you felt really good about yourself?

Well, I had such an epiphany (or sorts) recently, but with a piece (or maybe pieces) of ear wax. Recall my previous post, of how I was crossing into the new year uncertain about when a piece of ear wax was gonna come out of my ear?

Here's how the story continues:

The ear wax wouldn't come out for the next couple of days (on New Year's Day and the day after), but I kept my faith and continued to drip the ear drops to soften the ear wax. By the end of the Wednesday (also the first day at work), I've had enough of not being able to hear "stereo" sound and rushed to the doctor at the end of work (well, actually after the pre-natal class we were attending). The doctor looked into my ear, and wasn't too confident but decided to try syringing anyway (thank goodness he didn't ask me to come back the next day!).

If you were thinking ear syringing was done with a small syringe that's used for injections, then you'd be sorely disappointed. The doctor came into the room with a big-ass syringe, that will blow anyone's mind. ;p Here's a photo of what it looks like:

Ok, maybe it doesn't look quite so scary without a hypodermic needle at the end of it, but still it was pretty bad-ass. By the way. ear syringing works by filling up a syringe with warm water, and then flushing it through the ear canal to flush whatever shit in there out.

Anyway, the doctor proceeded to syringe my ear. After 1 attempt, he took a look into my ear to see the "progress". I waited with bated breath for the doctor's reply - since ear syringing is somewhat iffy and there's no guarantee that the ear wax would come out. So imagine the delight in me when he said that it's looking good, and we'll have to do it a few more times.

So again we went, 2nd, 3rd and 4th time. By the end of the 2nd syringe, my hearing was back to "stereo" and it felt really good. (Imagine pains and needles in your limbs going away... ;p) And the amount of ear wax collected in the liquid that came out of my ear was quite astonishing. I don't have pictures to show of it (and I don't think you'd be interested to see it anyway), but let's just say that I was amazed by how much shit wax there was in there. haha. For $45 to clean 1 ear, I'd say it was money pretty well spent. ;p

At the end of the 4th time, I had that wonderful feeling that I imagine anyone would have having been "disabled" for a period of time. I can only imagine how horrible it must be for anyone to lose their sense of hearing. I was partially "deaf" for a couple of days, and the feeling was killing me! And guess what the unintended consequence of ear syringing was - now that my right ear was spanking clean (if I could see the insides of it), my left ear was feeling dirty and blocked! It's all just relative. Urgh!

So I'm uncertain now whether or not I should seek the doctor's help to do ear syringing for my left ear! Advice anyone?
Posted by yellowlemonie at 4:26 AM | 0 comments
Monday, December 31, 2012
Chapter 429 - Welcome 2013!
It's sort of become a tradition that I've got to write a post on my "New Year's Resolution" every year, so here it is!

As we leave 2012 behind and usher in the New Year, I've got to say that I begin the year with plenty of uncertainty - not necessary in a bad way I guess:

1. Uncertain of when we will move into our new flat! In case you've not read my previous post on our housing woes, you should! ;p We're keeping our fingers and toes crossed that we'll move in around the 20th of January.

2. Uncertain of my new "job". I think most of you will already know, but I'm moving to HQ next year to be a Special Pro-jects Officer - a bit of a change from teaching. For now, I only have a very vague idea of what I'm gonna be doing, so again I'm hoping that this move is for the better! (Not that I could have stopped it if I'd wanted to though...)

3. Uncertain of when a certain piece of ear wax is gonna come out of my ear! And yes I'm serious about this! 2 days ago, I went swimming, and ended up with a bit of a blocked right ear. And then I was so annoyed by it yesterday I decided to try and clean it with a cotton bud, only to push ear wax deeper into my ear! Spent 2.5 hours at the Polyclinic today to find out that the ear wax is now impacted (i.e. stuck) and I've got to come back for ear syringing (basically using a syringe filled with water to flush my ear). But well, the silly thing is that the appointment for the ear syringing was gonna be in a month's time! I think I can only tolerate a couple more days of bad hearing in one ear before I start pushing all sorts of stuff into my ear canal to take out the ear wax!

Well, thankfully I also went to see a GP this afternoon, and we should be able to do some ear syringing on Wednesday. So even as 2013 has arrived, I've entered 2013 with blocked ears! And I've got to put this wax solution into my ear to try and soften the ear wax so that it's more likely to come out during the ear syringing! Brings new meaning to the saying "Happy New Year, Pull Your Ears!" haha!

But on the other hand, I also begin 2013 with something that I'm looking forward to - the birth of our first child! 2012 was indeed a life-changing year - what's with the wedding, our honeymoon, and now that Esther's pregnant, we are both looking forward to seeing our baby boy some time in early April! :)
Posted by yellowlemonie at 4:16 PM | 0 comments
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