Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Toddler Busy Bag: Making Colour Matching Popsicles

Recently I stumbled upon some online articles on toddler busy bags and because of this, I was prompted to ask Google, "What the heck is Toddler Busy Bag?"

Google told me that a toddler busy bag is basically a simple child-friendly ready-to-go activity that fits inside a little bag/zip lock/small box. This bag is supposed to be pulled out at any time to keep our toddler/preschooler busy or quiet, say when he/she is in the car, at the restaurants, at the clinic's waiting room, etc. Usually Mommies would make their toddler busy bags on their own so in essence, these kid activities are like Mommy's DIY crafts using very simple and not expensive materials. One mommy blogger even mentioned that making busy bags for kids is so addictive. Heh. I wondered how addictive this going to be so yesterday I gave this busy bag a try.

For my first busy bag, inspired by this Mom, I made a very easy felt craft that is meant to be a game for Naomi to match colours. Crafting had never been my forte since I was young and I had never been so fond of sewing either. Yet, since my curiosity on creating my first busy bag already blanketed me from head to toe, I did the DIY craft that involved needle and thread anyway.

After a couple of hours of cutting, sewing and gluing plus several missed attempts in putting the thread into the needle's eye (why the hole has to be that minuscule?), one needle prick and three teeny weeny drops of blood (from the needle prick) later, I proudly present you the result of my first busy bag for Naomi.


DIY Felt Popsicles.

DIY Colour Matching Felt Popsicles

  • Assorted colour of felts or DIY clothes
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Threads
  • A needle
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pencil
  • Paper

The materials you need to make this craft.

  1. Draw a pocket or popsicle shape in a piece of paper and cut it. Use this as a base model in cutting the felts later so the felt popsicles will look uniformed. This step is optional though. 
  2. Cut out two pieces of felt (of the same colour) into a pocket or popsicle shape. Mine is about 9cm x 7cm.
  3. Sew them together but leave the bottom part opened for inserting the sticks.
  4. Cut a little bit of felt and paste it in the popsicle stick. One color for one popsicle stick.
  5. Do the same for the other colours of felt.

I pasted colorful pom-poms on the sticks and they look cute.

Once all the felt popsicles are put in a small plastic bag or pouch, they are good to entertain Naomi on-the-go.

Stack them together and pop them in a small bag.

Here's Naomi testing her busy bag for the first time.

How to play this, Mom?

After about 5-10 minutes trying to get the hang of inserting those sticks into the felt popsciles, Naomi was finally able match the colour of the felt in the sticks to the right colour of the felt popsicles.

OK, got it.

As my effort to move Naomi away from playing with tablet or smart phone, I am happy to see that this busy bag activity indeed works well in distracting Naomi and keeping her busy for a while.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Naomi Comic Issue #9: Let Me Sniff You

I can't remember the last time I took selfie with Naomi; hence, I took some today. Most of the selfie poses happened to be me sniffing Naomi's hair because erm, her hair smells so good to me.

Is it normal for a Mom to think that her kid has the most amazing smell ever, even though he/she has been sweating and hadn't had a hair wash since yesterday? LOL.

Here you go, pictures of me sniffing Naomi until she got very irritated and literally ran away from me.
Issue #9: I love her smell best.

Speaking of Naomi, these days she has been a really cute yet annoying little girl at the same time.

For examples, Naomi is so adorable when she plays house with her stuffed toys of all sizes and characters. She's the big Momma here and some of her selected toys are her babies. Naomi lines her babies on the bed, sleeps next to them and asks me to cover her and her babies with my blanket.

Cute Mama lulling her babies to sleep.

What makes me chuckle most is the occasions when Naomi would run to me with her monkey stuffed toy and a cloth napkin. At first, it took me a long time to understand what Naomi wanted me to do with those two when she handed them to me and ordered me to do something with them in her baby language. Ultimately, my motherly instinct aided me in deciphering my daughter's baby language that is somewhat mysterious to human history. And oh, apparently Naomi wanted me to swaddle her monkey stuffed toy with her cloth napkin like a real baby.

On the annoying part, nowadays, Naomi loves to throw things around when she is not happy or her whatever wish is not granted. She'd unload her toy basket and throw all toys inside it across the room. She'd empty her coloured pencils pouch and throw all the pencils all over the room. She'd open her puzzle box and throw the contents out. I can only imagine a mini king kong on rampage when Naomi does this. Most of the time, she refuses to tidy her scattered toys up too.

This is just a small part of the room with Naomi's scattered toys. 

Frankly, sometimes it is quite maddening to tidy Naomi's messy toys, puzzle pieces or pencils all over the room back to where they belong several times in a day, especially when I need to sweep the room. It's not funny either when I accidentally step on these toys when I need to go to the toilet at night. Alas, when my husband and I get really angry and tired with this attitude, we have no choice but confiscating some of her favourite toys and coloured pencils for few hours or days.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

6 Life Lessons My Son Taught Me

Just days after Baby Dylan's passing, I unsubscribed the pregnancy email newsletters from a couple of well-known online pregnancy information websites because I obviously don't need to get such emails for the time being. I forgot, however, to unsubsribe the weekly notifications from the pregnancy apps in my phone. Yesterday morning my heart ached a little when I received "My Baby This Week" update in my phone, realizing that my baby boy would have been 33 weeks old this week had he been alive.

Sweet memory: My second pregnancy bumps.

Up to this second, I am still bereft of this private tragedy and grief still envelopes me. Nevertheless, I think this is normal considering that my 'wound' is relatively new.

As per some good friends' suggestions, instead of going too deep in this grieving process, probably it is a good idea for me to look on the brighter side of this agonizing experience. For instance, rather than constantly revisiting the pains of losing my baby son, I could see the positive sides of all this by cherishing the good memories I had with Dylan, even though it was only 7 months short.

Having said this, I am listing some of the personal life lessons that my son had taught me throughout this ordeal.

1. Life is so unpredictable.

I had a text-book pregnancy with Dylan. Both Dylan and I were all along deemed healthy. Despite experiencing some minor pregnancy discomforts, I had no morning sickness, vomiting, crazy cravings or horrible mood swings throughout my second pregnancy. Compared to my first pregnancy, I felt that my second pregnancy was much easier and enjoyable. 

When some friends shared with me that their current pregnancies were on the high-risk side, I was so confident, or perhaps, over-confident that mine was going to be just fine. Who knew that life can throw us the unexpected? My so-called problem-free second pregnancy was terminated 10 weeks before my due date because my unborn baby's heartbeat had stopped beating. Instead, those friends of mine with high-risk pregnancy ended holding healthy babies in their arms. 

I underestimated the possibility that anything can happen even on a completely normal or healthy pregnancy. In this respect, I failed do proper baby movement counts on daily basis in my last tri-semester.

Life sometimes just doesn't go as we planned it.

2. You will know what to do when the time comes.

Going into labour is a scary prospect for every expecting mother. Speaking of giving birth methods, I always dreaded (1) Being medically induced as it may be more painful than bearing contraction pains that come naturally (2) Drug-free vaginal birth because it's literally slow torture for the woman and I cannot imagine episiotomy sans anaesthesia (3) C-section because I am really scared with the idea of having my abdomen and uterus being cut open for the baby delivery. 

The moment my gynae broke the distressing news that I'd unfortunately lost Baby Dylan and had to deliver him soon by being medically induced for the vaginal birth, I was worried sick. Then, C-section was more like a Plan B and would only be carried out in the event of failed induction. Either way, both Plan A and Plan B here were nerve-racking for me who was not ready for baby delivery at all.

I was given less than 24 hours to organize my thoughts at home and come back to the hospital for Dylan's delivery in the next morning. In those hours, I had panic attacks three times as well as troubled sleeping and eating. In essence, I was incredibly fearful and anxious about the imminent 'forced' baby delivery. That day, I guess I spent more time worrying about the forthcoming labour instead of crying/mourning over the loss of my second baby. 

When the time to give birth to Dylan finally came, I was able to set my mind and made a decision about his delivery. In the end, the suggested induced labour went well and in my disbelief, I pulled through a natural birth without epidural. I had a considerably smooth baby delivery.

Although worrying is at times inevitable, the way I see it now, it's probably wise not to excessively think or worry over something as when the time comes, we will eventually know what to do.

3. Strangers could be angels in disguise.

When I had to arrange Dylan's burial as soon as he was delivered, I sought help from the Reverend of a church here. I went to this church several times about two years ago but had not gone there again since I had Naomi. I've seen this Reverend few times during the Sunday Service but didn't know him personally. To my surprise, this Reverend did not mind helping me to send Dylan off to his final rest though I am not part of this church congregation for almost two years. Further, he and his wife spared time to visit my husband and me in the hospital to counsel us after my son was born. His wife gave me a hug too.

Another person from the church, whom my husband and I never met, assisted my husband liaising with the undertaker in such short notice for Dylan's burial. At the cemetery, the Reverend also invited a lady who had experience in journeying along with another woman who had stillbirth. This lady was the one who encouraged me to get out of the car and witness Dylan's burial so it'd serve me a better closure. Moving forward, she emailed, sent text messages and called me to find out how I was doing and offer comforts during this difficult time. 

Not forgetting to mention my blog readers, whom I personally don't know, showered me with heartfelt condolence messages and kind words to cope with Dylan's loss. Some of them even emailed me personally. (Thank you!).

It's quite weird to see how sometimes total strangers genuinely provide us with some supports and comforts, isn't it? And they actually make our day a little better by doing such.

4. Patience is mother of all virtues.

When the whole mind-numbing incidents happened, the only advice that my Dad and BFF told me again and again was, "Be patient."

Tough times don't last, tough people do.

They were right. I was even able to go through those excruciating labour pains without epidural by just being very patient for hours.

5. What is meant to be is meant to be.

In spite of the fact that my Mom was very saddened with Dylan's passing, she did comfort me a lot by saying that Dylan is just not fated to be with me in this life and Father in Heaven wanted him back. 

Naomi's Nanny, who lost a son many years ago, also pointed that when a child had to leave, let him leave (他要走,给他走). 

It seems that everyone who is in our life is meant to be a part of our journey but not all of them are meant to stay.

6. Value presence. 

I guess my son wanted to teach me to appreciate what I have, instead of focusing what I've lost. I have to be grateful that I still have my cheeky and cute Naomi by my side. Her well-being and happiness are my utmost priorities now and to achieve these she needs a healthy and happy mother. Also, I still have my husband and parents who need me. Albeit I am emotionally ruined and heartbroken with this loss, being strong alone is not sufficient to endure this hellish situation. I need to be realistic and rational. I cannot go down otherwise other people, in this case, Naomi, my husband and parents will get the implications too. 

Other than the above Dylan's valuable life lessons for me, I absolutely cherish the easy pregnancy and epidural-free natural childbirth experiences that Dylan gave me. These are certainly two intimate beautiful memories that my son and I forever share. 

I will probably never forget Dylan nor be entirely free from the pain of losing him but I will be okay. Like my husband said, Baby Dylan is physically not with me now but he lives in my heart and mind.

P/S: I think I am making a real progress here because I didn't shed any tear when writing this post. Previously, I always cried every time I wrote something about Dylan.