of Yaps and Cheng

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Potty training. They’re ready when they’re ready.

We are back on track. Little Boy is effectively potty-trained for pee. In two short weeks since mid May, he has been diaper-free (except bedtime) and wearing boy briefs.

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Do you like my dino briefs?

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Aw, thank you, I know it’s cute!

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Ooh, saggy butt

After he donned his potty as a party hat in Feb but still refused to pee in it, I decided to abort all training attempts. Grandies couldn’t succeed either when they, on occasions, let him go butt-naked. It just didn’t work, even though he totally understood the concept. He simply peed on himself, beckoned you to clean up his mess and continued about his playing. I was quite half-hearted by then, and figured that when he goes to school, peer pressure + kids’ copycat ability + patient teachers should help me accomplish the mission in half the time and with double the ease (for me).

I was lucky I didn’t have wait till then. Two weeks ago, Little Boy had a play date with Lucas. Eve was in the midst of potty training Lucas and to great success. Her secret – Lucas gets one M&M each time he successfully pee/poo in the potty.

(Photo from Eve’s blog) Lucas: Me and potty, we’re good…

Little Boy had curiously followed Lucas’ entire routine, eyes shining at the doling of M&Ms and even scored one from Eve for being a play date visitor. He was definitely interested. Now, I had seen the same trick on pinterest, but given my shut-down mode, I dismissed it as a great idea that probably won’t work for Little Boy now.

I recounted all these to the hubby, who very opportunistically said, why wait, we should ride on the wave! 打铁趁热! So that very same night, we bought a box of M&Ms, explained to Little Boy that he will no longer be wearing diapers, we will reward him one choc every time he pees in the pot, but no choc if he pees on his pants or anywhere else.

IT WORKED! At first, we had to put him to the pot every two hours in case he peed on himself. Sometimes he had sit on the potty for 5-10 minutes before he leaked. Within a week, he learnt to tell us of his urge and was less shy to watch the action. In the next week, he could pee-on-demand and you could see his little stomach muscles crunching. The M&Ms were like magic, he could pee almost immediately if we allowed him to hold the M&M box and opened the lid to show him the little colour balls.

Amazing, what the right incentive and timing can achieve. Hubby, many pats for being really clever!

We’ve had some expected oops on the first few days, but Little Boy grasped the whole routine quite quickly and learnt to inform us of his urge and could hold in his pee before we reach the potty. He was even diaper-free during his afternoon naps within a week, a milestone I never expected him to reach so soon.

We have already completed a Sundown by now, it’s that far by my low standards.

Lessons/ Tips:

  • Little Boy pees every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Joyce’s idea of a mobile potty to keep potty-training consistent both at home and outside is simply brilliant. I had witnessed its success with Jeston, and was impressed with it all over again for my own boy. I got a cheap Daiso plastic cup/shaker with lid which I told Little Boy it was also his potty and the M&Ms were his if he peed inside. He pees about 5-6 times a day, so I carry the cup in my bag, and he can pee anywhere, anytime and I don’t worry if I can’t find a toilet. I feel the consistency offered by the portable potty is also a reason why Little Boy accelerated into being comfortable with peeing without a diaper.
  • Further tweaks: (1) Adding used tissue in the cup makes it a little easier to keep the container spill-free if you don’t have the chance to pour away the contents easily while on the go. (2) If pesky urine smell is a concern, some water in the cup will dilute the pee and reduce odour level.
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    We think you are the culprit

Rewards: M&Ms works for us, but do go for the mini M&Ms. We started out with regular-sized ones with peanuts by mistake, and since we didn’t want to retract while the training was going unexpectedly well, Little Boy had an average of 5 nutty choc for a few consecutive days and ended up horribly constipated. We think that’s probably too much chocolate and nuts for a little body to handle.

We have passed the first hurdle of Pee. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that you really can’t force kids. When they’re ready to move on to the next milestone, they will simply be ready for you and every step will be a breeze. So I’m not concerned about challenging the last hurdle of Total Diaper-Free Days (i.e. go commando during bedtime) now. The hubby is working hard on hurdle number two of Poo, throwing in huge stakes to entice Little Boy – Daddy will buy him one animal each time he poops in the potty. He knows it very well – he recites to the family “在potty大便就可以买动物了” every now and then – and has been happily anticipating. To date, we’ve only caught it once so we have some distance to cover. This is a tough one for Little Boy because I feel he has grown accustomed to poop in the diaper standing up (and hugging someone at the same time!), and a little shy/ wary about the potty for this purpose.

Well, we will get there.

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Cough: Taboo foods

I hate coughing. Especially for kids.

Little boy’s cough always seem to develop from a simple dry one to a major phlegmy one.

The darn cough is the one common ailment that makes eating just damn troublesome. You have to avoid certain food, which are normally nutritious and quite staple, otherwise the cough just never ends. So you also end up worrying if the kiddo will eat the second options which are less preferred during this time when his appetite is also simply not at its best. If he doesn’t, then you have to the question of whether he’s full enough and grandparents’ worries of low food intake… the list goes on.

I’m not a natural when it comes to remembering food properties. It takes major major effort just to remember the cause and effects of certain foods, and this is a essential survival skill when you are a mum. I used to feel rather conspicuous asking other mummies the same question “What foods can the little boy not eat when he XX ah?” repeatedly when I was a freshie mum. Made me feel like an irresponsible caregiver.

Finally, after immense effort, I could rattle top-of-mind what the little boy cannot eat when the damned cough comes. Banana, chicken, egg, fish (especially when in China for some inexplicable reason) and orange! Yay!

I thought that was it until I visited the pediatrician recently. She handed me a looooong list of taboo foods. The list is actually a guide to weaning a baby from milk to solids, and is based on how highly allergenic the foods are. According to my ped, highly allergenic foods escalate coughs.

Big taboo (highly allergenic foods) – 咳嗽禁忌:

  • Phlegm-inducing
    • 橘子 Oranges – I know this, what’s new? Please remember orange juice also cannot, ok. There goes one source of vit C.
    • 大香蕉 Banana – the big ones e.g. Del Monte types. The small ones are ok.
    • 奇异果 Kiwi – another vit C source gone!
    • 葡萄 Grapes
    • 西瓜 Watermelon
    • 芒果 Mangoes
    • 黄梨 Pineapples
    • 榴莲 Durian
    • 燕窝 Bird’s nest – hmm, who gives bird’s nest to kids?
  • 花生 Peanuts – induce itchy cough. No more popiah!
  • 蛋白 Egg white – ah ha! yolk is actually ok if the cough is not too serious, but no harm avoiding if you can (you will see later). If you are a parent, you will certainly empathize with the encounter of “what’s left to cook/ order now????” during mealtimes because your child probably loves the egg and you rely on it as a sure-win-will-finish-meal food.
  • 海鲜除鱼 Seafood, e.g. prawns, crabs, scallops (dried/fresh) – Fish is ok if cough not too serious.

Notice chicken is not on the list, heh? That’s the old wives tale of taboo foods. Ped says chicken is not that highly allergenic, but oh well, who knows. I avoided it totally, it’s easier.

Small taboo (foods most likely to cause allergic reactions) – 咳嗽小忌:

  • 蛋黄 Egg yolk – that’s why it’s only ok if it’s a mild cough, and you’re confident it will stay this way
  • 鱼 Fish – as above
  • 莓果 Berries, e.g. strawberry, raspberry
  • 豆类 Legumes e.g. soyabeans, beans

There you go. So apples, pears, rice, carrots and other vegetables are your best bet. Skip the meat if you don’t mind, since they are harder to digest for a sick child who should concentrate his energy on battling the damn cough anyway.

By the way, small taboo foods are to be introduced to babies from 9 months, and big taboo stuff from 1 year onwards.

By the way too, this applies to adults.

Excuse me while I save this long list on Evernote. Cough cough.


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Cough: Home remedy with ya pear

Too much info stuffed into a brain with too little memory (I need a memory upgrade!).

Need to start documenting all the food remedies, food facts, illness facts etc I’ve picked up in the past 2 years growing up with little boy, otherwise I keep asking myself the same question – What to do ah?

Here’s my first file, since I need to share with Eve too.

What do I do when the little one coughs? with phlegm?

This is a simple food remedy recipe I learnt from a friend who’s also a Chinese physician, using 鸭梨 (ya pear)  and 川贝 (fritillaria) powder. I like it because the little one also like it because it is sweet and taste like dessert. Doesn’t hurt that the hubby likes it too.

FOR: Cough with/without phlegm. Also to 润肺 (I see it as the general well-being of your lung).

YOU NEED:

  • 1 Ya pear (DO NOT remove skin)
  • 5 g 川贝 powder (can purchase in the powder form in TCM halls)
PREPARE:
  • Cut off the top of pear, and put aside.
  • Remove core of the pear with spoon and add 川贝powder.
  • Cover pear with its cut-top like a lid, secure with toothpicks if necessary.
  • Steam over low fire for 30 minutes, or until 川贝powder turns transparent
EAT:
  • Consume whole pear and 川贝, including the pear skin which is effective for treating cough.
  • Treating coughs: Eat 1 pear a day for one week
  • General health/ lungs: Eat 1 pear once a week
NOTES:
鸭梨 originates from Hebei province, China and looks like this:

Ya pear

Read here for more info in Chinese. You can get this in NTUC if in Singapore, most supermarkets if in China. Unfortunately, I don’t find it as commonly available as other pears from China.

Just read googled that 雪梨 (snow pear) is also useful to treat coughs and phlegm, so I guess it’s a good substitute for the ya pear.