Monday, October 13, 2014

Dealing with a new diagnosis, Asthma

My little boy had been complaining a month back that he cannot breath very well at night.  At first, I attributed it to the stuffy nose he had.  To help him breath better, I used some nasal stripes on him and it seemed to work.  Then the husband started commenting that the boy would take deep and long breath during bedtime reading.  Finally, after procrastinating for many weeks, I got my act together and tried to book the little one an appointment with a respiratory specialist.

It was not straight forward getting an appointment.  I called KK Women's and Children's Hospital initially and was told that the earliest appoint they had was almost two months away in late November!  Yes, they are the best paediatric hospital in Singapore but errr, no thanks.  I spent a couple of moments googling and found Dr. Jenny Tang of SBCC.  She seemed to be highly recognised in the field of paediatric respiratory health having held the position of Head and Senior Consultant of Respiratory Medicine Service in KK previously.   Being in private practice meant that the wait could be shorter and since I had delayed for about a month and the little boy did not seem to get better, I thought I had better get him checked out sooner rather than later.  I was fortunate that the next available appointment was only 3 business days later, in less than a week.  The only thing was that I had to take the boy out of school.  Oh well, health is definitely more important.  And I am glad I made that choice.

We waited for some time before managing to see Dr. Jenny on the appointment day as the clinic was busy.  However, she was very patient and efficient in taking in the details and asking the important questions.  After verifying our family medical history, she decided to send the boy for some test.  He was required to take a Standard Panel Allergy Test and two Respiratory Function Test.

The Allergy Prick Test

The lab to do the test is within the clinic itself. For the Standard Allergy Test, instead of the arm which is the commonly pricked location (which Laetitia had once in Paris and once in Singapore), they do it on the back.  They explained that the back is actually more accurate.

Here's the boy right after the 10 different pricks, before the reaction started.  The boy was very brave and calm, he did not even flinch once when he was pricked 10 times.

After that, we had to wait about 15 mins for the reaction to show up.

Going through the Lungs Function Test

The boy also went through two different lung function tests, namely a Exhaled Nitric Oxide Test to see if the airway is inflammed and a Impulse Oscillometry test

Diagnosed with Asthma

Unfortunately, the test did not come back very well.  Although there was no inflammation in his airways, his breathing capacity with and without medication was indicative of asthma.  The difference was significant enough to indicated that his airway is not fully opened up.  And so, he was prescribed with various medication including Ventolin.  Thankfully, the Ventolin does not need to be used unless he was a wheezing spell.  It was more a medication for emergency.  However, he would need Singular that is supposed to help open up the airways and was given some medication for his allergy rhinitis as well.  

Moving forward, I am working on reducing the dustmites in our house, especially in his bedroom and also increasing the use of Essential oil and TCM to help build up his respiratory health.  I would like to decrease the use of pharmaceutical drugs and go more natural for his body but I also want to make sure I do it without risking his health.

I will share more on our journey to deal with this diagnosis naturally.

I would also be interested to hear from other parents who have dealt with asthma naturally.  It would be great to share information.  :-)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Looming for Club Rainbow - Charity Drive

The children (and on some occasions, mummy too) have been going through a rainbow looming craze for many months now.  Recently a good friend who is also blogs on, joined a group of blogging mums in a charity drive to Looming for Club Rainbow and I thought it is a wonderful opportunity to do something good with all those rainbow looms bands and bracelets that we have!

I spoke to the children about it and they were quite excited.  The girl was initially unwilling to part with some of the more difficult pieces, especially the hamster however, after some explanation about how giving those up could help the children beneficiaries of Club Rainbow, she opened up her heart and told us she would like to give those to be sold for the charity but also would like to make more for the charity drive.

Here's what Club Rainbow is about, taken from their website.

"Established in 1992, Club Rainbow (Singapore) is a registered charity committed to helping children and youths suffering from a range of chronic and potentially life-threatening illnesses.
The charity currently supports more than 600 children, youths and their families"

And so, it looks like we are set to participate!  And to make sure that the bands are safe, I am making sure that all the bands used are original Rainbow Loom bands.    

The girl looming away at a fun class for kids some time back.

The boy all excited to start looming for Club Rainbow! 

And so, after sorting through the bands, these are what we would make for sale.  For all designs, it  will be custom made orders whereby we would create the bracelets according to the colours you prefer. 

My personal favourites are the starburst (which I noticed we did not have any samples as I had given those away!), triple link chain (which is below in the assorted bracelet in the last photo) and the tidal wave.  You can make request for specific types of bracelets too.  I will of course check with the children if they are able to make it. :)

Rainbow Loom Bracelets and Charms for sale.  

All proceeds will go to Club Rainbow.  Material cost will be entirely sponsored by us too.

To order, comment here directly on the blog or on our facebook post. We could either mail it to you (free postage) or I might even be able to drop it off.  Do support the children and also do a little part for Club Rainbow.

Here are some other mummy bloggers supporting this drive.  Do visit their blogs to see what they have available too!

1) Mummy Wee
2) Sakura Haruka
3) A Juggling Mum
4) Lil Blue Bottle

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Performing in Gardens by the Bay with Singapore Ballet Academy

This children's day was exceptionally important for the girl as she was performing at the Gardens by the Bay together with the Singapore Ballet Academy (SBA).  The ballet school was invited to perform a piece at the Gardens by the Bay Children's Garden for children's day and being part of the the Junior Youth Performing Group (YPG), she was one of the young dancers involved in the dance piece.

The girl has been training with SBA for just about a year now.  She started sometime in September last year after I switched her from another ballet school.  Since then, I have been very happy with her progress and although we spend three days a week at the school, I can see how her passion is being developed and enriched.

She is currently in grade 2 and at the same time, is part of the YPG.  SBA started the specialized group sometime at the start of 2014 and it "is a newly added initiative aimed at refining and nurturing potential young talents into fine artists of Contemporary and Ballet genres. The program forms an intensive training ground for aspiring dancers to cultivate their body, mind and soul towards a capacity that expresses top-notch performance quality. As the dancers progress further along the program from Junior group (Grade 1) to Senior group (Intermediate to Advance), future opportunities will be in the form of exchange programs with overseas academies and dance schools, introduction to Classical Ballet techniques, Contemporary and Classical Pas de Deux, Classical repertoires and newly created works that can be featured in local and overseas performance, as well as participation in dance competitions."

This is the first performance for the Junior YPG group and it is supported by some of the older girls from the Senior Group who were dancing the roles of the mermaids.  The little dancers trained very hard over the last three months for the performance.  They were personally taught by the principal of the school, Mr. Jeffrey Tan, "one of Singapore's most prolific and established dancer, choreographer and educator". 

The group performed first in the morning for the VIPs and then in the afternoon, they danced a second time in the late afternoon for the public and of course, the parents of the dancers came out in full force.  We quickly put together a video of the performance to share how proud we are of our little girl.  She is one of the fish in the red and blue costume.

In addition, they were mentioned in the local media too!

Picture from Today Online

Picture from Channel News Asia

Such an awesome experience for my little ballerina.   I am sure she is looking forward to more possibilities and exposure.  And as a parent, I am fully supporting her in the realization of her dream. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Therapeutic hugs in the morning

The little boy recently learnt this French children's song, "Des Câlins", meaning "The Hugs" in school.  He had been singing it a lot and it soon became a huge part of his life.

The song talks about how much he would like hugs in the morning, lots and lots of it.  It goes on to say that when he has lots of hugs in the morning, his day would start well, he would laugh and have fun.  And if he doesn't get hugs in the morning, he would not want anything and would ache everywhere.

The song "Des Calins"

The lyrics goes like this:-
Des câlins, le matin
J'en veux plein, plein, plein, plein, plein
Des câlins, le matin
J'en veux plein, plein, plein.

Quand j'ai plein de câlins
La journée commence bien
Je cours dans la cuisine
J'avale trois quatre tartines


Quand j'ai plein de câlins
Je rigole pour un rien
J'invente un' p'tite chanson
J'suis gai comme un pinson


Mais si j' n'ai pas de câlins
Moi j'ai envie de rien
J'ai mal un peu partout
Au ventre puis au cou.

(taken from

The importance of hugs

Last Sunday night, while I was putting him to bed, he suddenly said that he had a bad day.  I was rather defensive and felt upset because I thought we had such great fun that day.  I explained that we did many things together from church in the morning to a yummy gourmet burger lunch followed by some activities at home and we finished off the day with some enjoyable moments at the swimming pool, doing silly things like making human bombs (jumping into the pool making as big a splash as possible).  However, he reminded me about the song and sort of complained that we did not hug him that morning!  Opps!

Every weekday morning, hubby makes it a point to give both kids big hugs before sending them off on the school bus (while I snooze away).  On Saturday, it happened that I was the one leaving home for classes so I gave the kids a good squeeze before I stepped out.  The sad thing was, on Sunday we were all together and though we kissed the kids before they went for their respective Sunday School class, we missed out on the hugs.  And I did not realise how significant that one hug in the morning was to setting the pace for the rest of the day!   

Giving a good hug at the start of the day meant a lot to the little boy.  And for the girl as well.  

Research has shown that what the song states is true.  A good hug releases oxytocins, the commonly called "feel good hormones" or the bonding/love hormones.  More oxytocins in the body will help to reduce stress and anxiety.  There are many benefits to having oxytocins in the body.  Medically, it is supposed to decrease risk of heart disease and depression, increase immunity, fight fatigue and infections and many more.  

Starting the day with a good hug

More importantly, we learnt as well that physical touch and in this case, a nice cuddle, is going to start the day well for our children.  It not only gives them the warm and fuzzy feeling, but it also imply that we love them, that they are important to us and we are here for them.  There are many challenges that our little ones face when we send them out to the world, to school.  There could be bullies in school, mean classmates, teachers who may unintentionally hurt their self esteem or adults who are overwhelmed with other the other children around and become less kind with words.   We cannot shelter them forever and we should not either.  However, we can and we definitely should send them out confident and secured in our love.  We can send them out as loving beings who will be ready to give another kid a hug when needed too.  We can send them out as empathetic little angels who are able to give others some love because they are full of it and it overflows.

In the last couple of weeks, whenever I come home tired or stressed, the first thing the boy does when I slump into the sofa was to run over to put his arms around me.  He sometimes add a good few pats on my back as if to tell me, "it is okay mama, you are home and we love you!".  You have no idea how much better I usually feel right after that.  That, is the amazing healing power of a good hug.  Do try it, make it a part of your morning ritual with the family, and I'm sure the entire family will benefit from it.