The both of us were pretty resigned to Hannah experiencing chicken pox earlier today, especially after hearing from friends and relatives, and also matching the pictures we were seeing online versus what we were seeing on Hannah. I mean, this is what she looks like today:

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Her spots have become more pronounced and larger from yesterday evening. We were starting to make contingency plans and for Ling to be off work for Hannah’s isolation period too.

So it was a collective sigh of relief from the both of us when Ling brought Hannah back to see her PD at noon today, and after an examination, her PD certified her chickenpox free. Apparently, the skin inflammations have not transformed into blisters. So it’s bacterial infection, possibly triggered by something she ate. Her PD said it’s unlikely the medicine, so we’re suspecting it might be an allergic reaction to the Laughing Cow cheese we introduced into her diet several days ago, weird as that sounds.

The funniest thing again is that Hannah seems completely oblivious to her condition and is in her usual cranky and happy-alternating self at the usual times of the day.:)

I was at a meeting at work just before noon when I received calls from a phone number I haven’t seen before. No thanks to all those nuisance calls from banks and insurance companies I get all the time trying to sell me products I have zero interest in, I routinely put aside phone calls from new numbers if I’m at meetings. But after two calls were made in quick succession, I ran a Google check on the number, and yikes – the number was from our infant care center!

Long story short: I got called because the center’s principal couldn’t reach Ling (she was having classes). During her routine bath, the center’s teacher discovered that she had light pink spots on her forehead. They immediately isolated her. Ling had just SMSed in the morning too that she was having a really bad sore throat, a temperature and had lost her voice. Talk about a double-whammy.

So it’s Daddy to the rescue. I filed an immediate half-day leave, then rushed off to pick Hannah from infant care, then Ling from school, then it was off to see Hannah’s PD and a family doctor for Ling.

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As it is, it was still too early to say for certain if Hannah is just experiencing a side-reaction to medicine she got from last weekend’s PD visit for her runny nose, or it’s the first symptoms of chicken pox. So, we made a follow-up appointment for the next day tomorrow to see if it’s indeed the latter if symptoms might become clearer. I’m hoping it’s just a skin allergy to the medicine – Ling gets rashes when she has seafood. Either way, Hannah’s confined to home until we get the all clear from her PD.

Interestingly, Hannah’s her usual cranky self in the late afternoons to early evenings, happy and cute just immediately after feeds and before bed – so I won’t lay her grumbling on her possible pox. Her center’s teachers even remarked that Hannah was her normal happy self and had her feeds in the morning like normal. Funnily, it’s Mommy who’s faring poorer: Ling can’t put together an audible sentence right now so we’re communicating using sign language LOL.

29. March 2010 · Comments Off · Categories: All Posts, At Home, Baby Blues, Photography & Cameras · Tags:

Last year in December I did a short post on Hannah feeding herself with a Pigeon sippy cup, but funnily we didn’t really create many opportunities for her to do the same again since then. So, the next time she was fed water after her night feed just now, we passed her the bottle to see if she could ‘self-service’, and to our delight she could still easily.:)

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Moreover, the bottle above isn’t the Pigeon sippy cup but her usual milk bottle sans side handles!

Oh yes – the above picture was taken using the E-PL1, no post-processing apart from resizing. A week after purchase I’m still absolutely floored by the amazing out-of-camera JPGs the little camera can produce. The picture here was taken in the workroom with warm lighting overhead, and the E-PL1’s in-built flash unit bounced upwards.:)

29. March 2010 · Comments Off · Categories: All Posts, At Home, Baby Blues, Baby Recipes, Recipes

This healthy dish is really creamy. Hannah’s first experience with it was very positive. Be warned, your baby might get addicted as it is so smooth! Hee hee :P

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients (serves 1 chinese bowl)

  • Silken organic tofu (1/3 block or 100g)
  • Chicken breast meat (~3 cm x 2 cm x 0.7 cm)
  • Cheddar cheese (1/4 of a standard slice) or Laughing Cow’s plain cheese cube (1 cube)
  • Carrot (1 small)
  • Fresh corn (kernels from 1/2 cob)
  • Peas (2 tbsps)

Method

  1. Slice the carrot thinly. Break a corn cob into halves and remove the kernels by slicing each half downwards.
  2. Spread out the carrot pieces, corn and peas on a plate.
  3. Steam the vegetables for 15 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, cook the chicken meat by boiling it for about 10 minutes in another pot.
  5. Rinse the tofu with cooled boiled water, cut it into medium blocks and place them in a blender.
  6. Add the cheese into the blender.
  7. Once the vegetables are steamed and chicken cooked, transfer them into the blender as well.
  8. Blend all ingredients according to the desired consistency for your baby.
  9. The cream of tofu is ready to be served! I prefer warm food for our baby and hence I would warm it up in a bowl of very hot water, stir well to distribute the heat and serve.

cream-of-tofu

28. March 2010 · Comments Off · Categories: All Posts, At Home, Baby Blues · Tags:

Though Hannah’s been ill over the last 2 weeks, there’s still at least one behavioral aspect that we’re still having a reasonably easy time in – and that’s feeding her. The pictures below basically show you what I mean:

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i.e. if I Daddy can do it, anyone can.:)

But seriously, as Ling commented the other day, Hannah takes to her kitchen concoctions very well. Hannah weighs a healthy 8.9 kg today, and I think it’s at least in good part due to that she’s fed well. In fact, even her PD yesterday morning remarked that we could reduce her number of feeds from 4+2 i.e. four milk + two solid feeds to 3+2. Though our own meals get neglected as a result (i.e. outside century egg porridge, Ling rarely cooks anymore for the both of us while at least I still do) in view of the crazy number of hours she spends in the kitchen creating her next baby recipe, at least Hannah’s well-fed even if Daddy has to live on Indomie LOL.

Oh  yes – Hannah’s getting fed supper yesterday evening here in these two pictures: it was a mixture of yoghurt and Papaya. It’s the sort of stuff that even Ling will enjoy but not me though.

Yoghurt…? *shudder*

27. March 2010 · Comments Off · Categories: All Posts, At Home, Baby Blues · Tags:

Hannah has been down with a mild runny nose for two weeks now, and it’s been causing her to be more irritable than usual with the two main effects centered on more wailing for attention, and also somewhat harder feeds. We were hoping to see if she could recover on her own, but after waiting for a fortnight, we gave up and hit her clinic this morning to see her pediatrician again. Yep, those crazy long waits.

The clinic opens at 0900, but Ling wanted to get there early. As we were talking out of the door at 0810, I asked, “So what are the chances that there’ll be already a queue forming already at 0830?”, and Ling sighed “Most likely.”

And sure enough, Singaporeans being Singaporeans – when we got to the clinic at 0825, there was already a queue! Singaporeans line up to get their HDB, their condo, tickets to NDP, Primary 1 registration, bak kwa – why should lining up to see a doctor be any different. We got a queue number when the clinic opened its doors, then headed to Long John Silver for a family brunch before returning to the clinic to wait till our turn.

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By the time it got to about ten, there must had been at least seven or eight babies and kids with accompanying adults (mothers, mothers-in-laws, dads, mommies, home helpers, confinement nannies) crowded in the space all waiting their turn. With all the toys around the area and colorful decor, you get this feeling that there really isn’t a well-defined line between a infant care center and a children clinic anymore.

Anyhows, our turn finally came at 1015. Hannah always gets great care from her pediatrician – this occasion was no different, and as always the PD answered Ling’s questions on baby care with the right amount of detail and actionable things to do. The last time the picture of Hannah with her doctor too didn’t turn out so well from Ling’s Panasonic DMC-LZ8. This time Daddy was present and armed with a better camera and new toy: and the pictures turned out sooooo much better.:)

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Apparently our little tot’s runny nose was likely caused by an infection, which we suspect she picked up during that swimming event just over 2 weeks ago. Hannah was supremely well-behaved during the visit too – though she just wouldn’t look into the E-PL1.:)

26. March 2010 · Comments Off · Categories: All Posts, At Home, Baby Blues

There’s a Chinese phrase that the both of us – ok maybe just me LOL – at home like to use to exhibit mock exasperation especially when we come home from work. It’s this: “我不要干了!”, and it’s enunciated as though we’re in one of those typically over-acted Chinese TV drama serials.

That sentence literally translates to “I don’t want to do it anymore!” For example, if either of us have just had a large project dropped on our laps, we’ll groan and complain to our significant other and ask if we can quit our jobs and be a rich stay-at-home husband/太太 (wife) at home.

Unfortunately, that’s where gender inequality shows up. Specifically, Ling knows she’s a far more tolerant homemaker than I ever will be. And by that, I don’t mean household chores – I’m referring specifically to Hannah’s wails for attention. When Hannah is doing her usual thunder and lightning opera, all Ling ever does is to sigh quietly and get on with her whatever she’s doing. Me, you got to see to believe. My face turns black, and I look like I’m about to tear my hair out or experience a terminal heart attack!

So, Ling knows that as much as I complain about wanting to be a stay-at-home husband, it’ll never come to pass on account of this little fact – Hannah would probably drive me to take a jump off the apartment block.:(

One marvelous thing about the 14-42mm kit lens on the E-PL1 is its macro ability, and minimum focusing distance of just 0.25m. While it’s still not quite enough for you to shoot bugs, it’ll be about alright for quick n’ dirty flower macro pictures – and I won’t need to dig out the heavy D300 with the Sigma 150mm f2.8.:)

Not that there are any nice flowers at home though, so this will have to suffice:

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ISO400, 1/90s, f5.6.

No they’re not miniature potatoes. They’re from a tupperware of lightly salted Macadamia nuts (yummy) I’ve got on my table at home.:)

24. March 2010 · Comments Off · Categories: All Posts, At Home, Baby Blues, Photography & Cameras · Tags:

Truth to tell, while all the other digital compact cameras I’ve had invariably come with special effect filters, I’ve never really got into any of them before. The E-PL1 comes with half a dozen ‘art’ filters, including a couple of pretty special ones in Olympus’s line of Pen compacts – so I got out of character to give these a go. Started off with sepia tones – nothing too special for this one, but still loads of fun to try it out, especially with so willing a photographic subject as Hannah.:)

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Hannah was crying just before this series of pictures were taken just now – that accounts for the very slightly reddish tinge in her eyes. Ling joked that she’s striking a Jane Bond pose in the third picture.:)

I wanted to called it Shepherd’s Pie but read somewhere on the Internet that the dish uses lamb. Makes sense. Since beef is used here, it should be called Cottage Pie. Oh well.

Eh, this recipe is named thus as it uses similar ingredients and produces similar taste. It may sound like a lot of prep work but trust me, it is QED (quite easily done). So here’s my version:

Ingredients (serves 1 chinese bowl)

  • Potato (1 small or medium)
  • Carrot (1/2 of a small stick)
  • Garden/sweet peas (2-3 tbsps)
  • Cherry tomato (1, sliced) – I bought the Sakura brand as no pesticides were used on their tomatoes
  • Cauliflower (1 small floret)
  • Minced beef (1 heaped tbsp)
  • Laughing Cow’s plain cheese cube (1)

Method

  1. Peel the carrot and potato and then slice them thinly. Slice cherry tomato and cauliflower.
  2. Roughly spread out the carrot, potato, tomato, cauliflower and peas on a plate.
  3. Steam the vegetables for 15 minutes. (Do not overcook the potato as it can become gummy.) Peas can get overcooked easily and hence I usually use other veggies to cover them.
  4. After 15 minutes, take out the vegetables and replace with minced beef and *steam for 2-3 minutes.
  5. While the beef is being steamed, puree the vegetables.
  6. After about 2-3 minutes, take out the beef. Mash the beef finely by pressing down with a fork.
  7. Mix the vegetable puree, cheese cube and mashed beef thoroughly with a spoon or fork. Add some formula milk / fresh milk to thin out the mixture if necessary. Stir the mixture well.
  8. Place the entire bowl in a hot water bath (i.e. a bowl of very hot water) to heat up the mixture while getting the baby ready for the meal.
  9. Stir the mixture well to distribute the heat evenly before serving. Enjoy the cottage pie! :D

Note: The recipe could be used to make fish pie too. I usually replace beef with salmon to make fish pie :)