Daddee Yah!

A working Daddee learning to cope in a big big world

Occupying the headlines this week has been the abduction & murder of a local 8 year old girl. A Google search on Nurin would result in the background & events of this tragic news, so I won’t go into it at all here. But if you are interested, you can check out the family’s blog on the whole incident- from their point of view.

Frankly, I don’t know if the world is becoming more “evil”, or if it is just a case of increased awareness & increased reports / information flow. I can still recall I was “allowed” to visit the local deli or sundry shops on my own (under similar alleged circumstances with the above abduction), go for a bicycle ride around the neighbourhood without the “fear” of anything happening to me (except traffic-related incidents).

Catching up with some fellow parent-friends, we were discussing how we could prevent such mishaps from happening to our own kids.

He shared that he has already coached his 4 year old girl on a few preventative measures:

  • If anyone touches you on your private parts, you must tell either Mummy or Daddy
  • When you are out, & if someone touches you or tries to grab you, scream at the top of your lungs, don’t stop screaming until Mummy or Daddy or Granny comes (back) to you

What else would you teach a toddler to become street-smart?

I won’t claim to be an expert on this matter.

My style in getting Caitlin to do stuff has been in influencing her with simple cause-and-favourable-effect reasoning.

My wife thinks I am too lenient with Caitlin, that I give into her whims & whining too often (wanting to be carried, not showing enough authority).

Perhaps she is right, and / or Caitlin herself sensing this to be true as she becomes more self aware, I do feel that I have had to raise my voice (as opposed to actually shouting) with Caitlin lately, exclaiming or threatening to come over & spank her. Most times it will work, but only after 3 times of stern talking & at times seemingly intending to carry out that physical threat.

Last night however, I lost it. Caitlin just wasn’t listening to our “pleading” to get ready for bed. Instead she was wandering around looking for distractions for distraction’s sake.

Her back was turned, walking away from the bedroom where she was supposed to be changing. I took a stride towards her, whipped my four fingers across her buttocks quite hard, landed squarely making a rather loud smack & launching her forward somewhat. It was a serious shock to her- she never expected it really coming from Daddee. She turned to me & immediately burst into loud tears.

And as she does when she cries profusely, she got into a coughing fit & vomited, further complicating the evening’s situation.

At the risk of sounding defensive, I wouldn’t consider that I “flew off the handle”. There was a flash of That’s it; I gotta show her I mean it this time, but with only one smack, BUT, I didn’t consciously (enough) control my strength. The (only very little) martial arts training I had was enough to smack effectively most times.

Carrying her off the puddle of yuck into the bathroom, I began rinsing her off & stripped her of her soiled pj’s. There it was, a red outline of my four digits, like an imprint of your fingers on soft sand.

Did I feel it was justified?
Yes, in that she needed to know who was boss; but No, not with the applied strength & damage it caused.

Did I feel guilty about it?
Yes I did, very much so.

With that, & after everything was cleaned up & calmed down & Caitlin changed, I felt I needed to speak to her face to face asking if she understood what had happened. She seemed neutral, not fearful nor defiant. She was back to herself: Responsive & conversant, ie, adorable again.

Did I feel guilty about it?
Yes I did, even more so then.

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Like the author of the site says, we (fathers) are all in this together!

Returning the favour of shameless plugs, Toddler Daddy is also a blog dedicated to the journey of fatherhood.

Toggling between devotions for work & his two kids, Toddler Daddy still finds time to share his experience as a dad & his kids’ developments.

A cute-design site that goes well with the theme. Do check it out!

paracetamol.jpg She knocked out in under a minute….Poor little thing puked twice today. Apparently she was quite phlegmy all day, & as usual that aggravates her coughing into a fit.

Gave her some paracetamol … 3.5mL as previously instructed by Dr Pixie

Hope the little one gets better overnight. I missed her chatty little self tonight, as she is at bedtime every night….

Since our last swim, this daddy has been secretly (as opposed to openly, like Caitlin) looking forward to the next visit to the pool. For her, like all toddlers, it’s more the thrill of splashing & getting wet without getting into trouble. But for this daddy it was the pure eagerness of wanting to see when Caitlin would let go & float on her own. That she even dared to venture into the adult pool at all the last time was aleady a major achievemnt, much less let go of daddy’s hands.

And so the day came when this daddy didn’t have to go to work. We got to the pool. It was the first clear blue sky after weeks of rainy days- couldn’t ask for a better setting for potentially making history. The pool was empty, calm water welcoming our arrival; something we had been accustomed to- presumably most prefer to swim just before dusk rather than mid-morning. Fighter jets tore through the open sky. Seriously. They were flying overhead slightly to the East, only just breaking formation after passing us. Soon after more military hardware / helicopters followed. A loud reminder that this was a national holiday celebrating our 50th independance day. Caitlin didn’t seem too perplexed by the much-louder noise they made, compared to the occassional commercial planes higher in the sky. Perhaps she was as eager as her daddy & had a mission too.

She was cooperative as usual, remaining patient allowing her daddy to blow up the floaties & stuff them securely in the front & back of her costume & velcro-fastening them. Again like clockwork, she preferred to get into the baby pool first. Fair enough, let her warm up first, aclimatise to the cooler-than-it-looked water. Much to daddy’s surprise, Caitlin was quick to agree to next move on to the adult pool, as if all the previous anxieties of what she called “going under” was gone (I had once let her sink for half a second & she wasn’t impressed, while the whole time finding daddy going-under for much longer periods inexplicably giggly-amusing).

About 10 minutes of holding-daddy’s-fingers-soI-won’t-go-under, down came our block’s English neighbour: Mum, dad, & 2 girls (whom I later found out to be Jessica, aged 5, and Becky, 2). Becky had the same Floaties costume as Caitlin’s, only it was obviously sized for ages 0-2, & obviously a hand-me-down. Their “clockwork”, however, ran faster & was finely tuned. The girls knew what to do, & did them quickly: disrobed, sunscreen, goggles (for Jessica) & into the pool. Jessica came in first, followed very closely by the always-smiling Becky.

Becky edged toward the pool, beaming a “hello” smile at us. At this point you’d think that mummy followed very close behind Becky. Instead, with no hesitation Becky jumped into the pool feet first as 2 year-olds would jump, quite hard that she submerged for a while, allowing then for the Floaties to do its job. She emerged, & splashed about almost doing the front crawl towards her older sister, who was already swimming away from the edge.

I wasn’t so much amazed at how cavelier Becky was. After all, anyone who swam more often than once a week would naturally be quite comfortable in the pool. What amazed me was how she was actually already swimming- from one point to another.

Seizing the opportunity, I gestured to Caitlin that the younger Becky is wearing the same costume that she is wearing. It was really funny, you could just see it ticking over in her head, making the connection, contemplating the situation, evaluating the risks, deciding to take action.

She agreed & slowly let go of my hands.

Nothing happened.

The whole “eureka” look & joy in her face was very satisfying, to say the least. Her face brightened up, she would have yelled “Lookatmedaddee”; except that I already was, “I didn’t go under!”; except that she knew I already knew that!

Very soon after she was already on her own, splashing about like she did when she was using the Pooh Bear float, trying to catch up to her new found friends. Only that she now has a lot more freedom with her hands.

Chatting with the English lady, she had mentioned that babies of around 7 months & under still retain that instinct of knowing how to hold their breaths. To bring this instinct out, all you have to do is blow into the baby’s face & baby will tend to hold its breath. That was how she managed to get Becky to swim so well after some trial & error with Jessica. In fact she had started with Becky when she was only 3 months old- blowing at Becky’s face & “dunking” her for a few seconds. Becky therefore has never had the same anxiety Caitlin has of “going under”.

Interesting.

I had also acknowledged, & anticipated by the English lady, that peer pressure in this case was very helpful for Caitlin. Heh. :)

So we finally had our visit to Dr Gynea’s for a “complete scan” of our second little one (due in Jan ’08).

When we were making the appointment for this visit, we were asked if we’d wanted to also do a “4D” scan. Immediately I recalled the 2 hour (or was it 3?) episode on National Geographic earlier this year, where this 4D technology allows ultrasound scans to map out a contour or a surface, another way to examine all the physical aspects of the baby’s development- limbs, digits, ears, facial formations (cleft lip or not), etc; effectively roughly showing what the baby might actually look like.

Most of the time baby was lying on the side, making viewing a little challenging. As if hearing our cue, baby starting rolling over just a little, enough for a proper exam-viewing of the essentials. We got to see the head / skull formation, spinal formations, facial, thighs, etc. We also got an over-the-shoulder shot of baby printout too.

It was all pretty amazing.

From National Geographic [http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/inthewomb/gallery_05.html#pic]

Image linked from National Geographic

My receipt for this extra scanning option is at home, but I think it costs around RM150 or less, with a CD thrown in. I have yet to view the CD, but thought this is a small amount for a(nother) once a lifetime event is definitely worth it.

One final point: We did ascertain the sex of the baby… :)

I have successfully tested the Floaties swimming costume I bought Caitlin!

It took a lot of coaxing for her to try it out in the adult pool- this wasn’t the first time we went for a dip in her new costume. I don’t have a picture of Caitlin fully submerged in the pool, because she insisted on holding on to me even if it was just my fingers!

I got this partly because her Pooh Bear round-float had already sprung a leak, but mainly because she was already kicking quite well in the pool- that I thought she should graduate to a more “serious” swimming aid.

A caveat I had made to myself was: The packaging did say the size I bought is meant for children ages 3-6; Caitlin is only 2.5 yrs old. Although she is taller than average, I went ahead with this “investment” as I didn’t want to get the 0-3 yr old one only to discard it in about 12 months or less.

So I asked for some help, & got another piece of velcro added to the shoulder straps, effectively shortening the whole costume (the fasteners are on the shoulder straps, to put it on). This would have void the warranty for sure!

I distinctly remember reading the packaging stating this is an Australian product; & I am wondering if this refers to the same product!

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Okay this isn’t one of her best shots!