Hayley

Bionic Baby

I think I’ve sufficiently recovered from the trauma to talk about it, so here goes.

Yeah, this happened.

Poor baby fractured her arm very badly last week and is now Bucky Barnes.

***

Here’s how it went down:

8.00pm

Theo and Hayley go to bed. More accurately, they begin the process of going to bed, which can sometimes last for 2, maybe 3 hours depending on how robust they happen to be feeling that particular evening. It always starts with a nice warm bottle of milk to get them feeling a little sleepy because I’m an optimist.

8.20pm

Hayley turns to her brother and asks sweetly, “kor kor, can I sit unicorn?” Theo’s love for her is deep so the answer to that question is always yes.

What is this unicorn game, you might wonder. Is it a magical gentle calming ride across a rainbow and into the sunset? No. I don’t know what kind of unicorn they have been exposed to but I would describe it as a very angry and violent mechanical bull on steroids. Theo will attempt to throw her off his back (as gently as he possibly can, which is not gentle at all) while she holds on to his ears. I repeatedly tell them that this game isn’t going to end well but these babies don’t ever listen.

Thankfully, nobody gets hurt from this, so they decide to move on to a more exciting game.

8.45pm

They move on to Theo’s favourite game, something called Destroy Enemies. They build a fortress around the perimeter of the bed with pillows + bolsters and proceed to fight imaginary enemies.

Meanwhile, I’m like “You guys need to go to bed. All the enemies have been destroyed, it’s calm and peaceful and it’s time to sleep. Mommy will be on watch duty, I’ll make sure the perimeter is secure” but Theo will not be fooled. He’s all “I need to check…oh wait, I spy some new enemies coming. WE MUST FIGHT THEM.” This goes on for another 20 minutes.

9.15pm

You would think that it’s time for bed after all the enemies have been defeated but that would make my life far too easy. They start throwing their stuffed toys onto the floor and I am appointed the designated toy picker. At first, I refused to be part of this madness because that would only encourage more madness but Hayley was all “please please please mom? My meh-meh will be sad all alone on the floor.”

I tried to be like “well you should really have thought of that before flinging her off the bed” but she flashed me her bambi eyes and with great reluctance, I sighed and went right about my toy picking duties. They clearly thought this was hilarious because they started throwing more and more toys for me to pick.

9.35pm

Next thing I knew, Hayley leaned over too far off the bed to fling a toy and fell off the side of the bed. Instinctively she stretched out her left arm to break the fall and ended up breaking that arm instead. She screamed like I have never heard her scream before. I rushed to pick her up and she managed to get in the words “MY…ARM…HURTS!!

I took one look at her arm and my heart sank so fast and so far I could barely breathe. Her left forearm was bent backwards and it was dangling like a pair of nunchucks. I’ve never been more terrified in my life and this image has been permanently seared into my brain.

I ran to the kids’ room and told the husband “Babe it’s an emergency, we need to bring Hayley to KKH now.” The husband came in, took a look at Hayley’s arm and said “ok yeah that’s broken, let’s bring her in now.

10.00pm

At KKH, the doctor confirmed that both her radius and ulna on the forearm were fractured and they put her on ketamine before resetting the bones and putting her arm in a cast. It was all very traumatic.

***

These are some of the things I learnt through this ordeal.

1. Broken bones are not fun. But the doctor says that Hayley should make a full recovery and she could go on to be a baseball player if she wanted to.

2. This baby is a badass. After the initial screaming, she took it like a champ. She came home and told her brothers that she has acquired a new super bionic arm with special powers.

3. She will have to be in the cast for 2 months, so that’s 2 months of “MOMMY SCRATCH IT!!” Every night as she goes to bed, she instructs me to scratch the inside of her cast, which I pretend to rub gently and she’s like “DO IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT, MOM. SCRATCH IT SUPER HARD!!” I tell her that scratching is going to make it worse so we compromise and I offer to blow her armpits / upper arm area to ease the itch, which I do remarkably well.

4. Has she learnt not to put herself in danger from now on? That’s a big fat no. She has since attempted to climb the double decker bed + ride the scooter with her single arm and is running everywhere like her giant stump of an arm isn’t even a thing. I seriously don’t know what to do with this baby.

Theo

4 and looking fine

We’re almost at the end of birthday season but first, it’s all about this baby bear turning 4!

Let me say straight up that this boy is one of my most favouritest people in the world. He’s got that enthusiastic, endearing all in all the time kind of boyish charm that’s so hard to resist.

He’s super fun to be with too, I mean, this is a kid who knows how to show you a good time.

Theo is the kind of boy who wears his heart on his sleeve. He doesn’t play it cool or dial down his emotions because there’s no need for that sort of thing. If he’s happy, it’s all over his face. Joy will radiate from his eyes and he will break out into the widest grin I have ever seen. Ain’t no one else looks happy like Theo looks happy is what I’m saying.

There’s the full on happy face…

And the I can’t help it my face can’t contain this much joy happy face.

It works the same way when he’s sad. There will be great big tears welling up in his eyes and that sad baby face that goes along with it? This momma can’t handle.

I don’t suppose he’ll do too well at being a super spy or in casinos for that matter seeing that his poker face game is basically zero. But if you’re not planning on a career in espionage or gambling, it’s not a bad way to approach life, not having to ever have to hide how you feel.

He still loves green and all of the slimy animals that are of that color family. I was hoping that would be a phase that he outgrows but if anything, he’s surer than ever of his love for green and gross animals. Every time we go to the library, he heads straight to the non-fiction section to pick out books on frogs and salamanders and newts. And I read them to him over and over because love makes you do crazy things so now I know that frogs lay about 4,000 eggs at a go and also how to identify a golden dart frog (FYI when you see one, you RUN!!).

Okay, the testosterone is strong in this one. He’s a classic boisterous boy whose favourite game is called “DESTROY ENEMIES” wherein the game mechanics work exactly like you’d imagine. In involves identifying enemies and systematically eliminating them with a variety of methods including super turbo nuclear blasters and elemental electro energy forcefield.

He’s the only kid who seems to be actively considering the things I try to teach him. Like 20 minutes after I have a word with him about snatching his sister’s stuff, he comes over to me and says “I’m so sorry mom for grabbing Hayley’s toy earlier. I’m really sorry. I won’t do it next time.” It’s not the kind of flippant apology that you deliver reluctantly because you have to, but one that’s heartfelt and thoughtful and what kind of 4-year-old does this?

And then he’ll go and kiss his baby on the head or hand her another toy just to love on her a little. It’s not to say that there are no more squabbles or fights over toys because it takes time to learn these things but I feel like he’s trying to internalise them.

Theo was always a kid who couldn’t wait to grow up. He was already off running with the big kids trying to fit in once he was stable on his feet, and he talks like he’s several years older than he actually is. He may be #4 in the pecking order around here but it doesn’t stop him from making the most of his big brother status, always being protective of his baby and fussing over her. Whenever we pick him up from school, he’ll start waving at Hayley once he spots her and he’ll tell everyone around him who will listen that Hayley is his baby. Last week, his teacher was amused when she heard it, like “this is your baby??” and he nodded with so much pride. “Yes, Hayley is MY baby,” he said.

Although there’s still the baby side of him that I get glimpses of once from time to time and I live for these moments. He still makes his way to our bed in the middle of the night. I’ll find his baby feet jabbing into my liver at 5 in the morning and he’ll whisper, “I miss you mom, I just want to snuggle with you pleeeease…” and I’ll mumble something like “ok just for a bit” and there it’ll be, that look of absolute delight all over his sleepy baby face.

What he doesn’t know is that I enjoy his morning snuggles as much as he does and I want it to last for as long as possible, which I know from experience isn’t much longer.

Happy birthday, Theo!! I’m so happy I get to be your mom. :)

from around here

H to the F to the M to the D

It’s been a proper circus around these parts over the last week because not one, not two, but three kids have been stricken with the dreaded HFMD.

In itself, HFMD isn’t the worst illness one could be stricken with; it’s not life threatening nor does it even require any real medical intervention. The doctor looked very sympathetic, then prescribed them paracetamol and a small dose of leftose syrup to reduce inflammation in the throat, which was clearly an afterthought placebo sort of situation, like here, take this to make your throat less painful (it won’t).

The worst thing about HFMD is mostly the discomfort of having your mouth covered in ulcers, although that’s a lot of discomfort for a baby (or adult) to handle. I had two ulcers that merged into a huge one some weeks back and I couldn’t shut up about it for days. I showed it to the kids frequently as an exhibit of my great suffering and this time, they returned the favour by making me peer at their ulcers many times throughout the day.

LOOK CLOSER, MOM, it’s right in there at the back,” they instructed me. I was already so close I could feel the condensation of their breath droplets on my face and the whole time, all I could think of was “I’m breathing in HFMD germs why have I brought this upon myself??

I still did it though, the peering. My babies were in pain and if my excellent observation skills could make them feel better, then here, I’ll volunteer as tribute. I was already mentally prepared to partake in their affliction so I really got in there to peer at their ulcers and hugged them and kissed them each time they wanted some mommy tlc. “Are you allowed to kiss me, mom? Will I make you sick?” Theo asked with mild concern. I gave him a big kiss and said “It’s ok, mommy has super immunity powers” and he beamed so wide, it was definitely worth it. For the record, I don’t have any immunity powers at all but I loaded up on all of the supplements and thankfully, I’m still clear, phew!

//

So how did this happen?

I don’t know. As in, I literally have no idea from whence cometh this terrible virus upon my kids because I’m paranoid about HFMD. When Finn’s school had an outbreak last year, I kept the kids at home for a whole month as a precautionary measure until the school was completely cleared. They were so thrilled to be on preventive HFMD holiday.

I was dropping Theo off at school last week when his teacher discovered a whole bunch of ulcers in his mouth during the customary health check at drop-off. She asked me to take a look and I was horrified when I saw it. The top and back of his mouth was speckled with white ulcers. I immediately led him away from the queue of kids behind him, half expecting a swarm of SWAT level CDC personnel to descend upon him yelling 23-19 like that scene in Monster, Inc.

I would have kept him at home if we even suspected any sign of HFMD but he had no fever and he didn’t even complain of any pain in his mouth. He was his usual cheery self and in fact, that morning he just had a full breakfast of pancakes + cereal like it was nothing. Clearly, his pain threshold is far superior to mine.

Upon confirmation at the doctor’s, I tried to quarantine him at my mom’s house for the next 2 days but it was too late, Finn + Hayley started displaying symptoms of HFMD the next day. And that’s how we have 3 babies down with the HFMD.

On the bright side, they were really happy to be able to hug again because hugs do make everything a little better.