I had wanted to write a travelogue on my Hong Kong trip with Caden & Charles, but I have decided against it and I will write an article on how to bring up a fearless child. Read the article for pleasure but use my techniques at your own expense.
My first son, Caden, was born pre-term at 33 weeks. He weighed only 1.35kg when he was born. As he was born with weak lungs, he was unable to suck his milk and had to be tube-fed. It was heart-wrenching. Caden was a gem and he had the best neonatalogist at KK Hospital to look after him. He stayed in hospital for 4 months and was still tube-fed when he was brought home with us. When he came home, he instantly knew he was in the care of trusted kin and kith. He was a very good baby and slept well. The only thing was that my mother-in-law, who looked after him at first, had to wake up every 2 hours to tube-feed him. As my husband and I were both working, we had to depend on my mother-in-law to take care of Caden. I would rush home from work everyday to be with him. It was so painful to look at my husband’s aunt, who was a paediatric nurse, change his feeding tube.
Two weeks after Caden came home from hospital, he mustered all his strength to pull out his feeding tube. We were all very shocked and in a state of panic. Frantically, we called my husband’s aunt to come and help, but my mother-in-law said she wanted to try feeding him with the milk bottle. We were so fortunate that my mother-in-law was a very responsible, patient and persistent care-giver. She woke up every hour to make sure he drank 20ml of milk. We charted the time and the amount of milk he drank. Soon enough with his family around him, Caden was starting to suck 40ml and the volume increased rapidly. We tried all kinds of milk bottles to ensure that he did not need to suck so much but he was a brave fighter. We stayed with NUK and Enfalac milk. I must also thank my mother-in-law for her perseverance and my mother for taking Caden to his hospital visits while both my husband and I were working.
As Caden did not like milk, the neonatalogist who took care of him told us to feed him with cereal when he got old enough. Although Caden remained small, he was true to his name and he was a fighter. However, as a first time mother, I was always in a panic mode when Caden fell sick. I would get my husband and we would whisk him off to KK Hospital’s Emergency Clinic. I always felt that he was not eating well. He ate very little and was always throwing up. We realised he had gastric reflux and fortunately we were referred to Kinder Clinic and to a pediatrician who was a specialist in treating kids with gastric reflux. I blame myself for not being able to stay home with him and left him alone with the maid. The Myanmar maid whom we employed to help my mother look after Caden, was only concerned with her youtube videos and taking videos of herself.
When Caden was about 2 and the half, I became pregnant with Charles. The pregnancy was not easy either so I stayed home and tried to work from home. My mother who took over his care when he was six months old always bought the best pork or fish for him. As I was home-bound, I realised my new Indonesian maid cooked very badly and she even fed him with burnt food. Oh my goodness! When she completed her contract with us, we sent her home and never saw her again.
My current maid who has been with us for 2 years is a great cook. Under her care, my 2 kids have proper food, vitamins and nutrition. Caden’s appetite grew and we realized it was because my helper was a careful and much better cook. She would follow doctor’s instructions and buy him chicken rice or his favourite kueh lapis. She would make sure she cooked all the meals for him and ensured that he ate his favourite foods. Finally, I could rest easy now. I am no longer worried when Caden coughs or has a cold. I know he has good immunity to fight the germs. He is going to be 5 next year, but he is still small as compared to his peers. Who cares? I do.
As parents, we will worry forever. Now, I know that Caden has a girlfriend in school but he is frightened of boys bigger-sized than him. A few days ago, I went to Toys R Us and bought him a Nerf Mega Magnus Gun and I told Caden to bring the gun to the playground (with picture attached below). There was this little Indian boy whose size was bigger than Caden and he liked talking nasty to Caden. And because of his small size, Caden would back down, run away or ask my helper to go home. When I learned of the situation from my helper, I was angry not at the Indian boy who was a bully but at myself for not teaching Caden self-defense.
Two days ago, I just reprimanded a fat boy who told Caden that his brother was sitting in a wheel-chair. Yes, my words were not kind to the fat boy because Charles was sitting in a stroller NOT a wheelchair. The fat boy was about 8 to 9 years old, and I believe he should know the difference between a stroller and a wheel-chair. It was not refined or polished to reprimand the boy but I just wanted to let the boy know that he was not correct in being nasty to Caden just because Caden was smaller in size. Furthermore, he should not have said that Charles was sitting in a wheelchair, when at 8, you should know exactly what Charles was sitting in was his stroller. I bet any mom in my situation would be angry and lash out at the fat boy.
When we came home, I told Caden to come to my room. I was a body combat fighter, so I knew some strokes. I taught him the Muay Thai stance and how to push his attacker, then I told him to kick his attacker in the balls (sorry for my language). Afterwards, I taught him to choke his attacker’s throat and then stabbed the attacker’s eyes. This was just 4 simple strokes which he had to master to win his attacker. Every time, he goes to the playground, he is to bring his gun. Yes, this is dangerous but I do not want my son to be bullied. Next year, I will be enrolling him to Wushu class. The smallest actors are the best martial arts actors like Donnie Yen, Jet Lee and the legendary Jackie Chan. Donnie Yen and Jet Lee are small-sized, yet they can attack their opponents because of their agility and excellent martial arts techniques. I will try to follow Caden to every Wushu class and will make sure that he repeats and learns the correct strokes when he comes home. Wushu is also a great form of exercise. In all honesty, I detest bullying and no one can bully my babies.
In my first paragraph I have told my readers to take this article for light reading and only to use any techniques at your own peril. Not every parent will react to the same situation in the same way. We love our children and all children, but what about bullying? In Japan and in Korea, students have committed suicide because they were bullied in class and out of school. Parents who work all day and do not communicate much with their children would not know that their children were going through the bullying ordeal. I am glad I witnessed the situation and I also made sure that Caden told me if someone spoke loudly or lash out to him. We need our kids to be strong and face difficulties that will be coming their way. Parenting does not belong to the school, it belongs to us as mothers or fathers to inculcate the right values in your children. I want to raise my children to be caring, compassionate, healthy, happy and warm. Bullying is not tolerated and now that we have cyber-space, we also have to deal with something called cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying should not be tolerated either.