Our First Visit to a Pedia EENT Specialist

We were advised by our pedia that the twins’ left ears—yes, both twins, but only the left ear—have a build up of earwax and would need cleaning by an ear, eye, nose and throat (EENT) specialist. Apparently the ear drops that she first advised us to try was not enough and at least in one twin’s case, the earwax has become impacted.

“Normal ear wax will find its way out of the ear canal and fall out naturally…Ear wax can become impacted if it is firmly lodged in the ear canal. When wax builds-up and hardens, it can block the ear canal and cause sharp ear pain, ringing in the ear, and partial hearing loss.” (Source)

Ugh. That doesn’t sound good. Fortunately, it didn’t look like the twins were bothered by the earwax, so before things could get any worse, we decided to have the twins’ ears checked out by a specialist.

Preparing for our first pedia EENT visit

The twins had just recovered from several days’ hospitalization, and I was worried that they’d be further stressed or even traumatized by another medical procedure. So I was determined to make their first EENT visit as hassle-free as possible by taking the following measures:

I researched and made sure that we would go to a pedia EENT.

Sure, any EENT specialist can perform the simple procedure of ear cleaning, but I wanted someone who’s really used to working with tiny ears attached to little people prone to literally jerking around and throwing their bodies up the air like one possessed when provoked, you know what I mean? I also needed to research for a specialist who’s accredited by our health card. There were a few options, but because of convenience/proximity, we chose one who holds clinic at The Medical City Gateway.

(Also, I found that it’s useless to look under EENT in the doctors’ directory–the EENT specialty is called Otolaryngology, as I eventually discovered. You learn something new each day, eh?)

thankfully no lines at 5 p.m. Wednesday

thankfully no lines at 5 p.m. Wednesday

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A Conversation I Did Not Want, But Actually Needed

This past week has been a tough one. What started as a cough for one twin quickly escalated to pneumonia for both of them. I kept getting jarred by one development after another. First was the worry at having to be admitted to the hospital at all, then the shock at finding out from xray results that both twins had pneumonia. Then, as one twin started getting better, the other one who didn’t seem much affected at first and was not even put on IV started getting worse! So what happened was the first one who got sick was also the first one to be discharged, while the other one had to stay longer for added treatment and observation. Every day I would be hoping to be sent home, wishing it would only be a couple of days, but we ended up spending five days in the hospital. Every day I would nervously think about the twins’ progress, the work that I was not able to do, the medical expenses that were piling up, the logistical difficulties of taking care of the twins and shuttling from home to hospital to pick up supplies and needed paperwork. It also didn’t help that Don was on travel and we were less one person in the rotation.

So last night, when I was finally able to sleep in my own bed, I could only be grateful.

Grateful, and a little bit chastened—because of a few minutes of conversation with a hospital staff who was then doing chest physiotherapy on Dahon while I was holding her in my arms. Continue reading

Words that hurt

I’ve mentioned in a couple of previous posts that at some point we were concerned that the twins weren’t in hurry to talk—they didn’t even start saying “Mommy” until they’re about a year and a half.

Now, though, words come out of them out of the blue. The other day, when Ulap saw me coming down the stairs dressed up to go to a meeting, she said, “Alis.” I was holding my dirty coffee mug and cereal bowl, so she led the way to the kitchen, saying “Hugas.” By that time Dahon has already appeared, and as I was washing the mug and bowl at the sink, she clung to my leg and said “Sama.” That’s the first time I heard those words from them!

I explained to Dahon that I couldn’t let her come with me, but of course she was still insisting. So the yaya distracted her with some flash cards, and I sneaked out as they were busily hunting up letters. I wanted to avoid a dramatic farewell scene. I waited so long to hear them talk, but I was not prepared to hear “sama” wailed repeatedly.

I wonder if I will ever be.

A Lesson in Patience, Yet Again

I was going through my phone’s voice memos this morning. There are only three voice clips, all featuring the twins, of course. One was a recording of me and Baby D which went something like this:

Me: Say “Mom-my!”
D: Pa-pa!
Me: Mom—
D: Pa-pa!
Me: Hey, Mommy naman. Mom-my! Mommy!
D: *giggles*
Me: (still insisting) Mommy!
D: Papa!

You get the drift. Continue reading

Twins on Hyperlapse: Yoga Session

Instagram recently launched the app Hyperlapse and I immediately fell in love with it. Just the thing for documenting twin toddler antics, when they’re doing nothing in particular but just being their adorable selves! 

This time, however, I happened to record them doing their “downward dog” pose. A lot of toddlers do this, but in the Philippines, there’s a saying that when a baby is able to do this pose (which I suppose first happens around the first birthday), it means the baby is asking for a baby sibling already. Good thing I don’t really go in for such folk beliefs, as my post just the other day showed. Because otherwise – *shudders* – No girls, you two are more than a handful already! 

Anyway, enjoy the madness along with me. It’s a 47-second hyperlapse of I think was about a couple of minutes’ worth of video. I swear, Hyperlapse is so fun. Of course, one can also adjust the speed of videos using video editing software, but there’s something about instant gratification, and the app is after all developed by Instagram. I expect I’ll be using Hyperlapse quite a bit. Wish me luck managing my phone memory 🙂 

Edited to add: I learned about Hyperlapse through the Fashion by Mayhem Instagram account, a favorite source of reliable cuteness 🙂

“Oh, the things they tell you!” – Superstitions and unusual beliefs

I was on the phone with my mother-in-law yesterday and I told her that I would be bringing the twins to the pedia later to have their cold and cough checked. She immediately said to keep her posted and to not let the twins drink cold water. My antennae twitched a little bit at that last one, as it sometimes does when I encounter traditional beliefs that can possibly be myths.

So later on I asked our pedia if it’s true that the kids shouldn’t drink cold water while they’re sick. No, she very definitely said. In fact, in cases like sore throat, cold water can even be helpful and soothing. And it makes sense, right, because what causes the common cold is the common cold virus, and not cold weather or cold drinks or whatever.

O, ano pa?” my pedia asked me after she finished explaining, clasping her hands in front of her and all but saying, “okay let’s demolish these myths one by one once and for all.” And that’s one of the many things I like about her—her willingness to answer our questions lengthily no matter how seemingly insignificant they may be (and if it’s health-related nothing is insignificant anyway).

Of course, I didn’t monopolize all of her time by thinking up one question after another, and not a lot of things were coming to mind at the moment anyway. I just asked if it’s true that we shouldn’t give the twins baths when they have a fever. And her answer is yes, and no. While the fever is raging, a bath can be really uncomfortable to the skin. But sometimes there are short spells when the fever would abate, then a bath won’t be at all amiss.

When the twins were born, and even while I was pregnant, a lot of these superstitions or traditional practices came out of the woodwork. People tell you all sorts of stuff. They mean well, of course, and I’m grateful they care enough to give advice. One has to be discerning, though, and my usual reaction to such advice is usually polite acknowledgment, while mentally saying to myself, “I wonder if there’s a scientific rationale for that?” I did a lot of Googling, and the usual answer is no, there isn’t.

some possible reactions to superstitions: a) polite dedma, b) ha ha that's funny, and c) the heck did you just say?

some possible reactions to superstitions: A) polite dedma, B) ha ha that’s funny, and C) the heck did you just say?

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The Making of a Scientist

How Does a Child Become a Scientist

Dr. Lawrence Heaney is one of my favorite scientists, not only because of his work, but his obvious enthusiasm about it. I have had the opportunity to meet him several times and his passion for researching Philippine biodiversity as well as his energy in mentoring Filipino scientists is truly inspiring.

Dr. Heaney works with the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and while he has studied other areas around the world, for him, the Philippines offers a fascinating natural laboratory and he has chosen this biodiversity-rich country as his major research area. He started researching here in 1981 and has come back almost every year to do field research, each trip a further opportunity to discover new things, collaborate with other Filipino scientists, and mentor young researchers. Continue reading

Raiding the Books for Less Warehouse Sale

I usually don’t get the chance to go out of my way to check out warehouse sales, but the everything-for-ten-pesos Books for Less Warehouse Sale was simply too irresistible to miss. After all, my main target was to get books for the twins and as I saw from blog and instagram posts from Nanay’s Trip and The Binondo Mommy, there are plenty of children’s books available.

So Don and I checked it out Saturday morning. On the way over we decided we’d be willing to get as much as 50 books, but at the end of the excursion I can’t say that I’m not happy with the 23 books we got to take home. Aren’t they beautiful? 🙂

books-for-less

the day’s book harvest. thank you Books for Less!

Going in, my mental list of criteria were:

  • Preferably board books so my 20 month-old twins won’t end up destroying them within 2 minutes
  • To suit the twins’ age and attention span, books that provide short, snappy lines per page and teach useful concepts or vocabulary.
  • And of course, books that are in good condition even if they’re already used

I would say around half of our purchases fit these criteria, but I also ended up with some that didn’t make the criteria at all but ended up in my book bag anyway.

These two activity books have some stickers missing, but there are still plenty remaining and for P10 and given the twins’ fondness for stickers, I’m not going to be that picky.

activity books

activity books. lots of stickers and Bible characters on one, and instructions for kids on setting up their own party in the other!

This elephant book from Jane Goodall’s Animal Series got my attention because 1) the twins already recognize elephants from drawings and plushies I thought it would be nice to show them a book with real elephant pictures, and 2) there are twin baby elephants featured!

elephant family

Elephant Family, by Jane Goodall

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How I Got Outsmarted by a Bunch of Nursery Rhymes

It was a parenting discovery moment that truly took us by surprise. Singing random nursery rhymes to our twins the other night, we realized something that’s apparently been right under our noses all along: that “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep” have the same tune! What the—how come we never noticed that before? It was bad enough that one of the twins’ musical toys have been blaring “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” using a different arrangement and we never recognized it for months. Are we tone deaf or something? But my husband plays guitar and used to be in the band at church so he at least is not tone deaf, right?

We marveled over our “discovery” for a while and then went on playing with the kids. However, I was still turning it over in my mind, humming to myself and thinking over the other nursery rhymes with the same tune. “This is the way the lady rides” is the same tune as “Here we go around the mulberry bush.” “Yankee Doodle” is the same as “Jack and Jill.” “Ako ay may lobo” is sung the same way as the Kapampangan ditty “Atin cu pung singsing.” Amazing. They’re just recycled. I didn’t quite mind, it was just nice to realize it. I didn’t grow up knowing all these rhymes, see; I only started learning most of them when I became a mom. It was really interesting how—

Hold. On. One. Minute.

I wheeled around to my husband. “So is ABC!” I yelled.

“What?”

“ABC has the same tune as Twinkle, twinkle little star,” I said.

“Noooo…” he said, but his “no” also had a doubtful sound to it. In denial pa.

“It does, it does,” I insisted.

And so we verified it through the same scientific way we verified “Twinkle” and “Baa baa black sheep” earlier. We each sang a song at the same time.

Me: A B C, D E F G…

Hubby: …how I wonder what you are.

Sneaky Nursery Rhymes

I was floored, to say the least. ABC! I’ve been singing that one since forever! And I was clueless about a lot of nursery rhymes but even I knew “Twinkle, twinkle little star”! How come I never realized that it’s the same tune! How could they be so sneaky? Who exactly they were I couldn’t tell, but I just felt like I’d been tricked and had to blame someone. Even now I don’t think that I’m completely over it.

The next day I did some Googling and was a bit relieved to find that at least I’m not the only one who’d been “tricked,” that some parents have been amazed by the same realization before and, well, like me, felt the need to write about it. One even went so far as the research the history behind it (go on and read it, I won’t spoil it for you). The article also led me to discover a beautiful Tagalog translation of “Twinkle, Twinkle” that I was unaware of.

“Ningning ng munting bituin, sana’y kaya kitang abutin.

Sa langit na kaytaas, nagsasabog ng liwanag

Ningning ng munting bituin, sana’y kaya kitang abutin.”

So all’s well that ends well, I guess. There’s my parenting realization of the week. That nursery rhymes can be sneaky little imps, but you can still learn something from them if you look (and listen) hard enough.