Jah’s 5 year old eye review – Ā Lazy Eye and Tips on how to get your child to patch his eye

I didn’t intend to write this post at all. We did document Jah’s eye review in Feb 2015 (few months after he turned 3). But I was expecting this eye review to be rather routine. Although bad mummy didn’t realise that it had been almost 2 years since his last review sigh! 

Honestly I had intended to bring him in 2017 just prior to him going to Primary 1 to get him prescribed for a new pair of glasses. However we decided to bring him earlier after an eye checkup was conducted for the K1s and K2s in his school by the Health Promotion Board. So armed with a referral letter in hand which showed his vision was not ‘perfect’ even with his specs on, we headed to his opthamologist.

As usual, a series of tests was conducted first before we got to see the doctor (reading letters of varying sizes off the screen while each eye was covered, checking eye responses with a torch in a darkened room while he watched a show on tv and then putting on lens with increasing degree until he could read the ‘fine print’). It took us about 15 minutes or so but phew that he cooperated through most of it and only becoming abit restless towards the last few lines. 


When we finally saw the doctor, she told us that his astigmatism degree in each eye had gone up by about 25degrees each (so 250 in his right eye and 25 in his left). Not too bad I guess? She asked if we wanted to get new glasses made since he has been using the same one for the past 2 years and if we did then we would have to do the eye dilation so that she could pinpoint the exact degree with more accuracy and write him the prescription. However she mention that the dilation was likely to give a very similar reading since the increase was only 25 degrees in each eye. I was about to say sure let’s do it and get him his new glasses for the new school year when she had more news for me..

She reveals the dreaded info which we had kind of been hoping to avoid..”he has developed a lazy eye in the weaker eye so we will have to start patching his eye 2 hours every day.” 
So let’s backtrack a little here..Jah has had very high astigmatism in 1 eye which was detected when he was 3. The result of very high astisgmtism especially in 1 eye if left untreated (no glasses worn), is that he would develop a lazy eye in the weaker eye. This is because the brain would start to ignore the ‘signals’ from the weaker eye and form a preference for the stronger eye. This would eventually lead to a severe deterioration of the vision in the weaker eye. 

We had opted to make him wear his glasses since he was 3 despite him having to put up with kids who think the glasses are a plaything or hearing comments from kids and adults about it, to avoid the lazy eye.

But it looks like despite all that, the lazy eye has found us. šŸ˜¦ That being said, his lazy eye seems to be at a very initial stage where hopefully early detection and intervention will see some progress or stop any deterioration. 

So yes back to present day where we would have to patch his left eye for 2 hours everyday for the next 4 months until our review with the dr again. We decided to push the dilation test to 4 months later and get his new glasses then. If we have learnt anything as a parents, it is dealing with one unknown at a time. So rather than throw him off with a dilation test today, we decided to focus on talking to him about the eye patching and why it needed to be done. Ok granted I added quite abit of fluff :p

So if you have a kid who needs to be convinced to patch his eye..here are some of our tips on how we tried to handle it..

1) We had a choice between regular plain patches and patterned ones (price diff $10 per box of 50). We chose the patterned ones to make it more fun and attractive. Then again once he saw the 2 options, there was really no turning back for us :p


2) We explained that we needed to train his other eye, help it gain strength like building his muscles in the gym so that he could battle and gain X-ray vision. Yes the whole works about there being hidden power in that eye that needs to be uncovered..this is more boy-centric but u could possibly try magic and fairy power of some sort with girls?

3) We explained the schedule to him of when and how long it needed to be done. We told him that we will only do it after school when we are at home. He will not wear it in school and he will only wear it out if he is comfortable. (In fact he asked to go buy food with us this evening, in his eye patch). He did ask why people were staring at him but I explained that some times people stare at things that they don’t understand and that if anyone asked him what happened to his eye, he can either tell them he is increasing its power or ask them to ask his mummy. But avoiding the patching at school, will help to prevent any teasing and help us to monitor his own reaction too. 

4) We spent the first 10-15 mins after patching his eye paying close attention to him as he might be disoriented from having one eye covered and only using his weaker eye. Try to spend as much of that 2 or 3 hours of eye patching time with him, doing activities together or just watching a show together. This will help him enjoy patching time more because he gets to spend time with you and again you get to monitor his reaction. Jah got abit agitated initially because he wasn’t used to the adhesive and it was making him itchy but spending time with him and addressing it, helped him to calm down. By the 1st hour, he was really happy to declare that “I’m feeling used to it now mummy.” Phew! 


5) If your kid has sensitive skin like Jah then apply some moisturiser to his face after removing the patch so avoid any rashes from flaring up.

Hopefully these tips will come in handy..:)

Super thankful for a good first day and for a awesome boy who cooperated in fact we did some painting in the 2nd hour and he wore the patch with no complaint for almost 3 hours. He even helped me to remove it while I ‘splashed’ it with water, to help it come off more easily.


Hoping the rest of the journey will be as easy too and that we make good progress with early intervention šŸ™‚

JahBella’s Mummy

Parents Need To Learn To Censor Themselves

It’s been awhile since I had last done one of our very over due holiday post and I was hoping to publish one this week but I’m afraid this rant has to take precedence.

This truly has been bugging me for some time and especially so in the last couple of weeks because we have had to deal with some nasty words that are being used at home. 

Yes the children have been repeating certain words or phrases which they have picked up from somewhere. Words that we don’t use at all at home, not even in one of our angry moments when words slip so we know they are not ‘acquiring’ these phrases from home. While we know they have expanded their (unsavoury) vocabulary in school, we have total confidence that it is not from their teachers especially since the kids are able to pinpoint the source when they are questioned after being reprimanded. Ok before u let your imagination run wild on what words are being said/ used/ heard, let me clarify that some examples are like words/ phrases such as stupid (used directly on a person), shut your mouth/ shut up, you have no brains is it and fat witch (used on a person of authority). Perhaps these words may seem mild to any normal person and I may look like I’m overreacting but when I try hard to censor myself, the words I expose my kids to and teach them to be respectful, it just kills me that it gets undone just like that. Just because another parent is free with words that he or she uses with/ on his or her child. That being said, I recognise that I have no right to judge or question how someone else is parenting their child so I can only choose to deal with it by reprimanding my child, explaining that these words are not acceptable even if their friend is saying it and hope that a parent’s influence is larger than peer influence. 

So then what am I ranting about? 

Yes I am ranting about how parents really really need to censor themselves, not in front of their own kids (honestly I can’t help if we differ in opinions on the type of language that should be used) but please censor yourself in front of or when speaking to other people’s kids. 

I honestly hope that fellow parents can have alittle more consideration and watch your language/ questions around other people’s kids. I think I have mentioned this before, I absolutely hate it when someone ask me or exclaims “oh why does he wear glasses” or “oh poor thing so young and he is wearing glasses”, right in front of my child. For your info, he is a living person and he can hear you. He also happens to have feelings, a sense of self worth and also understands English. 

I also take offence when you approach my child and ask him questions about his appearance/ skin condition/ size. Unless you are a family member or his teacher, you have no business asking if all you are trying to do is satisfy your own curiosity. Because whatever your intention, good or bad, the child will not be able to discern. All he understood from the question, is the fact that an adult asked me about my appearance therefore there must be something different or wrong about it. And the last thing I want for my child is self confidence issues just because you were curious. 

Just as no one (at least most people, safe for the ones with no EQ) would go up to another adult and ask why do you have pimples or why is your skin so oily or why are you so short? I think kids should be accorded with the same ‘respect’. Why should it be ok to flat out ask a kid such questions which serve no purpose to you anyway. Trust me I too am curious a lot but there is a line and some lines should not be crossed.

So yes bottom line, this is a rant and a reminder to myself and to other parents that kids are humans too, they have feelings, they are very aware and we as adults and as parents really need to learn to censor ourselves. Not just with adults because it is the politically right thing to do but also when speaking to or around a kid (because it is the decent thing to do) And to be absolutely blunt about it, if you can’t then I would rather you not speak to me or my child. 

JahBella’s Mummy

To my children – A letter about life and love

Do you at times think back to your childhood or growing up years and remember some of the words of wisdom which your parents may have repeated to you ever so often. Words that you may have rolled your eyes at in your youth but find yourself repeating to your kids in some form or another now. Well I know I do. 

These words of wisdom were often about life, choice of friends and the eventual choice of a life partner. And as much as we rolled our eyes at those words, I have a feeling our parents did enough ‘drilling’ over the years for those words to have some impact on the choices we have made in life and on defining who we are today.

So here are some of my ‘words of wisdom’ that I hope to impart to my son and daughter. 

To both my children

Life is never fair. Trust me, you will come across enough obstacles, failures and even successes in your lifetime to help you realise that. But the earlier in life you accept this fact, the faster and easier it will be for you to pick yourself up after each failure and face the next obstacle again. Because it is only when you accept this fact that you will stop throwing tantrums about life and stop playing the blame game. You will learn to, as cliche as it sounds, make lemonade out of lemons that life serves you and you will be happier.

Life will also throw many curveballs at you and some may even rock the very foundation your life is built upon. For your sake, I hope you encounter enough curveballs to keep you grounded but none of the foundation shattering ones. 

When life throws you these curveballs, Pray. Don’t be mistaken, praying will not make them go away but praying will give you the strength and faith to carry on.

To my Son

Be a gentleman. Open doors and pull out chairs. Chilvary may be dead for some people but needing to be thoughtful and respectful is very much alive.  

Do not carry her handbag. Not mine or your sister’s, not your girlfriend’s or your wife’s. Instead offer to carry her bags, her loads and her burdens but don’t be offended if she declines.

Allow your other half to be an equal to you. Listen to her opinions and trust her instincts. Allow her to drive you. 

Allow her to cry and never ever belittle her tears or emotions. Be honoured that she is opening up her vulnerabilities and insecurities to you. If you don’t know what to do, just embrace her. 

You will make friends and enemies. You need to be able to tell one from another. Sometimes it is not easy to tell the difference.

Always put your family first. Even in the face of building your career and wanting to provide for your family. Know that a powerful and successful man is one who goes home to a family who loves, knows and adores him and those emotions are not bought with money or gifts. 

Love.

To my Daughter 

Empower yourself. No matter how heavy those bags are, learn to carry them on your own. Do not make your partner carry your handbag. 

Learn to drive a car. It will put you in control of your own time and give you the freedom and independence you need so that you never need to wait around to be ferried. Trust me, it will make a difference to your relationship. 

Be strong, be independent and walk along side your partner as an equal but never get so carried away in this new era of female equality and independence that you forget to be vulnerable. 

Allow yourself to cry, allow yourself to be emotional (well just not irrational emotional), ask for help when you need it and don’t be afraid to let him help you with the bags (just not the handbag :p). I know this sounds like a whole bag of contradictions – why are you asking me to let him carry my bags but yet want me to be strong enough to carry my own bags. 

It is simple my little girl, you need to make sure that you are a strong, independent and stable woman in your own right before you can be part of a meaningful relationship of equals. 

You need to be with someone who is willing to take care of you but will not belittle your strength. You need to be with someone whom you feel safe enough to open your insecurities and vulnerabilities to and know that he will still see you as an equal.

Love. 

JahBella’s Mummy

We need to stop judging ParentsĀ 

It’s been a crazy few weeks and I haven’t gotten down to blogging much..not even about our recent holiday trip. But a conversation this evening with the hubby, propelled me to write this post.

I was reminded of how people judge the things parents do, yes even people who are parents and perhaps especially people who are parents.

I am definitely guilty of it. It’s so easy to judge another parent for choosing to do things differently from you.

Honestly being a parent is a tough enough job without having the world judge you and fellow parents can be the worst critics.

  • We judge when a parent leaves work on time to be with their kid.
  • We judge when a parent works late and doesn’t have time for their kid.
  • We judge when a parent sends their child to school when the child is sick.
  • We judge when a parent takes child mc for the nth time because the child is sick.
  • We judge when a mother chooses to be a stay home mum.
  • We judge when a mother chooses to be a full time working mum.
  • We judge when parents choose to put their kids in full day childcare.
  • We judge when parents choose to homeschool.
  • We judge when parents are competitive about school, school work/ school load.
  • We judge when parents choose to bring their kids overseas for a holiday during the school term.
  • We judge when parents sign their kids up for countless enrichment classes and make them study all the time.
  • We judge when parents don’t sign their kids up for any enrichment classes and allow them to play all the time.
  • We judge when parents allow their kids to use electronic devices.
  • We judge when parents don’t allow their kids to use electronic devices.
  • We judge when parents allow their kids to co-sleep with them.
  • We judge when parents make their kids sleep on their own.
  • We judge when parents choose to stop at 1. 
  • We judge when parents choose to have more than 1. 

I think this list could go on for quite abit and I’m sure many of you would have quite a few things to add as well..

My point really is we have to learn to stop judging each other. The world of parenting is hard enough as it is. We don’t need to prove or justify our parenting choices to people but it sure would make it a sweeter journey if we learn to stop imposing our views on each other.

After all, we all really just want what’s best for our children and family, within our own personal circumstances. 

And if we all can just learn to be supportive or at least understanding of each other, the parenting world will be a less daunting place. 

JahBella’s Mummy 

For Mummies of Little Boys – Foreskin Infection

So we are just fresh off a beach holiday and honestly this is possibly the last topic I would think to write after an awesome vacation. (More on that awesome vacation in our later posts).

However I felt that it was important for me to share our run-in or Jah’s run-in with a foreskin infection during our trip and what we did to help him. Excuse the lack of photos as the photos taken were rather private (pun intended :p)

A foreskin infection or balanitis is apparently a very common condition amongst little boys from the ages of 2 and up however there are varying and overwhelming information on how to go about handling this situation.

For starters, there are two camps on the issue – the pro-circumcision and the anti- circumcision camp. I will not be going into a discussion on this at all, rather I would just like to share what worked for us in a situation where we didn’t have access to his usual PD or an A&E that we felt we could trust.

Jah started complaining about a pain in his penis on Friday (a day into our holiday). On close inspection, we didn’t spot anything odd and figured it might have been an insect bite or a bruise that he might have gotten during a recent Sports Day event. We asked if it was painful to pee and ruled out an urinary tract infection when he said no. I started watching him closely for signs of swelling or redness and also monitored his peeing situation.

By Saturday afternoon, the boy was screaming in pain every time I tried to put on his underwear or if anything would brush or even come into slight contact with his penis. This time the sudden swelling was very obvious. The area was obviously swollen, red and very tender in fact the appearance of pus started to really freak us out. My best friend Google revealed that it was likely balanitis which we were looking at and it needed medical attention and likely a hydrocortisone cream and antibiotics for the infection.

We were more than 24 hours away from our flight home and I read enough horrors stories online about doctors not knowing the right way to examine for balanitis. I didn’t want to traumatise Jah before his PD got to see him and so the huge dilemma of whether to take him to the in house hotel doctor, a local A&E or to sit tight and wait till our return to Singapore.

We gave him a dose of ibuprofen to help with the pain and to settle him for a nap. The closest thing we had to a hydrocortisone cream at that point was his eczema cream which belonged to the same family of medicine. In desperation, we applied a thin layer for him and prayed hard that we would see some improvement after his nap.

Thankfully the pain relief worked and he rested. He also woke up to a slightly less inflamed nether region and no more pus. However the tip of his penis now had a small ‘balloon’ at the end and we started to worry if it was sealed swollen and whether he was able to pee. We only started breathing again when we witnessed him peeing without fuss.

We wanted to go to a nearby pharmacy to purchase a hydrocortisone cream for him but also read that using a cream without antibiotics might worsen the situation if it was a bacterial infection rather than a fungal infection. Thankfully we found out that organic coconut oil had anti fungal and anti bacterial properties and could be used to treat balanitis. We were fortunate that we were holidaying in a place where coconut oils were a plenty and we found a bottle of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil easily at a pharmacy.

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Jah was in good spirits throughout this experience and was very happy to go for dinner, ice cream and to shop for his coconut oil and that settled us alittle. Mummy’s instinct told me that we were at least not in dire need of medical attention at that point.

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This big smile put my mind at ease..(well alittle at least)…what a trooper!

We applied the coconut oil before bed that night and found that the swelling and redness had largely subsided overnight! Phew! We made it home the next evening and even managed to wait till Monday morning to take him to his PD.

A visit to his PD on Monday morning showed a marked improvement in his condition compared to the Sat photos we had taken and he was prescribed with a potassium permanganate wash as well as a hydrocortisone cream. Ironically the cream was something that he also used for his eczema but I had brought a different brand with us in the trip. *smack head*

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Easily available at pharmacies too I was told…

So what lesson have I learnt through all this? Well for one I will definitely be packing some coconut oil and his hydrocortisone cream for our next trip overseas.

Some of the things we learnt and checked for
1) Could he pee as per normal? Any problems or pain peeing? This was to rule out a UTI.
2) Was he having a fever? This would suggest the infection was a lot worse and we would have then taken him to a dr or Hosp immediately.
3) Was he in a lot of pain and was that preventing him from functionally normally or sleeping. If so then give him some pain relief in the form of Panadol or ibuprofen.
4) Did the interim measures like coconut oil help? Was he in less pain and had the swelling situation improve? If the coconut oil had not made any improvements then we would also have brought him to the In-house Dr.
5) Mummy’s instinct..yes apart from the above checks, we used mummy instinct which overrules everything else above. Had I felt uncomfortable about the situation at all, we would have handed straight for medical attention.

Hopefully Jah will never have to go through that experience again but we will definitely be better equipped if it does. And I hope you never have to find this post handy šŸ™‚

JahBella’s Mummy