Cooking With KX

1. Home Made Meatballs

Recipe:

500g minced Beef & Pork

1 Tbs oregano

1 Tbs parmesan cheese

1 Tbs Olive oil

2 tsp garlic powder

1 beaten egg

Season with some sea salt and pepper

Sufficient bread crumbs (I used cream crackers and blended them) to ensure mixture is malleable enough to be made into balls.

Shallow fry and serve with pasta sauce.

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The Season of Fruitfulness (A Horse Mango)

Another interesting pick while making our second return trip from viewing the durian trees was a mango found on the pavement. It was unripened, had a black top patch on its green skin but other than that it looked very much like a good mango. That same night, my father came for dinner and warned me that such mangoes could smell really fragrant when ripened but are usually found with worms. Two colleagues swung by my place later that evening and one of them concurred with my dad when she saw the Horse Mango in my fruit basket.

4 days passed and the fruit smelled fragrant enough to be eaten. While paring the skin, I went extremely slow because I was anticipating the ‘worms’ that my father and ex-colleague spoke of. Honestly, I cut with a tinge of fear and had pictures of worms squirming and oozing out of the fruit while removing its skin. These unfounded paranoia hindered the way I interacted with the supposedly ‘delightful’ find. To my pleasant surprise, there were no worms and the fruit was extremely juicy and sweet. It can’t beat a Thai honey mango of course because this particular species had a big seed and was fibrous.

Strangely, the Lord led me to remember KR through this mango incident. Just like how my dad and ex-colleague immediately associated this sort of mangoes with worms just by a mere look, many actually labelled children with Down Syndrome too. Our children have certain similar physical characteristics and hence its easy to tell them apart from a normal kid. Hence, some see them as the lesser sort of kids; slow and not very clever. Some see them as a liability; never able to achieve independence. Some even see them as ‘rubbish’, useless and should be thrown; wish they were never born. To go the extreme, some don’t even see them as lives; they are exterminated before they could even see the world. Sad but true, this is the world we live in today. Many do not see the potential children with Down Syndrome has.

A parent I got to know actually put their baby up for adoption after learning that the child has Down Syndrome at birth. The child was 5 months when we got acquainted in the hospital because KR was admitted at 3 months due to Aspiration Pneumonia. Under a very divine encounter, I met the parents and later learned about their decision to give the baby up for adoption. I remembered vividly, the child, Timothy (not his real name),  had very good attention span when I read a story to him at his cot. His neck control was also phenomenal!!! Comparing, his muscle tone to KR’s, his was definitely much much better. I was heart broken to hear about his parents’ resolution to their bitter journey because when I saw the child, I saw great potential, in fact greater than my son because of how KR first began his journey of life. Months down the road, through an acquaintance’s recount, I learned that Timothy was learning to creep and that same week, KR crawled. I felt very sad for Timothy because I know if, and only if, he has that same quality of care as KR, he is definitely going to achieve much more than what he is doing now.

Much intervention and prayers have gone to where KR is today and indeed to God be the glory. It’s never my intention to boast of what my son could do through this post, cos in fact, there are many which he can’t. Many which his peers could and he is still struggling to do. However, I take joy even in his weaknesses, in his inabilities, in his handicap because I know he will only grow stronger and more able to overcome his handicap.

Potential is like gold in a hidden chest, it needs to be unlocked, to be discovered. The Lord has reminded me to look beyond the surface of things in life; the superficial; the physical. Instead, look with eyes of His – that which sees us as…

  • Salt and light                                                                                   Matt 5:13-14
  • more than conquerors in Christ                                                 Romans 8:37
  • God’s handiwork, designed for good works                             Ephesians 2:10

Hence, we can be a contributor to the world, a conqueror in our situation and a creation well loved by God.

KR, this is how mama sees you! The way God does and I love you. Very much.

Grateful Christmas

Last year this time KR suffered from Aspiration Pneumonia and had to stay in KKH for his first Christmas. He was warded on the 21st Dec and responded very well to the antibiotics prescribed over 3 days. I remembered bugging at the PD on duty that I would want to have him home for Christmas and the amiable Dr NG W.D will always amused me with “不是我不要,…that depends on how well this little guy breathes on his own.’

KR’s lungs started clearing up by the 3rd day but he just simply could not wean off the 0.1 oxygen dependency. From what I understood, 0.1 is nearly like room air; its very minimal amount of oxygen dependency that he was requiring. During his stay, KR had the SpO2 (peripheral capillary oxygen saturation) machine linked to his little toes to tell us if he had sufficient oxygenated haemoglobin in his blood. Each time it sensed that KR was desaturating (falling below the normal 95% value), the machine would beep to alert us. At 3 months, KR was very conscious of the nasal cannula placed in his nostril and imagine the multiple tapings that were required to keep everything down. ‘Everything’ would be:

  1. Steri Strip over the cleft lip (with 2 pieces of Duoderm on the cheeks)
  2. Micropore tapes to secure the NG Tube
  3. Tegaderm on the soft tubes of the Nasal Canula on the Duoderms)

Of course, comparing this to when he first had his colostomy, this ‘Everything’ seemed like nothing. But still, I can’t wait to get him back home to nurse him back to health. We prayed like mad but he was still required to stay through Christmas. I remembered on Christmas eve when my impulse got a better of me, I nearly signed the AOR (At-Own-Risk) form just so that KR could go home with us. I wanted to do that because throughout my whole day with him in the hospital, I observed that KR has a bigger tongue compared to normal children and lying supine means his tongue had a high tendency of falling back, hence blocking his airway. Whenever the machine beeped I would roll him to sleep on his sides so that his tongue would fall to the sides and he could breathe better. Needless to say, the rebel in me removed the Nasal Canula from his nostril once I discovered that a change in his sleeping positions could help him attain better results on the Spo2 machine. I remembered videoing minutes after minutes of the Sp02 machine remaining at 100% even without the nasal canula so that I could show it to the doctors as proof for early discharge. After having multiple conversations with different doctors, one managed to convinced me to let him stay over Christmas eve because she mentioned that desaturation usually happen when they are in deep sleep (i.e in the night). She wanted KR to do a night study before agreeing to discharge him.

After praying through, we decided to let KR stay one more night and thankfully we did cos he really desaturated in the night and they had to put the nasal canula back for him.

Annually, we would hold a Christmas Party at our place with the family. As usual, KX was really looking forward to the Christmas Party but LY and I really struggled to have one because we were both not in the mood. With KX in mind, we went ahead with the party, nothing fancy, just a get together and some order ins. The kids enjoyed themselves. I hosted my best but at the back of my mind I was always thinking of my suffering little one. We prayed for him over Christmas that night and we were thankful that he came home on boxing day.

This year, I am really thankful to God for having KR with us for Christmas. It was a sense of bliss. So so thankful.

Son, Christmas can never be better when you are home with us.

 

 

Simple Fun

At the beginning of this December, the 3 kids were out with us shopping for S.R’s 9th birthday prezzie. The kids all skipped their naps that day and of course went a lil’ ‘crazy’ during tea time (their supposed wake up time). Their screams and hilarious laughters echoed through the crowds as they played chuga chuga choo Choo.

My sis and I were definitely embarrassed as the Christmas shopping crowds looked on. I wanted to stop the kids from creating a scene but was very tickled when S.R commanded ‘Pink 100′ to steer left quickly to attend to the ’emergency’.

Who is Pink 100?!?!

And so…KX was Pink 100, M.C Blue 4 and S.R was Purple Double 0. I thought these names were really cute for trains. The kids had a whole load of fun at $0 cost. The whole thrill was in the company and their imaginations. I think that could honestly be a better gift to S.R than the new Birkenstock I bought for her in the end.

Blessed 9th birthday Little One. Yee yee can never forget the way you looked when you were first born. Those bright and intelligent eyes, thick full lips and luscious black hair! What a head turner you were! I am very thankful to God for bringing you into our lives. For being the sweetest in your thoughts and speech. For being the motivation behind me getting a driving license and always trying to finish my work quickly so that I could rush home to play with you. For being my first baby and taught me how to care for KX and KR now that I am a mummy myself.

You have grown really fast and as you graduate into Pre-Teens remember that you are very loved by every one in the family. I love you a whole great deal, your parents much more and above us all, Jesus gave His life for you. Grow in stature, in wisdom and madly in love with God. Amen.

The Season of Fruitfulness (Kampong Durian)

The 2 durian trees near the forested area in my neighbourhood have bore quite a fair bit of fruits this season. We went a couple of times just to admire the fruitfulness of these trees and the adventurous side of me kept egging me on to go in and take a look. I must say after 25 years of not camping and roughing it out in the outdoors, the small trail that’s covered with mere shin-high grass intimidated me.

After the 3rd revisit, I mustered my courage and trudged through the bearable uneven terrain, just to have a closer look at those majestic green lives. Of course, in hope to also pick up some durians too. Within seconds as we approached the tree, Sweetheart found one. Squealed with excitement, I put that little precious into our daughter’s Lady Bug bag. The size was perfect to host this average size gorgeous.

We brought it back home, brushed away all the dead leaves, dirt and ants before bringing it into the house. Won’t wanna risk having any insects infestations just because of a durian. Every precautionary step matters. Intuitively, I asked Sweetheart to fetch me a chopper and a pair of sharp scissors to pry open the durian. Not too bad for a first timer handling a freshly dropped durian. As I wrestled with the King of the Fruit, I recalled the moves my father made when I was very young. He would very often looked for the ‘lines’ on the durians before he delivered the blows! *Bam! Boom! Wah Duh *Imagine Bruce Lee! I imitated and delivered similar amateurish moves. The 5 minute hand to hand combat won me a handsome 9 seeds reward. Unlike the popular Mao Shan Wang, the flesh was thin and and the smell was not overpowering. I totally enjoyed the mildly sweetened fruit as it left me wanting more.

I wish I may, I wish I might…

Last Thursday we brought KX to watch the Peppa Pig show.

Its the year end holidays and most I know (rather, FB chose to show) is going/has gone/went abroad. I can’t help but to have a sense of envy for KX because I think about how much she would enjoy watching a Parade in Disney, play with snow or skii or simply take her maiden flight to any nearby country. I wish I could bring her somewhere for the holidays but with KR’s upcoming ops, its just impossible. For now.

Those frivolous thoughts disappeared after I had a conversation with Uncle Tall. This, at least, six and a half foot tall grandfather was tasked to bring his granddaughters to the same show.  I was standing outside of the quadrangle sipping my coffee when I noticed Uncle Tall walking into the quadrangle, towards his misbehaving granddaughters, trying to stop a fight. When he returned, I smiled at him and he started explaining to me how the sisters always fight and he went a little beyond about his family, a little. 🙂

Just to share a little of the little he shared. His children are professionals and the family travels widely. Her grand daughters take French classes and speak fluent French. He was exceptionally proud of them in their recent trip to France when the girls, one 8 and the other, 4 could converse fluently with the locals. After going at length at his children’s and grandchildren’s achievements, I had to interject and asked why was he the one who brought the girls and not their parents. He shared that the parents are both doctors and are too busy to bring them, hence he was ‘arrowed’

I finished my coffee and quickly stepped into the quadrangle to relief Sweetheart of his long and dreary 30 minute wait for the show to start. Through the show, I sang with KX, I videoed her, I made her sit on my lap and cuddled her at moments, we wished together when the characters put the star on the Christmas Tree and recited the poem…. we enjoyed the show together. After talking to Uncle Tall, I can’t help but to think about how KX would feel should she be in the shoes Uncle Tall’s grand daughters.

…to have many good experiences in life but the parents are often absent …

…have a great education but are seldom nurtured by the parents themselves…

…to basically have other people in her life watched and made her grow more than me…

I don’t think she would like it. I honestly think my presence is way more important than traveling and my involvement in her life more previous than any new experiences she could have. Throughout the show, I can’t help but to notice the numerous maids who fished out their phones to capture Peppa and friends when they sang and danced. I did too but I was videoing my daughter interacting with the characters and responding to some of the stage cues. It was our shared experience. This show is not just for entertainment or to wild time away. It bonded us.

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.

And so, what do children really wish for? Ma mas and Pa pas out there… it’s most likely you.

Days Without NGTUbe: Beef Bolognese

It’s a joy when I see KR eating healthily and more importantly so, without tube. Here’s sharing one of his set lunches.

1. Congee

We pre-washed and freeze the grains before cooking them. This cuts down the cooking time to only 20mins. A pot of 50mls grains plus 300-400ml chicken stock would yield us a pot of nice warm congee in a relatively thick consistency.

I love to give the children mixed grains for carbo because it contains a lot more antioxidants, nutrients and fibre compared to white grains. However, with KR, I added quite a fair bit of short grains because the congee when we first let him tried on (while he was still on his tube) was cooked with that. Short grains are excellent for making congee cos it makes them really starchy and thick when cooked. A typical Cantonese style zouk, congee.

KR takes these organic grains:

  • Short grain
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth
  • Couscous
  • Mixed brown rice
  • Millet

To add variety to his porridge. We will either add in butternut Squash, Japanese sweet potatoes, Indonesian honey sweet potatoes or russet potatoes. KR has learned to love his congee cooked this way.

2. Beef Bolognese

Ingredients :

  • 150g organic beef
  • 1/2 yellow onions chopped finely
  • 2-3tbp organic pasta sauce (I used organic pasta sauce cos they are unsalted)
  • Olive oil
  • 100-150ml homemade Chicken stock

Method:

1. Sauté the onions til soft with the olive oil

2. Add in the beef and stir fry

3. Add in pasta sauce

4. Add in chicken sauce

5. Summer til sauce is reduced

6. Blend, apportion and store into freezing cubes

7. Steam a cube or 2 for each meal

3. Chicken stock

Ingredients2 kampong chicken body (or 1 whole kampong chicken), washed and blanched

  • 1 big carrot, cut into chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 sticks of celery, cut into chunks
  • Water enough to cover ingredients
  • 2-3 dried scallops (optional)

Method

1. Bring water to boil

2. Add in all ingredients

3. Summer for 2 hours after 15mins of boiling

Bon Appetit.

Milestone Unlocked: Crawling

Children with Down Syndrome have exceptionally low muscle tone and that affects their swallowing, eating, sitting, standing etc… they require a lot more effort than normal babies to achieve the exact same milestones. With the colostomy, KR’s muscles were slit and hence it’s a greater challenge for this boy to crawl. The previous surgeries he had also contributed to the wait to this tear jerking moment.

With much hard work, KR crawled today! It was during the usual 7:30am play on the mat that I caught him moving his knees in to catch up with those moving arms! …Right hand left knee, left hand right knee … 1,2,3,4! As I counted on I could not help but To exclaimed a loud “YES” as he finished his marathon! He did it! He took four crawls before his arms gave way and he fell flat on the ground. The little 不到翁 then spontaneously push himself into sitting and smiled. My cheer and affirmation made him grinned from ear to ear.

It’s been some months of training before KR could finish this 4-steps marathon.

When KR first started out with Aunty S., his physiotherapist some months back, he could only rolled from back to belly. His arms were weak then and he could not push himself up into 4 points (crawling position). In 5months KR learnt:

1. To push himself into sitting

2. From sitting still to attempting to reach toys

3. He then stretches further and more aggressively to reach for the toys around him

4. We moved him from sitting to 4 point and then we would move his hands and knees for him in a coordinated fashion

5. He got the groove and the strength and attempted to move his own arms while we move his knees for him

6. Independently, this boy started rocking this body when he was in the crawling position to try to take his first step

7. And now 4!

It’s gonna take a while more before KR is going to crawl busily around the house but at this point we are all just very happy and thankful to God at what he has achieved.

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Psalm 37:23

Just as we have trained you the way you should crawl and move, when you did the way we expected you to, we were so pleased with you. Son, may you always know the way God wants you to move; know His will in your seasons and do exactly how you are taught, I am sure it will bring Him great delight.

Wanton Makin

I love cooking and baking with KX. It’s an activity that involves all 5 senses and I see cooking as an important life skill to have. Today, we made wanton together. This is one easy snack to make with kids and importantly, they will love eating it.

Recipe to make 25 wantons

Ingredients:

1. 200g minced pork (we like I with a littlefats)

2. 6 medium sized glass prawns (shelled, deveined and minced)

3. 6 water chestnut (peeled and chopped finely, but not too fine)

4. 1 stalk of spring onion (chopped)

5. 1 packet of wanton or Har Kow skin

Seasonings:

1. 1/2 a tsp Salt

2. A few dashes of Pepper

3. 1 tbsp Hua Diao Wine

4. 1 1/2 tbsp Soy Sauce

5. 1 tsp Chicken Powder

6. 1/2 a tbsp oyster sauce

Instructions:

1. Combine pork and prawns together in a bowl.

2. Sprinkle salt sparsely unto (1)

3. Scoop up mixture with hand and slap it into the bowl, repeat this step til mixture gets a little pasty

Skip 1-3 and simply start from 4, if you are rushing for time. However, the meat would taste much better after being “beaten”.

4. Add in all seasonings and mix well

5. Scoop 1 Tsp of filling onto the wanton/ Har Kow skin

– flatten the filling a little for easier cooking

6. Dab some water along the edge of the skin and wrap the wanton up

7. Fry using medium flame

Tips: fry ONE first to test out the heat of the fire.

KX’s 1st Instrument

Aunty Rach passed us an old Ukelele recently and KX has managed to master the song ‘Row Row Row your Boat’.

I was actually very impressed with how nimble her little fingers were when it comes to changing of chords. For a first instrument, I think this girl has ace it! So proud of her.

My desire for her to pick up any instruments is so that she could experience personal worship in a more dynamic manner, and also, to play skilfully enough to lead others in worship. I think that would be a beautiful gift.

Sing unto the Lord a new song, play skillfully with a shout of joy. Psalm 33:3