Monday, May 31, 2010

Looking for Dr Right (aka Will Someone Please Direct Me To A Paediatrician In Penang!?)

It was Baby O's jab time a couple of weeks back (Yes, I've been meaning to put this post & a few others up since then but things have kept me from doing so). Since we are new in the area, we had some homework to do as to where to bring Baby O for her immunisations as well as health concerns. We were recommended a paediatrician at Island Hospital but we would prefer a clinic-based paediatrician and one near our house. I only managed to find ONE review online on a paediatrician located on Jalan Masjid Negeri. This is when I find the internet listings in the UK really useful. One click and you can locate everything! Everything and everyone is listed, given ratings, with clear maps, etc. Back here, they don't even have a list of clinics in Penang!

Anyway, we thought we would check out this clinic on Jalan Masjid Negeri since it is not too far from us. We were headed there but didn't have the details of the clinic and Jalan Masjid Negeri is a long road so we detoured back to Klinik Aman instead......

Klinik Aman - A Qualitas Clinic
11 Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, 11700 Gelugor, Penang
Tel: 04-8281644   
Fax: 04-2287540
A branch of the Qualitas clinics just a stone's throw from where we currently live. A glance on the clinic glass screen and it says immunisations offered. So we parked the car, unbuckled Baby O from her car seat and went in. Checked with the receptionist and he says that they don't stock the MMR vaccine and will have to order it in. We then asked if he could recommend us another clinic where he directed us to a Klinik Bersalin (maternity clinic) a few hundred metres down the road. Off we go...

Klinik Kesihatan Ibu dan Kanak-kanak Taman Tun Sardon
Gelugor, 11700 Penang
Tel: 04-6571592

As we turned out, we saw a sign pointing to a Klinik Kesihatan Ibu dan Kanak-kanak Taman Tun Sardon. We thought that since it was only a routine MMR vaccination, we didn't really mind getting it from a public health centre and then consult a paediatrician on all other matters later when we manage to source one. Well, the clinic is located on the ground floor of some flats. Hmm... And unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) it was closed on a Saturday. Back to the Klinik Bersalin.

Penawar Klinik Dewan Bersalin Muslimah
345-1, Bangunan Kelab Gelugor, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, 11700 Gelugor, Penang
Tel/Fax: 04-6571166
This clinic and maternity ward is located in a 3 or 4 storey building. You have to take a lift to the first floor where the clinic is. The whole set up is really old and it feels a little dodgy upon entering the lift and then the clinic. We asked if they offered the MMR vaccination - yes, priced at RM120. Is the doctor a paediatrician as I have some questions to ask? Nurse confidently replied that although the doctor is not a paediatrician, she will know the answers as she does all immunisations for babies delivered there as a follow-up service. She also attends courses etc. bla bla bla... Ok, we... will.. hmm.. give her a try since it is only a jab. The doctor was pleasant but after going through some of my questions, she blatantly said that she is not a paediatrician and doesn't know the answer to some of my questions. She is also not too familiar with the immunisation schedule since Baby O received half of her vaccines in the UK. She suggested that we try the Hope Clinic instead to consult a paediatrician. Ok, thanks Miss Nurse. As we were waiting for the lift, the nurse had the cheek to run after us to ask for RM10 consultation fee! What?!?

Tropicana Fertility, Women and Children's Medical Centre (formerly known as Srigim Women's Children's Hospital)
12-A, Jalan Masjid Negeri, 11600 Penang
Tel: 04-8299188
Fax: 04-8286118
Back into the car. Might as well try to locate this clinic on Jalan Masjid Negeri. At the brink of calling it quits, we spotted the Tropicana Fertility, Women and CHILDREN's Medical Centre. The word 'children' prompted us to think that this is a sure winner. Parked the car again, unbuckled Baby O for the umpteenth time and said hello to the receptionist. We were quickly let down when the receptionist told us that there are no paediatricians stationed there at the moment although the house doctor is able to administer vaccinations. Speechless. Then, some well dressed probably PR guy handed us the mobile number of a children's clinic supposedly located back up the road and very kindly gave us clear directions. Baby O is by now no doubt bored of the going in and out of car/ clinic game that her parents are playing.

SIM Children and Child Heart Clinic
36 Jalan Masjid Negeri, 11600 Penang
Tel: 04-6584058
Fax: 04-6554058
Emergency case call: 012-4903312
Monday to Saturday: 9.30am - 1.30pm; 2.30pm - 7.00pm
Sunday: 9.30am - 2.00pm
Public Holiday: Close
Last call. If we can't get this one right, we're going home. Or for a plate of char kway teow.

As we arrived, the converted bungalow unit looks more than decent from the outside with bright glass screen decorations. A 'tagline' projects prominently on the first floor - WE TREAT YOUR CHILD LIKE OURS.

Inside, bright colours are everywhere! A funky aquarium divides the reception and the waiting area. This is where Baby O signed 'fish' on her own for the first time without being prompted! Just when I was doubting the effectiveness of baby signing... ;-) Well, done girl!

While waiting, Baby O was having fun with the toy cars downstairs and admiring the little smiley faces on the wall.

 And there is more upstairs!
The children and parent's activity area has tonnes of toys including a swing and slide! Maybe they should call this Sim Children Wonderland! There is also a breastfeeding room indicating that this is a breastfeeding friendly clinic.

Dr Sim was friendly and comes across as someone who knows his stuff as he was able to reassure us on the immunisation schedule and answer my questions with sound advice. He is not someone who will prescribe medications unnecessarily. The team of staffs are friendly too.

The bill came up to a reasonable RM88.50 -> RM35.00 consultation fee and RM53.50 for the MMR vaccination as well as paracetamol syrup in case Baby O develops a fever. The meds came in a free eco-friendly reusable medicine bag! Great, a green doc!

However, as with all popular clinics, be prepared to wait if you don't have a prior appointment. We were there for a total of about 2 hours before leaving the clinic! Well, maybe you can bring your own tea and sit in the garden while waiting for your turn!

Can't believe we had to go to five different locations before we could get Baby O her jab. After over three hours, some kilometres and a cry later, we thank God that we ended up somewhere where we felt safe, clean and comfortable with a doc and his staffs who care for their little patients.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wooden Blocks

I have finally found it! I was looking for some wooden ABC blocks for Baby O. I like the classic looking ones with carved out alphabets/numbers. A friend has kindly sourced and recommended the Haba wooden building blocks. They come in beautiful colours and whimsical shapes. Haba wooden blocks are from Germany and claims to be made of hard wood with completely non-toxic, child friendly finishes. However, they are a tad pricey. The 25 pieces of Eeeny, Meeny, Miny, Zoo blocks are priced at $49.99 online. Besides the make, the price has to be right too. So, let's KIV that....

Then, I asked Mr Google for 'classic wooden blocks' and he showed me these from Uncle Goose going for $33.99. Also made from non-toxic inks, these 28 pieces made-in-the-USA blocks just ain't classic enough for me. 
The same friend then recommended me The Baby Loft which stocks the Wonderworld ABC Touchy Wooden Blocks. Made from rubber wood and non-toxic colours, this Thai product is priced at RM108.90. Not too bad but didn't spur me to buy them immediately.

Then one fine day at Toys R Us, I saw these on the shelves staring right in my face saying 'Buy Me!'.  These Imaginarium wooden blocks seem to check all the right boxes! Besides being wooden and carved, it comes in ABCs (both capital and lower case!) and 123s as well as pictures.

Building blocks aids a child's development in numerous ways - touch (the carved letters), cause and effect (stacking up makes a block tower/ knock them and they fall), fine motor skills (pick/ stack/ knock), size/ shape/ colour discrimination, visual stimulation (match the blocks).

I couldn't wait for Baby O to open the box up and play! While waiting, I went searching for reviews on Imaginarium. I noticed one review on the blocks I bought mentioned something about having the same letters on different surface instead of having different letters to be able to build more words. I didn't think much of it until the time came when we (excitedly) opened up the package. Three things struck me almost immediately:

1. The contents are made up of 1/3 blocks and 2/3 packaging! Very misleading indeed! Yes, cleverly hidden behind the alphabet blocks is another empty box that helps to put everything into a presentable manner. Tsk, tsk, tsk...

2. The blocks are pretty lightweight and have sharp corners. I suppose being lightweight is a benefit when it comes to being handled by tiny toddler hands and fingers. The sharp corners will probably wear off eventually (looking at how they are being handled!). 

3. The same capital and lower letters appear on the same block together with a corresponding picture. Eg. 'M' appears with 'm' and a picture of a monkey. This is great for learning the ABCs in upper and lower case and in association with an object. Then the review mentioned above flashed back at me saying 'See! Told you so!' when I tried putting the blocks together to spell the world 'BABY' for Baby O. There are 2 blocks of its kind so there are 2 'A's and 2 'B's and so on. To my dismay, the letter 'Y' appears together with the letter 'B'. So its B(Y)-A(Z)-B(Y)... and insufficient 'Y' blocks as they have been utilised as 'B's! Yikes! I guess this can also be easily remedied by .. erm.. buying another set??!?! For the time being, it'll be just building wooden block towers and knocking them down, Bab O!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This Mama recommends: What To Expect Series

Went to the mall last night and bought a copy of 'What To Expect: The Toddler Years' (available in most popular bookstores retailing at RM44.00). Oh, yes, I DO need a book to tell me how to 'manage' my toddler! ;-P

The series by Heidi Murkoff and some other moms and healthcare professionals is the next in line after What To Expect : The First Year and What To Expect When You're Expecting. I am hoping to find many tips, advices and suggestions in there for the next two years of raising Baby O just as how I relied on the first two series.

Some friends bought me the 3rd edition of What To Expect When You're Expecting as a birthday present years before we even thought of having a baby. One of the best and most useful birthday gift I must say. This is like every pregnant woman's (and her other half's) pregnancy bible! Even more so for us when we were having the baby in a foreign country on our own with no family around to turn to for advice (which may be a good thing at times to avoid being restricted by too many myths and superstitions! Eg. Consuming lamb during pregnancy will result in having a baby with epilepsy; drink more soy milk to have a fair baby and avoid coffee or baby will have dark skin - refer NOTE below). Every step of pregnancy is detailed in the 2-inches thick book telling you basically, well, what to expect at the different stages in a light-hearted, mother to mother-to-be manner. It provided me with a lot of assurance especially since it was our first time. There were times when I kept wondering if everything was alright with the baby because I couldn't see it physically growing or had any other pregnancy symptoms.

What To Expect: The First Year (another 2-inches thick, over 800-pages book) covers topics such as breast/ formula feeding, what baby may be doing each month, low-birthweight/ special needs/ adopted baby, how to deal with grandparents who are spoiling the baby, and recipes for when baby starts solids. They also give sound advices and suggestions on topics like discipline and when to wean from the breast. Both dear hubby and myself find that when we had some doubts, we could almost always rely on the book for an answer. Which is why the series will grow with us and Baby O.

The only drawback of the series (as with most pregnancy related books out on the shelves of popular bookstores) is that it is catered for the Western community so don't expect to find recipes which includes siew pak choy; or things like confinement food and taboos; or an answer to 'Can I give my baby coconut water?' in it. You may also find that the healthcare system may differ. They also currently do not cover Baby-Led Weaning in their 2nd edition of The First Year. However, the series is definitely a good investment if you want to be more aware of the A to Zs of pregnancy and caring for your baby/ toddler. A good reference with a lot of sense while putting things into perspective especially for those having/bringing up a baby in a very culturally superstitious environment!

NOTE: I am not totally against the many myths/ superstitions/ taboos related to pregnancy. I believe that many a times, these superstitions have a real reason behind it. For example, not to consume lamb meat during pregnancy may be due to the fact that taking too much red meat may cause hypertension which may worsen the condition of a pre-eclampsic woman. Nutrition wise, soy milk is definitely better than coffee which should be minimised anyway. Balance is the key!

This Mama has 100 visitors!

Ok, it's probably no big deal for you experienced bloggers out there who get thousands of visitors per day. But for a newbie who has only informed a handful of friends about this site since its debut two months ago, this is crème brûlée and nice rich coffee after a meal; a scoop of vanilla ice-cream on a slice of warm, moist, goo-ey brownie; a cup of milky tea with digestives to dunk in on a cool, rainy day.... mmmm...

Well, to all you 100 visitors of This Mama, thank you for dropping by and making my day! Have a lovely day yourself!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A great way to get 10 minutes valuable time off your baby!

I was browsing through the aisles of Tesco to stock up for our new place when I noticed a promotion for Cheerios breakfast cereals at one end. Since not being able to find Baby Yoplait yogurt (or any other Yoplaits for that matter) anymore and the avocados here takes forever to ripen, I was left with very few breakfast choices for Baby O. So I was mightily glad with the Cheerios promotion (Retailing at RM8.49/box at ). On top of that, this is a multigrain Cheerios made of corn, rice, wheat, oats and barley enriched with vitamins and iron. A healthier variety? Sounds good to me anyway! Off to the cashier with two boxes.

When I opened one of the boxes this morning, I was delighted to see two separately sealed packs instead of one to keep the rest of the cereals fresh. Maybe all cereals should be packed this way in places with high humidity to maintain the produce freshness and reduce waste. Food for thought.

Back to getting your 10 minutes... So after placing some Cheerios in a plate for Baby O and some in a bowl with milk for myself, I sealed the rest tightly in a Tupperware container. Popped the plate in front of Baby O and voila! She sits there picking up these tiny little O's and placing them daintily in her mouth munching away while I check some mails and type this post! :-)

NOTE: Baby O is 54 weeks old at the time of this post. I would have been comfortable to introduce her to Cheerios at around 50 weeks or 11 months old.

Getting connected with Digi Broadband

This Mama is back in action! Well, kind of. If only Baby O does not stick to me like glue. The new environment must have heightened her separation anxiety. *Deep breathe* And all these shall soon pass....

I left the technical homework bit for dear hubby (DH). Come on, surely you don't expect a stay-at-home mom with one hand tied behind her back to do this? tsk.. Anyway, DH decided on Digi Broadband. I shall not mention the reason here as it is not based on anything technical. The talk-a-lot sales rep promised us that we will be connected the next day after sort of checking through the system to see where we are located. To my dismay, that did not happen until the following day. I supposed I should just be thankful that I'm at least connected now.

Basically you pay RM100 up front. We signed up for the RM88/month package which allows usage of up to 10GB/month. So the RM100 goes to the first month subscription, RM10 for stamp duty and the balance RM2 will be rolled-over to the following month. You will receive a free modem in the form of a dongle, a user guide as well as a SIM card to be inserted in the dongle. Hook the dongle up via a USB port on your lap/desktop. It should install automatically or at a touch of a button. Pretty straightforward.

You are given a 7-day grace period should you wish to terminate the service with some terms & conditions. So far, I'm quite happy with the speed of download. I managed to play some (very important to keep me sane) online Facebook games without lag. The only thing that is bugging me is having the dongle sticking out of the laptop which can be quite a nuisance. The other would be only one computer can be connected at a time unless you purchase an additional router which costs something like RM399. The best part of all would be having connection wherever there is Digi services like where we are now on the North-South Highway! If Digi is following me now, this post will be up in the next minute...

NOTE: Uploading a picture seems to be a little slower than usual so I shall attempt the feat again later when we're off the highway.
Related Posts with Thumbnails