Category Archives: Blob

The growing up diary of Mad Ed r2. Timmy!

Merry Christmas & Norad Tracks Santa

Merry Christmas one and all!

I missed Norad Tracks Santa last year, so this year made sure I caught it. A lot has changed since 1955:

The program began on December 24, 1955 when a Sears department store placed an advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper which told children that they could telephone Santa Claus and included a number for them to call. However, the telephone number printed was incorrect and calls instead came through to Colorado Springs’ Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center. Colonel Shoup, who was on duty that night, told his staff to give all children that called in a “current location” for Santa Claus. A tradition began which continued when the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) replaced CONAD in 1958.

He visited Singapore at about 0019hrs; the family was asleep and I had cracked open a Hoegaarden for the big man.

Christmas morning right now and Timmy and Mommy are sleeping in…

p.s. Hey Norad, grammar for next year – it’s sight, not site. ;-)

Experiment: Water vapour in Medela tubing

Wifey has been expressing milk for lil’ Timmy for a couple of months now. She’s using the Medela Pump-in-Style model – a hand-me-down which we were (again!) grateful to accept. The Philips Avent model we had purchased was really quite pathetic and we were truly thankful when the offer for the PIS came, along with a plethora of accessories all looking a little worse for wear. The only thing we’d re-use was the pump, all the other plastic and valve bits were purchased new from the shops.

The tubes it came with were yellow with age. The other set didn’t even fit the pump – it had plastic fittings on both ends. I cut the fittings off one end, and it was good to go. Over the next couple of weeks, mould (or mold) crept into the tubing and we visited the shops for a new set. $24!

According to the web, once mould has presented inside the tube, you could boil/clorox/vinegar it and that would kill the mould. Dead mould still looks bad, so it would be advisable to replace it.

Preventive measures include leaving the tubes connected to the pump and running for a couple of minutes after pumping. Tried it. The “couple of minutes” usually takes 45 in our humid weather. According to a sales lady at the shop, that would put undue wear on the pump (and that we should shell out for new tubes every 2 months).

Other preventive measures was to swing the tubing wildly at the end of each session and try not to hit anything/anyone including yourself. Try doing that at 2am.

Another one is to run some rubbing alcohol down the tubes to kill the stuff and to dry them out.

I decided to try my grubby hands on a DIY fix – getting the tubes connected to an air pump used for aquariums. I picked up a dual nozzle one from a market I was passing through and brought it home. The Medela tubes are smaller than regular aquarium air tubing. Some modifications had to be made. Disassembled the pump, broke out my trusty knife and scraped at the air outlets, then filed to finish.

The test: I connected some newly washed and shortened (cut off the mouldy portion and reconnected the plastic fittings) tubing to the pump and left for dinner. Came back 2 hours later, the pump is still working and our apartment isn’t on fire. The tubes were bone dry – no condensation in the tubes. Woohoo!

So moving forward, after pumping, wifey will disconnect the tubing from the Medela pump unit and fit it into the air pump. Turn the former off and the latter on, and let it run until the next pump cycle.

Yep $9 for the pump and some elbow grease to save… $24.

Update 29 February 2012

This (should) be my last update on this matter. The pump pictured above died after about a month of service. It had proven effective, so another pump was required.

This is a single outlet air pump, but I bought a 3-way valve for it. Apparently, this setup worked out of the box and no modification was required.

So if you buy the air pump with the correct size air outlet / nozzle / nipple, it is very effective for keeping mould at bay in the Medela tubes.

DE Head Shaving

I’ve been sporting a bald head for a couple of months. To prepare for it, I had been going progressively shorter and shorter with some electric clippers much to wifey’s chagrin. On the day Timmy was born, I shaved my head for the 1st time. I had reassured wifey she would be too preoccupied with the newborn to want to bother with how I looked. I was right – partly.

I have been doing the deed with a Gillette Fusion, each cartridge lasting me a week or two each time. Let’s face it. With the cost of these things ($18.50 for 4 cartridges), you’d want to make them last. To lubricate, I have a can of Gillette foam. From what I found on the net, I’ve also been experimenting with regular bar soap (Cussons Imperial Leather) and baby oil. Aftershave is accomplished with Nivea Creme from a tub – love that smell.

The Gillette cartridge let me be as ham-fisted as I wanted, and to get used to the sensation and angles. In the spirit of wanting to play with new toys, and not spend too much money on my new look, I decided I wanted to try a double edge (DE) safety razor. I purchased a Merkur long handled safety razor (Model 180), a tub of Proraso shaving soap and a Tweezerman boar brush from Amazon. The razor never arrived, but Amazon was very good with processing the refund.

Looking for alternatives, I visited Mustafa and bought a Shogun (China-made) safety razor for $2.60, and a pack of whatever razors they had. I ended up with some Gillete Super Thin, Gillette 7 o’Clock, and Super-Max razors. Skipped on the Shogun blades. About $0.80 for a pack of 5 blades.

This was what I used for my 1st DE shave.

The ritual of lathering the brush was an interesting one, filling the bathroom with new smells, and a tingly feeling from the eucalyptus oils on my head.

I must say the overall first results weren’t especially encouraging. Although the shave was clean, I suffered burn and irritation. No cuts, fortunately. The brush wasn’t broken in and was prickly. Also, the Shogun piece started to show rust the next morning.

Read some more from the net that proper technique must be learned, and no downward pressure can be applied, that the tools used do play a part in comfort. Couldn’t wait to start shaving again that evening – even if it was day-old stubble.

That night, same setup, fresh blade. Paid attention to technique – no pressure, short strokes. Much better. There was still some burning. Instead of the Nivea, I took some of wifey’s facial toner to my head. Immediate relief. Starting to like this Gillette blade.

Third night, with a fresh Super-Max blade this time. Burning on the back of my head that wasn’t immediately relieved by toner water. I can only conclude that the Super Max is more aggressive than the Gillettes.

I’m taking a break from shaving tonight – and to write this. I’ve just ordered a Edwin Jagger DE89LBL from Amazon. I decided on this one over the mainstay Merkur HD that many people recommend because the Edwin Jagger is apparently very well made. It will come with some Derby razors and is expected to come in a week or two. I guess I’ll have some time to try the 7 o’clock’s.

I’m hoping that blades I can source locally will suit me. If these failed, I’ll probably try a sampler pack of blades, then buy the ones I like best in better quantities. I know, a blade every shave or 2 sounds decadent but these are metal and are completely recyclable. And 29x cheaper than the cartridges.

Can’t wait!

Buckwheat Hull Pillows

I’d always had trouble finding a comfortable enough pillow to sleep on. Not too high or low, nor too hard or soft. I’d gone through all manner of fillings; feather, polyester, foam, memory foam, you name it. I’d also gone through all manner of price-points, from $20 to $200.

A couple of years ago, J introduced me to pillows filled with these:

Heavy too! Each of the medium sized pillows were filled with 3.5kg of the stuff.

The first 2 nights took some getting used to. The pillows had a residual smell which went away after a couple of days. The hulls would let your head sink in as you adjusted yourself, then support your head by holding that position through the night while you are sleeping.

Wifey got herself one about a year after I got mine. Actually I got her her own because I found she was stealing my pillow more and more often. After 2 years of use, they lost some of their height.

When some of wifey’s aunts were hunting for suitable pillows too, and we made our recommendation. In typical family group-buy fashion, we tagged along a 1kg bag of spare hulls which we filled our pillows with.

When Timmy came along, MIL sewed up a pillow case out of a cloth diaper and we took some hulls out of our pillows for his.

Can’t recommend them enough. Oh, the hulls are organic too!

We got ours here.

Baby transportation

The staff at the hospital found it weird that I wanted to take our newborn home in a bassinet. It was a Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix hand-me-down that we were grateful to accept.

Apparently most parents take their newborns home in arms; I understand that hospitals in some countries won’t discharge the child until they are satisfied that adequate transportation arrangements have been made.

We’ve been driving Timmy about in the bassinet. When we got to our destination, we’d either hand-carry the Cabriofix, in a BabyBjörn carrier (also hand-me-down), or in arms. He’s getting a bit heavier now, and its proving more difficult to get away without a pushchair of some sort.

The requirements were simple. While Timmy won’t yet fit into a child seat, the Cabriofix would have to fit onto the pushchair. Once he’d fit into a proper child-seat, we’d have to purchase one anyway – I would like to be able to continue to use the pushchair for as long as required. It couldn’t be one of those heavy duty strollers with wheels rivaling the ones on the car. The boot is small enough on the Impreza. It couldn’t cost the GDP of a small country.

The 1st requirement meant only a handful of pushchairs could fit the bill. Something from Quinny, Bugaboo, or Maxi-Cosi.

We settled on a Quinny Zapp with a black seat. Yes I’m boring (newsflash!). Although the Zapp Xtra had a reclining seat and promised to be more comfy, the seat frame would not fold. If we changed our minds, the Xtra seat could be purchased separately.

So here it is as it currently stands. Timmy seems happy enough in it.

The Zapp is maneuverable enough, deploys and folds OK, seems relatively stout and would hopefully last a good amount of time. Some reviews online said not to hang stuff on the handles as there have been reports of it toppling backwards.

We’re still grappling with the width of the stroller. We sometimes would have accidents with the side wheels not clearing an obstacle. We’re still figuring out how to do escalators without feeling nervous.

Edit 9 August 2012

3 months ago, Timmy outgrew the bassinet…. so we ditched that and put the fabric seat of the Zapp on.

Whenever Timmy fell asleep, his head would flop forward precariously. Got a deal at the baby fair for the Zapp Xtra seat, so we picked it up.

Yes, it would have been cheaper to buy the Zapp Xtra in the first place… so lessons learnt.