Take it from me it is a tough job. How do I know? I just did it for two weeks recently when I had to take care of my 3 months old grandson Adam Hakimi. Adam's mum Ijjah had to attend a compulsory 2 weeks induction course when she missed doing it earlier when she was in her late stage of pregnancy when she was carrying Adam.
His dad had to work as he had almost utilized most of his annual leave. But he will be around to help me look after Adam during the night when he is back from work. I also had the option to send Adam to his day minder in the nearby housing area of Shah Alam but the prospect of having to bundle Adam in the car to take him to the minder was too cumbersome.
The day's chore start from 5 AM or thereabout when Adam wakes up after soiling his diapers. The diaper had to be changed otherwise Adam will feel uncomfortable. After washing him up and a new change of diaper, a small bottle of milk will put him back to sleep. The problem was Adam was not fully weaned off his mother's milk and put on powdered milk. Thought he wasn't breastfed all the time, he was fed with his mother's milk which was kept in the fridge after being expressed. Adam had yet to acquire the taste of powdered milk and never suck with gusto whenever he was fed with it. It is always a game trying to get him to suckle the whole 5 oz of milk per feed. Sometimes he would even throw them up.
Should he go to sleep, I would use the available time to wash up the used bottles before sterilizing them using the recently bought sterilizer. Prior to this sterilization was done by immersing the bottles an nipples in freshly boiled water which I disagree as it was inadequate. So we bought the sterilizer from Kedai Annakku at the Giant Supermarket closeby. I was hoping to buy the smaller sterilizer which could be put into the Microwave oven and heated up. They didn't have the stock and had only this stand alone sterilizer which cost my son almost RM200. Anyway it was money well spent as the unit could sterilize 9 bottles plus all the peripherals in one go. Luckily they had received ample number of quality feeding bottles as gift so 9 bottles were available for use thus reducing the need for frequent sterilization.
While the sterilizer is doing it's work I will do my Subuh prayers. There is no need to shut off the sterilizer unit as it will automatically shut itself off.
Next on my job will be to prepare breakfast for myself as my son Azuan will have breakfast at the office. My breakfast was a simple one as I kept ample stock of bread or cereals handy. Then only will I handwash Adam's clothes which did not really require much scrubbing, followed by my own clothes which needed abit more use of the muscles. They will all be put to dry in the shade of the corridor.
Adam will usually wake up around 9 AM having wetted his diapers and perhaps soiled it too with his poo. It is time to bathe him. A small tub of warm water will be prepared and when the temperature is right, Adam really enjoyed his bath. By the way do you know how to check the water temperature in the baby's tub? Many parents including mums do not know. We use the elbow to test the water temperature so that it will never be too warm for the baby. Why the elbow and not the fingers? Try both methods and you will know the reason.
After drying Adam with his own towels, he will be rubbed with baby's oil, followed by baby's powder. A dash of Amway's baby liniment will be applied to the stomach, back, behind the ankle and soles of the feet will ensure that he will not suffer from bloat. He will be given another feed after being dressed up in fresh clothes. Adam will have another siesta and it is during this time that I will cook lunch.
Since young I was brought up with ikan singgang as 'lauk'. The ikan singgang will be heated up daily to prevent it from going bad however long you keep it. I guess the asam keping, salt, galanggal and gula Melaka in place of MSG are great preservative and the dish not only will last but also acquire a better taste. The ikan singgang can later be fried to give it a most exquisite taste. Only those who have lived on such food can tell or relate to the heavenly taste of fried ikan singgang. Make sure that not much of the gravy is left on the fish otherwise it will result in the popping of the hot frying oil from the kuali.
Should Adam feel comfortable enough and sleep longer, I will use the opportunity to paint.
When the sun is setting down and the evening heat is bearable, I will take Adam down in the pram to the ground floor from the 13th floor where we lived. Adam seemed to loved the outdoor as much and will often go to sleep at the end of the walk.
Dinner will be a simple affair too. Sometimes my son will bring home food for me eliminating the need to have dinner on ikan singgang all the time. It will now be his turn to look after his baby. I can have my rest.
So that was how I survived daily.
Midway through the stay, Adam developed nappy rash. Raw flesh was detected on his bottom. I had never experienced this before with any of my children or grandchildren. He seemed to be defecating too often too which worries me to no end. Could he be having diarhoea? It was time to take him to the clinic. When Azuan returned from work, we took Adam to a clinic somewhere in Shah Alam. A lady doctor by the name of Dr. Indra was on duty. We told her that the baby was suffering from rash and she confirmed it was nappy rash and will be giving the medication for it. The next problem of the suspected diarrhea was a bit hilarious. Dr. Indra wanted to know the frequency of the baby's daily poo and the color of the stool. Since Azuan had been leaving that part of the duty to clean his baby up to me, Azuan looked up to me for answers. When I tried to answer, Dr. Indra wanted the dad to answer as she thought he was the one looking after the baby. When told that I was the one doing it, she started questioning about the where about of Adam's mother and since the mother was not available, where is the grandmother?
Dr. Indra shook her head in disbelief after getting the answer that only the grandfather is avaialble to look after Adam as the mother and grandmother were teachers and couldn't get away from work.
As to the color of the stool, I did bring along a sample in the form of a soiled diaper for the doctor to see. It wasn't necessary as at that very moment Adam did pushed some fecal out with a small grunt. When a nurse took over Adam from his father, she couldn't help noticing and making a remark that Adam's booties didn't match.
The doctor couldn't confirm as to whether Adam was having diarhoea or not and asked us to bring him again if the frequency of stooling was too often. She must have been out of touch with babies as she couldn't tell how many times is too many times.
Anyway since Adam wasn't feeling uncomfortable with the frequent stooling, we didn't bring him back to the clinic and took them as normal.
On another occasion, Adam was having nasal congestion. His discomfort was partly eased by the application of Vicks Vapour Up which eased his discomfort somewhat only to recur after the effect wore off. It was during such times that we our self had to suffer the stress of not having enough rest and sleep.
However happy I was at having my grandson to look after, I was even happier when his mum returned from her course and I did not have to look after him more than the agreed two weeks. During that two weeks I lost 4 kg of weight. A good enough reward for me.
Doing a woman's job is indeed tough job. Just imagine if you have to conceive as well and carry the baby for 9 months!