Monthly Archive: November 2014

Waterplay at Singapore Sports Hub

I was so excited when Singapore Sports Hub was officially opened as I read from the papers that there will be a waterplay area on the rooftop for both children and adults. However, the area was cordoned off when we went over for the first time, as construction was still in progress.

Recently, a mummy friend told us that it was opened for play, hence we went together with our little toddlers to see what’s in store for waterplay.

These photos only show a portion of the waterplay, mainly for children. The other part for adults is still working in progress.

It looked really fun, except that the morning sun is so strong that all of us ended up hiding at this small area where there is shade.

We will definitely go there again, perhaps later in the evening when the sun is not as strong. Their website suggested some really fun waterplay coming up. We can’t wait!

Switching to big-boy bed

This has been on my mind for a while now, but I was reluctant to make the change as I (rather than little man) was unprepared for the unknown.

Recently, Hubby kept commenting on how small little man’s cot was for his growing body. He felt that it is time to make the change, especially when we are planning for another baby some time soon. Hence, after much research and discussion, a bed guard was purchased from Taobao to be fixed onto the single bed frame we had since he was born. An “auspicious” day was selected, and we finally get down to fixing the bed guard and dismantling the cot this morning.

All in a box from Taobao.

Hubby hard at work.

Little man hard at play beside Papa.

Pretty satisfied with the final product, although there are some minor flaws.

Finally sleeping on his new bed after some persuasion.

I do have some issues with this bed guard, but I am not sure if all bed guards are as such:

  • You need to screw into the bed board, which means holes on the bed board if you decided to take out the bed guard.
  • The bed guard (metal piece beneath the bed) causes the bed to be slightly uneven.
  • The cushioning of metal ring (which forms the bed guard) is not thick enough to cushion against any accidents. It will still be painful for the child.

I may be ignorant, but it will be great if there is the existence of a perfect bed guard. Nevertheless, little man will not and should not be using a bed guard forever, hence these little issues are probably negligible.

We also carefully and deliberately introduce the big-boy bed to little man.

A few weeks before the “auspicious” day, we started “planting” the idea of sleeping on a big bed in little man’s mind. He was not reluctant. On the contrary, he seemed to accept the idea pretty well.

We decided to make the change on a Saturday morning, fixing his bed guard and dismantling the cot in his presence. This gives little man a reality check that his cot is “spoilt” and can no longer be used. He will only have a big-boy bed in his room from now on. Making the change on a Saturday morning allows little man to do his “virgin nap” on the new bed in the afternoon, giving Mama and Papa time to persuade and reassure him about the new bed. Having his “virgin nap” at night might cause unforeseen sleepless night for us.

We dragged little man’s afternoon nap to a much later timing. This will help to make putting him to bed much easier as he was quite tired by then. As expected, little man refused to sleep on his new bed at first. He asked for his cot, which I explained and reminded him was spoilt and has been dismantled. He then asked to sleep in the living room. I did not give in to his request, instead put on his favourite bedtime music, close the curtains and created the similar sleeping ambience he is used to every afternoon. I saw the hesitation in his eyes for a while, then he started climbing on to the bed and lie down as he would every afternoon.

I went to him, gave him a peck on his forehead and told him I will be back after keeping his bath toys. He quietly waited on his bed with no resistence. By the time I was back, he was soundly asleep. 🙂 Yay to his first afternoon nap on the new bed.

I am quite proud of ourselves at this success. Hopefully, tonight is as fuss-free. 🙂

Airbnb accommodation in Seoul & Jeju

In our previous travels, Hubby and I have the habit of going to Tripadvisor for hotel reviews before booking our accommodation for the trip. This time, for our trip to Korea, we decided to try out Airbnb instead.

Airbnb is basically a platform for hosts all over the world to list their space for accommodation. Travellers will have a wider range of accommodation to choose from as compared to the limited number of hotels available. On top of that, if you are not choosy and do your research well, you can find good accommodation at really affordable prices.

Personally, I am very particular about cleanliness and safety of the places we are going to stay in, hence we spent quite some time to look through the reviews and costs before confirming on one that suits our requirements. Generally, the platform is user-friendly and it also has a mobile application for ease of use.

This is the accommodation we have booked for Seoul.

iammama

Although it says $107 per night, that is the average price. You can select specific dates to see the exact cost of the accommodation per night. For us, we spent about $80 per night. This helped us to save a lot as most of the hotels we researched cost more than $120 per night, and we are talking about small chain hotels here.

Our host tried to provide us with everything we need. Of course, not all hosts are willing to be so accommodating, hence I cannot emphasize enough on the importance of reading up more on the host and the space he/she has to offer.

Her apartment looks exactly the same in the photo shown, and it was kept clean and comfortable. We stayed there for a week, and then went away for 4 days in Jeju before going back to her apartment for the next 3 days. Housekeeping is not provided for your length of stay, unless you request for it, and that will be additional cost for you to bear.

These are some photos of our stay.

In comparison, our accommodation in Jeju is not as comfortable as the one in Seoul.

iammama2

Although the reviews for that apartment are quite good as well, it was not as good as I expected given that the accommodation in Seoul set high standards. I may be too picky, but here are some aspects the host can improve on and probably you can consider or ask about when you are considering your accommodation.

  • Hand towels, instead of towels are provided. I am glad we asked about this, and requested the host to help us buy bigger towels. We had wanted to pay the host, but he kindly decline. Bigger towels are necessary when you are in a cold country with a baby/toddler/little child.
  • Vacuum-cleaner or floor cleaning tools of any kind is not provided. This is extremely important when housekeeping services are not provided and your pick-up-everything-from-the-floor toddler needs to sleep on the floor. Having said that, the host provided us a small hand-broom in the end after requesting a couple of times for it.
  • The bathroom is so cold, even I shiver when I have to bathe.
  • The air-conditioner is rather faulty and very noisy.
  • The spring coils in the bed can be felt throughout the entire night lying on it. It makes one rather uncomfortable after a while.
  • Jeju is a very humid island. Clothes washed do not dry easily at all, unlike Seoul. It is extremely important to find an accommodation with dryer if you intend to wash your clothes during your stay there. I was pretty upset to have to dry my little one with wet towels because it did not dry up even after a day of putting it out.

All in all, I had a pretty good experience with Airbnb accommodation despite some shortcomings. I think the quality of Airbnb accommodation depends a lot on the country you are travelling to. Probably I wouldn’t consider staying in an Airbnb accommodation if the living standards are very much lower in that particular country, and I believe in countries like Singapore, Airbnb accommodation is not considered legal.

Do you have any good Airbnb accommodations to recommend? Do share with me more about it! 🙂

Building a relationship

Little man had an unusual meltdown last night.

He was left in his cot after shower just like any other night. Usually, he will play on his own for a while before sleeping by himself. Last night however, he demanded to have his sticker books and toys, and wanted Hubby to take him out of the cot. Hubby refused and little man immediately threw a terrible tantrum.

I was in the shower all this while, listening to those shrill cries for Mama. I took my time, waiting for Hubby to calm him down. But little man was adamant about having his Mama and wouldn’t let it go without a fight. His constant “我不要爸爸!爸爸走开!” (I don’t want Papa! Papa go away!) angered Hubby so much that he was not able to keep calm himself. The episode ended with a very angry Hubby and a badly shaken baby.

After calming little man down, I tried to explain to him that he should not say those hurting words to Papa as Papa will feel very sad. He softened after some coaxing and I brought him to Hubby to apologise, to kiss and make up. However, Hubby was still pretty upset and did not seem willing to forgive him, although little man seems to have forgotton the racket he made minutes ago. To him, all was forgotten as long as he got his Mama.

I had a good talk with Hubby that night. I think we all need a refresher course on building and maintaining a good relationship every now and then, and it’s no exception for the parent-child relationship. These are some learning points I want to note down, for us as parents to reminding ourselves.

1. Keep calm & Do not take things personally
As much as I understand how infuriating little man can be at times, we as adults must always be the one to keep calm and level-headed. It is not that little man did not want his father, he just wanted his Mama and nobody else. Hence, he will reject anyone who is near him at that moment of his, anyone but his Mama. It is not easy to NOT take it personally, but as adults we must do that.

2. Think before you act
We are adults, we are not children. We should be able to rationally think about the situation before reacting to it. This is especially so when you are reacting to a child. Your reactions should not be just about how you feel. It is more important to think about what you want out of your actions, before reacting to the child.

If the child does not take well to the hard approach, the more you talk to the child in an angry and harsh manner, the stronger the reaction of the child will be. In the end, other than a screaming adult and a wailing toddler, you achieve nothing from the episode. This is especially so for little man who requires the soft approach to be able calm down and listen to reasoning.

One of the worse thing you can do to a young child is to start a cold war and start ignoring the child. Firstly, the child probably does not understand what you are doing. He will not apologise to you just because you stop talking to him, mainly due to his lack of understanding for such behaviour of yours. Secondly, he learns nothing from your actions. He does not learn what he has done wrong and how he can change for the better. Thirdly, your relationship with the child could be worse if your actions make him think that you do not love him anymore. The foundation of a parent-child relationship is love. It is important to make your love known to each other in order for the relationship to flourish. The child needs to know that you love him no matter what he has done wrong.

My personal experiences with cold wars taught me that they do nothing but drift both parties further apart. My father is the champion of cold war. When I was in my college years, we had a major disagreement and he started a cold war on me. Days became months, months became years. The war went on for almost three years. I do not remember how the war stopped, but from then, everything has changed. Hence, do not start a cold war. Not on the child you love so much.

3. Spend quality time together
It is not difficult to understand why little man only wants me. Other than the fact that I take care of him 24/7, the quality time I spent with him also build towards our relationship. Quality time meant no distractions, no mobile phones, just focusing on little man, be it playing, reading or learning together.

You will know if you have spent quality time with you child, because when you do, you realise you have gotten to know him a little better. You will see his progress, his emotions, his little actions and gestures. You will not feel bored or in a hurry to finish up the game you are playing with him, because if you feel that way, you are just patronising him. You are not spending quality time with him, as much as you would like to think so. The child maybe young, he can feel what you are feeling. He will know if you are truly there for him.

4. Verbalise your love
Hubby grew up in a family where love is rarely spoken. Hence, he does not have the habit of expressing his love verbally and physically. Even as an adult, I sometimes request Hubby to be more expressive of his love for me. It does not need to be much, just a hug and a simple “I love you” will do. He would often retort, “Think about all the things I have done for you, would you not think that I love you?” And I will accept it at that because indeed, he has done a lot of me and the family. I am an adult, I can try to rationalise my emotions and needs. But for young children, they need you to show and tell them the love you have for them.

The knowledge and reiteration of such deep love builds a strong foundation for future relationship between the parent and the child. It is not a given that all parents love their children, hence it should not be a given that the children should know that their parents love them. A strong relationship built during their younger years will help them to open up to you as they grow up. You do not want to be just a discipline master in their heart. You want to be their guide, their light, their friends and their shelter. They will come to you no matter what age, because they know you love them no matter what happens.

5. Put yourself in the child’s shoes
Whenever little man is in one of his moments, I will first try to take a step back to think if there are any underlying reasons for his tantrums. In the case of last night, little man was already very tired from a eventful weekend over at his grandma’s. To top it up, he was overstimulated by the meeting of so many new faces at a birthday party we brought him to that evening. He was still in his playful mode, although he was already very very tired. He did not understand that he needs to sleep and rest to feel better. He is only a toddler who is still learning to make sense and control his emotions. If we can see things in that perspective, we can be more understanding towards him. And truth to be told, little children can only learn to be more understanding towards others when they experienced such compassion and consideration towards themselves through others.

6. Make sure the lesson is learnt, not just brushed aside
As little man progresses in his abilities and skills, he also starts to test his limits in many ways I would never have thought of. Many times when he was reprimanded, he would throw a huge tanrum and cry nonstop. When he is in that state, nothing can go into his ears. Instead of continuing to scold him, I will soften my stance and try to calm him down first. When he is calmer, I will go through with him what exactly happened just now and what he had done wrong. I will ask him to repeat after me what he had done wrong, and make him apologise and say that he will never do that again.

The scoldings are not as important as the lesson the child should be learning. Many times, the scoldings are just for the parents to vent their pent-up frustrations. That goes back to my second point, think before you act.

Building a relationship is never easy, especially when it is with your very own child. It is a life-long learning journey. But I believe, with plenty of patience and love, we will be able to enjoy the fruits of a loving parent-child relationship in the long run.

I will do my best. I hope you will jiayou too.

Separation anxiety

Hubby and I went to little man’s preschool this morning for a Parents Orientation. I was pretty emotional after that.

Although I knew at the back of my mind that little man will be going to school next year, reality did not set in until now. My little baby is really going to school, and Mama will be going back to work.

I have not been sleeping well these days, constantly plagued by bad dreams of going back to work or little man going to school. The thing is, I actually look forward to going back to work, having a stable income again and spending without too much reservations. It’s just that the thought of not having little man around me 24/7 makes me miss him so much.

Having little man away from me, is not new at all. He was put in infant-care when he was 6-months old. I took it rather well then. Little man cried abit at first, but eventually settled down after a week or two. Somehow it felt tougher this time round. He is no longer a baby, having his own thoughts and words. We have grown so much closer over the past 9 months spending almost every minute together.

I really hope everything will go well for him in this new preschool.

No matter what happens, my little baby, Mama will always be here for you.

Spending every minute together.

No longer a baby

My little baby is growing up too fast. He is becoming more and more of a charismatic little man each day. I am so in love with him.

That day, we hitched a ride from Mummy F, who kindly offered to drive us home. After getting out of the car, I suddenly realised I left little man’s cap in the car. I put little man down at the walkway, told him to stay put and wait for me, and then ran after the car. Luckily Mummy F saw me and I managed to retrieve his cap. As I walked back, I realised how dangerous it was to just leave little man there. Little man stayed put as I ordered. He looked really concerned when I got back. I felt so bad that I kept apologising to him. And it dawned upon me, what a mature boy he has become given his young age.

Sometimes, when little man is with my sister, he would forget about my existence. My sister and brother are his best friends as of now. I would sometimes pretend to be really upset and cry. He will then come to me and tell me gently, “妈妈,不要哭。” (Mummy, please don’t cry.) He will be really frustrated and upset if he is not able to make me stop crying. The way he tried to comfort me is so adorable and touching. I eventually realised that he learnt it from the way I comforted him when he was crying.

There was one time I did something not to his preference without realising it. He looked at me with teary eyes, suddenly took in a deep breath and uttered,“泓昊,不要哭。” , telling himself not to cry. He dried his tears with his chubby little hand and continued playing with me.

I have always been calling little man 宝贝 (darling) since he was a baby. That day when we were playing some puzzles together, I accidentally put a piece wrongly, and little man said to me, “放错了,宝贝。” I had to kiss and hug him so hard after hearing him say that to me. My little baby is calling me back his 宝贝. Hubby doesn’t even say that to me!

And he recently learnt to use an iphone to take photos. He would hold the iphone horizontally in a professional manner and tell us, “Say cheese.” After we posed for him, he will say, “Okay.” Again, in a very professional manner, without looking at us, just solemnly looking at the product of his photography. It is so amusing.

My little baby… my little man… why are you so adorable?

My heart is so full of love for you, I wonder if I would be able to love your sibling as much as I love you.

Little man taking a selfie.

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