Excellent customer service goes a long way.

Monday, 30 April 2012

We are fond of going to Hokey Pokey for some indoor playground fun for BabyMoo because they cater more for children of his age group and he can play comfortably amongst toys which is suitable for him. In fact, we are there for a good two hours every other weekend, and BabyMoo gets all excited when he knows we're in the vicinity of Hokey Pokey. We're always made to feel welcome by the owners who genuinely care and love giving toddlers a time of their lives. The place is open and bright, and BabyMoo is always happy with the attention from all the Aunties there!

I'm sure a lot of parents feel the same way as we do, so it's pretty natural that they are gaining popularity and we see more and more toddlers having fun there. The first couple of times we were there, BabyMoo had all the toys almost to himself, but now, we have had to return on more than one occasion as the place is booked for private parties, or there are just too many children on the grounds.

We dropped by Hokey Pokey on Saturday afternoon, but since there was a birthday party going on, we tried to check out other indoor playgrounds instead.

We went to Polliwogs but decided to forego the experience as it was packed to the rafters with children as well as a birthday party going on. BabyMoo got all excited at the sight of sand and sea, so we took him down for his first experience walking down the beach, and getting sand in between in his toes. He grinned and yelled in glee... and if it wasn't for Mummy the worry wart who noticed the absence of nearby changing facilities, DaddyMoo would have let him play in the sand.

Not dressed for the impromptu walk on the beach... but BabyMoo was still a happy bub!

Since that plan was abandoned, we moved on to Great World City, where I've heard that Amazonia has a separate area for toddlers up to 3. We walked away without even stepping stockinged feet into the grounds, simply because the front line attendants weren't exactly helpful. 

Ms.I-am-working-here-just-to-stay-in-Singapore-and-not-because-I-love-making-kids-happy was derisively curt and gave us single word answers to our queries, doing so without even bothering to maintain eye contact at all. We were not asking ridiculous questions... given the absence of sufficient information regarding pricing and entry policies, all we did was simply ask the admission charges, and procedures. Her colleague, Ms. Don't-disturb-me-I'm-busy-dolling-up-under-the-counter-just-in-case-I-catch-the-eye-of-an-angmo-dad wasn't much better. She was crouched under the counter with a mega eye shadow palette in her hands, not giving a care whether there were customers or otherwise. Ah well... perhaps we caught them on a bad day, but for $21.00 for 2 hours (for children 3 and under) - they are comparatively more expensive than other indoor playgrounds. Costs aside, their prime location, huge grounds and (undoubtedly, high overheads in the form of the two non-locals to greet us) does not give them an excuse to overlook these little aspects of service.

Poor BabyMoo didn't get to go anywhere since it was almost 7.30pm and his tummy was rumbling... so after dinner, Daddy decided to get him a kitchen set to play with at home since he loved pottering about the kitchenettes at Hokey Pokey so much!

Iron chef in the making!

Needless to say, he totally loved it... refusing to go to bed till late, and was still cooking up a storm at 12.30 in the morning!

We decided to head on down to Hokey Pokey again yesterday, as we promised BabyMoo that we will bring him there to play again when he almost burst into tears after not being able to play there the day before. We have decided from early on that we will never make empty promises to BabyMoo, regardless of his age, and whatever that we can manage, we will try to fulfil. Those that we can't - will involve an explanation to make sure that he understands the situation.

When we reached there, there was another party going on... and we were actually quite surprised to note that a lot of the kids involved look almost Primary school going age. Usually the children who are spotted there are below 3, since the older kids would enjoy being at a more rough and tumble playground than their younger counterparts. It was around 4.30pm, and we were very nicely informed that the party will end at 5.00pm. Hokey Pokey owners were so apologetic about us making a wasted trip yet again, but since it was only half an hour to go, we decided that BabyMoo could do with a sugar treat to prepare him for play!

Blackforest cheesecake at Bakerzin. He finished the entire slice!
(Well... Mummy was allowed a teeny tiny bite!)

At a quarter past 5, we headed on down to Hokey Pokey, where we were greeted with the sight of them trying to clear the entire area of children on adrenaline highs. No mean feat! Apparently, some parents decided to let their kids have another extra session of fun, so the place was pretty full even after the party ended.

BabyMoo was thrilled at finally being able to play in a 'familiar yet unfamiliar' place, filled with toys to pique his never-sated curiosity. He went on the big slide into the ball pit several times, laughing and happy, until he got body-slammed on the face (he was in the ball pit) by a much older boy sliding down, who was left unsupervised by his parents.

Now we aren't anal parents, recognising that accidents do happen, especially in a place like a playground, where the kids play in close proximity. Being young as they are, they aren't aware of their own strengths and how to control it accordingly... so we were prepared for such things when we first started exposing BabyMoo to group play.

What incensed DaddyMoo is the fact that the boy's supervising parent didn't even bother to acknowledge the incident! After landing atop of BabyMoo and kicking him in between his eyes landing in the ball pit, he was given a pat on the head(!!) by his parent, as though to assure him that he didn't do anything wrong. For his benefit, the boy actually looked mortified when he saw / felt what he did, and BabyMoo scrunching his face up and letting out a loud howl beneath his body! Of course, since his Daddy assured him that he didn't do anything wrong - of course he didn't... he went back to doing his Red Indian yells and jumping off instead of sliding down into the ball pit.

BabyMoo was upset for about 30sec, and went back to playing around with a huge, red angry bump on his forehead, in between his eyes. He winced when I rubbed at it. Daddy was extremely pissed off by the whole incident, fuelled by the actions of the father who was obviously pretty proud of his son's acrobatic, rough antics. Look... we can understand doting on one's kid, but hey - not at the expanse of another child! Perhaps due to BabyMoo's size, he is often mistaken for older than he actually is (BabyMoo will be 16 months next week), and that father could be wondering why our kid didn't move away or isn't as agile as his kid (they are almost the same size), who was speaking in full sentences, and is obviously older than 3 - but that is no excuse for being unapologetic at what his son did.

Daddy took him off the playground... and fortunately BabyMoo didn't protest at all, for we have   always told him that we will bring him out to play, but when we say he's had enough, protesting will not do him any good, apart from forfeiting his next play opportunity.

When we signed out, one of the Mom-owners queried as to why we were leaving way before the two hours of play is up, so I informed her about the incident. When she heard, she informed the others, and I'm sure BabyMoo felt much better with all the fussing and attention he received! They went the extra mile and asked if we wanted a cream to help with the swelling and heal the bruising before it gets egg-like. We were truly appreciative, and some Hirudoid cream was applied, which they mentioned is good for bumps and bruises, and which all of their children use.

Just earlier today, I received a call from Hokey Pokey.

J mentioned that on behalf of Hokey Pokey, she apologises once again for the unpleasant incident, and explaining that although the birthday boy is 6 and thus falls into their targeted age range, some of the invited children were much older. She enquired on BabyMoo, and informed us that as a gesture of goodwill and apology, she would like to send some vouchers our way. I was pleasantly surprised, not to mention thoroughly impressed that they truly care for their customers and little ones. I told her that the vouchers are a nice touch, although we totally do not blame them for the incident, indemnity clauses notwithstanding. Hokey Pokey Management is totally not responsible for the accidents that happen, and as parents, we try to protect our kids from these unpleasant things, although we can only do so much.

I informed her that there is no need to mail us the vouchers - that small incident is no cause for us to stop bringing BabyMoo to Hokey Pokey... and we will be pleased to pick it up when we drop by the next time round. Just because a parent's action leaves a bad taste in the mouth does not mean that we will deny BabyMoo a place that he loves so much!

The hubs and I have spoken about how we love to go to Hokey Pokey because of its excellent customer service and well maintained environment even before this isolated incident took place. That opinion has not changed at all... in fact, we are more inclined to visit because we know that not only BabyMoo is cared for, these mummies are fully aware that more often than not, the parents are the ones who need that extra incentive to sway their vote of confidence when it comes to their children.

Hokey Pokey has integrated that seamlessly into their standard operating procedures, and in so doing, have made us loyal customers. Kudos to the Management of Hokey Pokey... a lot of establishments should take a ball out of your ball pit!

Update: The Herudoid cream worked wonders... BabyMoo has a faint yellow-green bruise, but not much swelling at all! Thank you!

'BabyMoo's Mummy'?

Thursday, 26 April 2012

I think I was in danger of losing my identity when BabyMoo came along.

The first time I was called 'BabyMoo's Mummy' at the doctor's clinic when I brought BabyMoo for his 1st week evaluation... I didn't respond. The Staff Nurse had to repeat it 3 x (the last one with his full name and 'Mummy' at the end) before the hubs nudged me and said: "I think she's referring to you."

I cringed inside... and thought to myself while referring BabyMoo as 'my son' ever since we found out his gender at 20 weeks happened naturally, the idea of finally being someone's Mum took a fair bit of getting used to.

I've been called a whole lot of names, all as terms of endearments by my close friends and referred to as a lot of things by those who have a different agenda, but I think  being a 'Mummy' really takes the cake. It's not an unpleasant feeling at all, but I suppose getting used to and being called "Mrs.Moo" runs a close second.

Gradually, this Mummy business took on an entirely new dimension. While I was busy taking care of the wee one and being a mother, I naturally took a back seat as myself. It needed no prompting, nor did anyone pressure me into the nature which women all over the world have undertaken for as far back as civilization has determined. I slipped into that role more easily than I recall ever having to deal with any change in my life... and it made me happy.

My Facebook profile picture was changed to BabyMoo at one day old, one month old, 2 months old... and as and when I felt like it. My status updates reflected musings, questions and thoughts about him. My screen saver revolved with pictures of him. My desktop wallpaper was replaced by the chubster wearing his gummy grin. My mobile's gallery is filled with snapshots of his antics.

One day, an old school friend who have mutual friends between us but is not on my friend's list sent me a message on Facebook.

"I was searching for you! I didn't want to send you a friend request previously because I couldn't be sure that it was you since I couldn't put a face to the name!"

I mean... how many persons are there on FB with my name and family name, right? Last I checked - there was only me, but she had a point. I realised that I was subconsciously revolving my life around the boy in more ways than one. Of course, being the 'worrier' that I am - I began to worry about 'suffocating' him, or worse, attempting to mould his life as to how I would live mine.

I changed the pictures to reflect us as a family. I stopped thinking of places to go simply for the boy's enjoyment - fun can be had by everyone, it just needed more effort to plan. I started to pay attention to myself again, realising that I needed to still preserve who I am, as a person. I also realised that I've been neglecting the husband, and made sure that no long term damage has been done (I don't think he even realised it... cos he was also busy enjoying his son). In short, I took steps to ensure that I didn't forget my name and who I am - in the hullabaloo of celebrating the wonderment of being able to successfully produce this little being who has provided us with so much joy.

I still can't get used to being called 'BabyMoo's Mummy' though. It makes the hairs on the back of my neck prickle, especially when they use it without the apostrophe 's after BabyMoo, which a lot of people are apt to do.

'MummyMoo' - now that I think, is udderly acceptable :)

I am a wife before a mother, and a woman before I was ever a wife. As much as I love the two boys who have given me so much happiness and brought new meaning to my existence, I must never forget the person who has contributed so much to who I am today. I might sometimes need a reminder or two... but I should never, ever forget myself.

There will be vice as long as there are men.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

When friends whom I've not seen for a long time found out that I was pregnant, usually the first thing they ask (after they recover from their initial shock) is:

"So did you stop drinking and smoking when you were pregnant?"

Ok... so I have my vices, and these two were top of the list. I had my share of fun in my teens and 20s, and undoubtedly, I hung out with like minded friends who enjoyed the nightly tipple (if you can call it that!) and between all of us, we would make the Marlboro man extremely happy.

Once upon a time, being in the industry that I have chosen - our only avenue for entertainment was to catch up with friends after work. At 11.00pm, earliest and after midnight... there were really not that many options. We clubbed and played pool, knew everybody by name, and there were no scheduled meet ups or gatherings. We just had to turn up nightly at our usual hangout, and we would be in for a couple of hours of letting our hair down, crazy fun and laughter.

I drank and danced... but I drew the line on drugs. We had good clean fun, most of it in an alcohol induced haze. We went to work diligently the next day, sometimes making a mental note to *never* drink again - only to have the cycle repeat all over again that very same night. We made friends, we made enemies, we laughed, cried, and laughed some more. We did crazy things on a dare, and we did stupid things just because we can.

Now I'm extremely particular about still maintaining decorum at all times, especially when alcohol is involved, and inhibitions can sometimes be shed without preamble. I think it's important for a woman (not being sexist or anything!) to know her limits, because there's really nothing more atrocious than having to be dragged out / carried out in an unconscious state out of a club. It is simply unnecessary, not to mention does wonders to the reputation. Bear in mind that this was long before the age of social media, camera phones and Youtube... needless to say, it is even more essential now if we want to at least maintain a semblance of dignity while we laugh too loudly at non-silly jokes, or dance crazily to a jungle beat.

Those crazy days!

Then I grew old.
I realised that I couldn't hold the drinks as well as I could previously, so I decided to do the extreme thing and cut down drastically.

I went out only once a month, at the most... and the again, drank only a few glasses instead of guzzling down the brandy bottle. I still smoked, but once we stopped actively participating in the nightlife, we are apt to actually cut down a whole lot of sticks.

When I got pregnant, as I mentioned here, the first thing the hubs did was to remind me that I should stop smoking. Not that I needed the reminder... I automatically did. I thought it would be hard to go cold turkey, but surprisingly, there simply was no urge to smoke at all. During the first few days after we found out, the husband actually offered for me to light his cigarette so as to 'ease' the stoppage, but I found that after the 2nd time I did that - the little taste of tobacco on my tongue actually made me sick. I steered clear of cigarette smoke after that, not only for baby, but because I couldn't take the smell. In a show of support, the husband also stopped smoking at home, and when he occasionally wants to, he will do it out of the house.

I was blessed with an easy pregnancy, and was fortunate not to have to experience the horrors of morning sickness or fatigue. The only three things which made me instantly want to puke my guts out were cigarette smoke, bak kwa (pork jerky) and sardines.

For health reasons, smoking is a major cause of destruction even for adults, imagine the effects it would have on a growing foetus and a newborn - especially in the form of 2nd hand smoke. Of course, I have friends who smoked and drank heavily their entire pregnancy, and baby still came out fine... but seriously though - why risk it? Having said that, I believe that every woman should be free to handle her pregnancy and baby in the way that she's most comfortable with.

I am the least judgemental person ever - at least I try not to be, preferring to think that different people have different reasons for choosing their lifestyle or for doing the things they opt to do. We aren't really the best judges of right and wrong according to someone whose life we are not privy to, and as much as I hate people judging me, I am very insistent on practising what I preach. However, I really don't know what to think when I see parents smoking with kids in tow, either at a restaurant or while out and about.

The hubs and I will think - why can't they take turns to smoke? Is it very necessary for them to have to smoke together with the kids around them? We gather that chances are they smoke at home as well... so smoking in front of the kids (and exposing them to 2nd hand smoke) is nothing out of the ordinary, but I still don't get it.

We were in the cab queue at IMM a few months back, and there was this young mother who was carrying her baby in a harness. She stood near the big bin (where there were others smoking as well) and started puffing away. I was flabbergasted... and I daresay - so were the 10 odd people who were in the queue with me. I then saw the people who were smoking around the bin actually move away, with a couple stubbing out their newly-lit cigarette before walking off.

Maybe I take this issue way too seriously than I should, but even though the hubs and I smoke, I would like to delay the exposure to the BabyMoo as long as I can. I would not like to practise double standards and totally insist that he lay off the cigarettes and threaten all manner of craziness should I perchance find out that he's been smoking on the sly in the future, but I do hope that he will make an informed decision regarding contributing more to the Government coffers.

As for me - yes, the urge came back with a vengeance after I gave birth, especially during the crazy nights when I was so tired and needed some relaxation therapy. However, the hubs and I don't smoke at home any more, neither do we smoke when we're out with BabyMoo. I've cut down drastically from a pack a day habit to perhaps the odd cigarette or two during the day... and more when there's good company to keep. I've totally ditched the alcohol, and I realised that there is totally no desire to go dancing till ungodly hours when there is a much better reason for me to stay home. In fact, there is no question as to where I'd rather be, than home with the baby.

I think I've had my share of fun back in those days, enough to make me realise that it gets old. The same faces at the same old place, drinking the same drinks and dancing to the same tunes. Been there, done that.

The sun rises, the night falls... and the beat goes on for a lot of other people, just not for me.
I can be doing nothing and everything, but whatever is the case, I am happy and contented, in the warmth of my family's embrace.

The Hands-On Dad: Tough Love?

Monday, 23 April 2012

It was with a mixture of sadness, bewilderment and a measure of understanding that I read this blog post.

Perhaps I'm a big softie, but I really don't know how to be 'hard' on children. I do, however, recognise that a form of discipline is necessary in order to help them distinguish between right and wrong. From the time when BabyMoo showed signs that he is 'aware' of his surroundings, we have always made an effort to talk to him in an adult manner, and introduce him to the world around him. Of course, this includes letting him know what he is and isn't supposed to do, which at his age - involved more don'ts! than do's. The 'disciplining' task, has been undertaken by DaddyMoo - without us even having to discuss it, simply because we both know that one of us has to assume the  'bad parent' role sometimes, and we know that I'm not up to the task.

DaddyMoo has always been a hands-on Dad. In fact, he was the first person to carry BabyMoo, since I elected to deliver via C-Section on General Anaesthesia. He was the first between the two of us to change BabyMoo's diaper in hospital. He also did the diaper changing whenever he's home from work. He feeds BabyMoo while I expressed BM, and BabyMoo actually sleeps better on Daddy's stomach than anywhere else. He got sprayed on countless times while changing Baby's diaper (I'm not sure why, but BabyMoo has never sprayed me when I changed him!). He made the effort to learn to bathe the newborn, whereas I was too much of a wuss to even attempt it. Throughout all this time, I've never once felt that I'm taking care of BabyMoo single-handedly. I could not ask for more.

BabyMoo at one month old... Daddy looks more tired than Mummy!

He did his research quietly online. For diapers, strollers, carriers, formula, and products. He actively looked for developmental toys. He found out about common ailments affecting newborns. He kept a cool head when BabyMoo started crying and tried to decipher his needs. He didn't allow me to panic, even when I suppose, looking back - he must have been worried as I was. I didn't realise it back then... but every time I voiced out my fear, he had a ready answer and a solution to try out. I don't know what I would have done without him.

When he was 3 weeks old, BabyMoo had a crying phase. He wanted to always be carried, and didn't like to be put down much. This happens even when he's asleep - the moment he's put down on his cot, he will almost immediately start wailing. DaddyMoo suggested that we try the Cry It Out (CIO) method, because I was at my wits end and almost falling apart from exhaustion. I had my Mother-in-law to help me out during the day, but as night falls, disregarding the two hourly feeds, it didn't help that he needed to be carried all the time. We were first time parents, and everything was basically trial and error for us. Looking back, I'm so thankful that the hubs never lost his temper once during this time with me, although I was taking my frustrations and fatigue out on him more than was called for.

When he started crying, it took everything within my willpower not to pick him up. I walked out of the room while the little one yelled, flailed, cried, sobbed, hiccuped, yelled some more, and screamed himself hoarse. For the next hour it continued, while the husband stayed in the room and tried to pacify BabyMoo with everything, short of carrying him up. I felt my heart break... and I cried, and cried, and cried. After almost 2 hours, he still hasn't stopped crying, only this time - it was a hoarse, piteous cry. I went into the room and picked him up, shouted at the husband that if he wants to make his baby suffer - he might as well just kill me. It wasn't DaddyMoo's fault at all... we were just trying our best, and everything is a learning experience.

Needless to say - that was the first and last time we attempted the CIO way. Perhaps it might work on other babies, but I know that I am not about to find out if the 2nd or 3rd time will work better on BabyMoo.

Now that BabyMoo is older, Daddy is always there to introduce him to new things, and to introduce the concept of play to him. BabyMoo has always been a 'gung-ho' baby, and his curiosity makes sure that he's always game to try out new things. However, he still has a mesure of fear, and it is Daddy he looks up to when he wants the assurance that he will be taken care of. The boys go on adventures together... and with Daddy, BabyMoo has a partner to show him how to play safe.

Feeding the fish with Daddy.

It's of little wonder then, that playtime is always associated with Daddy... but he also knows that when Daddy says "No" it's always best that he listens to him. As most boys are, BabyMoo always likes to push boundaries, and when he sees other kids climb or do things that he feels he can manage, he always wants to do the same. He can be very naughty and test our patience as well... and while I'm unable to restrain him through just mere words alone (Ah... It's only Mummeh!), I'm thankful that he still listens to Daddy.

He doesn't scream or yell to continue play when Daddy says that they've had enough, and he stops whatever it is he's attempting to do when Daddy tells him not to do it. He doesn't play with  electrical sockets after the one time Daddy told him not to, and he knows not to touch any dubious cups, mugs or plates on the table when we tell him that it's hot.

Daddy gets drenched - along with BabyMoo!

In a nutshell, he is well aware of the fact that Daddy keeps a tight leash on him, but he also knows that what Daddy tells him is all for his own good. He will cry and get upset when Daddy scolds him after repeated warnings - and turn to me for comfort, but it's amazing how when his sobs have subsided, he looks for Daddy to hug him, as though to apologise. It makes us so proud of him, and sometimes (now, more so than ever) the hubs is finding it more and more difficult to be the disciplinarian.

Sometimes we have to practise tough love in order to ensure safety for the kids, and to let them know that they can't very well get away with everything. That being said, different children need a different approach to educate them on how to live life, and parenting styles differ from one child to the next. It doesn't mean that if a parent seem to display a different set of rules from what we are used to - they aren't worthy parents or need Social services to look into them... I do believe that no parent in their right mind will intentionally harm their children. What works on one child may not work on another, and I do think that as parents, as much as we try to teach our children all about life in the hope that they will be equipped to handle it on their own in the future, our children also teach us a lot about what life is all about.

I hope that when BabyMoo is old enough to understand, he will also realise that as much as we scold him when he's being his naughty self - he is by far the best thing we've been blessed with in our lives. For all the wrong we've done, we may have done something right to deserve him.

Whatever we do is always for him, and what we believe is for his own good, because we love him more than anything else in the whole, wide world.

Wordless Wednesday: 30 Days of Love, in Pictures.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Participating in the call of blogger Mum Leonny - sharing a picture a day, for 30 days.
(15 March 2012 - 13 April 2012)

Project 'Stop Drool!'

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

It's been said that when one splits a baby's head open... there will actually be nothing there but a huge, enormous drool gland in overdrive.

Drooling has always been associated with dirty old men and teething babies - and in both cases, it can get pretty unsightly, more so in the former than the latter.

BabyMoo started drooling when he turned 4 months, and only cut his first tooth at 8 months, so I'm not sure if the association of drooling and teething applies to him. He continued drooling, and it seemed that he had an endless supply of drool from the moment he wakes up till the time he sleeps. It was so bad that he required a change of tee shirts almost every hour when he's home - and I have to continuously wipe his mouth when we're out. Up till recently, I have had to keep a small towel tucked into my shorts pocket, and a spare one in the diaper bag. I can't complain because I chose to do so by choice, for I think that babies wearing bibs when they aren't being fed is the ultimate no-no in my books.

It didn't help that BabyMoo is a very fussy baby when it comes to cleanliness. Ever since he is able to indicate his displeasure at things, he will not hesitate to inform us in whichever way he can that he is uncomfortable in a certain type of tee, shirts or pants. He will keep on tugging at his clothes, and raise a ruckus until he's changed to something more to his comfort. Clothing labels pose a main source of discomfort to him, and he would attempt to do a Linda Blair swivel in an effort to find out the cause of the itch on his back. He doesn't take too well to polo shirts or thicker materials, and is happiest in cotton tee shirts, shorts and light shirts. Needless to say, he was extremely displeased that his tee keeps on getting damp despite my efforts to wipe him down, and will not stop fussing until he's changed.

After a few months of this, I was irritated at always having to deal with drool and wondered why he still kept at it, even as he turned one. In fact, it showed no signs of subsiding and increased in volume as he toddled around and gaped in wonder at things that held his amusement. Most of my friend's kids of his age stopped drooling already, and during BabyMoo's playtime at The Little Gym, I didn't notice any kid with as much drool as he produced. I was busy wiping drool trails on the mats and contraptions everywhere he went!

I was also tired of hearing my Mum lament that my brother and I only drooled minute amounts as a baby. If she is to be believed, we didn't have a proper babyhood - we were toilet trained before we turned one, we never caught chills because we were wrapped head to toe, we didn't get fevers cutting teeth, and were the perfect 'model' baby... smiling with two front teeth in cloth diapers advertising the wonders of Mummy's milk.

I voiced my concerns to my Mother-in-law, who cautiously mentioned that we can actually try a cure. Her first grandson stopped drooling right after he drank the 'concoction' - and perhaps it may work on BabyMoo as well. Now I mentioned 'cautiously' because she know that her son is a huge sceptic, and will scoff at old wives' tales and 'superstitious silliness' as he so succinctly put it. He believes that there's a reason for most things... until he is proven otherwise. I, on the other hand, walk on eggshells around superstitious beliefs, for I think one should always be safe rather than sorry. If it doesn't take me much, I would rather err on the side of caution.

She mentioned that boiling spring onion's roots and drinking the water may stop the drool. I asked if it worked, and she mentioned that it worked immediately on both of BabyMoo's cousins who were still drooling at 24 months (must run in the family!). I wanted to buy spring onions there and then!

Spring onions (Scallions)

The spring onions must be carefully chosen, and only those with extra long roots can be used. It must be washed and cleaned to be rid of even the most minute dirt and soil present, then boiled for about an hour or until the water takes on an 'onion-y' smell and taste. I jumped up and down in glee, and we conspired to try it out the next day. I told the hubs that we are trying it out - whether he likes it or not. He can then make fun of us only if the effort did not bear any fruit. He laughed a cynic's laugh... while I couldn't wait to prove him wrong.

Notice the wet drool patch on his neck! (12 months)

Drool on his lips, drool on his tee... drool everywhere he goes! (13 months)

The next day, she made him drink the what I assumed must be a foul tasting drink. I thought that only a hint of spring onion can be tasted - but then again, I love spring onions and my taste buds may have been compromised over time. BabyMoo made a face, spat it out - and yelled in protest. He continued getting a sip or two throughout the day, until he swatted his cup when we attempted to make him drink more. I felt a twinge of evilness of being a bad Mummy monster who's making her son drink a home remedy for something that occurs naturally... but I felt that if it worked - we will all be much happier, including BabyMoo who will not have to contend with damp clothes and discomfort! It was worth the try.

Two days later - he actually stopped drooling!! I was amazed, and of course couldn't stop telling the husband that some home remedies work, after all. He just shook his head, and muttered that perhaps BabyMoo's drool gland was shocked into shrivelling at the introduction of the vile concoction! Coincidence, perhaps?


BabyMoo never drooled again since we gave him 'the drink' two months ago.
Project Stop Drool was a big success!

These Shoes are made for walking!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Most people who know me personally would be aware of my absolute obsession love for shoes. 
Once upon a time, I have shoes in every imaginable colour, but I didn't own a pair of slippers / flip flops till I went shopping for my honeymoon in Bali. 

I've always had a penchant for shoes because I feel that they can make or break an outfit. Team a nondescript black dress with a pair of killer heels, and you will instantly look like a million bucks. Wear a $5,000 Balenciaga dress with ballet flats and you may just fade into the background. After all - how many of us can boast on simply relying on our sterling personalities to carry us off daily?

There are days when I know I can't be bothered to even smile, much less be witty or fun.
I had my shoes to lift my spirits up, and make me walk (literally) a few inches taller.

My last pair of sky high heels in fuchsia was purchased a mere 2 weeks before I found out I was pregnant. Needless to say, it went into cold storage, and has now officially become a pink elephant since I had BabyMoo. Rather than lamenting the loss of opportunity to dress up, I actually rather enjoyed dressing down on weekends now. Flip flops line my shoe shelves, and we all know that chasing after an active 15 month old with those is much safer than tottering on 4-inch heels. Glam be damned! 

Being the shoe 'aficionado' that I am, I am all too familiar with the importance of having a great pair of shoes, not only in terms of aesthetics but also for comfort. Nothing spoils the image more than seeing a well-dressed good looking woman spotted using a plaster to ward off a blister. I have a few choice pairs which were purchased for special occasions but became daily staples when it was all too evident that every dollar spent on them were totally worth it. There are a lot of other pairs which were purchased off the rack, on a whim, from regular shoe stores - which were worn once, then never again - because they either pinched, chafed, or simply hurt the feet just walking the distance between the house and the apartment lobby.

So now that BabyMoo has started walking, I take it upon myself to ensure that he is shod in shoes which help in feet development and provides sufficient grip. It should also be made with leather for flexibility and to ensure that the risks of it chafing his feet is minimised. BabyMoo has always worn shoes since we started bringing him out, and the fact that he couldn't walk then didn't stop me from buying him shoes to match his outfits! No kiddy shoes for him either... the hubs and I don't fancy cutesy shoes in cartoony designs - just because the baby is a baby doesn't mean that he should be dressed in the most babyish clothes imaginable!

I started him off in See Kai Run shoes, which were made with pig-skin lining and leather uppers. Great designs, and the shoes actually became softer with every use. All was good until SKR phased out their production in Singapore and Malaysia and replaced it with PU leather. I enquired with the local distributor as to this turn of events, and was informed that this is so that more people will be able to enjoy the shoes - as the fact that they were made with pig-skin lining were discouraging many people from purchasing these.

I salute their moral ethics, and I think that it is truly admirable on their part to be totally in tune with the needs of their consumers, although I question the fact that their prices remained the same... but anyways...

The shoes became harder and not as flexible as before. It chafed the feet, and one of my friends who purchased SKRs all the way till size 9 for her son mentioned the same thing. So the quest for the perfect breathable, comfortable shoes for the boys started. Pedipeds are made with pig skin lining, but I don't dig most of their designs, plus they are pretty pricey even with a spree. Same with Kavat, Osh Kosh and Clarks. I was contemplating purchasing direct from the SKR site in the US, but was afraid that the quality will not be as per what we were used to.

Meanwhile... BabyMoo was fast outgrowing his current stable of footwear!

Just a few days ago, MummyEd at Singapore Mom Bloggers group on FB posted a link to Elly store, which was having a promotion to introduce their new line of footwear - Bellio. While BabyMoo may be a tad too old for these shoes... I chanced upon Skeinie shoes, which is also a range carried by the store - and I got excited!! we may just have found the perfect shoes for growing feet.

I contacted the store, and Carol, one half of the owners (the store is started by 2 enterprising sisters!) was extremely helpful in providing me with the info which I needed. Skeinies have calf leather uppers, pig-skin lining and is rubber-knob soled for extra traction. Perfect!

I dragged the (long suffering) husband to Cluny Court where the Elly store is located last Saturday, and BabyMoo sat down to try on his shoes. Just as I was still determining the size and suitability, he clambered down from the seat, and proceeded to walk about (almost with delirious) glee! He didn't want to take it off... shaking his head with gusto when I wanted to undo the velcro. I guess he is the best judge of how the shoes feel on his feet - and fortunately, they didn't cost an arm and a leg... otherwise Daddy Mummy will be in trouble! The boy then proceeded to attempt to walk out of the store (while Daddy tries to restrain him). The cheeky boy then gave Auntie Carol a 'shy' smile before indicating that he wants her to carry him. *faint*
I suppose since Carol is a mum, she would definitely have a way with kids!

Those shoes look and feel really comfortable. They fit perfectly, are flexible, hold the feet well without cutting into pudgy flesh, and have buttery soft lining. They are versatile enough to be worn with a shirt and jeans, or tee and shorts. Best of all - they are Fair Trade made!

Well done, MummyMoo! *pats self on back*

Got the shoes in red because BabyMoo already has sandals in navy blue and beige.
So Dorothy-ish. Love it!

Checking out the Elly standee in his brand new shoes.

Never mind that the red doesn't match his outfit. The Dorothy shoes made him happy - all that's missing are the blings and the yellow brick road.

Did I also mention I absolutely love Elly's shirts for boys? I will not even start on the cool frocks for girls. I would have gone absolutely bonkers in-store if BabyMoo wasn't so determined to run out of the store in his new shoes and Daddy didn't need the bathroom pronto. On hindsight - I suspect it was a conspiracy. Hmmmph!

Love the store, love the shoes, love the service.

The Elly Store
501 Bukit Timah Road
#02-29 Cluny Court 
Singapore 259760
(Next to the Botanic Gardens MRT station)

T:  +65 6466 8718
E:  enquiries@ellyloves.com

Opening Hours
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily 

** I am in no way affiliated to the management of The Elly Store or have been paid to do a review. This is a blog mention in the hope that more parents will be made aware, and more little feet will be made happy! We paid in full for the scarlet sandals, too :)

My 'Sometimes' better half

Thursday, 12 April 2012

When I found out that I was expecting, there was never a doubt in my mind as to how the hubs will be like as a father. I have always had faith in him as a person, and part of the reason as to why we get along despite our differences is that he allows himself to grow, learn and adapt to situations.

He's never had any reservations or qualms about helping others, and I used to joke that if we were to walk down the length of Orchard Road, we won't have enough cash to make our way home for the fact that he will always drop a dollar or two in the buskers' hats.

At the risk of making him out to be this self-righteous individual who is a paragon of virtue, DaddyMoo is far from being one. Truth be told, like a lot of women, I've always been attracted to the bad boys, and so my friends and family were delightfully surprised when they get to meet him for the first time. Little do they know that underneath that 'good boy' exterior lies a cheeky, mischievous rebel... who is a non-conformist by nature, and perhaps have done worse things growing up than the average bad boy who looks the part.

On hindsight, I was conned into believing that I've finally landed myself a sedate, stable, good Star Wars loving geek because I was silly enough to base my perceptions only on what I see. To think that I pride myself on being a good judge of character! His bad boy streak... was simply a bonus! :D

I didn't like him on sight when we were introduced by our mutual friends 16 years ago. He seemed aloof and he was the only one in the group of men who didn't make the move to talk to me first! Pffft!!

So I know who he is, he knows who I am, we've gone out as a group on several occasions back then - but we've never spoken to each other.

In 2006, a decade after those hazy, boozy days when all my friends and I did was get up, go to work, meet at our regular watering hole, proceed to a club, and stagger home drunk only to repeat the cycle all over again the next day, every day - we met again by chance. I guess it's not that surprising of an event given that we have mutual friends within our separate groups, but the events leading to it was pretty 'coincidental' for a lack of a better word to explain it.

He had just broken up with his girlfriend of 5 years, and I had just broken up with my fiancé of 6 years. She cheated on him, and my ex cheated on me. We were not looking for another relationship, and at that age - we were old enough to not be on the rebound, recognising that when things don't work out... there are a lot of contributing factors. Trying to fill a void just for the sake of companionship is nothing short of being perfectly irresponsible to both ourselves and the other party.

I heard that he was married (from a mutual friend who apparently had a hidden agenda) so when we met again, I congratulated him. He nearly choked on his beer - and asked:

"Married To WHAT?" and proceeded to grin like a silly schoolboy.
That broke the ice.

We spoke about life, experiences, dreams and loves. We argued about views, beliefs and circumstances. We made fun of each other, we laughed at ourselves and at other people. For as much as we have in common, we also had our differences... but we were able to see through those, and respect them as a point of personal view, and qualities that make our personalities.

May 2007

I told him I hated didn't like him much back then because he looked like an arrogant ***.
He told me that the others were always busy trying to impress me so he didn't bother to join the fray.

I argued that he couldn't be bothered because he was too busy with his girlfriend (although I couldn't recall seeing him with any girl whenever we saw each other)
He dead panned that I'm arguing for the sake of arguing because he didn't have one back then.

I whined "Whatever... you weren't interested enouuuuuuugh!!!" (like a spoilt brat which he always allows me to be).
He chuckles and says: "Ya... how you know ah?"

Which made me mad, and do the 'me-not-talking-to-you' crap.

Like some bad Taiwanese / Ch 8 drama - where the lead actor and actress fight each other senseless then through some sheer luck get together and then lived happily ever after - the end. Those serials which go on for like a million episodes and have a done to death storyline but still have the aunties glued to the TV set at screening time.

Christmas 2007

Christmas 2008

Ok... now that I've made myself out to be this whiny, quite-impossible-to-get-along-with spoilt princess of sorts, I don't know why he lets me get away with it. He pacifies me when I'm being my usual short tempered self. He gives in to my crazy whims and fancies. He makes me mad - and he makes me laugh at the same time.

The 2nd time we went out, officially as a couple (phwee-weet!) but still with our 'awed' mutual friends - he asked me (more like shouted in my ear as the band at Movida played on)

"If I asked you to marry me, would you?"
I retorted: "You ask first then I think about it."
Super action-packed, me.

Two years later, on 16th of June 2009 - that's what we did.

June 2009

Which actually reminds me.
He never asked!!

No fireworks, no starry eyed moments when we walk on clouds (you come crashing down if you did, anyways!), no coy eat like a bird and watch what we say dates since both of us finish each other's curses.

It just feels like I've finally come home.


Kids pizza making classes!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Modesto's is having Pizza Making classes for kids during the June school holidays.
Do drop me an email at regina@modestos.com.sg if you are interested!

Pictures of past sessions here, and here!

Wordless Wednesday:
BabyMoo, Bring back your special spark!

I wish I had a magic wand
To make it go away...
I'd wave my sceptre over you
Until you were okay.

Water Fun for Dad & Son!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

**Warning: A Picture-esque post ahead!**

There should REALLY be more long weekends!

Last Easter weekend, we decided to bring BabyMoo to 'far-flung' places, so that we can get away from the maddening Public Holiday crowds that usually congregate in the city area.

We decided to go to Tampines 1, so that we can also check out the water playground that a lot of mums have blogged about, prior to its opening on 10th of March. The mall itself is nothing to shout about, in fact, I found that Tampines Mall has more to offer in terms of restaurants and shops. However, it was nice to see that they have a selection of shops to complement Tampines Mall and nearby Century Square, so as to present visitors with a wide variety of shopping and dining choices.

After lunch at Sushi Tei (where BabyMoo wolfed down an entire portion of grilled cod and his favourite chawan mushi) we decided to head up to the playground located on the rooftop of the mall. It was pretty easy to find, given that there were directional signs located just about everywhere we turn. BabyMoo got all excited seeing the animals which were chosen as the main feature of the park.

There were threatening dark clouds, but thankfully, the weather held up, presenting us with a cool, balmy almost sun-less afternoon of fun!

Daddy shows BabyMoo how it's done

After that he's on his own...

...and pulls Daddy's head down to wash his hair!

He got water up his nose in his excitement... coughed, sputtered, sneezed and grinned!

Sliding down in the 'Arctic' section

BabyMoo is one happy camper!

Daddy brought him to the dry play area - but BabyMoo wasn't too interested, preferring waterplay instead.

He loved the slides, though! It was the perfect size and height for him.

Back to the water he went... squatting at the water jets to give his bum a massage!

BabyMoo had a wonderful afternoon at the Water Park - he was initially apprehensive, but when Daddy carried him into the water fountains (getting himself all drenched in the process!) to show him that there was nothing to fear, he promptly decided he loved to splash around, toddling about on his own, after all.

On Easter Sunday, we went for mass at Church of St Teresa's, where BabyMoo decided he's had enough of being an observant during church services and proceeded to attempt to explore the church hall on this own, pew by pew.

Giving Mummy his sly grin... he loves to pose for the camera now - and will clamber on my lap to see the end result on either the phone or camera screen.

We then went for lunch at Plaza Singapura, where BabyMoo (in his fish craze) ate half a grilled fish with his porridge at Manhattan Fish Market. He pulled my camera out and 'requested' for a photo taken, too. (And they call Mummy the vain one!)

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

We shopped around for a bit, and BabyMoo, who just turned a grand old age of 15 months last 6th of April - wrenched himself free from our grasps and insisted that he is perfectly able to toddle about confidently on his own. He crossed his arms, and did his walkabout.

Who says men don't need skin care?

The fascination with Mickey Mouse continues... he spotted MM and refused to budge!

He loves colourful window displays, too!

We stayed to watch the X-Box Kinect Dance Championships that took place at the atrium. BabyMoo loved the dancing and music - and Daddy was tempted to get him a set (although I suspect it was more for Daddy's entertainment than anything else!) I dragged the boys away before Daddy could sate his fancy whim.

BabyMoo's in a good MOOd!

We then proceeded to make full use of the extended weekend and brought BabyMoo to IMM at Jurong for some water fun.

The place looked and is definitely older than the brand new grounds at Tampines 1, but BabyMoo had fun, nevertheless. I didn't like the dirty shower stalls (don't understand the use of wood panels in a public water facility!) but he was already squirming to run towards the water spouts - and I didn't have the heart to deny him. Daddy just has to carry him while hosing him down the best that we could. We figured that since we will be on our way home after that, we can manage with the less than pristine facilities. There are no entrance charges imposed on these water playgrounds, so I really had nothing to complain about.

Both boys had a blast!

It was an fun-filled weekend for us... quality time spent doing things as a family which made BabyMoo happy. Now that he's walking more confidently on his own, he's absolutely delighted at his new-found mobility and realising that he's an entirely separate person on his own, with the ability to think, move and do things by himself.

He now knows that he is his own little person who is able to do a great deal of things just by watching and imitating the actions of people around him, and there are times when I catch him observing us, deep in thought - perhaps storing away information for use when the opportunity arises.

There are days when it can be terribly frustrating to be a parent. It's hard to have the warm fuzzy feeling when BabyMoo is throwing a tantrum or decides that he wants to test us beyond our limits and patience.

It is also the most rewarding event in our lives. It's an amazing feeling to be privy to the world through his eyes... and not a day goes by when I don't give my gratitude for the chance to enjoy motherhood and the multitude of things which come with it.

To be in his memories tomorrow, the hubs and I have long ago come to a pact, that we will always do what we can to ensure that we are in his life today.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” 

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