Photo *Heart* Friday: Paying our respects

Friday, 30 November 2012

As the first grandchild of the eldest child, I was showered with love from everyone in the family, including my aunts and uncles; and growing up, I was never in want for attention. I was mostly cared for by my maternal Grandma, and my fondest memories of childhood involved trips to the market with her, cooking, baking, and happy moments of play. I stay in Jakarta, whereas they stay about 120km away in Bogor - and as I started to go to school, my Grandfather dutifully waited for me every Friday afternoon for us to take a train there. That was, for me - the highlight of the entire week.

When my Granny passed away in 2000 after a bout of multiple illnesses, I was devastated. It was tough to see someone who used to be so full of energy and vitality deteriorate before my very eyes, and I will always vividly recall her hand going limp in mine, as the machine was shut down. Being very close to her, her death hit me hard, and till now, not a day goes by when I don't think of her. Experiencing happy milestones in life makes it doubly hard, especially when I think how happy all of us would be for me if she was there to share it with me.

Since the time we went back home to Indonesia for her funeral and subsequent burial, I have yet to go back there. This year, I really wanted to 'meet' her - firstly, to introduce the husband, and then, BabyMoo. I want to show her that life worked out for the best for me despite a few stumbling blocks along the way, and I truly believe that she has always been there to gently steer me towards the right direction.

So we took a trip back to Indonesia as an extended family... to pay our respects to our beloved Mum, Oma (Grandma) and Mak Ocoh (Great Grandma) at her last and final resting place.

Daughters, Sons, Daughters-in-law, Sons-in-law, Granddaughters, Grandsons, and Great Grandchildren.
My Mum, The eldest child.
My Third Aunt, My Fourth Aunt-in-law, my youngest cousin, my brother, and my Fourth Uncle.
My youngest Aunt, and my Uncle-in-law, who has been a father figure to me.
My 2nd Uncle, Mum, and BabyMoo
Grandson-in law and Great Grandson.
She will always be dear to us, we miss her constantly and we miss her still, and we will always love her.




Contributing to:

Peek-A-Boo!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

It's always a challenge to find new places to entertain BabyMoo over the weekends, especially since the weather has been rather unpredictable lately. We have visited most of the indoor playgrounds as the boy truly loves active play, so when we chanced upon Peek-a-Boo! playground while we were running some errands at Kallang Leisure Park, we thought that it would be a perfect opportunity for him to expand some of that seemingly boundless energy.


The place looks rather small from what we can see, but since it was pretty early and there were not that many kids around, we decided to give it a go. I ignored the fact that I had to take off BabyMoo's sandals and put on his socks whilst standing / squatting at the mall's corridor as the 3 small seats next to the shoe cabinets were taken up by 3 helpers who were having their lunch there.

We almost changed our mind, if it wasn't for the boy who was all excited and raring to go!

Warming up on the baby slide
A little ride around the periphery
The place seems rather small and cramped even with about only 5 other kids present. BabyMoo took a ride-on and decided to circle the main playscape, which is his usual habit at a new place. I'm not sure why he does it - perhaps he likes to familiarise himself with the environment?

Daddy first brought him in, but less than ten minutes after I left them there - he called me back and told me that he had hurt his back trying to squeeze through the narrow tunnels!

So it's Mummeh to the rescue! (There goes the opportunity for a manicure and pedicure session. Sigh.)

Fun at the ball pit!
The ball pit is pretty narrow, and I was actually quite thankful that there weren't any other bigger kids around, which I'm sure would have made it rather cramped, not to mention dangerous for the smaller ones.

After the ball pit, he decided to do the serious climbing and sliding!

BabyMoo actually still needs to be supervised, especially on a 3 storey high apparatus, but after the first round - ClumsyMummy just cannot squeeze, crawl and keep up with him... so I decided to just let him go on his own.

For the first time, he explored and climbed on his own... I would not have let him if there were bigger kids at play!

You cannot imagine how my heart was in my mouth the entire time, and every moment which he disappears from sight - I panicked just a little bit more. The sense of relief when he finally appears from the huge slide down from the top storey is palpable.

Don't ask why Superboy there needs to come down a slide when he can jolly well fly.

I tried to haul him away after barely half an hour, but of course, the boy protested... as he was just beginning to enjoy himself.


I became a contortionist and took the weary old bones for a ride. I scraped my knees on the exposed wood parts!
When I checked the stairs up to the upper levels, I can understand why the hubs couldn't squeeze through. It was a wonder how he even managed to climb one level up without getting stuck on the rungs!

I didn't like that the padding is pretty worn down at some places, exposing the wood / whatever lies beneath. (see photo above). I think it's extremely dangerous for the kids. The slide also had duct tape(!!) affixed on it, which I hoped was for purely decorative purposes. I know duct tape fixes everything... but HELLO?!

Duct taped monstrosity

I talked to BabyMoo and managed to bribe convince him to leave the place in favour of a yoghurt treat. I think by that time, he was too exhausted to argue much, so we left just when the place was getting crowded.

Children below 4 needs to be accompanied by an adult, and there is an extra charge for any additional adult. I wondered how parents of older toddlers who already need minimal supervision can make themselves comfortable since there aren't any seats apart from a cordoned off area which seems to be used for parties and exclusive events.

They do have a 'drop off' option, though, where you can leave the kids there if they are above 4 years old and are comfortable on their own. The toilets are all the way to the opposite end of the mall, though - so I'm not sure how that would work out, since I didn't ask if the staff would accompany the child should he / she needs to use the bathroom while the parents are away.

I seriously doubt that we will visit again though - in view of safety reasons and that there are other places which are much more spacious and do not charge for additional adults to be within the premises. The Management should really look into repairing some of the worn out areas, as they pose a safety hazard to the kids at play. A disclaimer and signing an indemnity clause prior to the visit does not mean that the Management can be lax in this aspect, and that parents cannot be assured of a safe environment for the kids to play in.

Perhaps, then - this could also have been prevented.



Peek-a-Boo!

Leisure Park Kallang (next to Indoor Stadium)
5, Stadium Walk, 
#02-12/13
Singapore 397693
Tel: 6440 8355


Email: play@peekaboo.com.sg
http://www.peekaboo.com.sg/
https://www.facebook.com/peekabooplayground

Opening Hours

Sunday - Friday: 10.00am - 8.30pm
Saturday: 10.00am - 9.30pm

Admission Charges

Adults (1 per paying child) and babies up to 9 months: free

2nd accompanying adult: $3 per entry
10 months to 23 months: $12 per entry
24 months and above: $15 per entry

Drop-off (4 yrs and above):
$15 for 2 hours, $5/hr for every subsequent hour

DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated to the Management of Peek-a-Boo, nor have been compensated for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Wordless Wednesday: Inaugural flight experience

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

BabyMoo had his first flight experience on our first vacation as a family!

My Mum wanted to celebrate her birthday with the extended family in Jakarta, Indonesia, so we took the opportunity to travel there over the weekend.



I was initially rather worried about how BabyMoo would take to the air pressure in the plane cabin, but I suppose his wanderlust overrode any mild discomfort which he may have experienced. He was ecstatic when he realised that he was going to take a plane ('Pane... Up!! Up!') and sat down quietly, buckled down.

He grinned and chortled during take off and landing, both ways, and even managed a whoop 'Yaaay!' when we touched down.


Looks like we will be travelling around a lot more after this!

Linking up with:

new button    My Little Drummer Boys   

Fatherhood: Love and Discipline

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Discipline has been by far the most challenging aspect of fatherhood for the husband, and I can truly empathise with him. I'm totally hopeless when it comes to enforcing ground rules and making sure that BabyMoo know that he can't always get away with whatever he does, so it has been left to Daddy to always be the 'Bad Guy' and try to make him understand.

There are many aspects of discipline, and striking the fine balance is a challenge to any parent. If the punishment or discipline is too extreme, it can leave the child with emotional scars or make them feel unloved; and that is the last thing any parent would want to do in the process of trying to teach a child between right and wrong. Too lenient - and the child will simply choose to ignore you, and eventually encourage him to be disrespectful and not have qualms about going against other adults.

BabyMoo has always been very perceptive, and from very early on, he knows exactly who he can manipulate and wrap around his finger. The women in the family are ripe for his picking, even Grandpa most of the time falls to his charms. He knows, however, that Daddy can't be easily fooled, and there is little point in trying to fight him (yes, he tried). 

So now, BabyMoo knows he has to face Daddy whenever he has been naughty, but the little defiant one usually does not shed a tear in the process. At least, not during the time that Daddy tries to explain and reason things out with him.

Guess who's been a naughty boy?

A little while later, he goes to another corner, squats down, and I see tears roll down his cheeks. He brushes them away... and refuses my extended hand. I give him some time alone, until I think he's just about ready.

Real men babies boys don't cry.

After every episode, the hubs will never fail to ask the little one if he understands why he needed to have the talk with him. He will always apologise and tell BabyMoo that he doesn't like to have to scold and cause him to be unhappy, but that he has to understand he cannot always get away with things despite being told not to. BabyMoo has a very sensitive soul despite his gung-ho and seemingly defiant attitude, and that makes it doubly hard.

I think it is so much more challenging to have to enforce tough love on a little person who is just discovering the world... but we recognise that it is so very necessary to ensure that we are on our way to raising a child who is responsible and respectful of his surroundings and the people around him.

Before being BabyMoo's friend and buddy, the hubs is, first and foremost - his Daddy.



Linking up with:

new button    My Little Drummer Boys   

Increasing Your Facebook Page Post Visibility

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

With all the recent changes that Facebook has made, it has become increasingly difficult to connect with readers. Getting 'Likes' on my Facebook page has definitely been extremely rewarding for me, and I try to keep 'fans' engaged with constant updates while sharing my thoughts on the blog.

CuteCoconut is hosting a 'Facebook Reach Out Now Tuesday' Hop (or FRONT Hop, for short), where the aim is to increase your FB page posts' visibility and thus, reach out to a larger number of people.

"If you feel your Facebook page visibility doesn’t reflect the many fans you have, you should join this hop. If your post on your Facebook page is only viewed by not more than 40 – 50 people despite thousands of fans who like your page, you should join this hop."
For more ideas why you have to join FRONT hop click here. - CuteCoconut 

Here is how you can participate, and increase your readership!

1. You must have a Facebook page.

2. Link up one of your status update on your Facebook page. Please DO NOT link up your blog, blog post or Facebook Page here. (refer to image appended)

3. Please follow and 'Like' the Host and co-host(s) on any of our social media and leave a comment, so that we can follow you back.

4. Visit at least 3 links and 'Like' the page before sharing the content to your own Facebook page post.

5. It is important that when you click like, comment or share you are using your personal Facebook profile instead of your Facebook page.


Now... let's get hopping!


Children: A 'financial retirement plan'?

When I was growing up, my maternal grandma used to tell me stories about life as she was growing up; her childhood with 7 sisters, an un-arranged marriage at 17 (pretty unheard of in those days), living with rations during the war, having 5 children, and then a time of relative peace.

Five children. Each with their own different personalities and habits. I used to sit, enthralled, while she reminisces about what it was like to have to deal with each child. When I was in preschool, I suppose these stories were simply an excuse for me to spend time with her, and get to know my Aunts and Uncles who dote on me, since they were unmarried and didn't have their own kids then.

Now that she has passed on, what I will always take away from her stories is that she never had children as a retirement plan. She always placed great emphasis on this, and my mum, in turn - has also repeatedly, both in action and in words, mentioned that she did not have us and bring us up only so that she will be taken care of when she's too old to do so herself.

Likewise, BabyMoo is never and will never be a retirement plan for us.

We will not expect him to house us or take care of our expenses when we're retired. Neither do we expect him to not only have to take care of his own family, but to set aside a lump sum every month for his aged parents. Like our parents and our parent's parents, I would like us to be perfectly able to take care of ourselves, at least, financially, in our twilight years. We're working ourselves to the bone not only to provide for ourselves now, but to also ensure that we're doing our best while we still have the strength to.

If he should deem to do so out of his own accord, it will be nice to simply take us out for meals, and have the grandkids come over to play. Most importantly, we would like for him to realise and understand our sacrifices in bringing him up - and hopefully take these values as a way to be, and do the same for his children.

We brought a child into this world with very little expectations. We do not expect him to be the best, the brightest and the smartest in his cohort. We did not have a child to have an extension of ourselves, or to carry out what we missed out on doing. All we want is for him to always do his best, to be street wise, and to try to be happy despite life's challenges. We will try to equip him with the basics of life skills, after which he will be left to his own devices to explore the world. We have told him and we will continue telling him that to fail is part and parcel of life, but he must always try his best. Mistakes are made so that we can learn from it, and be better individuals.

He is our Gift, and the way we see it - we were chosen to be his parents. It will be an onus on him to expect him to take care of us financially in our old age, and a burden that should not be his calling. The only retirement plan our grandparents and parents had of their children, is to be able to enjoy their old age with an extended family. Perhaps a lot of people may disagree with our views, but the hubs and I were brought up without these expectations of us, and we are intent on passing it on.

BabyMoo has one life to live - and as long as he honours and respects us, that's more than what we can ask of him.

What are your thoughts? Should children be had as part of a 'financial retirement plan'?


MummyMOO


Let's make a snowflake!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Isn't it amazing that snowflakes always have six sides, and no two snowflakes are ever exactly the same? I've always been fascinated with snowflakes and is totally in awe of the process whereby they are formed.

Here in the tropics, I suppose the closest things you can get to a snowflake are those which are made of styrofoam, felt or craft paper and hung on fake Christmas trees to lend a festive feel.

Hey... look on the bright side - we can create a snowflake any time of the year!

Step 1: Cut a circle.

I don't have a measuring compass (do they even use that in schools any more?), so I decided to print a circle on a piece of paper and cut it out. I would strongly recommend that you use some pretty glitter paper.


Step 2: Fold the circle into half, then fold again into quarters, and then eighths.


Step 3: I then drew out a pattern free hand, making sure that the design on either sides correspond to each other. It doesn't have to be totally perfect, but of course, you can choose to follow a designer template.


Step 4: Cut out the pattern.

As you can tell, my cutting skills aren't that great.

Step 5: Open up the folds... and admire your snowflake!!

It's quite pretty, don't you think?
Just in case you're hard pressed to think of a pattern, I've drawn up some for you to use. Please click the image below to download.

So... the countdown begins.

Christmas countdown banner
Have you been naughty or nice?


BWS tips button

"Oh! You haven't lost the baby weight!"
...and other things you shouldn't say (to other mums).

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Pregnancy and childbirth can be overwhelming for a lot of women, not to mention having to deal with a tiny little babe who is intent on screaming at every chance they get simply because their brand new mummy cannot figure out how to address their issues.

Suddenly, your life isn't yours to live any more. Neither is your body, when it bears the battle scars of pregnancy, and the mammaries become almost free for all the moment the lactation consultant starts pummelling them like a lump of dough to stimulate milk production.

You hold that little being, and suddenly your heart leaps out of your body, and implants itself in that little body - and you're never the same again.

Now all these changes can either be embraced with a smile and the realisation that things can only get better from now on... or in some cases, it can come to a point where emotions (and hormonal changes) run amok, only to surface with a bubble of trepidation, worry and despair, ready to burst with just a single nudge.

Having children can be a beautiful experience, but for a lot of mothers, it is also a period of change; perhaps coupled with a measure of fear, with some needing a lot of assurance that they are perfectly able to be good mothers without losing themselves in the process.

No matter how close you are to the person, I think there is a limit to being entirely 'honest'. It's different when you tell her that the new shimmery blue eye shadow looks ghastly on her, as opposed to telling her that she just spawned a child straight out of the Addams family.

1. "Why is your stomach still soooooo BIG?"

Unless you have a trainer on standby 24/7 and eat like a bird on a diet (thereby depriving baby of necessary nutrients if you're breastfeeding), there is no way that you are going to be entirely rid of that tummy in a week or two. If you're prone to water retention, it's worse... you are still going to look like you're 5 months pregnant after the baby's had. And you think that once the amnio fluid gushes out, you're ready to parade around in a bikini to and fro the nursery.

People like Heidi Klum, Jessica Alba and Halle Berry are not real.

An hour after waking up post elective C-sect with GA. Next to my chic gynae, I looked like a beached whale. I asked her if she was entirely sure that she found only one baby inside.

2. "Why aren't you breastfeeding?! Breast milk is best!"

The choice to breastfeed or otherwise is a personal one, and unless the reason is offered without response to any query, it is best to not pry. Many women aren't able to breast feed due to a multitude of reasons, but suffice to say - no mum in their right mind will deprive their babies of the possible best.

It doesn't mean that just because you breastfed the kiddo till he's in high school, it makes you a better mum than someone who is not able to produce enough to feed the little one, no matter what she did.

3. "Your baby doesn't look like you / the husband!"

Er... it's really hard to tell, especially when they come out rather scrunchy and wrinkly, and turning alternately red and black between bouts of exercising their lungs, you know? So what are you trying to say? We decided to adopt and did the hospital stay along with delivery for effect? Or, worse still - a DNA test may be very necessary?

4. "The baby is ugly"

You might think that these words are naturally *not* said to any parent, regardless of the circumstances which prompted the remark, but I have come across some of my friends' brash relatives (read: old fogeys) who thoughtlessly made the comment.

All I can say is: Why?!! That's taking honesty to a brand new level! And being an 'elder' does not give you rights to speak your mind, especially if your wrinkles are worse than that of said ugly baby.

5. "Why your baby so small?"

A standard infant comes along at about 2.8kg - 3.5kg. Take into account the height / length of the baby... and if the baby is tall, it can result in a pretty scrawny looking newborn. It's also a problem when baby doesn't have a voracious appetite, coupled with colic and the usual ailments which plague many newborns.

6. "Why your baby so fat?"

This sentence is followed by: "Cannot overfeed, otherwise obesity can be a serious problem, especially if it spills over till they are older!"

You can't win. Seriously.

BabyMoo at 10 weeks. Imagine the "why your baby so fat?!" exclamations I've received.

7. "You so fat now! How long has it been since you delivered?!"

Uh... things change. People change. Bodies change. Get over it.

8. "You should / should not do this / that."

Parenting methods differ with each parent, and every child is unique. Even seasoned parents recognise the need to parent each child differently, in the best way suited to the child's personality. Just like no two persons are alike, no two children are entirely alike. What works on one child may have the entirely opposite effect on another child.

Who made them experts on child rearing, anyway? What's worse is that singles and non-parents are more likely to utter these words and offer unsolicited advice than those who are parents themselves.

9. "You need a break."

We know that being a full time mum is a full time job, with no fixed hours. You are on call 24 hours a day, and you are responsible for everything pertaining to the child. I mean everything - even though the husband does his share, the children are apt to look for mummy when they need comfort and security. Emotional provisions cannot be farmed out, and is far more taxing than physical exertions.

Yes, we need a break. You don't have to remind us.

10. "Now you very 'Auntie'!"

Roughly translated, it just says that you've let yourself go, and allowed yourself to become unkempt and matronly.

So what if we ditched our heels for flip flops? We can run after and play with the kids without compromising our safety. Try changing a squirmy kid's diapers and picking up after them in micro mini skirts... hats off if you can do so while maintaining a semblance of modesty, and the last thing you need is an upskirt video or photo going viral.

I don't believe all of us can look like a glamourpuss mama all the time without having maids or external help to do the dirty work for you. If you can - WOW! Good for you.

***

The last thing any (new) mother needs to hear are negative remarks, even those said without malice intended.  When you've spent the last gazillion hours huffing and puffing to try to blow the baby out, or you're too busy running after the kid to notice that you desperately need root touch ups, you certainly would not appreciate being told in the face that you don't look the way you did pre-baby.

So for those of you who are too quick to judge other mums as being frumpy, or neglecting to take care of themselves... do us all a favour. Keep your opinions to yourself, and good for you if you still manage to look even better than you did before the kids came into the picture.

Parenting is tough work... and as long as we're trying to give and do our best for the children - I think that's all that matters.

Contributing to Sanses:

SANses.com's Talkative Thursdays

When Love and Hate collide.

Monday, 12 November 2012

"Those who hate most fervently must have once loved deeply; those who want to deny the world must have once embraced what they now set on fire."
~ Kurt Tucholsky (German satirical Essayist and Poet, 1890-1935)

Have you ever thought... that perhaps we're only familiar with love only because we know what's it like to hate - and vice versa? I'm not sure what is it about the most powerful of emotions that makes them so inexplicably intertwined in some way or the other. Is it really true that if we love a person, assuming that if they were to do us wrong; the hate within would be much more than if we were not to care too much about that person?

Then again... is it even possible for us to hate a person whom we (used to) love?

I've always thought that love should be unconditional, that it gives without expecting anything in return, it yields without contempt, and it forgives without the slightest hesitation. Perhaps my views on love is slightly conservative, maybe even a tad impractical and unrealistic, but shouldn't that be what love is all about?

Why should we hate, when at one point in time, there was no question as to how we feel for that person? Could it be that love has become slightly overrated... or is it that we can hate what a person does to our innermost feelings, which has so far been governed by love? Is it all too difficult to handle the myriad of emotions lying on the opposite ends of the spectrum?

Do we go into the self defensive mode when we are made to confront our vulnerabilities?

I've never been able to hate a person whom I have love(d), no matter what is it that they have put me through. Love is but one emotion that I don't believe we can actually totally forget or deny once we are able to feel it for someone.

We don't fall in love, only to fall out of it.


MummyMOO



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The Time Machine

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Sometimes I wonder what it is about Fate or Destiny that they have to be so inexplicably intertwined with our lives. We can choose to believe or scoff at it... yet most of the time, undeniably, they feature greatly in our choices as we grow.

If you were to have the option to travel in a Time Machine, what would you choose to do? Go toward the Future, or go back to the Past? I have mulled over this... yet I always eventually come to an impasse where I know not what to do should I ever have to make the choice.

Perhaps I would like to go to the Past... because there are just so many things that I have left incomplete. The wheels of time can be cruel, and there sometimes isn't enough time to do and see everything that I would have loved to.

Then again - no, I would never change a single thing about what had happened in the Past, because every event, every tear shed, every laughter shared... have made me what I am today.

I would love to have a peek into the Future... because I am curious about what the Future holds. Would I be happy having made a certain choice, or would it have been better for me to have listened to the voice of reason?

Whatever it is, I have been blessed with so much so far in life, and for that I am grateful. I have gone through plenty to realise that there is always sunshine after the rain. And somehow... for the choices that I have made, and however the Future will turn out to be, I know that I will not have any regrets. I would like to think that things do have a way of working themselves out for the best.

Without a Past, there isn't a Present.
And without the here and now, there will not be a Future.

It's the trinity that binds us eternally.

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