How to be lousy parents... and get away with it!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The husband and I have decided that we're lousy parents.

a) We don't advocate a regimented lifestyle for the bub.

Ever since BabyMoo was born, we've always gone with the flow on things... we never attempted to put him on a strict routine of bath, bed and feeds. We started him off on 60ml of milk every two hours, which became 80ml every 3 hours from the 2nd week onwards, and then 120ml every 4 hourly. His body clock adjusted on demand, and we learnt to distinguish his cries of discomfort or hunger.

When he turned 4 months, we started him on solids on the PDs advice, and reduced the milk intake accordingly. At 6 months, he was eating breakfast, lunch and dinner (porridge with pumpkin, carrots, fruits) with milk feeds in between - but we fed him on demand.

BabyMoo doesn't have fixed nap times or a bed time either. But whenever he's sleepy, we recognise the signs and help him sleep. At bed time, we create a (sort of) routine for him we call the 3M - Music, massage, milk. But we never instil a fixed time for bed. He plays with us or Granny until he's sleepy, and surprisingly, he will without fail turn to Mummy, lay his head on my shoulder, grab my arms, and perk up at the mention of milk. This happens at around 9.30pm - 10.00pm, and he's usually fast asleep by 10.30pm. When he was able to point things out (apart from jabbing Mummy's eyes, nose and ears) he would ask for milk, his massage lotion after his feed and then point to the TV.

Because TV is not bad enough.
Bath times are at odd hours of the day - he can be so sweaty and sticky that a bath is necessary just before he sleeps (otherwise the fussy boy will toss and turn and be generally uncomfortable), and by the time I pick him up from my MIL's place, we will usually reach home at 9.30pm.

We don't insist and try to make him sleep at a precise hour daily, or create a timetable that he has to follow religiously. We figured that he has the rest of his life to be exposed to a more or less regimented lifestyle, unless we decide to migrate elsewhere.

We are happy, and so is he.

I have such bad parents they think that me falling asleep sitting up is amusing.

b) We feed BabyMoo anything and everything!

(apart from alcohol and spirits on their own.)

Ever since he's able to sit and eat at the table with us (7 months onwards) we aren't averse to feeding him what we eat. He would usually point to Mummy's / Daddy's plate / drink, and we give him a taste of it, within reason, of course.

He's had his share of all kinds of cuisine, from Bread Boules to Duck Rice to Paella... and he's taken well to everything except chicken breast. He has an odd aversion to chicken breast and lean meats in any form, and when I initially tried mixing chicken in his usual pork porridge and carrots previously, he spat it out and swatted away the bowl. Now he's not too bad with chicken, since he discovered the wonderful taste of soya sauce chicken - but will still be able to differentiate between the breast and the upper thigh meat.

Chawan mushi only from Sushi Tei, and nowhere else (we tried!). Eggs were fed to him at 8 months in the form of Omega 3 Egg Tofu because Mummy was clueless and only found out that eggs are only supposed to be fed to baby after they turn one!

But as long as he likes the food, he can have it day in, day out, every day, without any complaints.

Chocolate cakes, ice cream, mousse and puddings. He's able to point out exactly which ice-cream flavour and cake selection off the counter now, and relishes each bite. He sometimes refuses to share his food, and we're constantly reminding him that he HAS to share, and that's another hurdle we have to overcome.

A night cap with Daddy just before bed.

c) We don't hog Baby Changing rooms.

It takes us under a minute to change his diaper now (apart from the times when we are slowed down by the toxic fumes of more 'ornate' diaper changes in the usually ill-equipped changing rooms).

We don't use a changing mat to line the public changer. Now that the bub prefers to be changed standing up, Pull-Ups are a god-send. We've noticed parents who line the changer with a mat or wipe it using almost half of the contents of the wet wipes (80s), use lotion, use powder, etc. I must really admire their diligence in ensuring that their child is not too exposed to germs! :)

Apart from the fact that we have a squirmer and flipper who refuses to lie still during a diaper change, we're so inadequately care-less(?) comparatively. Thank goodness BabyMoo doesn't suffer from diaper rash badly as long as we *remember* to change his diaper every 4 hours - which DaddyMoo proudly proclaims is gotten from his 'cow-hide' attribute.

d) We don't over-sterilise.

While we still observe a measure of hygiene when it comes to BabyMoo (we use baby-friendly washing liquids, detergents, softeners, and DaddyMoo has a little container of washing liquid to wash Baby's utensils in the diaper bag at all times)...

We hardly make it a point to:
  • wipe down the high chair every time we're presented with one at restaurants unless it's so obviously dirty, in which case we would rather he sits at a regular chair.
  • we let him go on kiddy rides without wiping down the steering wheel and seat
  • we sometimes forget to wash his hands before meals (then in lieu of carrying up a seated, comfortable kid looking forward to his meal - I will proceed to wipe his hands with hand and mouth wipes the best I can)
  • we feed him pretzel, cake, and food morsels on the go after wiping our hands on a wet wipe.
  • we never mopped our floors with Dettol. BabyMoo is actually smart enough to never attempt to put non-food items in his mouth.

Bringing me to the playground at dusk is their idea of a joke. Serves *them* right if they get eaten alive by mozzies! 

DaddyMoo and I believe that when we subject a child to a regimented lifestyle, disallow him things to do, watch and eat, our child will not be as exposed to the outside world as we would prefer him to be. We prefer to educate rather than outright ban, for being the rebels that we both were, we totally understand how the forbidden fruit can sometimes taste the sweetest.

My Mehmee feeds me all sorts of junk just to see if I'm like a regular kid who loves them. Too bad I'm always all out to spite her. She gets so disappointed when I only get off on holding the supposed bad stuff instead of gobbling them!

BabyMoo asks for a certain food. It was given to him. He doesn't like it much... spits it out, and never asks for it again. Not even when he's hungry and that's what Daddy and Mummy are having. He recognises things at first glance, and he remembers what they are called. I think it's amazing that he's able to do this... but I'm his mother and I'm allowed to be biased :)

We're also hoping that BabyMoo would have built up his immunity from having 'dirty' parents. We draw the line at certain things, though... when we come to it.

We definitely aren't the model parents that we should be, but we love our son to bits and pieces and more. We try to give him what we can, the best way we know how, and all our faults aside, we would only wish for the best for our son.

As all parents do.

"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow,
yet sometimes we forget that he is someone today."



Has my Mehmee stopped warbling yet?! Wake me up when the babbling ends.

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I like to MOOve it... MOOve it!

Friday, 26 April 2013

BabyMoo loves to groove to music, and these days, he's into musicals and movies
which have catchy tunes.


Needless to say, he absolutely loves Madagascar, which I suppose most kids do!




His favourite character is Gloria, which probably reminds him a lot of Mehmee!!


Spot the difference. The stomach is well hidden, but that would be the dead giveaway.

Happy Friday, and have a fabulous weekend!


Linking up with:

The Cool Parent's Guide to Internet Slang

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

When I first saw 'LOL' on a forum thread, back in the 90s, I wondered what it meant. I stared at the screen, for almost a full minute, thinking of what the acronym stands for. I wondered if it was something rude, something bad, or meant to visually scold a person, because it was usually accompanied by an exclamation mark (or two). But I had an inkling that it is an acronym, because it was typed in upper case letters.

I deduced, at that moment, LOL stands for: Lack Of Love.

Then common sense told me that it seems rather far fetched that so many people in that particular thread was  accusing one another of suffering from a lack of love - and in that friendly banter... nobody seems to mind that such a notion was even suggested to them.

So I Yahoo-ed (yes, Google wasn't THE main search engine back then) it, and LOL-ed at myself.

It's 2013, and the internet has not only become a source of information, but it has evolved into a communication tool which the young (and some old!) have embraced with fervour. Whilst I don't really care about the abbreviations which the young use while chatting on social media and chat rooms, I realise that getting advanced in years should not be an excuse for use to remain stagnant, ignorant, and not keep up with the times.

I draw the line at using these abbreviations in formal email messages and in blog posts, but admittedly, the knowledge does come in handy when we're responding to chat messages on mobile or on tablet devices. In informal settings, they are an extremely effective way of saving keystrokes - provided that the people whom you are chatting with, understand it as well. Never mind that even though it saves the writer's time, the reader takes more than twice the time to understand what the writer is trying to say!

But saving keystrokes and chatting in (secret groups) is not the main reason why parents should keep up with the times!

Knowing these terms and using it in messages with the kids will totally disarm them - and put you in the 'cool parents' category, after they get over the fact that they can't really keep secrets from mum and dad.

So... to start you off, here is a basic list of the most commonly used internet slang and acronyms. If you come across something (in upper case letters) that is not listed here - chances are they are swear words. Don't be alarmed -  it's probably nothing but harmless 'texting'!


Abbreviations are also case sensitive. Here is a complete list of internet slangs and abbreviations from the Slang Dictionary.

Have fun deciphering online messages. Although it may seem overwhelming now, the most wonderful thing I have realised about remembering acronyms is that you can almost always figure out what it means after you've read what it means the first time round!

HTH, TTFN!

Linking up with:

new button    My Little Drummer Boys    

The 'Elitist Mentality'

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

I was rather concerned when I read this post on how some people view others purely based on their educational background.

Perhaps what struck me worse than the generalised opinion that the ‘product’ of certain educational institutions are destined for a career in the bottom rungs of the rat race society is the fact that there are some who are ready to write them off as not being able to perform as well as (if not better) than those who have been through the ‘accepted’ norms of higher tertiary education.

Based on this fact alone, if the biasness is already there, do we even take into account their personal characters? Do we discount the fact that everyone are human beings by birthright, and thus, need to build their own characters, so as to survive in society?

Truth be told, this ‘Elitist Mentality’ is one that many people are guilty of, and it doesn’t even need to be nurtured to flourish.

When I was searching for a suitable preschool for the boy, I wasn’t really surprised to note that many people recommended ‘high-end’ ones. One of the most interesting arguments that I have encountered was that a parent chose to enrol the kid in a well-known school simply because there seems to be less chance of her children mixing around with other kids from dubious backgrounds. At that time, when I first heard of this avenue of thought, I wondered out loud to the husband what exactly is the definition of a ‘dubious background’. Are the elite rich (or those who can afford to send their kid to an expensive school) exempt from this select group of people? Does it mean that a rich man’s kid is less likely to engage in fights, and playground bullying? Are they less likely to instigate mischief or create trouble?

The husband, in his usual dismissive way, laughed and said: “I would rather he mixes around with riff-raffs and be exposed to the ‘real’ world, rather than be wrapped up in a bubble of greenbacks, rainbows and roses. It is our duty as parents to then steer him in the right direction, and make sure that while he is aware of the world in all its dirty glory, he does not fall prey to the temptation, and is able to hold his own."

For us, it’s not about protecting him from the world. It’s about teaching him values, and making him understand that while he is taught the virtues of humility and respect, there are others who are not lucky enough to have adults who care enough to teach them what they need to get by. The world is not simply black or white... grey is also a colour.

I’m not arguing the fact that perhaps there are other privileges which these schools are able to provide for in which middle and lower tier ones don’t, but what I find hard to accept is simply the mentality of many parents who enrol their children there NOT because they believe in the methods of foundation learning, but because they feel that it will be a better environment for their children based on the fact that 90% of the students will come from the upper echelons of society, financially. The other 10% cannot really afford it, but they scrimp and save so as to provide their children with the very best, based on what they feel will be best for them.

I’m not going to adopt a ‘holier-than-thou’ stance and claim that I do not worry about how my kid will turn out in the future, and hope that his life partner will be able to at least ‘see’ things from our perspective. It is no secret that certain ‘value systems’ of a family is unique to each unit, and at the risk of sounding elitist, I do believe that in a majority of cases, values differ between one socio- economic level to the next. What I would like to emphasise is that I will not treat or form an opinion about his choice of friends based on their financial backgrounds or educational levels per se. I’m totally fine with someone who shares our values, but have no paperwork to boast of.

The hubs and I work in companies which place great importance on people as individuals, and not simply what they have on paper, so we are totally aware of how some who may have the string of titles behind their names measure up to those who have worked their way up from the bottom. We are all aware that while education forms a basis to an increase in aptitude, knowledge without compassion and humility is simply - a search engine.

Some may argue that an 'elitist mentality' is pretty necessary in this day and age. We are expected to have optimal performance and optimal efforts put into work, play and parenting for optimal results. I have found myself in that trap as well, numerous times, more of my own concerted expectations of myself rather than societal pressures. While I concede that the optimum results can be unattainable, I do try to come as close to it as possible. That said, I do not and will not look down on anybody else who may, perhaps, perform to a lesser degree. After all, expectations are set only on oneself, and there is the all-important clause to take note of: Optimum results, according to whose / what benchmarks?

It doesn't mean that just because a person has humble beginnings, he / she is less privileged and cannot be a person of higher standing in society in the future. It just means that they may just have to try harder because they may not have the little stepping stones which may aid them in their journey. What I cannot understand, is why people seem to already form an impression of a person, simply based on their Alma mater, or by the uniform they wear.

I enrolled BabyMoo in a school based on a number of factors. The accessibility to my in-laws’ place (just in case), the general ‘feel’ I have about the school when I visited it, the teachers, the ratio of students to teachers, it’s mission statement, and the fact that we are comfortable with the school fees. Of course, as parents, we would want our children to have the best, and we are constantly making sure that they have the right 'start up' in life. But is it really necessary to look down on other families who may not be able to accord the same privileges on their children? Worse, do we then view these children as being lesser equipped to handle life?

Ultimately, I think the child education factor still lies heavily on our shoulders, because we are not parents who expect a school to do what parents are supposed to. Our parents disciplined us, taught us right and wrong, and ingrained values in us. School was merely a place where we were taught to read and write, used the values we learnt from our parents to play well with others, formed friendships, and (tried) to not break any rules!

More than anything else, we want to teach our son to be adaptable. We would rather he be street smart and savvy in his everyday dealings, because not everyone is as straight as an arrow. That is something which perhaps even the most elite school is not equipped to handle. It's all good and fine if BabyMoo has a BA, BS, MBA, MD, PhD or MSc, but if he has no heart, humility and compassion, we have failed as his parents. Life goes far beyond society standings and paper qualifications.

I am not going to bother to compete with a person who has the elitist mentality, because chances are, their character is such that they will always find a way to put themselves above me. They will try to make us see that they are bigger, brighter and smarter than us, and will not hesitate to be condescending to us in every available opportunity.

I dread to think that moving forward; we are going to see and encounter more and more of these people, because perhaps, they were brought up that way. With the direction which the society is heading, it is almost quite impossible to change a collective mindset.

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The Journey is the Destination

Friday, 19 April 2013



Tell me a story of who you are,
and see who I am in the stories I am living.
And together we will remember that each of us always has a choice.

Don't tell me how wonderful things will be... some day.
Show me you can risk being completely at peace,
truly okay with the way things are right now in this moment,
and again in the next and the next and the next...

Show me how you take care of business
without letting business determine who you are.

When the children are fed but still the voices within and around us -
shout that soul's desires have too high a price,
let us remind each other that it is never about the money.

Dance with me in the silence and in the sound of small daily words,
holding neither against me at the end of the day.

I have sent you my invitation,
the note inscribed on the palm of my hand by the fire of living.
Don’t jump up and shout, “Yes, this is what I want! Let’s do it!”
Just stand up quietly and dance with me.

© Oriah Mountain Dreamer: The Dance.


Contributing to:

Write Away

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Even though I've only been blogging for a little over a year, I realised that documenting the little things that make parenting and motherhood worthwhile has been nothing but a wonderful experience.

It's amazing how so many things can happen in such a short span of time - and it's equally wondrous how each and every experience brings us to new levels of consciousness, realizations, and perhaps even make us understand a little more of ourselves.

Looking back through what I've written - across a blank canvas of time and space, I see so many changes, so many things that have happened since I started a few weeks after BabyMoo turned one. Some good, some sad, a cacophony of emotions written across the pages; a reflection of my thoughts, my feelings and all that I have been through since motherhood bestowed its magic on me.

A myriad of colours bound together on the pages of the screen... in a rainbow hue of oranges, blues and greens - some as dark as my moods, some as bright as the summer sky. Rays of colours bound together by a single thread called faith, brought together by people and places that have influenced the start of this wondrous journey.

I would like to think that motherhood simply involves sacrifice, and sacrificing for my child would be easy. To a certain extent, it perhaps is. I may grouse and whine about it, but I don't mind forgoing the sleep, or having to stay up all night just to monitor him when he isn't well. I don't mind not being able to dress up to the nines for social engagements because I would much prefer to pretend-drink and eat the plastic food which the little Moo-chef cooks for me. But sometimes, when I find myself having sacrificed my identity, or when I'm constantly reminded that my life is no longer mine to do as I please, I feel a twinge of sadness.

When that happens, I write. I write about my feelings, and my hopes, and my dreams. They say that a problem shared is a problem halved... and it is true in this instance. Somehow, when I have poured out my thoughts and worries, I tend to be able to see things in a clearer perspective.

I embrace the words that have given me the power to remember events and experiences, feelings and emotions. The anger and sadness which sometimes accompany the challenges faced, and the peals of laughter that have overshadowed the darkness.

I write about love, loving, hurt and despair.
I remember people and faces we've seen, and places we've been.

I love the melody that the memories bring to me.

Today, I look back in awe and wonder at all the colours that have made my life worth living. As I trundle on my journey, your support will help me through the darkest moments, and cheer me on the sunshine days.

So stay with me, won't you?





Linking up with:

SANses.com's Talkative Thursdays

Quiche, Küeche, Cake : It's all Savoury Goodness

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Quiche (/ˈkʃ/ keesh) is a savoury, pastry crust dish with a filling of savoury custard with either meat, vegetables, or fish. 

It's also perhaps the only type of Western fare which BabyMoo likes. His palate is pure Asian, and he doesn't really fancy pasta or burgers, or potatoes. Give him duck rice, soya sauce chicken rice or thick, hearty meatball and century egg porridge, and he will be a very happy boy.

But Quiche? He loves. Maybe because it's almost similar to steamed egg, which is a predominantly Chinese dish.

Quiche is now considered a classic French dish, but many people aren't aware that it actually originated in Germany, in the medieval kingdom called Lorraine. Quiche is derived from the German word 'Kuchen', meaning cake.

I had a Salmon and Spinach Quiche earlier. Come drool with me.


Linking up with:

new button    My Little Drummer Boys    

Common Sense? Non-sense!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

I don't know if it has anything to do with age, but I find myself more accepting somehow - now, more than I ever was before.

I suppose a lot of things in life are learned the hard way, sometimes there are events and situations that we do not seem to see or are able to decipher and understand until we personally go through it. Perhaps in a lot of instances, many of us have been more 'mature' than our counterparts ever since we can remember, but I've come to a point when I realise that a lot of things and solutions are so much easier said than done. It is really simple to see things from a clear perspective and see the most feasible (if not only) solution for the situation... if we weren't the ones going through it.

There have been instances when my advice is sought, and I'm not too proud to admit that at times, I can't help thinking how silly the whole scenario is... or how could it even make sense that the evident way out eludes that particular person. However, I cannot say that I will not be as confused or as irrational as the person concerned if I were in their shoes.

Maybe that's part of the reason why I'm a tad more tolerant now than I ever was before, I always try to give the benefit of the doubt to a whole lot more people, and I tend to treat things that used to irritate me in a great way lightly. I actually learned to laugh at silliness and the total lack of common sense now, instead of getting myself all wired up, irritated, and angered by the sheer stupidity of the person or situation.

I may even be cynical, as some would tend to see it, but that's not an entirely bad thing. How can something that actually makes me a happier and more light hearted person - be that bad?

I find myself more sedate now, it's as though I'm tired of fighting a losing battle with the world. When I was younger, I tend to lose my temper over things that doesn't make sense to me. Things that irritate me simply because I think that it shouldn't have happened in the first place. I get angry with people who don't really know the art of being humble, people who think the whole world of themselves, people who refuse to see reason because they always think that they're right, and people who refuse to learn by observing others - thus limiting their perspectives.

In a nutshell, I had very little patience for things that simply scream of 'stupidity' to me. Not because I think they are stupid, but because things that transpire does not make sense to me. I used to have this way of thinking that goes: "If I can see it, I don't see a reason why you can't."

...and then I realised that what may make sense to me, may not be seen the same way by others. Not by a long shot.

Now I've mellowed out somehow. Or I'd like to think that I have. What would previously get me in a tizzy just makes me walk away shaking my head with a smile, and what used to anger me beyond all reason would just be taken with a pinch of salt. I'm more tolerant and accepting of other people's faults, and even rudeness doesn't get to me as much as it used to.

When I stopped bothering about all these minor little imperfections in life, when I stopped caring so much about how things could've gone if they were done differently... I find myself a happier person.

I don't want to have to keep on changing channels to find a programme that would suit my taste and I would enjoy watching. If I have to, I will watch whatever it is that's showing, and find certain aspects that would make me enjoy it more.

I have only one life. I realized that I cannot always expect things to go the way I expect them to. If I did any longer than I have already wasted my time as it is, I would stop making sense, even to myself.



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Play-Doh Plus: Sweet Shoppe Frosting Fun Bakery Playset (Review andGiveaway!)

Monday, 15 April 2013

As a kid, I loved creating things out of the old-fashioned plasticine. Never mind the foul smell, and that it stained my fingers whatever colour I chose to work with. I've long since stopped playing with those, but they held some great memories of play fun growing up!

So when I was presented with the opportunity to try out the new Play Doh compound, I was terribly excited. I'm not sure how the two year old boy will take to it, but now is perhaps a good time as any to try to see if he can exercise the imagination enough to create something out of - well... practically nothing! (The husband will attest to my proficiency in that department!)


The PLAY-DOH Plus Sweet Shoppe FROSTING FUN BAKERY Playset comes with the new Play-Doh Plus compound, which promises a more engaging play due to its softer and more pliant nature. From the attractive packaging, I was excited to note that we can create realistic looking cupcakes and cakes, complete with frosting details. Now all that’s left is to see if I'm able to do so, with BabyMoo's help!


BabyMoo knows Mehmee is hopeless when it comes to setting up stuff that comes in pieces from a box, so because Daddy is not around, he's taken charge!



What's in the box: Playset, 2-piece extruder, shelf, tray, cake stand, turntable, display dome, 4 cake cutters, 4 extruder tips, cupcake liner, cake server, plate, plastic knife, fork, 2 cans of Play-Doh Brand Modeling Compound and 2 cans of Play-Doh Plus compound.

Set-up is pretty easy, because the base itself has the different sized 'holes' to affix the parts. I didn't even need to look at the instructions manual - I just tried to push the domes and parts into the appropriate places!



We put the Play-Doh Plus compound into the syringe-like 'extruder', and push it through so that the 'frosting' comes out through the tips. There are three different extruder tips, so there are 3 different frosting designs to play with. I loved the bright colours and the texture, which made it so easy to mould and shape to whatever we fancy!


What I didn't like, however, was that the extruder was too big (length-wise), and thus we had to use up quite a bit of Play-Doh to get just a few 'strings' of frosting. Furthermore, since it was so soft, most of it got stuck on the sides of the extruder, and even though I tried scraping it off, it crumbled and got stuck onto the floor instead!

I couldn't salvage it, and in the end, had to use a piece of tissue to clean the piece, wasting quite a fair bit of Play-Doh in the process. Since it came only in a 1-oz pack, we were left with practically nothing much for play on another day.


But look what Mummy we made!! I was quite proud of that cupcake, I tell ya! BabyMoo kept wanting to eat it, which just goes to show that part of it being realistic? I have to give it to the people at Hasbro for thinking up of such a delightful product!


Now... for the best part.

I HAVE 2 PLAY-DOH PLUS FROSTING FUN BAKERY PLAYSET FOR 2 LUCKY READERS!

(contest is only open for those residing in Singapore, prizes are to be self-collected)

Simple steps to qualify:

1. SHARE this post via this link on MummyMoo's FB page.
2. Leave a comment on that post, and tag a friend.

Two lucky readers who leave a comment on the post will stand to win a set of Play-Doh Plus Bakery Playset each!




This contest ends on Monday, 22 April 2013, at 0000hrs.
BabyMoo will help Mummy choose the winner!

Good Luck!

***

Disclaimer: We received a set of Play-Doh Plus Sweet Shoppe Frosting Fun Bakery Playset for MummyMoo to play with. All opinions are based on our own experience.

- UPDATE -

BabyMoo shakes the names in the box... and picks 2 names out.


HERE ARE OUR TWO LUCKY READERS!







CONGRATULATIONS!

You have won a PLAY-DOH Sweet Shoppe Frosting Fun Bakery Playset each!!



We will contact you shortly for prize collection.

Thank you for participating... and do look out for more awesome giveaways soon!

I'm Instagramming my 'perfect' life. So there.

Friday, 12 April 2013

So there was this post which recently made its rounds on social media. In it, the writer mentioned about how so many people seem to be intent on showcasing their lives through Instagram. The resultant 'Envy effect' can perhaps be detrimental to the people who are privy to the photo postings, for they may then be tempted to compare between their world in messy black and white, versus the soft filtered hues of a picture perfect Instagram one.

While I can truly identify with the post in question, I find it quite difficult to totally agree with the points raised. Perhaps it's because the subject(s) of my Instagram photos are those which I hold near and dear to my heart.  The intention is not to evoke envy, but to simply showcase a more 'presentable' photo than one simply taken as is. In a picture frame, there would be a certain point of focus, and the crop tool in Instagram makes it so much simpler to draw the viewer's attention to the object. Add a filter to enhance the 'mood', and it's a moment in time captured beautifully. My friend Evelyn, of the BottomsUp Blog, summed it up pretty nicely here, where she shares her thoughts on how Instagram has changed the way she viewed the world.

I am not a photographer, nor do I attempt to pass my images off as such, but since the evolution of Instagram, I have become more aware that we can capture images to tell a story without words. I look through the many beautifully taken photos on my feed, by friends, and also by others whom I follow because their photos move me. They have taught me that there is more to just simply a photo taken in point and shoot mode, and we don't really need a fancy camera to capture wonderful moments which speak for themselves.

While I may never be able to take a picture which will make a photographer sit up and take notice, I am able to still learn to take better pictures. I can explore different angles and capture it in such a way that it touches not only my heart, but hopefully, elicits a visceral feeling in others. Call me a visual narcissist, if you may, but I believe that life is filled with a myriad of fleeting multi coloured moments which are worth remembering.

A photograph starts long before we take the camera out of its case. In the absence of cumbersome equipment, the mobile phone is a device which we can instinctively whip out to capture a passing moment. Without the benefit of a professional camera's add-ons, Instagram is simply a platform to accentuate the raw image so that it will be more visually appealing.

I've mentioned that I don't (and am not able to) take award winning photos, right? Here is a look at how I use Instagram to capture a wonderful moment shared between friends.

Being Instaddicts, we know that the best photos are usually taken in natural light conditions, so after lunch in a pretty dim restaurant with yellow lighting (gasp!) we scouted around for a place with sufficient daylight coming in. Not an easy task given that we were in a Harajuku style shopping centre!


Take 1: Not a bad photo, just that the angle isn't all too flattering for Adeline (The Accidental Mom Blogger) and Liza (Mother of Xander) looks like she's in the midst of labour whilst Jennifer (Dinomama) tries to catch baby before he falls out.


Take 2: By this time, we were laughing so hard that an attempt to take a photo with a non-shaky hand is next to impossible! Fuzzy pic, instagrammed to look like a posterized version!


Take 3: Try taking a photo stifling a laugh. Here we all look constipated. It was made worse by a big group of people approaching where we were taking the silly shots... and trust me, 4 middle aged women trying to look cute in a self taken pic is bound to be accorded with some funny looks.


Take 4: A rather presentable (finally!) photo. Pity the one who got only half her face in the pic! By now, we were all exhausted trying to contain laughter.

After several failed attempts, we finally managed to take a not-too-bad photo.


But Jennifer's nostrils are distracting. So thank goodness for the Instagram crop feature!


Behind that 'perfect life' are countless of mis-shots and NG takes. I don't know about you, but I would rather see a pretty 'polished' photo of us four, rather than the wrinkles, nostrils or birthing techniques! Besides, I think I'm comfortable and contented enough in life to not be envious of others. I choose to take away the positives from Social Media, because there is just so much to what we can learn from others, and life is hard enough without us advocating to one of the 7 deadly sins.


Contributing to:

Philips AVENT Natural Bottle : Review

Thursday, 11 April 2013

I was invited to the launch of the new Philips AVENT Natural Bottle some time back, and to provide a more comprehensive review of the product, I was pleased to be able to have a first hand experience in using the bottles.

The Philips AVENT Natural bottles comes in two sizes - either 9oz (260ml) or 4oz (125ml). Made of 100% BPA free plastic, the new design boasts an ergonomic grip and a twin vent (to minimise the occurrence of colic). There is also a glass version for those who prefer it. I personally feel that glass bottles are heavy and are not too easy to handle, especially since they get extremely hot post-sterilization!


I must confess, I actually chose AVENT bottles previously because I am big on aesthetics (I even opt for credit cards based on their interface!). I like the bottles for its simple and clean design, and since this trait also extends to their entire range, needless to say, I have always had a preference for their products.

Can I say I absolutely love the new bottle design?

It's simple and subtly sexy - with the ergonomic curvature giving it a hint of shapely flair. The bigger bottle fits nicely in my hands, whereas the smaller one can be held by just wrapping the forefinger and the thumb around it. It's made so that little hands are able to get a firmer grip.



What struck me most about this new design is that the teats and the 'top portion' of the bottle is shaped as close to a breast as possible. The new range of bottles has been designed to allow babies make seamless transitions from breast to bottle. Apart from the shape, the teats have 'petals' around it, a familiar feature in their breast pumps. This makes the teat 'anti-colic' as it incorporates a twin-valve system, connected via these petal shapes. Furthermore, due to its shape, I am so pleased to note that the teat doesn't 'collapse' when BabyMoo pushes the bottle closer to his mouth to suckle!



My major pet peeve about the Classic bottles previously was the 'adaptor' ring which was added on to prevent leakage and part of the '2-piece' anti colic system. It was really inconvenient to have to insert the ring onto the ridge around the teat, and then make sure that it fits perfectly onto the bottle. Add a screaming baby into the equation, and you have a recipe for a frazzled mum. It was also a hygiene concern as I had to use my bare hands to fit it in, as using tongs would take me till the next feed.


I was so pleased to note that the new bottles did away with the adaptor ring!


Here is a comparison of the size between the Classic bottle, and the new Natural range. One thing to note is that even though the Natural bottle is compatible with the majority of the Philips AVENT range, it cannot be used (or interchanged) with the Classic bottles. So if you have existing bottles and would like to simply replace the teat, it is not possible since the new ones have a slightly bigger circumference. 


The new bottles are taller and slightly wider at the base and top. It has the same capacity as the Classic range.

Another problem I encountered when I used the older bottles (apart from that adaptor ring!) was that there is leakage when the bottle is not twisted on properly. For those who are still on the Classic bottle, what I found worked was to NOT tighten the bottle top too much, weird as it may sound. 

With the new bottles, I did not encounter any leakage at all, despite twisting on the top carelessly. It took one turn, and the bottle is sealed perfectly.

As for BabyMoo - the new Natural range seems to agree with him, because using one hand is cooler. He rocked it his way.


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DISCLAIMER: This review post is part of a series of sponsored conversations between Philips AVENT Singapore and MummyMOO. While I was compensated for this post, all opinions expressed here are based on our personal experience.




 

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