Leave a light on for me!

Friday, 30 May 2014

Call me a wuss, but I was always scared of the dark.

Growing up, I've always had a night light on in the room at night, and even when I used to co-sleep with my mum, the night light was always there - perhaps for comfort, rather than necessity - in my older years. 

Then I met this dude who has to sleep in complete darkness, and since I married him, I have had to get used to it. At least for a year or so, until the bub came along.

I'm sure all of us can recall (or are going through) the countless times we have to wake up at night either to feed the baby or change poopy diapers the first 12 months post birth. I have had a night light on ever since we brought Caden home from hospital, and with or without light, DaddyMoo sleeps on, anyways (it's amazing how the 'must sleep in darkness' thing doesn't feature anymore after baby!)

So Caden is probably used to having a little light on at night, but as he gets older, he often complains that our current light is 'choobight, Marmee, choobight!' We tried to switch it off the moment he sleeps, but that one time we did, he woke up screaming in terror, groping for me, and trembling in fear. Perhaps the onset of total darkness disoriented him, and it took us awhile to coax him back to sleep the following nights after that incident.

When I found out that Philips have come up with a range of night lights designed to help kids ease into sleep and provide comfort should they awaken at night, I thought that this is a perfect solution for a little boy who has recently declared that there are 'alyensss and monnnnsters at night, so I don't want to go sleep'.

I attended the Philips Disney Imaginative Lighting launch a fortnight ago, by kind invitation, and I was extremely intrigued by their promise of 'Creating magic with imaginative lighting'. Unfortunately, Caden wasn't able to attend as I had to rush to the event from work, and thus couldn't pick him up in time. He missed a fabulous time!

"P.S: Please bring your PJs and your little ones along for a magical adventure with light"

Prior to the launch, I thought to myself - what could be so special about these night lights? For me, a light is a light with the only differences being wattage, energy saving qualities, and colour. I could not have been more wrong.


Philips, together with Disney, have cleverly brought well loved characters closer to the young and young at heart by igniting their imaginations (all pun intended). Through the clever use of light and touch, the Philips children's lamps encourage sensory development in young children, while at the same time, make them look forward to bed time.

Honestly, when I was first introduced to the product, I was wondering how it can actually help a child to sleep better, and soothe them should they awaken in the middle of the night. With adventure figures for the boys and princessy ones for the girls, wouldn't they be playing with it instead of sleeping with it? While looking at the range of night lights, I found myself fiddling with a few of them, and against my better judgement, found myself having a personal favourite!

Guess which one I like!

We were given a short intro of the products, made more lively with kids' engagement. The Quiz segment was specially popular because everyone wanted the torch and motion sensor lights which were given to those who had the right answer!

Ms. Mieke De Schepper, General Manager of Philips Lighting Singapore, giving a short product intro and addressing problems which many parents have in getting their kids to fall asleep.
Winnie the Pooh Torch Light and motion activated night light (photo courtesy of Mabel of Amazingly Still)
We all know how active children's imaginations can be, and as they get older and get more exposed to stories and tales, they tend to have fears of darkness and being alone. This can affect bedtime routines and prove to be very challenging for parents and caregivers to settle them down for the night. Through the Q & A segment, I also found out that children have a tendency to awaken more during the night if they were put to bed too early and thus have had enough rest.

With this in mind, the range of night lights from Philips aim to quell the children's fears and soothe them during the night using familiar characters that they can identify with. There are illuminated soft toys (SoftPals), torch lights and projector lights with scenes from well loved Disney tales. Mickey and Minnie, Monsters Inc, Winnie the Pooh, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Cars and Disney Princesses take centre stage in making bedtime fun for the kids!

How cute are these? (Images courtesy of Adora of The Gingerbread Mum)
And a rare shot of the people who are normally taking the pictures!

Left to right: Rachel of Catch Forty-Winks, Mabel of Amazingly Still, and Cherie of Cherieladie, with little Ms. Nakayla!
I'm with Evelyn  of The Bottoms Up Blog (she's the one with long hair) and Adora, The Gingerbread Mum herself! Of course, I look like their Mother here.
We had the opportunity to try out the effectiveness of the product when Caden was sent a wonderful package from Philips. I had my eye on a particular SoftPal during the launch, and I am Caden is indeed a very, very lucky boy to have Mike to chase all the monsters and aliens lurking in his night-world!


Meet Mike Wazowski. Fighting Midnight Monsters all over the world!

Mike, at rest
Mike, at work!
Mike is a Philips Disney SoftPal. He is green, rubbery cute, light and super safe for little hands to hold or play with. Mike ate an LED bulb, so he always stays cool to the touch. He doesn't have any sharp edges or small parts, and he gets energy from a rechargeable battery hidden safely inside him. He gets charged up when we press the little Monsters Inc. logo on his charging base.

I tried to figure out how Mike gets charged. I didn't see any plugs or wiring on either his base or the charging pad, and while I fiddled with it, the husband shook his head and grabbed it off me with a stern: DON'T PEEL OFF THE BASE!!

(Me and electronic gadgets don't get along, so that's part of the reason I married a guy who at least knows the difference between a wall plug and a plug)

Anyways, on the technical aspect of it - I stopped trying to figure out what makes Mike work. I think some clever parents in their company made this product.

Rest Mike on the charging base to give him energy.
Press the Monsters Inc. logo to charge!
Caden was absolutely thrilled by his little stress ball. He kept on asking me why Mike lights up, and I told him that 'Mike ate a lightbulb for energy to fight all the monsters and aliens, so you will be safe at night.' (One thing I learnt about being a Mum is that you are suddenly able to conjure up all sorts of answers and excuses on a whim)

Please excuse the blurred pictures. He was so excited he couldn't keep still and hold Mike long enough to pose!
Ok... you must be thinking (I know I did) - Mike and his friends may be cute and all, but how effective is he in delivering what he's designed to do?

I tested him over a period of 5 days.

The first night, Caden was too excited with his new toy to actually be coaxed to sleep, but I made up a story about how Mike lit up the way for some hunters lost in the woods (or whatever it was I came up with that night) and as he listened, enthralled, I can almost picture him imagining himself in the story.


As we progressed further 'into the woods', I switched off the main light, and told him that Mike usually appears when someone needs help or is in trouble.


...and then, suddenly, he was asleep.


I can attribute it to my wonderful story telling skills, or perhaps he was really bored out of his wits and was too polite to tell me, but I do believe that Mike helped him sleep.

The next night, he threw Mike around the room for awhile after his shower before bed. He then set him on the pillow, and... started talking to him! That nearly creeped me out somewhat, but it was endearing to hear him tell Mike to help him fight the 'alyensss and monnnnsters in the jungle!'

It's been 6 nights since, and apart from the occasional 'I want to watch Teeveee!!' he seems to look forward to having Mike by his side at night. He hardly wakes up at night (unless he is unwell) so I can't really say if Mike would help to ease him back to sleep should he do so.

I'm not sure if the novelty would wear off, but so far, it seems to be proving quite effective in coaxing him to sleep!

I like the SoftPal because even though Mike emits a luminescent green light, the husband and I found it non-intrusive, unlike a regular night light which can prove to be so in total darkness. Reading up on the product details, I also found out that they are BPA free and non-toxic, so they are completely safe for little kids.

Soft and squishy, they are great night time companions!

#truth

Currently, the Philips Disney lighting range is available online. From June 2014 onwards, you can get them at selected departmental and mother & childcare stores.



Philips Disney SoftPal - $72.90





Philips Disney Light & Image Projectors - $38.90





Philips Disney Night Light - $24.90





Philips Disney Torch Light - $19.90




DISCLAIMER: This review post is part of a series of sponsored conversations between PHILIPS Singapore and MummyMoo.

I have been given monetary compensation for this review, and Mike Wazowski has been given to Caden so that we will be able to present a first hand mother and son experience. All bedtime stories, lousy photography, child, content and opinions are, however, my own.

Toilet Training: Don't sweat the small stuff!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Caden is 3 years and 4 months old, and I have no qualms about admitting that he isn't fully toilet trained yet. The husband and I have always allowed him to develop at his own pace, and so we believe that as soon as he's ready to go off diapers, he will let us know.

Amidst pressure from my mum (who started asking me about toilet training when he was 18 months old) and her constant nagging about how reliant we were on diapers, I tried to explain to her that I refuse to place unnecessary pressure on either him or his caregivers. Of course, I met with resistance from her, but I figured out that I'm not going to let her affect me because if she were to be believed, my brother and I were off nappies at one year old, ate full meals on our own at 15 months, and be able to recite the multiplication tables on our 2nd birthday. 

Yes. I kid you not :) 

So for the past year or so, I've never really conscientiously trained him. As it is, I hardly have time with him, and when I do, I refuse to spend the time sweating over the small stuff. He naturally one day decided that big boy undies are a necessary part of his school uniform, and told me so. He's been diaper-free during the day for the past 3 months, without any accidental 'spillage' thus far - but honestly speaking (please don't judge!) I really miss the diaper days... and not having to worry about finding a toilet in 60 seconds or less when we're out, or potentially embarrassing accidents.

I'm not in the running for mother of the year, so let's just be honest here - the logistics of being out and about with a baby or a toddler is stressful enough without the additional pressure of running around looking for a toilet, and finding one, only to find a queue stretching from here to China, and then when a kind lady lets you go first (because she probably has had the experience of a squirmy toddler trying to hold it in and letting the entire world know that he.really.needs.to.SHEE.SHEE!!) - you walk into a cubicle with pee puddles and shoe prints on the seat. While it's pretty fortunate that boys pee standing up and Caden is tall enough to aim direct into an adult-sized urinal, I only have two hands. One to hold his pants up so that it won't be bunched around his ankles on the muddy floor, and the other to hold him away from the urinal so that he won't lean against it. I don't have an extra hand to erm... help him aim properly.

So... at night and on weekends, Caden still wears diapers. Or 'training pants', which is the magic phrase I use so that he doesn't think he's wearing diapers. He tells me when he needs to go, but at the same time, until he has more control over his bladder, there is a fallback plan. I can do without having to deal with minor or major accidents.

I'm not an exemplary parent, but hey - I'm realistic, and when I don't have to worry about small little things like soiled underwear and cleaning up puddles or poop in public, I'm a happier mum!



***

I've always been a fan of Drypers because it is suitable for Caden, and through design improvements over the years, Drypers have listened to feedback from consumers and made their products continuously better!

When I purchase diapers for him, I am pretty particular about how it fits. Absorbency is another important factor, and now that he's older, a very essential point to note because the older (and heavier) they are, the more liquid they will emit. I used to think that when I look at a diaper pack, the weight indication is a gauge as to how the diaper will fit - but I've come to the realisation that the capacity to hold waste matter increases according to the weight indicated.

Recently, when I needed to replenish his diapers, I looked around for the familiar yellow packs, and almost panicked when I couldn't find any.


Then I realised that Drypers now has a brand new packaging! I don't know how I could have missed it the first time round, but perhaps I was looking intently for a colour rather than the logo!

I really like how vibrant the new packs are, though. In fact, Drypers have thoughtfully placed an age-appropriate baby / child on the respective cover to make the sizes easier to identify!


When Caden was a baby, we didn't like Drypers all that much because they tend to have a 'plasticky' feel to it. Apart from that, the side tapes also felt very much like scotch tape, and are rendered useless if a little bit of powder were to get on them. Over the years, we are so glad to note that Drypers have made improvements to their product and made it so much better, while still keeping their prices competitive.

The new Drypers Drypantz feels softer to the touch. It is probably the next best thing to wearing cloth diapers because it doesn't have that 'scratchy and plasticky' feel which seems to characterise diapers in general. The surface is soft and smooth, while the inner lining has lost the bulkiness of previous models.


The garters on the Drypantz are soft to the touch, yet secure and snug. For highly active toddlers, this is especially important so as to minimise the risk of accidental leakage while at play.

Caden has pretty sensitive skin, and he especially does not like discomfort arising from any article of clothing. These days, he is able to tell me exactly what bothers him, and I have had to give away some diaper models as well because they cut into his skin or causes him to itch. When I tried on the new, improved Drypers Drypantz on him - it not only fit him snugly, I didn't hear a word of complaint from him! I believe that the emphasis on comfort and healthy skin is enhanced by the extracts of Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Olive and Vitamin E.


Now that he is in the transition period of being a 'diapered bub' to a toilet trained toddler, it is also important that the diaper does not hinder his movements and acts effectively as a pair of 'training pants' for him. There were times when I was lulled into purchasing other diapers (without garters) due to discounts or just to test the product's effectiveness, but I ended up using more diapers when the sides 'loosened' after just two trips to the toilet. Furthermore, when the sides are a little loose, the entire diaper tends to 'drag' down, resulting in an unsightly droopy bulge!

I like that it hugs his bottom without cutting into the skin.


After an entire Saturday out and about, and after 5 visits to the toilet, the diaper amazingly still holds its shape and form. The garters have not loosened, and I was very pleased to note that Caden didn't start scratching his hips immediately after I removed the diapers. He usually does that, and this often causes scratches and broken skin.

In other news - the diaper remained totally dry! YAY!


My toddler boy, at a grand old age of 40 months, tells me when he needs to visit the toilet. I may be the laziest mum you've ever come across, but until he is able to maintain better control over his bladder movements - on weekends when we're out and we see the umpteenth snaking queue from the toilet all the way out to the entrance, when the environmental conditions are not suitable to a little person barely 115cm tall and hygiene conditions leave much to be desired, diapers protect my sanity.

Don't take my word for it.

Now your kids, too can try the new Drypers, while YOU get some vouchers back in return!

Throughout the whole month of June (so you have time to finish that old pack of diapers first!) with every purchase of 2 packs of Drypers Wee Wee Dry or Drypers Drypantz, you will receive a $10 FairPrice voucher simply by:
  1. Sending in a photo or scanned image of your receipt as proof of purchase
  2. Providing your personal particulars (Name, address, contact no, child’s name and DOB).
Email these details to <sg.contest@sca.com> with subject title [MummyMoo] and you will receive a $10 Fairprice voucher in exchange. It's that simple! (limited to one redemption per household)

UPDATE 23 May 2014: This promotion is valid from 1 June - 30 June, but for those of you who have sent in your particulars and proof of purchase prior to the 1st, your submission will still be honoured with a return voucher!


N.B: This promotion not applicable to Drypers Drypantz M-4pcs, L-3pcs, XL-3pcs, XXL-3pcs

***

Disclaimer: This is part of a series of sponsored conversations between Drypers and MummyMoo. All opinions stated are my own, although the bum pictured is not mine. The Mookid has been a regular user of Drypers from the time he was able to cruise, and we strongly recommend the product based on its own merits and first hand user experience.

Parenting: My Past, and The Present.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The rules and styles of parenting has definitely evolved through the years, but I've often wondered whether I have (sub)consciously made it a point to choose to parent the boy differently from the way I was brought up.

This issue has weighed on my mind for quite awhile now, because I have on several occasions reminded myself not to be the authoritative parent that my Mum was. Don't get me wrong - I am not saying that I do not look back on my childhood with fondness, but I cannot help but wonder if I turned into a rebellious child precisely because of my Mum's absolute insistence on establishing set rules (according to what she feels is best) and raising obedient children.

It's ironical that the more 'connected' the world becomes, the wider the chasm and sense of isolation becomes, even among members of the same family. While the main goal of parenting, which is to encourage character development and instil social values in children remains the same, the methodology of achieving these has changed.

I remember explicitly, when I was in Primary 4, my Mum walking angrily out of the school hall after a Meet-the-Parents session. When I saw her, I trembled and almost wished that I was able to disappear. I braced myself for the tongue lashing, but surprisingly, it turned out that she wasn't angry with me. She was upset because my form teacher told her that she is an 'extremely ambitious' parent, and that 89% for Math isn't too bad at all.

That incident stayed with me because that is just exactly the kind of parent she was. She was extremely hard on me, and Bs were a surefire way of inducing her wrath. Perhaps in the olden days, modesty was a virtue, but I got pretty tired of her always downplaying my efforts, and I really couldn't understand why she always had to counter a praise from a friend or a relative about her kids by citing a reason why they should not think of us in such a positive way.

Friend: "Regina is very sweet and she speaks very well!" (it's true!! *ahem*)
Mum: "No lah... she's very playful. Never likes to study and doesn't want to listen!"

#truestory

See, the thing is - I'm sure she is proud of me somehow, but is it really necessary to downplay praise? For whose benefit? I have been told by friends that their parents have done the same thing when they were growing up, too, and it makes me wonder whether the 'being modest' thing is a predominantly Asian trait.

To be fair to my Mum, solo parenting a teen and a tween and single handedly bringing us up without any financial assistance from the man who really did not deserve to be called our father must have been extremely hard on her. She had to worry about us on her own, and apart from close friends in Singapore back then, we had no family at all here. She worked while we were at school, and from the time I was in Secondary school, I was already pretending to leave home for school, only to come home when I know she has gone off to work. I didn't go gallivanting much... preferring to stay home to read, but perhaps, on hindsight, I played truant because she has yelled at me and warned me repeatedly not to do so, and I did it anyway because I can.

I didn't like any semblance of control, and my Mum always has to be in control of things. Little did I know that I did not take too well to being controlled because I am exactly the same. I need to feel in control of any given situation, and that I have everything covered. My husband made me realise this, and after some diplomatic reminders, I begrudgingly agree that I sometimes need to let things be, and not to attempt to always have things my way.

When I became a Mum, what I worried about most, was me turning into a shadow of my Mum back then. I didn't like her constantly screaming at me in public, smacking me over the slightest mistake, and banning things outright instead of educating us about it. My brother and I were expected to behave in a certain way and to simply be compliant with everything we were told to do. Not doing so was a sign of disobedience. There were no pep talks or explanations on why we couldn't stay out late, or go on sleepovers, and why certain words were not in the English dictionary, and thus used colloquially at certain opportunities. It was either her way, or the highway, and whatever she says goes.

I expect Caden to be obedient too, and be respectful to everyone and everything around him. I want him to know that there is a certain code of conduct that he has to observe, and there are a lot of things in life that he has to do even though he will not like them much. I want him to have self esteem, yet at the same time, he will be taught that he should never ever be self centred.

But I choose to do this in a different way than what I was exposed to.

If I do not shout and scream at him in public, it does not mean I'm lenient. I choose to (let Daddy) bring him to a corner and explain to him why he should not do what he did, and to teach him a little about social grace.

If I do not insist that he spends every waking moment out of school revising his school work or doing his homework, it does not mean that I do not care how he does in school. I want him to realise that he has certain responsibilities that he is entrusted with, and as long as his homework is done and he understands what he's taught in school - he is free to do as he wishes with his free time.

If I tell him no, and he chooses to defy me (it has already started a long time ago!) I will not punish him by smacking him or caning him. He will have to answer to his actions, and he will have certain privileges taken away from him. When this first happened, the husband told him in no uncertain terms that if he chooses to go against either one of us again despite being told not to, we will throw out one of his huge container of toys. He pushed his luck and he had to watch silently (he was not allowed to cry) while Daddy gave away the entire box to our estate cleaner who has a grandson about the same age. We don't believe in making false threats or empty promises, because we believe that children aren't as simple as they seem. They watch, observe and learn even when we think they aren't paying attention, and very early on, certain rules have to be established and respected.



We do not let him get away with things just on account of his age. In fact, our Aunts and Uncles think (and tell us) that we are too hard on Caden.

E.g 1: We stop him from running around in restaurants because it's dangerous and it creates a disturbance to other diners. 

Old people >> 'Let them be, it's okay lah... they are bored.'
(what's going to happen if the kids accidentally run into a server carrying hot food? Kids are not at eye level, and accidents happen because they are left unsupervised!)

E.g 2: We make him greet his elders, and mind his manners. 

Old people >> 'He's still young! How he know who to greet? Don't scold him lah!'
(if we don't teach him, how will he ever learn?)

If we do not set ground rules for him, who else would? The old folks can afford to be indulgent on the kids because they are not responsible as to how they turn out. We are.




“Parents expect children to be obedient and respectful and parents are expected to be responsible and experienced instructors who pass along cultural norms, values, and life experiences” 

I suppose all things considered, when I look back upon my childhood, whatever and however my Mum chose to parent me, ultimately culminated in me being who I am today. While I think that there were hits and misses along the way, I do believe that I too, will experience setbacks and triumphs in my own parenting methods. Every child is different, and starkly so, when parenting styles are questioned. As responsible parents, I'm sure that all of us have moved with the times, and while the basics of parenting is still the same, we all have different ideals of what we believe is best for our children.

Parenting is a process, and I doubt we will ever stop learning, even when our kids have their own kids and parenting issues to grapple with. Regardless of how each of us choose to parent our child, we must always remember that no matter how fearful we are of how the world will treat our child, a little pressure is a motivator, while too much is detrimental.




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