Fisher-Price® Play IQ Workshop

Carrie Lupoli is back! Yay!

If you don’t have a clue of who I’m referring to, she’s one of the more engaging presenters I’ve come across in the many workshops and conferences that I’ve attended. Last year, I had the privilege of attending the Joy of Learning workshop by her and this year she is touching on the topic on PLAY and how it is important in developing healthy brain. It’s definitely a topic that I’m interested in because I believe in the power of play and am looking forward to what she will be sharing.

Four areas of content will be covered at this Fisher-Price® Play IQ Workshop:

1. Introduction and Goal of Parenting
2. Play IQ – The Theory
3. Play IQ – The Benefits and the Basics
4. Play IQ Learning Tournament

The workshop is open to parents with children up to 5 years old and expectant mothers only. It will be held on  31st May 2014, Saturday, from 9.00am to 2.00pm. Registration starts at 8.45am.

Venue: Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. 38 Irrawaddy Road, Singapore 329563

Cost: $50 per person (inclusive of light refreshments). Each participant will receive a goody bag worth more than $100 and a chance to win Lucky Draw prizes.

To register or if you need more information, you can email tofisherprice@asiaprwerkz.com

I’ll be attending and hope to meet some of you there!

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Splash, splash!

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One of the skills that I want Faith to acquire is the ability to swim. So, the hubs and I finally called on our friends who stayed in a condo nearby and asked if we could use the swimming facilities and it’s an absolute YES! Yay!

Initially, our dear girl was afraid. She did not even want her legs to get wet and held on tightly to the hubs.

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We had to coax her and made so much laughter just so that she would think it is fun.

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We bought this float for her at one of the stores near the wet market at $12. She didn’t want to go in at first but I kind of forced her to sit in it and then started making chirpy sound to entice her. See her unwilling facial expression?

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In the end, our friends’ daughter came down and played with her and Faith got used to the water. When we went to the children’s pool, she was all smiles. Thank God! Hopefully, we can make this a weekly affair!

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Relaxing at the jacuzzi. I like this condo! I like my friends even more! 😉

Ten parenting points to note

The hubs and I helped out at the parenting workshop conducted at our church as we wanted to learn more and are passionate about this topic. Our pastor sent us the following ’10 ways to raise well-behaved kids’ and I find them relevant. I’m sure the article is from some source (but I can’t find the link!)

Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
Proverbs 13: 24

Both of us abide by the above and we absolutely do not want to raise spoilt brats. I don’t think any parents would want that to happen! But oh, it takes a lot of patience, hard work and determination to raise kids who are able to practice good behaviour. So here goes:

1. Model good behaviour. The best way to teach kids how to behave well is by showing them how to do it. Actions are more powerful than words. If they see you practice good behaviour yourself, then they are most likely to follow your example. So true! I see the little one imitating what I do and I have to be careful how I present myself in front of others.

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The LO giving thanks to God, together with Papa.

2. Communicate rules and expectations clearly. Kids do not know right from wrong. They need to be taught which actions are acceptable and which are not. Use words that they will understand and make sure that you are very specific. It is the responsibility of parents to help their children have a sense of with-it-ness by constantly giving them reminders so inappropriate behaviour can be prevented.

3. Reward good behaviour immediately. The best way to help children to behave well is to give them rewards whenever they do something good which can be in the form of words, gestures and gifts. Right timing is essential as children should be able to associate rewards with good behaviour. If you give the reward too late, they may not understand what it is for.

A simple pat in the back or “well done” is usually enough to tell children that they have done the right thing. We clap to show Faith that she has done something right and her smiles show us that she understands our gesture. We are not so keen to present her with gifts lest it becomes a bad habit and that she expects such form of reward for doing well.  I also tend to think that extrinsic rewards can be reduced when they are of a certain age.

4. Encourage them often. Children are inspired to practice good behaviour if they know that you believe in them. Constantly rooting for your children will help them to make better choices.

5. Train them early. Your kids are never too young to make good behavioural choices. Experts say that a child’s foundations

Sharing her toys with others.

Sharing her toys with others.

for character are established before the age of five. So it important that you do all you can when they are still in preschool to prepare them for the real world.

6. Be firm and consistent. Your children are smarter than you think they are. When you give in to what they want once, they will expect you to give in to them all the time. They are most likely to test your resolve when you are in a gathering. Do not waver just because there are many people around, stick to the rules. If they persist and throw a tantrum, deal with them privately.

7. Give them room to grow. Allow your children to make their own decisions as it is not healthy for you to always shadow them.  Let them make mistakes sometimes so they will learn to be more responsible for their actions.

8. Do not deal with your children when you are angry. It is unwise to correct them when emotions are running high as you might just say or do things that you will regret later. Allow yourself to cool off before you talk to them.

9. Provide a healthy and positive environment at home. Allow your children to grow according to their unique personalities and characteristics. Never compare them to other children as this can only cause them to experience undue pressure and stress. Not to mention that it can cause them to have low self-esteem.

Oh! I find this so true and is a constant reminder to me. Do you often find that you will inevitably compare your kid with others when parents come together? Every child is unique and they grow at their own pace. I honestly don’t like to do comparison and shun such conversation when parents come together. A little of these topics is fine for checks. Too much of it is really just dampening to the spirit. Stop comparing!

10. Love them unconditionally. Correct your children when they are wrong but love them regardless of how they behave. They have to understand that your love for them does not depend on their actions or performance.

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The LO, at 17 months

WW | Celebrating a milestone

The hubs reaches another milestone in his career and Faith and I went to celebrate for him.

Love this shot of them having fun. Joy of parenting eh?

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WW | Faith the explorer

It’s always my belief that children should spend a good amount of time in the outdoors, to explore the environment they are in and to be curious about the world. Whenever the weather is good and when I’m not busy with some baking stuff, I’ll make sure to bring Faith out.

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Thankfully we stay near the reservoir, parks and playground. There is much greenery and Faith gets to play with sand, grass and crawlies!

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Even when she is walking home from the carpark, she gets all curious about the floor, the rubbish and the plants found on the first floor. Dear girl, there are really a lot of things to explore. The world is your classroom!

Linking up with

Holistic learning @ Gymnademics

Time flies and we have completed one term of lessons at Gymnademics!

Faith progresses from the Cruzero to Pre-fellowship class under the recommendation of the teachers who have observed her since the first lesson. The latter class is no doubt more challenging as compared to the previous one. With the use of word cards, picture cards and encyclopedic, Faith learnt about her neighbourhood and items used in daily life which was the theme for the few sessions that she attended. The husband and I were not left idle since we had to help her to match the words with the pictures, for example.

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Even the physical activities are a tad more challenging and Faith got to practise her balancing, manual and mobility competencies. It feels like an obstacle course no less and is really fun, from my perspective. Faith, being the youngest of the group, was slow in getting through each part of the obstacles but under the constant cheer and beckoning of the teachers and parents alike, she managed to clear them. What an encouraging environment!

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I am obviously thankful to be given the opportunity to try out the lessons with Faith for a term.  The teachers are a dedicated group of educators and even take down notes about Faith’s development through the activities conducted. This is made possible with a relatively small class size of no more than nine kids. The environment is conducive for learning and activities are fun, purposeful and engaging! Above all, I like it that the lesson is holistic in the sense that Faith gets to learn about language and science, music and movement and participates in physical activities all within that one hour. The parents get to learn together with the child and receive a parent-child bonding package so that we can reinforce the learning at home. Isn’t that a bonus?

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I guess what benefits me as a parent is that I could use what I have learnt from the session to further teach Faith at home. This is especially helpful since Faith is not attending any other lessons and I could adapt the resources provided for future homeschooling activities.

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I love it when Faith enjoys each lesson. 

[Giveaway] If you are thinking about trying out Gymnademics classes, here is a wonderful opportunity to do so. Gymnademics is giving away THREE trial class passes worth $58 each at ARC (Alexandra Retail Centre). You can then go through the lesson for yourself (together with your child, of course) and decide if you want to continue with them. Sounds good?

What you need to do is to share with me ONE consideration that you will make when choosing an enrichment class for your child via the comment’s section in this blog post.

– 3 winners will be chosen at random
– Giveaway is only open to Singapore residents.
– Ends on 26 March 2014
– The winner will be announced on this blog post and on lynnlly’s facebook page the following day.

All the best!

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 Gymnademics is an early enrichment centre for children from 5 months to 5 years of age. They adopt a holistic approach towards early childhood development, by incorporating both intellectual and physical activities in the classes. The curriculum is designed to be purposefully fun and engaging for both parents and children and is built upon the foundation of the Glenn Doman method. To find out more about the classes at Gymnademics, do visit the website or their facebook page.

Disclosure: Faith is given a full 10 sessions package by Gymnademics for review purposes. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

UPDATE: The THREE winners randomly chosen by Faith are Estella, Jo and Irene! Congratulations! We will be in touch with you shortly!

WW | My companion in the kitchen

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and naturally Faith will follow me. She will open the drawers and pull all the stuff out. I’m fine with it, really. Recently, I realised that my washed vegetables can actually entertain her for quite some time. She will tear the leaves (fine motor skills) , taste it and then try to feed me (pretend play). Thankfully, she will still eat the vegetables after I have cooked them.

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The kitchen, t’s really a fun place!

Linking up with

A second child. Yes? No?

A few posts ago, I asked the question, “What’s next?” and more specifically the dilemma of having a second child. I got a few good responses after asking a group of mummies from the SMB group.

~ I wasn’t planning on having more than one after my girl was born as she was so difficult to care for. But I was blessed with #2 and it’s really so wonderful having more kids! So much so we do not rule out having #3 (Simplymommie)

~ We love children…we see a difference in her behaviour when #2 came along. Sensible, sharing, responsible and having fun with a sibling to hang out with. ME time will be compromised but you will get by.  (Joey W)

~ We always wanted a big family. So we always hoped for more than one. With two or more like you said they have a companion, and they learn to give and take. It’s of course harder taking care of more than one but seeing them grow together is really wonderful. (Mum in the making)

~ Having more than 1 is much harder work, but I think a sibling is one of the best gifts we can give to them. If you’re open to it, maybe leave it up to God, then you don’t have to decide? (Mummy Ed)

~ We love children, always wanted more. Never thought of whether to have #2 or not, it is a must have for us :)) It is very good for the kid to have someone at their age to play with, just different from playing with parents or friends. (The Kam Family)

~ Hubby likes kids so he wanted one more. Also didn’t want my daughter to be a spoiled and lonely singleton. One of my friends put it this way – when a singleton’s parents’ die, she or he will have no one to mourn with. ( wee stories)

~ Sometimes when I see my boy playing alone at home, I really want to give him a sibling. While growing up with my own brother was tough… I do enjoy having him around to talk to nowadays. So, I don’t want to deny my boy from having a sibling if i can. (meeningfully)

~ I came from a big family – 4 siblings in total. I’ve always wanted a big family too, but we’re only able to manage (financially, emotionally, physically) two. So in a way, we settled.
(Amazinglystill)

The above are some of the more common reasons why families go for more than a kid. Yesterday, I finally had the opportunity to bring this topic up with da man and while I stated that it would be good for Faith to have a sibling for companionship and that it would be good for her to learn how to care and share, his response seemed to make the most sense – we shouldn’t make decision that is centred around Faith. If we decide to have a second child, it should be because we want it and not for Faith’s sake.

His comments kind of sealed the decision for me. Currently, I’m more mentally, emotionally and physically prepared to have a second one. Pose me this question a few months back and I would firmly say ‘No thanks!’ to one more being to look after. The first year was ultra difficult for me and da man, I’m sure. It was a steep learning curve, no doubt. But once Faith grew out of the infant stage, things got better. I find myself laughing and enjoying this bundle of blessing more.

So are we going for a second one? I guess we will try but ultimately, it’s all up to the Almighty if He is going to bless us with one more.

Sometimes I wish…

We visited the Asian Civilisation Museum last Saturday, taking advantage of the free admission (to 7 museums) that citizens and PRs are entitled to. Usually, our weekends are confined to our home or visiting the in-laws since by the end of Friday, both da man and I are kind of exhausted. Boring peeps, I know, so I thought we should just go out for a change.

20140224-143247.jpgTo be honest, sometimes I wish we could have more time for family life. Working parents have little energy left at the end of the day and could only spend that little amount of time with the spouse or children, not to forget that they need some ME time to recharge. Personally, I felt it last week. Da man had been busy at work and we hardly had time to TALK. Weekends are really precious then.

Love the walk along the Singapore River. The weather has been great though I wish at times, that rain will come soon. It’s quite a funny sight to see Faith walking along the path.

20140224-143255.jpgFaith’s enthusiasm was short-lived for she felt asleep soon after. The cool and quiet environment must have been rather conducive!

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Mid-way through, we checked into Madame Patisserie for a coffee break. Faith was sleeping soundly in the pram and it could give both of us some couple, if not, ME time! I couldn’t say much about the service and the food but what we like is the rather quiet environment (yes, in the afternoon!) and beautiful riverside view.

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Faith woke up very soon and decided to wander off to explore Boat Quay! Next to the cafe is a seafood restaurant and they have really HUGE sea creatures! Amazing!

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It can be rather tiring watching out for her! The most endearing sight was seeing da man spend time with her. I wish there are more such opportunities!

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Where shall we go next weekend?

Faith :: 14 months old

Dear Faith
There have been a lot of development between your 13th and 14th month. Let’s see if I can list all of them down.

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You are extremely active. Each day sees you wanting to walk all over the place. Initially, you were rather unsteady but by 13M 3W, you were basically on your own. I am glad, both for you and me because that would mean that I don’t have to carry you that much as you are rather heavy!

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You like the playground a lot. Once we reach the neighbourhood playground, you let go of 20140120-132758.jpgme and climb up the slide and steps. It’s a good thing that you are courageous and I can see that you calculate each of your steps and are careful about it. Thank God you are not a reckless babe in terms of this. However, you seem to dislike sand. Does it hurt your feet? You made me laugh when we brought you to the playground at the reservoir. You basically held on to Papa when you had contact with the sand.

Remember there was once you were afraid of the water. Now, you love it! When I brought you to the water playground at Vivocity and Tampines 1, you were ecstatic and it is indeed a joy to see you so excited.

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I think you can recognise dogs and cats and each time we pass by them, you would utter their names, though they may not be pronounced correctly. But we get it. You don’t fear them and instead would dare to get close and touch them!

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You seem to catch the concept of putting things in their rightful place now. Recently, I got you to throw the toilet paper that you shredded into the bin and you did it! You do so for other things as well and I believe it is time to teach you to keep your toys. Slowly but steadily, I will be teaching you all these habits. 😉

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You have a voracious appetite. It seems that you can’t stop eating. When you go to Grandpa’s place, I was told you eat non-stop. It doesn’t help that Grandma keeps giving you food to munch. Thankfully, she gives you fruits and not junk food. But I’m really afraid that you will inculcate bad eating habits. Can’t you, erm..maybe try to cut down on food? Eating shouldn’t be your past time, ya?

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Papa and I think that you understand what we are referring to when we give you certain instructions. You actually perform the task. For example, when I ask you to fetch the book that we read before bedtime, you will get up from my lap and go to the shelf and pick up a/the book. This is pretty interesting.

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I think you have slowly grown to like books, or being read to. You will go to the shelf yourself and pick up a book and start flipping. Sometimes, you will call out to me and point to the book and I think you want me to read to you? Reading is good. Keep it up!

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There are so many things that happen each day. I’m thankful that I’m there to witness your development. But above all, we pray that you will always be joyful and healthy and that you will come to know the Lord and enjoy Him forever.

Fun @ Gymnademics

It’s been almost five weeks since we started Faith on the Crucero class at Gymnademics and what progress she has made!

When Faith had her first lesson, she was just creeping but now she is walking steadily and is more confident at performing the various activities in that one-hour lesson. Through each class, I became more aware of her weaknesses as they were pointed out during the class by the teachers and I could help her overcome them during the course of the week.

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Each lesson is jam-packed with purposeful activities, ranging from thematic learning of language and music to physical activities that focus on areas of balance, manual, mobility and tactile competencies. We are advised to arrive about 15 minutes earlier for the class so that Faith could settle down and be familiarised with the environment and teachers. After all, she is only attending once a week.

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Lesson begins with a welcome song and the teacher flashes the words of the song using her placards to each child.

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Following that, Faith learns about the different parts of the body (which is the current theme) through the teacher’s use of word cards and picture cards, something that I’m not consistent in doing. Thankfully, after each class, we are given the Child Bonding Package which includes materials that we can go through with Faith for the week to reinforce her learning.

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I love the physical activities the most because through them, I got to know what Faith is afraid of in terms of her mobility, for instance, and then help her overcome her fears by working on them during the week. For example, Faith could not hang on to the trapeze bar (which helps strengthens the fine muscle tones like hands and fingers) for long and she definitely did NOT have a swinging good time because she is just frightened of the movement. But gradually, she could and I am so proud of her!

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Faith loves to work on the obstacles and I believe it has given her much confidence when she could complete the course. I’m thankful that the teachers also share with us what we could do to encourage Faith to walk (when she was still at the creeping stage). As first-time parents, the hubs and I are not the most well-informed, I’m afraid and those information certainly helps a lot.

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Not a minute is wasted in the one-hour lesson and I must say, it’s a pretty good workout for the parents too. For the rest of the week, I use what I have learnt from each class to teach Faith and go through the activities that would help her in terms of her balance (at this point in time). We are definitely looking forward to the next lesson!

Gymnademics is an early enrichment centre for children from 5 months to 5 years of age. They adopt a holistic approach towards early childhood development, by incorporating both intellectual and physical activities in the classes. The curriculum is designed to be purposefully fun and engaging for both parents and children and is built upon the foundation of the Glenn Doman method. To find out more about the classes at Gymnademics, you can visit the website or their facebook page.

[GIVEAWAY] I’m happy to inform you that Gymnademics is giving away a 4-hour Weekday Free Play pass worth $40 (you don’t have to use up all in one go) at ARC (Alexandra Retail Centre). Their fully padded and colourful studio is ideal for kids to play safely in, and there are a lot of fun and educational toys, musical instruments, learning materials and gym equipment to to be found there. I know Faith was fully occupied with them when we first visited the studio. 🙂

What you need to do is to share with me ONE purposeful play activity that you do with your child via the comment’s section in this blog post.

– 1 winner will be chosen at random
– Giveaway is only open to Singapore residents.
– Ends on 26 January 2014
– The winner will be announced on this blog post and on lynnlly’s facebook page the following day.

All the best!

Read my previous post on Gymnademics here.

F’s first visit to the library

Ken and I love the library and we can spend a lot of time in it browsing the books. He will be flipping through sci-fi/fantasy novels while I will be at the cooking section. Naturally, we would like Faith to visit and like being in the library.

So, today, I brought her there. Thank God she wasn’t noisy, just babbling some unintelligible stuff. When she was at the children’s section, she broke free (and I let go) and started exploring the area. I think Faith loves the library! She soon treated it as her playground, greeting the older children and using the chairs to help her support in her walking. The folks around her were amused by her!

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I’m hoping she will browse the books and select one for me to read aloud to her but she soon wandered off.

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What are you doing, peeps?

Back to the books again!

Back to the books again!

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Just look at her – practising her walking. Well done!
I guess we will be going to the library weekly now! Yay!

Why I chose to be a SAHM & a year on

9510_636076903098590_1055072763_nYou know what? This post has been in the draft section for a long time. I’m thankful that I didn’t publish it earlier because if I had done so then, that post would be filled with bitterness, frustration and much tears. I’m a much calmer person now and happier, no doubt. I guess I can finally say that I have embraced being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM); I even introduced myself as that to a stranger recently. 😉

To tell you the truth, I have never thought of being a SAHM. It’s never an idea that I toy with. After Faith was born, I struggled with staying home the whole time with a baby. Faith wasn’t a fussy infant but I just couldn’t stay in one place for too long. However, I did make a decision to be one in the end. There were a few events and considerations that led to this decision:

(1) Both K and I felt that taking care of our kid is our responsibility and it is not right to leave this task to others. This led me to negotiate a part-time work scheme with my boss. I was hoping to work in the morning and then come home in the afternoon onwards to take care of Faith. However…

(2) The part-time work scheme couldn’t work out since I was holding some responsibilities at work and would inevitably need to attend certain meetings. After working out the hours and be realistic about it, I probably would be having a full-time workload and getting a part-time work scheme’s salary. The working hours would still be from 7.20am to 1.40pm, without meetings. This won’t work out. Yes, I’m an educator.

(3) I love my job. I believe it’s my calling. From past experience, I could immerse myself in my work, working from 7am till 11pm. With a kid to take care of, I know I can’t do that. Both would need my attention. Something has to give. So, I reckon that my calling, in this season of my life, is to take care of Faith.

(4) This calling was confirmed during a Bible Study session. I believe God has spoken then – very clearly – about this issue. All I need to do is to trust and obey. Submission to the One who holds the future is the only thing I can do. If you want to find out more, do tell me!

(5) The following incident also prompted me to make the decision to be a SAHM. I was back at work after my No-Pay-Leave so I left Faith with my mom in the morning. When I went back home in the afternoon, she raised the white flag and commented that she couldn’t handle. Basically, she couldn’t stand being with Faith the whole time and she actually looked more tired than before, just in that few hours. That basically sealed my decision. I couldn’t leave Faith to my FIL as he is rather well-advanced in age and might not have the energy to take care of her. Putting Faith with a nanny or infant care or even hiring a helper is not an option for us. So, yes, being a SAHM is the way to go, for now.

Being a SAHM proved to be difficult and I experienced a steep learning curve. Ask my husband, I was most unhappy when I became one and it did cause a strain on our relationship. Faith was a great baby, easy to care for, but I guess I was just adapting to the change in lifestyle and the 24/7 parenting duty. Ken was most understanding and would accommodate me, giving all the assistance I need.

Thankfully as Faith grows, things get a tad easier. I got the hang of being a SAHM and more importantly, I have the support of my family members. My father would not hesitate to take care of Faith when I ask for help. In fact, he’s delighted to be able to do so. Mom said Faith has brought him much cheer. My in-laws would also come and spend time with Faith every week, giving Ken and me some time to ourselves.

Things are certainly getting better. We are a single-income family so we have to be prudent in terms of handling our finances. No grand overseas holidays but staycation and Malaysia are not too bad either. Once in a while, the hubs will still pamper me and give me the green light to do some shopping. Oh, in fact, he has never interfered. But well, I guess, with this SAHM status comes with some restraint in terms of spending. Yup, I’m proud to say that I’m a bit wiser now in terms of spending habits. And I’m thankful that we can still be generous towards others even with less disposable income. After all, it is more blessed to give than to receive!

Whether we are a SAHM, PTWM, FTWM or whatever titles out there, I believe we have calculated the cost, both tangible and intangible, in making this choice. Being a parent is a tough job but it is certainly a gift and a privilege and I’m still learning to give my best to God in this area.

Sleep-training and a change in diet

There have been some changes in Faith’s sleeping and eating habits recently.

Last week, we finally conducted sleep training on her. It was painful, to me. Her cries were so pathetic and I nearly, at that instant, dropped the plan to sleep-train her. But we all know that this will ultimately be for the good of everyone so I’ll just had to bear with those wails.

It got better by the third night. Faith was learning to self-soothe and could get herself back to Zzzzz land. The hubs did all the training, not me. I merely sat on my bed, waiting anxiously for her to stop crying. By Sunday (yesterday), the hubs and I could get a more restful night.

With sleep-training comes a change in her diet. The day after the first night of sleep-training, the little one suddenly decided to stop feeding from my boobs. I should have seen that coming since she has been eating more solids and biting my nipples. Ouch! Now, Faith doesn’t even want to drink formula milk and also finds the yogurt that I give her funny and pushes it away.

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This does pose a problem, at least to me. How would she get the calcium that she needs?

Thankfully, she loves, loves bread and last Saturday, a friend passed me a recipe on yogurt bread. So, you can expect me to bake more bread like milk bread, cheese bread and the like.

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And now, I must busy myself with coming up with more Faith-friendly recipes! The above is pumpkin soup with broccoli, yogurt and cumin added. All thanks to the SIL. I added steamed sweet potato and chia seeds as well. Power food!

By the way, I really love the travelling spoon and fork set from Pigeon. They are the right size for Faith to handle and she could immediately use them to feed herself. Phew! All the other spoons are too long for her to transfer the food to her mouth. These are just the right size for her at this point in time!

Gymnademics at the ARC

For a while now, I have thought of enrolling Faith in some gym/ enrichment classes. You see, being a Stay-At-Home-Mom (SAHM), I have the privilege of interacting with Faith all most of the time. I read, play, do grocery shopping and take a walk with her, amongst the many other activities that we engage in. HOWEVER, there are times, oh, many times that I do not know what to do with her. Basically, I have run out of ideas! Fellow SAHMs, do you face the same issue?

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After browsing parenting blogs like those of Candice and  Adeline who share their experiences on Gymnademics, I emailed them about their trial class since I wanted to check out the environment for myself and see how Faith reacts to the class. But the sleep-deprived mom soon forgot about it until I received an email from the centre, inviting me to visit the outlet at Alexandra Retail Centre (ARC). It’s a timely reminder, so I thought, and made an appointment to go down.

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We were warmly greeted by the staff and Joseph, the GM, walked through the programme with the hubs and me. The studios were visually colourful and child-friendly. Faith warmed up to Joseph minutes into the sharing and then busied herself with the musical instruments. She was really engaged with them as the hubs guided her to explore the instruments. No need Mama already!

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After the brief introduction of the gym and what they do, I was all ready to enrol Faith in the class when I was asked if I would be interested to be their ambassador for a term. Why, yes, of course! This will be an awesome opportunity to learn more about Gymnademics, her vision and beliefs.

I am all eager for Faith to start and am thankful that the centre allows BOTH parents to be with the child during each lesson. So, that means all of us can learn together. I am also informed that the parents would be given some materials after each session so that they can reinforce what was learnt during the lesson at home. Let’s just see if this is true. 😉

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Faith is going to start the lesson in about two weeks’ time and she will be attending the lesson at the ARC’s outlet. Apart from the fact that it is quite a distance from our home, I guess the other factors are still good and enticing enough for us to attend the class there. They include:

1) It is within a sheltered walking distance from Labrador Park MRT (circle line)IMG_2824
2) There are many F&B outlets at ARC (so we will also be exploring the makan places here!)
3) NTUC (can do grocery shopping!)
4) Parking is free on weekends (yay for those who drive!)
5) We can explore the area like the Hort Park, Henderson Waves, Labrador Park, etc after the session ( means family outing!)

I will be sharing Faith’s progress at Gymnademics for sure. Do stay tune as there will be some give-aways in future posts.

To celebrate the new outlet at ARC, Gymnademics is offering some opening specials when you sign up for a class package by 30 Nov 13:

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Print

Gymnademics @ ARC
460 Alexandra Road
Singapore 119963
Tel: +65 62717569
Email: info@gymnademics.com
Facebook Page

Food education the Japanese way

I’m no nutritionist but I do know a little about food education, a result of growing up with a mother who cooks meals 95% of the time. It helps greatly that she dragged us along to the wet market and taught us how to spot the freshest meat and vegetables. amongst other things (like haggling with the stallholders, for example). Obviously, we were also involved in the cooking and baking process since young.  But I must qualify that we weren’t very enthusiastic then (even dreaded it) but whatever we were taught stays with us. Incredible!

So, it’s no surprise that I would start Faith early on eating well and recognising the various foods in their original state. I’m not a fan of store-bought food because they do contain preservatives and therefore not good for the little one. However, for convenience’s sake, they can be a good substitute.

I continue to be intrigued by how the Japanese and the French cultivate good eating habits in their children since young. In my humble opinion, teaching good eating habits is as tough as inculcating values in a being and it has to start from young for once he/she has a good foundation, the person will grow up distinguishing right from wrong and will (hopefully) make wise decisions along the way.

Some points on the Japanese way of eating (for own knowledge and reference):
Source: Parenting without borders

– What a baby eats is important but the attitude toward feeding a child is equally important. Eating in Japan is a communal matter and babies should NEVER eat alone. Even when the baby is too young to eat solids, he is always kept with the parents at mealtimes so that when he gets older, he eats together with them. This is a cardinal rule. To make babies feel even more like a part of the family, parents give them the same foods as everyone else. So, one can hardly see children’s menu in Japanese restaurants. From the time babies start eating, they’re eating the same things as adults, just more lightly seasoned or modified for the baby’s age.

– Presentation is important because when food is appealingly prepared and laid out, with an ideal mix of colours and textures, the baby will be more likely to eat it. I’m not sure about you but when I see those beautiful Bento boxes such as the following, I couldn’t help but be attracted to them and eat the contents.

{Source}

– In Japan, the thinking is to introduce young kids to a wide variety of tastes and textures, teach them to appreciate food, teach them never to waste and get them used to structured mealtimes and mealtime behaviour. The Japanese ate three proper meals each day and though overall portions were small, each meal was balanced and filling.

[Source]

– Snacks are not liberally given so kids do look forward to treats because they were rare and presented as a special privilege.

– It is considered a moral good to teach kids to eat properly and it is also an adult’s job to teach children the concept of gratitude for every bit of food on their plates. All children are taught to think of the animal who provided the meat, the farmer who grew the produce, the person who make and serve the food. Children are encouraged to eat everything they are served, to try everything they are given.

– A good parent helps her children to learn to eat anything, and she believes they can and will become good eaters, through high expectations, patience, beautifully crafted meals and lots of exposure to new foods.

– What make Japanese raise healthy eaters is the consistent support they get from others. Food education is woven throughout school life and kids grow their own tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers in first grade (they have a standardised national curriculum so most kids experience the same kind of food education. By fiftth and sixth grade, children are learning cooking basics at school and lunch is an actual class in the curriculum. I like that! It’s a class to teach children where food comes from, how to enjoy a meal and how to serve others.


Pictures above are from an account of an elementary school principal who visited a Japanese school.

Bringing up Faith

I’ve always been curious about how the Japanese bring up their kids, especially after an incident when I got to observe how a Japanese boy behaved during playtime with his peer of another nationality. His actions surprised me.

You can imagine my joy when I chanced upon this book during a visit to the National Library. I wasn’t looking out for parenting materials but more of cookbook (what’s new?) but this caught my eye. After flipping through a few pages, I knew I had to borrow it.

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The author, Christine Gross-Loh, is born in the United States to South Korean parents. Her own family spent several years in Japan and from then on, she started taking an interest in looking at how parenting differs in various countries and how other cultures, apart from the US, foster resilience, creativity, independence and academic excellence in children.

I am just at the beginning pages of the book and I’m already intrigued. Perhaps, I’m just uninformed but it is interesting to learn that most Japanese parents she met felt it was important to get kids accustomed to less from the start. It is better for their characters, their imagination, their resourcefulness and their future lives not to experience immediate or excessive material gratification. It isn’t tasteful to spend money to accumulate lots of possessions for the child, many parents believe and having less enables the kids to appreciate what they do have. So, the few toys that the kids have are well played and cherished.

Another point which confirms what I saw in the kid from that past incident is that the Japanese sees scarcity and sharing as one crucial key to cooperation and relationship building. The kid I met shared his toys willingly but his peer didn’t want to share! Poor him. He went to his mother but was immediately pacified when she talked to him. No tantrums whatsoever.

Another interesting information about them. At restaurants, Japanese children didn’t seen dependent on toys to distract them as they waited for their meals. They are accustomed to less being more and could occupy themselves with a mere piece of paper – folding it, drawing it, etc. A toy could be played for hours as they thought of variations on how to play with it.

In summary for that chapter on ‘Why are we drowning in stuff?’, she mentioned that every child needs things within reason, but not every want is a need. Saying no is the hardest part of being a parent but it’s our job as parents to set those boundaries so we can teach kids how to set them for themselves. If we say yes too often, we’re depriving our kids: of knowing how to be satisfied with less; of freedom from unmanageable clutter; of the satisfaction of working toward and saving up for something they really want.

So this is just the iceberg and I have gone on to the chapter on ‘How parents around the world teach their kids to eat.’ Interesting read, I must say and I cannot decide if I should just continue to borrow the book or to purchase it.

There is much to reflect on because as new parents, I felt it is important that we think of the values that we want to impart to our children and with that, teach them through our actions in our daily activities. It can be difficult, I feel, in our society where consumerism rules but as da man told me, “We just have to explain to her as she grows up, why we do things differently from others.”

While I continue reading this book, I leave you with a quick-fix healthy meal – a Japanese one.

Chicken and onion (scallion) buckwheat noodle soup (for 1 portion)

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Bring a pot of water to boil and add the buckwheat noodles. Cook according to the directions on the package. Drain very well and place it in a bowl.

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Slice chicken fillet at a steep angle to make wide slices. Sprinkle the salt on the slices and leave for 15 minutes.

Put the salted chicken and water in a medium saucepan and bring to simmer. Add 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar, silken tofu and scallions and simmer until the scallions are soft.

Ladle the soup mixture over the noodles and garnish with shredded seaweed and crushed chili pepper.

That’s it. No measurement. Just estimate. =)

Needs of a child

 

It’s not something new but I thought I should just place it here so that I can refer to it. ;P

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Faith @ 9 months old

Dear Faith

You turned 9 months old a couple of days ago and it has been an eventful month, at least for your mama.

Socially, I do think you like to play and be around with friends around your age. The teachers at the infant class in BSF have been telling me that you refuse to take a nap and love to play. One of them commented that you didn’t want to miss out on the fun, is that right? You seem to have integrated well into the class now and the teachers sing praises of you but please do learn to take a break when the occasion calls for it?

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Playing with cousin Lester

The other day when you and little Samuel were placed in the play area, you turned energetic all of a sudden (@ 9pm) and started crawling around and reaching out to him. Were you trying to sayang or hit him? Mama couldn’t really tell. I would have loved to let you play with him and figure out your friendship with him on your own but well, I’m just afraid you will hurt him physically. Oh well…

Physically, you are really active. You are so curious about a lot of things and you just keep exploring! So, Mama has been really busy too, looking out for you. You love danger zones, like the fans, cables and the drying rack. You are also trying to catch my attention by purposely reaching out for them. Many times, I have caught you looking at me before you pull the dangerous stuff. Why would you want to test Mama’s limits?

Danger zone!

Danger zone!

Standing confidently. Oh no!

Standing confidently. Oh no!

In terms of your diet, Mama has introduced you to broccoli, potato and peach for this month. You don’t seem to like broccoli but I hope you know that Mama will not stop giving you that just because you don’t like it. Broccoli is good for you! Well, as expected, you like junk commercial food. I started giving you those ‘Wang Wang’ balls and you love them. You also those Heinz finger biscuits which your Aunty bought for you. Mama is just trying to get you to learn how to bite but well, I think I should get you to chew on meat instead.

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Big appetite for little snacks

In the middle of August, something happened to you and there was one night which you just screamed your head off and couldn’t be put down to sleep at all. You cried rather hysterically and Mama and Papa wondered what had happened to you. Mama had to carry you to sleep. During those weeks, you woke up many times in the middle of the night which was unlike you. We were baffled and thought you might have been affected by something. Mama and Papa were so tired and Papa actually felt sick due to a lack of rest. Thankfully, you returned to your usual sleeping patterns last week and we thanked the Lord for that! Now, it seems that your nap times are at 10am and 3pm for about 1.5 hours each. Hopefully, that will sustain.

Bye bye!

Bye bye!

Linguistically, I think you know the meaning of bye-bye and accompanied that phrase with the relevant action. Good job! It’s such a funny sight seeing you do that! Oh, you have been rather loud these days. Who are you calling out to? You don’t have to scream, you know?

Recently, you develop a running nose and we are waiting it out to see if you can recover on your own. Overall, we are just thankful that you are growing well in all aspects. Great job!

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Stay happy and healthy!

Stay happy and healthy!

Thankful Thursday

It is said that it takes a whole village to bring up a child. In my case, it is true and boy, am I glad that my folks are ever so willing to lend a helping hand. This post is dedicated to them and to remind myself that I do have an awesome family.

Being a SAHM, I find it easy to be sucked into a world that constitutes just you and your child. Going out can be troublesome and at times, the easy solution is to stay at home. Which if you are not careful, you can slip into depression.

Enter assistance from the family.

For a few weeks, my in-laws have been coming to our place on Sunday to spend time with Faith. They pack food and we have lunch together. Faith will then be entertained by them for a good few hours which is a good break for the hubs and I. I could do some leisure baking while da man rests. My father-in-law helps us iron our clothes too. Okay, I’m rather embarrassed to disclose this because I feel we should be responsible for our own chores and to get an elderly man do our work is just terrible of us. However, I also recognise the fact that he wants to help us and in the end, let him do it.

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Everyone’s happy, I guess.

My sister-in-law is an amazingly patient and loving lady who’s able to get the chuckles out from the little girl. How sweet!

And then, there’s my family.

My dad. Oh, how I have misunderstood him. I have always thought that he doesn’t know how to take care of children but how wrong I am. In fact, he is even better than my mom, I feel (or perhaps that’s because he has more time than my mum). He plays with Faith with such childlikeness, feeds her with much patience and pats her to sleep. It’s a loving sight to behold.

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My sister and brother-in-law? They love children. It’s so obvious through their actions. The BIL takes every opportunity to talk to Faith, play with her and educate her. My sister, she’s the same as her hubs.

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My family celebrating Dallen’s birthday

And then, there is my auntie-in-law who loves to cook for us. And I have the utmost privilege of learning how to cook those delicious Peranakan dishes from her. How blessed I am.

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Should I forget about this, can any one of you remind me pls?
Thank you in advance.

 

Fisher-Price® wants YOU as their Play Ambassador!

Little kids love to play, explore and use their imagination!

As parents, we know it is important to follow our child’s lead, to guide and facilitate that desire for play.

Fisher-Price® believes that interactive playtime becomes a more well-rounded learning advantage for your growing child when it involves not just your child and his/her toys but YOU as well. Perhaps it’s time to re-think children’s play and join Fisher-Price® as its Play Ambassadors!

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What does it mean to be a Fisher-Price® Play Ambassador?

As Play Ambassador, you will have to share with the audience on any social media platforms (twitter,
instagram, blogs etc) how you are encouraged to help your child play with FisherPrice® toys. You should also share how your child is learning and enjoying while you play with them.

Fisher-Price® will guide you on this journey of impactful and interactive learning with $5,000 worth of Fisher-Price® products based on the age of your child. From time to time, Fisher-Price® Play Ambassador moms will also receive different products for reviews where you can even host play dates with family and friends to share the Fisher-Price® experience. After such play dates, it is encouraged that you reflect about how it went and actively share about your experience as well as what your family and friends have to say about Fisher-Price® products on your social media sites.

In addition, ambassadors will be on featured interviews across various television/print/digital media to talk about the Fisher-Price® Play Ambassador programme and their Fisher-Price® playing journey.

How to participate?

To participate, send a photo of you and your child with a slogan on why you want to become a
Fisher-Price® Play Ambassador to: Fisher-Price.Singapore@mattel.com

Expectant mothers are also more than welcome to participate! Send in your entry any time from now to 15th August 2013 and selected candidates will be notified via email on 31st August 2013. Fisher-Price® will be selecting 2 local Play Ambassadors.

*For Singapore readers only.

A family outing to S.E.A. Aquarium

It is really rare that my siblings are back at the same time and when that happens, you bet we will take the opportunity to go out as a family, sans my father who has to go for his dialysis treatment and the hubs who has to work (and couldn’t take leave that day).

It was a Tuesday and before we set off, we went to our uncle’s noodle stall to have our breakfast. It’s tiring having meals with the kids and our outing had not even begun!

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After breakfast, it’s time to set off! Since we have quite a number of people, we had to travel in two cars. We have decided to park at Vivocity since we would be going back there for dinner and it’s a surprise $12 for parking from about 10am to 8pm!

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The troop marching in…

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It’s a mighty hot day that day and it’s best to have your shades and hats on!

Although it was a Tuesday, there were a lot of visitors, both locals and tourists. I’ll tell you what we did when we were in the aquarium. For my sister and BIL who have two boys, they really were amazed by the fishes and went ‘whoah’ the whole time. For my elder bro, SIL and I who have young kids, we were just busy feeding the kiddos and wheeling the prams, making sure to avoid crushing the feet of others since it was dark in there.

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I’m thankful for my sis and BIL who are very enthusiastic in educating the young ones, like Faith, and telling her about the various fishes we saw. Good job!

IMG_6009I must say the underwater world is really amazing and colourful, no doubt!

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For lunch, we popped by here for some Malaysian local food. Sedap!

While you think that the highlight is the visit to the S.E.A. aquarium, I think it is the waterplay near the beach that captures the hearts of our little ones. The children went crazy playing with the water and little Faith joined the cousins too. I was at first worried about how she might take to it and feared that she would drink the water but oh well, just let her play! I can’t shield her from everything! Faith did enjoy herself. 🙂

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www.picasion.com

It was definitely a fun trip albeit a tiring one. My brother and her family have gone back to SH and a week later, my sister and her family to Indo. Faith will surely miss the company of her cousins.

Focusing on the things that matter

[User experience on Drypers Wee Wee DRY]

Dear Faith
Before you came into this world, many of my closed friends told me that you are fearfully and wonderfully made…

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…and those who are mothers warned me to spend as much time with you as possible because you will grow up in the twinkling of an eye.

How true that is. You are indeed a gift from God and just look at you now – how you have grown!

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You are indeed our little bundle of joy and it only makes sense that Mama and Papa devote time to spend with you so that we could help you build a good memory of your childhood.

As a parent, I worry a lot. I wonder if you have enough for your feed. I fear that you might have sensitive skin. I’m always on the lookout for any allergic symptoms that might develop. The list goes on.

Mama is not a very adventurous person when it comes to changing brands for the things that you are accustomed to.
But I thought I should give Drypers Wee Wee DRY a try.

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And I’m glad I did.

Because you take to the diapers well and they keep you dry and obviously comfortable since you did not ‘complain’.

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No matter how you turn and toss and stretch and stand, there is no leakage (of pees and poos). Even though you have the diaper on for hours over the night and it becomes FULL the following morning, your bottoms are not red and there’s no reaction either. This could be due to the 4-in-1 Botanical extracts (Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Vitamin E and Olive Extract) which helps to moisturize and rejuvenate your skin.

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Mama is obviously satisfied with Drypers Wee Wee DRY and the information on the product above confirms my confidence in it.

So, Mama doesn’t have to spend time worrying about changing diapers and instead can focus on the things that matter – spending quality time with you.

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Mama also wants to witness each milestone that you achieve.

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Dear Faith, know that Papa and Mama love you very much and we will give you the best (within our means, i.e.). Thankfully, Drypers Wee Wee DRY is kind on our wallets and more importantly, it does its work to keep you dry.

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Mama

My dear readers, if you want to have your precious one experience the new and improved features of Drypers Wee Wee DRY, you can request for a sample via their Facebook page. Do visit it for more updates and parenting tips!

Ending this post with a heart-warming video by Drypers.

Disclaimer: Faith is provided with three packs of Drypers Wee Wee DRY (80 diapers for each pack) for the purpose of this user experience post. All opinions are mine.

A busy saturday and a madeleine recipe

Saturday is always a busy day for us as we attend church service in the evening and thereafter, host our small group. Yesterday, it got really exhausting since we had a wedding lunch to attend. Thankfully the food was good and little Faith did not act up.

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Made our way to the hotel and took a snapshot of this. I would never take blue skies for granted again after the recent haze experience.

20130707-145353.jpgSince we were rather early for the lunch, we chilled at Joe & Dough and father & daughter spent some quality time together. Faith was eyeing the blueberry yogurt tart which was rather yummy.

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I was brought up with the belief that we should always make our guest(s) feel welcome and ‘full’ as a host so no matter how tired or busy the day could be, I would try to make it a point to bake something for the small group. A few days ago, I finally got my hands on the madeleine pan and well, you guess it right, I made honey-spiced madeleines for my guests. The recipe is taken from my favourite cookbook author, Dorie Greenspan. Since this recipe requires you to chill the batter for at least 3 hours, I prepared that early in the morning and I just need to bake them in the oven when I got back home in the afternoon.

It was easy to make and the madeleines found their way into my guests’ stomachs quickly so maybe they were good?

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Recipe taken from about.com

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves (or a little less, if you prefer)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 1/2 orange
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt, and pepper.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Fit the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or use a hand mixer or a whisk; add the eggs to the bowl and beat until the mixture is light colored, fluffy, and thickened, about 2 minutes. Beat in the honey, then the vanilla. Switch to a rubber spatula and very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter.

3. You can use the batter now, but it’s better if you give it a little rest. Or, for real convenience, you can spoon the batter into buttered-and-floured madeleine molds, cover, and chill, then bake the cookies directly from the fridge. (See below for instructions on prepping the pans.) Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

4. When you’re ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 200C. Butter 12 regular madeleine molds (or 36 mini-molds), dust them with flour, and tap out the excess. (If you have a nonstick madeleine mold, butter and flour it or give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray. If your pan is silicone, you can leave it as is or, just to be sure, give it a light butter-and flour coating.) Place the pan on a baking sheet and spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one to the top.

5. Bake large madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes and minis for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when prodded gently. Remove the pan from the oven and release the madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just warm or room temperature.

6. Just before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Wordless Wednesday | Father & Daughter

I cannot tell you how heartwarming it is to witness the hubs and Faith playing. The sight of them at their activities put a smile to my face. It can be rather hilarious too and I so wish that the hubs could be able to take more days of leave to spend with our daughter.

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Linking up with

Joy of Learning Workshop

I had an overdose of caffeine and definitely, information.

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I was invited to attend Fisher Price’s Joy of Learning Workshop which was held this morning and to be totally honest with you, I was skeptical at first. Will it be another of those workshops which tries to entice you to purchase their products at the end of the session? I need to have an open mind, I know and boy, am I thankful that I went.

Perhaps I am just a newbie in this motherhood journey but I find myself soaking in all the information that I receive about parenting from various sources. Because my learning style leans more towards auditory, visual and kinesthetic, workshops suit me perfectly.

The workshop started at 9am but I was early and treated myself to a complimentary cup of Nespresso coffee (couldn’t decide if I want TWG or Nespresso). I figured I would need all the attention to take in the important information later.

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There wasn’t a real booth selling Fisher Price products wich was a pity because I would have wanted to buy something for Faith. It would be good use of time to browse the items for those who were early too but oh well, it’s really not a big deal.

The participants started streaming in slowly and we didn’t commence until 30 minutes after the stipulated time. It’s a tad disappointing but perhaps it’s just me – I’m not very fond of lateness. Ok, I need to practise mercy.

Thankfully, the presenter, Carrie Lupoli, got the workshop to a good start. She is IMG_1933one lively individual who shares her invaluable experience and knowledge with the audience. I was engaged throughout in this interactive workshop. I don’t think it is possible for me to consolidate my learning in just one post and definitely cannot complete it within a day because I have my responsibility to perform as a mother. But yes, I hope to share what I have learnt with you and it will be an on-going thing.

For a start, I’ll just share this graphic with you which I have gotten from Carrie Lupoli’s facebook page. Her page is a good resource guide so if you want to get updates, do LIKE her. 🙂

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First message: The first FIVE years of life is when the most significant growth and development occur in a human.

Questions to ask (myself): Who is the person in charge of facilitating this growth and development and how will he/she go about achieving the desired outcomes (which is ultimately his/her goals of parenting).

Food for thought and I’ll be back.IMG_4273

But one thing that I will certainly be doing (application) is to be consistent in documenting Faith’s milestones.

And no, I didn’t buy anything from Fisher Price (no proper booth anyway!) but I got a whole lot of parenting info from this workshop and a bountiful goodie bag to bring home. Certainly hope that Fisher Price would conduct similar events again. It’s worth the fee that one pays.

Disclosure: I was invited by Fisher Price to attend the Joy of Learning workshop for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are mine. Where pictures or information belong to others, I will always try to have them credited as such.

Parenting with Confidence – Session 3: Bringing Kids on Board

histhoughtsWhile Session 1 talks about our roles as parents, and Session 2 helps us to find out more about the personalities of our kids, Session 3 brings the two together by emphasising the need to help ou kids understand the viewpoint of us parents.

The session started off emphasising the importance of The Confidence Factor. (Hence, the title of the course: Parenting with Confidence) The idea is that kids respond to leadership (or a lack thereof). Hence they respond to confidence and challenge weakness in parents. As an educator, I actually see this quite a bit. It is a constant reminder that young kids are not yet ready to make proper use of the autonomy that we sometimes would like to give them…

The session also introduced the idea of parents as coaches, prompting us to recall the (successful) sports coaches that we may have known in our lives, and drawing on their traits in our parenting. I guess this is where you pick and choose a little. I think it may be okay to be an Arsene Wenger type parent, but perhaps less so if you want to be an Alex Ferguerson type parent. (Though to be fair to the old Scot, he does protect his players in public…)

Some tips for parent-coaches. Be someone who: Gives Attention to, Listens, Understand, Encourages, and Believes in your Child. Be someone who: your child would be prepared to follow and fight for. Be someone who: Provides safety, control, and order to the child. Teaching Honesty, Determination, and other Life skills. (As an educator, it is a reminder here that nothing academic was emphasised. Rightly so in my opinion.)

We were reminded to provide our child with 3 things. Physical Affection. Loving Eye-Contact. Focused (1-on-1) Attention. And High Expectations. Prepare them to enter the world as whole, healthy people.

Creating an atmosphere at home to prepare our kids for the world is hardly an easy task. (though some of us may sometimes feel we need to prepare the world for our kids…) Session 3 also gave us 15 Tools for Engaging Cooperation. I’m just going to give the names of the tools here and I’m guessing most are self-explanatory (or ask about them in the comments and we’ll help where we can.)

1) Show Them How. 2) Give Clear, Simple Instructions. 3) Tone of Voice. 4) Plan Ahead. 5) Mistakes are Opportunities. 6) Rehearse the Ritual. 7) Use of the Impersonal. 8) Play Pretend. 9) Choices. 10) Thinking Words and Fighting Words. 11) Say YES. 12) Reinforce Good Behaviour. 13) Use of Timer. 14) Celebration and Praise. 15) Cue, Prompt, Reinforce.

We were also provided with the Four Magic Words. “In our family we…” Definitely look forward to using more of these words…

Here is a quick example of how to use some of these tools.

Say the child is watching television and dinner is about to be ready.

Parent(P): Faith, dinner is going to be ready soon so we are going to have to switch off the tv soon alright?

F: But I don’t want to switch off the tv.

P: Well in our family we don’t watch tv while having dinner remember? But you can choose if you want me to switch the tv off, or if you would like to switch it off yourself. (9)

F: I’ll switch it off…

P: Well you don’t have to do it now, but I’ll set the timer (13) over here for ten minutes, and you can switch off the tv when the timer goes off. (15: Cue)

<Ten minutes later> K: Well the timer has gone, do you remember what you have to do now that the timer has gone? (15: Prompt)

F: <Switches off tv>

P: Great! Thanks for remembering to switch off the tv before dinner time! (15: Reinforce)

Of course tools alone are not long term solutions. There will be instances where tools do not work and discipline is required (I think that is Session 4), and even when they do work, there needs to be reasons behind our rules for lasting effect on our kids. Reasons behind rules would need to be tied to values. Family values. Hence, Session 3 rounded off with a reminder for us to come together as a family and set out the values that our family would live by. And then share them with our kids. (It’s like strategic planning for the family…)

I’m looking forward to the discipline bit though… Tune in next week… =)

MTP | Faith’s development @ 6 months

While parents met their child’s teachers last Friday to get an update of their development, I thought I should pen down Faith’s since I am her teacher (Am I not?). Here goes.

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Faith’s two lower teeth have grown by the sixth month and the days leading to the ‘eruption’ saw her crying out in discomfort every night. It’s such a pain to see her in that state but she’s better now.

She takes to semi-solids well too. In fact, she loves the fact that she could sit on the high chair and have a meal together with us. Nope, we don’t encourage switching on the TV or to have any other forms of distraction. Meal time is a time for the family to be together, to enjoy the food and each other’s company. Her appetite is good; she could finish the portion of puree in 10 to 15 minutes. It isn’t too much mess either when feeding her but when she’s tired, she likes to kiss the bib and that’s not very desirable; it’s messy. So far, that’s no rejection of food on her part but let’s just wait and see.

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Faith is also a happy child. My parents have no problem in handling her. In fact, the evening I was away for a dinner, she stayed up to play with her grandmother. My mother gave good report about her! Faith has also grown to be more at ease with my in-laws which is definitely a good thing. Way to go!

In terms of sleeping, Faith still has trouble falling asleep on her own. Currently, she needs to be soothed and wants to be breastfed before she could fall asleep. Ok, I recognise that I have contributed to this problem. This is a bad habit and I have to retrain her to sleep on her own. When she was younger, I was definitely stricter and sleep-trained her. Recently, I let go and well, bad habits are formed. Argh! At times, she wakes up in the middle of the night and I believe that’s because of teething. Other than that, she could sleep from 9pm to 7am. We will have to continue to monitor this area of her development.

Faith loves to play and is very active. She could sit up straight with minimal assistance now but we are hoping she could do so WITHOUT any aid in the very near future. She loves music and responds to the same song(s) when I play them on my iphone. However, her interest for books has not been detected. Oh well…

On the whole, Faith is growing well and she is much loved by God and her family!

A ME morning spent in Patisserie G

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It’s the last day of May and I’m getting a bit emo(tional). Nope I’m not having PMS. Fact is, today is the last day of my No-Pay-Leave. Instead of cooping myself up at home, I placed Faith at my parent’s and went down to Patisserie G for brunch. I needed some time to read up on the notes from Parenting with Confidence before I go for lesson the next day.

I had wanted to visit Patisserie G after I was lured by the aroma that perfumed the surrounding environment when I passed by that 14-seat French bake shop the other day. Perhaps, I was also enticed by the Japanese outlook of the cafe, the simplicity in decor and the Maruni Hiroshima armchairs. Whatever it is, I’m going to have my ME time there.

Patisserie G opens at 8am (good for early-risers) and it was empty except for a customer who had almost completed her meal. The desserts were not displayed (pity!) and I had to settle for a latte and a croissant with ham and cheese.

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Going through last week’s notes, I was most impressed by this – 2 related things that threaten successful parenting and lead to the demise of the family are:
1) Not understanding the importance of the husband/wife relationship in the parenting process
2) Having a child-centred parenting

It is important to maintain the husband-wife relationship as the greatest overall influence we can have on our children will not come in our role as a dad or mom but as husband and wife. The quality of parent-child relationship depends on the quality of the husband-wife relationship so do make the latter an ongoing priority throughout the child-rearing years.

I thought it is important to note that there are 3 basic emotional needs of young children.
a) A child has a need to know that he is loved by Mum and Dad.
b) Every child has a need to know where he fits in Mum and Dad’s world.
c) A child has a need to know that Mum and Dad love each other.

While we want to meet the needs of our children, we have to be careful that in doing so, he does not become the centre of the family universe thus resulting in a me-ism attitude. Healthy families, on the other hand, produce children with a we-ism attitude.

There are 5 ways to meet all our child’s needs and not be child-centred:
1) Maintain your relationships that were important to you before your children were born
2) Get back into the habit of dating our partner and allowing friends or relatives to take care of the children
3) Continue to do those things that were markers of your special relationship before the children came.
4) Invite friends over for a meal or an evening of fellowship. Being hospitable forces us to focus on our home for the sake of minitering to others (healthy distractions such as these show children that service {to others} should be part of their lives)
5) Practice “Couch Time that takes place when the children are awake. This provides children with a visual sense of your togetherness.

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As I took a bite of the croissant and a sip of the latte, I wish the former could be a tad more buttery and crispy and the coffee to be warmer. They didn’t meet up to expectations and I so wish they could play some French music in the background, rather than some American pop music.

Proceeding to my next read, the peace was disrupted by two customers who were rather loud in their conversation. Distracted, I bade the ME time goodbye. It’s time to head home, to my baby. By then, the desserts were out on display and I purchased The G Spot (Dark chocolate mousse with chocolate meringue, on a chocolate hazelnut praline crunch) to try. Hopefully, it will turn out to be good.

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So, I would be back to work in June, though not on a permanent basis. I’m serving my notice, you see, and that is another story in itself.

Update: The cake is good. I should just stick with her desserts/cakes.

Patisserie G
9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-40
Millenia Walk

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My Petit Bowl experience {Review and Give-away}

“Weaning your baby from milk to solids is an important and exciting milestone for both of you and it’s a big step forward for your baby as it opens up a whole new world of taste. So there is nothing better for your baby than freshly prepared food…” – Annabel Karmel.

IMG_0161For a first-time mommy like me, it’s not just an exciting milestone, it can be a daunting one as well, especially if you are clueless and have little help at home. My plan is to provide fresh homemade baby food for Faith since I want her to be introduced to a wide range of foods and interact with the natural goodness and flavour of the food from young. Commercial baby foods are convenient but it is a no-no at this stage. Thankfully, my journey has been a smooth-sailing and happy one. Here’s why.

When Faith was around four months old, I was invited by Florinda, along with Irene, to a complimentary food group sampling at Petit Bowl where we were introduced to their concepts and given some food to sample. Faith was given a 3-week’s supply of complimentary frozen food to try and here’s my review of the whole experience.

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Petit Bowl was located among one of the shops along Siglap Drive. The cheery interior provides a conducive environment for children and parents to meet. Its mission is simple: To provide nutritious and delicious meals for babies and children. Their passion for this is truly exemplified when the husband-and-wife team, Bernard and Josephine Kwong, shared their beliefs with us. Parents to three children, they want to offer them best food choices and experimented preparing the kids’ meals themselves. It wasn’t all that easy in the initial years but after research and testing, they are ready to share their cook-and-freeze children’s meals to parents.

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As explained by Bernard and Ryan (a food technologist engaged by Petit Bowl), Petit Bowl’s meals are prepared by blending fresh ingredients like fruits, vegetables and grains, with fresh meat and fish and brown rice. All their meals are free of salt, sugar and artificial flavourings. What they do is to cook the foods, store them in capsules and freeze them. In this way, we can be assured that a high percentage of nutrients is retained. What we need to do is to reheat the food, straight from the freezer, by means of a microwave oven, pan-fry or simply steam it (using a wok or a steamer) and it would be ready in 15 minutes. And yes, you could just heat up the capsules since they are in microwavable containers. Simple? It sounds fuss-free to me!

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However, if you know that your child could not finish a whole capsule in one go, all you need to do is to cut the food (in their frozen state) in half, steam it and pop the rest back into the freezer.

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Next, the delicious part. We were each given various samples from their puree and textured menu like butternut, zucchini, broccoli & pea and vegetable curry couscous. Since Faith was too young to taste then, we, as concerned parents, did so on her behalf.

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I have to tell you, both the hubs and I love the food especially the vegetable curry couscous. Delicious! We wish we could have more! Poor Faith, all she could do was to watch us eat.

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Fast forward two months and Faith is ready to take her first semi-solids. It has been a breeze. I appreciate the note and meal plan that Petit Bowl provides and all we need to do is to…follow. I even got my parents to prepare the meals for Faith when I have to run some errands and they have found no difficulty in doing so. Awesome!

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I must say I enjoyed the whole experience, from the informative food sampling session to weaning Faith with Petit Bowl meals . It’s so easy and convenient to use and what’s important is I know I’m feeding Faith with quality food. It’s a good start and Faith has been enjoying her meals thus far.

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I would strongly recommend Petit Bowl to:
* parents with busy schedules
* first-time mothers who need help in weaning
* caregivers who do not know how to prepare meals for young children

Now, you could also have the same hassle-free experience that I am having in preparing nutritious meals for your little one(s). The generous folks at Petit Bowl are giving away a $50 voucher to TWO readers. All you need to do is post a comment (e.g. share your weaning experience!) and leave your email address.

The give-away ends on 7 June 2013. So, what are you waiting for? 🙂

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Petit Bowl
46 Siglap drive, Singapore 456171 (Frankel Estate)
Tel: +65 6256 5359
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday: 10am – 7pm
Visit their website or get updates from their facebook page.

Disclaimer: We were invited to a food sampling session at Petit Bowl and were offered 3 weeks of Petit Bowl meals for reviewing purposes. No monetary compensation was involved. All views and opinions shared are my own.

Update: The winners chosen by Faith (in a lucky-draw style) are Joleen Ng & Mae Shenoy. Congratulations! You will be notified by Petit Bowl soon!