The horrible mum is back in action

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Yes, that's me!

I came to realise that I have been blaming too much on Xi Yu, that she couldn't sleep well, and kept waking up at night. I have been thinking a lot these days, I read the past post entries in my blog and I tried to remember as much as I can when Hao Re was about this age.

And the conclusion is - it's not Xi Yu, but it's ME, the evil mum, who has been putting the blame on Xi Yu repeatedly, who has been very impatient with Xi Yu, who has been a horrible mum to Xi Yu :-(

For parents like us, who don't want to sleep-train our kids, we know very well that it takes (a lot of ) time and patience to put a baby (and toddler) to bed. And that's what we did for Hao Re. We spent a lot of time every night to put him to bed, and with that I meant we carried him, sang to him, patted him, walked him, etc, for sometimes up to an hour, every night. Back then, I didn't complain at all. Okay, to be honest, I did complain a few times when I was really tired and when Hao Re didn't want to sleep after spending more than an hour in the bedroom. We took in all his requests, and all his nonsense. When he was sick, I carried him all night so that he could sleep well on me, and that too without a single word of complain.

For Xi Yu, it's the same thing. No sleep training. Though a lot of kind mummies offered their advise that we should sleep train Xi Yu since we have 2 kids to handle now, and that would make our life much easier. We didn't. So we still go use the same method, carrying, walking, singing, patting, etc, and it takes times and patience, and we know that.

Sound like we are following the Standard Operating Procedure and shouldn't be any problem, right?

What's went wrong then? Really, nothing wrong with Xi Yu. A baby is like that and should be like this, just like Hao Re when he was this age. Sometimes he refused to sleep, sometimes he took longer time to fall asleep, sometimes he wanted to be listening more nursery ryhtm before he could sleep soundly....... you know, it's not normal that a baby fall asleep the same way every night, don't you agree? She is just like Hao Re, not much different.

So ya, all the problems lie within me, the evil mum. I lost my patience when Xi Yu couldn't fall asleep as fast as last night/last week, I scolded her when she wanted to turn to another position and thus take longer time to fall asleep, I beat her on her fat butt when she made noise, I left her in the room when she couldn't sleep after 1 hour, etc, etc, all these things that I shouldn't be doing and I didn't do it on Hao Re. So unfair.

Being the second child is an unfortunate thing? I myself is the 2nd child in the family, but then my mum is the most patient and most wonderful mum in the world, so she would never have done that to me, I am very sure.

What I am hoping now is that Xi Yu won't remember this when she grows up (she won't right? Please tell me she won't). I hope that this scolding, screaming and beating won't leave a scar in her tender heart. I hope that she would forgive me for being so horrible to her. I hope that I can hold my temper better and try harder to be a good (and fair) mum to Xi Yu. I hope I can one day love her as much as I love Hao Re (after these few months, the biasness has improved, but still not balanced yet, I am working hard on this too).

Last night was one of the worst night that I had to pass Xi Yu to hubby after spending an hour in the bedroom. I was not feeling well as I caught the bugs from Hao Re, and I was very tired from work (huh, excuses, excuses!). So grateful for my dear hubby who was so kind to take over Xi Yu so that I can have a good night sleep, even though the timing clashed with the World Cup (a man who choose his kids over World Cup must be a great man, mustn't he?). And I really missed hugging Hao Re to sleep (see, still so bias......)

Stay positive! Things will only get better, sooner or later!

(Note to hubby: remember to remind me again and again, to be patient and to be a loving mum to Xi Yu, okay!).

And some asked, if I were to do this again (i.e., if we were to have #3), from this experience, would we then sleep train him/her? The answer is, still, no.
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Back from the clinic

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Hao Re's fever was around 39C the whole night, didn't come down despite taking 2 dose of paracetamol. The cough was very bad also, till vomitted a few times and hardly got any sleep (the poor daddy included).

This morning he woke up totally afresh though, all happy and bubbly, talked so much and told us he is going to get well soon, he doesn't look like a sick kid. But the fever and cough persist :-(

We don't want to take any chance as high fever with bad cough with no other flu symptoms can suggest the possibility of lung infection, pneumonia included.

Brought him to see Dr Keoy and we were relieved to hear that his lung is clear. Most likely is an air borne virus infection. Have to monitor his fever and cough closely. Either one persists will have to bring him back to Dr Keoy on Friday. He looked like such a big kid already when at Dr Keoy's clinic. Sitting high up on the stool (not on top of the table anymore), looking all serious when doctor examined him, listening and answering to questions, and greeted doctor good morning and said thank you before he left the room. Our boy grows up so fast!

Guess one of the reasons why the fever persists is that he refused food and milk and water yesterday. Today he drinks a lot more and so hope can help to bring down the temperature soon. He is happy to take the medicine except the cough medicine. Don't know why, funny little man.

I have to go to work for the rest of the day. Hubby will continue his great job in taking care of Hao Re. Hao Re's favourite person for now is his baba, not mama anymore :-p

Get well soon, our dear son!



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
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Weekend started on Friday evening

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Summary of the activities

Friday
- Dinner at Pizza Hut, Lot 1, followed by a short visit to the library.

It looks like Hao Re is enjoying his food a lot. Well he did ate some, but not a lot. Can't blame him, he already has his dinner at his school, and the food is really not that fantastic :-P


When you are little, you are not allowed to have table food like others. Our little Xi Yu was munching on her biscuits and self entertained while waiting for us (kinda patiently) to finish our dinner. Good girl!



Saturday
- "Meet & Greet" session with Woody and Buzz Lightyear at Takashimaya. Followed by a long nap/rest at home.

Glad to find out from a friend that Woody and Buzz Lightyear are appearing at the Takashimaya. Hao Re was thrilled to touch them and give them a "high-5"!


Damaged done to the parents - bought him some Toy Story 3's toys as you can see below. The baseball thingy was chosen by him, and he won't let go of it once he hold it!



Sunday
- a visit to the Singapore Zoo. And stayed home thereafter because Hao Re has fallen ill :-(

Hightlight of today's visit - feeding the giraffe! See, even Xi Yu can do it. She didn't want to let go of the carrot, and the giraffe was getting impatient :-) Hao Re, as usual, having a great time seeing the animals.


Poor Hao Re suddenly coughed quite badly while we were exploring the zoo. When we thought he had fully recovered from the cough which started on 14th June, it suddenly gone worse this morning, sigh! What worse was that he developed a fever in the late afternoon and the fever recorded at 39.3C at the highest. He got pretty cranky since then and became a sticky koala bear to hubby. He hasn't been eating anything for his dinner and refused to take milk also (because of his cough). But he happily took the fever and cough medicine, which he has been asking to take whenever he saw Xi Yu taking it :-) He doesn't want to drink water either, so I guess it's difficult to get the fever down soon if he didn't eat or drink much. Before he went to bed, he coughed till vomitted quite a lot, and then vomitted another mouthful when he was already in bed. So poor thing. Fever is still not subsided yet as of now, hovering around 39.0C. Hope his immue system fights off the bugs as soon as possible. Jia you, Hao Re!

Thankfully, though, Xi Yu has almost recovered. A little bit of runny nose, but that's only a bit in the morning, and coughed a little bit only especially when taking milk. Has stopped given her medicine. She rejected cereal today altogether, only fed on milk. She went to bed since 9pm and has been sleeping really well tonight. I hope she would be fully recovered in another 2-3 days. Though, she has been quite sticky to me, and a little cranky in the late afternoon.

Bugs, bugs, go away, don't come to bother my kids! Go as far as possible! Hopefully we would be waking up with 2 sick-free kids tomorrow morning :-)

Note: A big milestone for Xi Yu today - stood unassisted for about 10 seconds!
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A very sensible kid we have

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It was raining cats and dogs this morning. Hubby has to go and get the car, while I have to bring the two kids down and wait for hubby.

I have to push the stroller where Hao Re was sitting in with my right hand while carried Xi Yu with my left. It's not an easy task to do and my arm was hurting (it's like carrying a pack of 10kg rice with 1 hand, imagine that).

So I said to Hao Re: "皓皓, 妈妈要停下来休息一下, 妹妹很重, 妈妈的手很痛!"

Hao Re turned to me with a serious face and smile, said: "妈妈, 来, 我来抱妹妹啦!"

So he helped me to carry Xi Yu on his laps (both sharing a stroller :-)).

I was so touched! Though it's only a couple more minutes to reach where hubby was waiting, this means a lot to me! He understands how I feel and he knows how he can help me. What a sensible (is it the right word to use?) child he is!

It doens't really matter that if he cannot recognize A to Z, that he cannot count 1 to 10 (which, by the way, he can :-)), what matters most is that he grows up having a kind heart and soul, that he understands people's feeling, that he is willing to help people, etc.

With the 5000 years of Chinese wisdom, these are the core for becoming a good person, and we want our kids to learn and to practice this since young:

忠 Loyalty
孝 Filial
仁 Humane
爱 Love
礼 Manners
义 Righteousness
廉 Honest
耻 (Knows about) Humiliation

And we have to show them a good example because 言教不如身教!

Or, have I been thinking too much? That Hao Re was just being playful (he thought it's funny to carry his sister?). Well, time will tell........
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Xi Yu is 10 months old

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She is growing and growing up, up, and up!

I am late for the monthly update. No thanks to Xi Yu who has caught a flu causing her blocked nose, runny nose, cough and all, and hence hasn't been sleeping very well (woke up frequently). Leaving me no time at night, or either I was too tired to spend some time in front of the computer. Well, the fact that I can do the update now meaning she is recovering well and able to sleep tight :-)

(note: her nanny called me on Monday morning saying that she heard Xi Yu wheezed while taking the morning nap. She urged us to bring Xi Yu to her PD a.s.a.p. We took her advise and brought Xi Yu to Dr Keoy's clinic. Luckily Dr Keoy confirmed that she's not wheezing, it's her blocked nose that causing the wheezing-like sound. As of now, Thursday night, her runny nose has stopped, and only cough rarely).
Right, here goes a quick update on Xi Yu for the past month:

- gaining weight well (between 9.5 to 10.0 kg) and growing taller (>70cm, but not sure about the exact measurement)

- she finally decided to CRAWL! On all fours, the proper crawling. She is a strange baby, who cruised first before crawling. While we were thinking that she might skip the crawling part, she starts crawling, probably she figured that as of now, before she can walk, crawling is the only way she can move from point A to point B :-)

- standing up very steadily.

- sitting down slowly by bending her legs and lower down her body, and not falling hard on his butt. Very careful girl.

- change from sitting to crawling to standing to squarting etc swiftly.

- cruising really well. And she loves that! She can stand and cruise for an hour without complaining, and even wants more! She knows how to move herself around almost the whole house by moving from a piece of furniture to another. When there is a big gap that stopping her, she will scream for us for lending her a helping hand.

- she lets go of both hands while standing but with her body pressed to the coffee table for support, smart girl ya!

- she has 4 almost full grown teeth, probably another 2 upper ones are growing, but not quite sure as she doens't let me see it.

- she can play independantly for quick a long time period, especially if she can see us around, she is happy playing with the toys or having fun playing/fighting with her gorgor.

Okay. I am very tired already. Gonna catch up with the sleep. Will end this update by showing a video of Xi Yu walking with the help of a walker.

Xi Yu is "walking"

Walking with a walker from TJ Kam on Vimeo.

Right, hopefully will be able to do a more detail update when she turns 11 months.

Xi Yu girl girl, we all love you very much, you are truly a cutie, sometimes you really look like a doll, you are just simply so adorable. Please continue to grow up healthily and happily, and hope to hear more of your laughters and see more of your smiling face :-)
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Orchard Road and West Coast Park

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One full day of fun!

We haven't been going out for 1 full day since Xi Yu was born, as we thought it's very challenging to cope with 2 young kids. But well, we just did it on Saturday, not that we planned for it, but it just happened, thanks to the two little ones who have been so cooperative and well behaved.

First was to catch the 11am Toy Stories 3 show at The Shaw Centre at Orchard Road. Both Hao Re and Xi Yu have quiet sat through the whole show without any fuss. Well, to be exact, Hao Re sat on his own seat, with a booster, while Xi Yu sat on hubby or my lap for the first 60 minutes or so, totally focus on the screen. For the last 30 minutes, they stood up and moved a little bit, but still eyes were on the screen. We got to enjoy a complete show.

They we walked to The Forum Shopping Centre, as I received an e-mail from someone that there will be a free "Cat" show there at 1pm, think it's sponsored by the Julia Gabriel school. We were a bit late to get a ticket to go in, but still in time to watch the whole show, and have to stand for a good 30 minutes. Meaning poor hubby got to carry the 15kg-ish Hao Re for 30 minutes! Not a very interesting one. But it's good enough for the kids, I guess.

Then we were very hungry. Walked pass a tcc restaurant and so decided to have our lunch there and walked no further. Hao Re was not interested in the food at all. Have some bits out of our dish, and have a bit of chocolate cake and a tiny bit of ice-cream. Xi Yu has her beetroot + carrot puree.

Delicious chocolate cake! See how badly Xi Yu is drooling looking at the cake :-)


Since The Borders was just opposite to where we were, we decided to go in for a short while. To our surprise, there is a sales going on and it's up to 75% off for selected books! Who was the most excited one? It's hubby, he grabbed 3 books at a very good discount. Hao Re was busy putting all the books that he wanted into the basket under the stroller. He had collected up to about 10 books of all sorts, then he saw a Toy Stories 3 book, he immediately glued to that one, and threw all those already in the stroller back on the table, except a Thomas workbook. So at the end, he has a Toy Stories 3 and a Thomas (needless to say, these are his favourites for now). Then he said "去找爸爸, 给钱, 回家了".

When we went back to the car, we made a bottle of milk for each of them, and need not to say, both of them knocked out almost immediately as it's already close to 4pm and they haven't taken any nap yet, poor kids, espeically Xi Yu, her last nap was on the car ride to the Orchard Road, woke up at 11am.

We didn't plan to go to the West Coast Park. But it's a nice day. The kids were behaving so well. We were not tired yet. And so we thought, yes, why not, let's head to West Coast Park then to go home.

So here we were. At the West Coast Park at about 4.30pm. Initially planned to stay in the car and let them sleep as long as they wanted to. But as soon as the car parked, they woke up. All afresh and ready for the fun!

Hao Re was excited to see the kites up in the sky. But when we asked him if he wanted to fly a kite, he said no and he headed to the playground after taking off his shoes. He got all excited and wanted to try everything. We let him play for a long time, he ran, jumped, climbed, took the slide, probably near to an hour. While Xi Yu was being carried and walked around or was sitting on the picnic mat to play with the grass.

Hao Re challenged the obstacle course. He did really well in climbing up the rope. Not an easy task, but he has no fear (of falling).


Little Xi Yu wants to have a go on lifting herself up :-)


After an hour of playing, we managed to pursuade him to go to the field to fly kite. It's a windy day, we set the kite flying off high in just a moment. Having a great time flying the kite, but it's difficult to get Hao Re playing this for long. But at least he tried. It's his very first time flying a kite.

What a great day for the family!


We then headed to West Coast Plaza for dinner. When we reached home, it's already 8pm. We quickly showered the kids, so that hubby can get on to the World Cup.

Then it's time to tuck the kids to bed. What a day!

So, what's on Sunday?

Well. It's stay at home day. Xi Yu caught a mild cough since Friday, I think it's from Hao Re. Hao Re is still coughing but he is recovering. Xi Yu's immunity is not as strong, and so the flu bug is attacking her more fiercely. She started to have fever on Saturday night. Luckily fever subsided on Sunday afternoon. Runny nose started on Sunday morning. So yes, we didn't go anywhere. Just stayed at home and hope they can have more rest. Hao Re took a 3.5 hours of nap. Xi Yu didn't want solid food, except baby biscuits. She didn't want water, but she took a lot of milk. She is particular a handful when it came to sleeping time, due to her blocked nose, I think. During the day, she wanted to be carried upright when she took nap, else she woke up all cranky. I was very tired since she didn't sleep well on Saturday night. So hubby has kindly took over the duty and carried her for almost 2 hours when she slept on him! I went to take a much needed nap. At night time, she slept poorly on Saturday. On Sunday, she slept very well till about 12midnight, and then kept waking up (just when I was about to head to the bed). After that, I switched her the bouncer and she was able to sleep a lot better.

It's always when comes to the night time (putting her to sleep and frequent waking up at night) that I would lost my temper on Xi Yu. Really. Lost it totally. That I would end up scolding her and beat her lightly on her buttock. I felt very guilty for that. I have never done that to Hao Re. So unfair ya. Poor Xi Yu. But Hao Re never has problem sleeping, he is a good sleeper from Day1. Xi Yu's biggest problem, to me, is her poor sleeping pattern. I know, and I keep telling hubby that she doesn't do it on purpose. That must be a reason why she keeps waking up. I know that. But when it happens again and when I have not been sleeping well and tired, I just can't control my temper. Okay, okay, have to put in more effort. Probably chanting will help? I will try that, whenever I feel that I am losing it, I will start chanting, to keep myself cool and keep the baby calm. I don't want to scold my girl anymore. Jia you, jia you!

Right. It's passed midnight already. Xi Yu hasn't been waking up for the past 1 hour. Good sign. Time to head to the bed now.
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The monkey business - Part I

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Unstructured learning under the blue blue sky

After the last 2 visits to the Singapore Zoo, we realised that Hao Re has a huge thirst in learning new things and that we are not providing enough for him to learn. He has very good memory, he learns things very fast, and he is interested in almost everything, with a special interest in the animals. His learning capability is so different from a few months back. You know how we describe that a child's brain is like a brand new sponge, it is capable of absorbing new things/knowledge at a very fast speed and effectively. And how we say that we have to give them the best, and guide them through these critical period of time - a child's golden year is between 0 to 3 years old (with some say 0 to 6 years).

We are not a believer of structured classroom teaching for our kids, not until they reach the age for formal education. We are all for the unstructured learning or in other words, learning through play. We think that a kid learns the fastest when they are playing, simply because they love playing! And learn things from the nature, as much as possible.

Thus, we have never sent him for any enrichment class. Oh well, he had attended a music class at Staccato, but that is not sit-down classroom kind of lessons, it's still a lot of fun during the class. And by the way, music is always something he loves very much too! And we didn't buy any flash card, none of his vocabulary or knowledge is learnt through flash card. Okay, to be fair, since he attends childcare, so he has got enough classroom learning and a little bit of flash cards too, but that's not something we can control. Though I have been thinking of switching him to Montessori based childcare (that's another story altogether).

Coming back to the title of this post - the Monkey Business!

What I am doing now is to gather information about all the apes and monkeys that are present in the Singapore Zoo. So during our next visit, I will be able to tell Hao Re more about each and every type of the primates. During the last visit, he already wanted to know the name of each species, but I can't tell him because I don't know their names, I only know them as monkeys! Here's the conversation:

HR: Mama, see, monkeys!
Me: Hao Re, 它的名字叫baboon, 每一个 monkey 都有名字的喔.
(I know that's baboon only because I read from the sign board)
Then we walked to the next display.
HR: Mama, what's this?
Me: This is monkey.
HR: Mama, 不是, 不是 monkey, 它叫什么名字?
Me:..........
(I couldn't answer as the sign board was not within my view, and it's taken me aback for not being able to answer a 2.5 years old toddler, and there is a lot more to come!).

So yes, we have to keep up with our knowledge so that we can provide Hao Re with the correct information, and able to let him learn something novel.

I gather information from the web, summarise and make short notes, also downloade some pictures for each animal type. Then during our zoo visit, I would bring along the notes and the pictures, and go to look for that particular animal, and tell him what I know about that animal.

It's a lot of hard work, and I have to sacrify my beauty sleeps. But it's all worth it. And most importantly, we are learning, too! As I said, my first research is on the apes and monkey (that explained why the topic of this post). Stay tune!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Just to note this down:

We were at the Flamingo display and there is a river running in front of the group of Flamingo. When we were there 2 weeks ago, there was a coconut fell from the tree into the river. Now, Hao Re has, somehow, a special interest in coconut (he loves to look out for coconuts and the trees). That coconut looked very different from those on the tree. We explained to him that it's fallen from the tree and that it can float on the water, etc. He listened quietly and looked at the coconut a few times more before we left the display.

On the last week, starting on Thursday/Friday, when we told him we were going to Zoo again coming weekend, he kept saying "皓皓要看flamingo 和 coconut". And he repeated this time and again. We were puzzled why he must link flamingo and coconut together.

Only when we were at the flamingo display again, and only when he asked us "where's the coconut?". Only right there and then, we remembered about THAT coconut! And we have to explain to him the coconut had been carried away to the end of the stream. After that, he didn't link flamingo and coconut anymore!

Who said toddlers have short memory span? Try Hao Re!
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Cough and a sudden high fever

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On the road to full recovery, thank goodness!

Hao Re started to cough pretty badly on Monday evening. Became worse over the night. He coughed so badly till he was awaken from the sleep a few times, and woke me and hubby up as well. We bought the cough mixture thingy (contains 南杏, 北杏, 川贝, etc) from the Chinese medical hall on our way back, and I boiled for him to bring to school the next day.

On Tuesday morning, he looked okay, though still coughing, but we can hear that there was no phlegm, it's dry cough, and there was no runny nose and no fever at all. We sent him to the childcare as usual. He was a bit clingy when we arrived at the childcare, but after we talked to him, he went in to the school without crying.

When we picked him up in the late afternoon, I felt that his body and forehead was warm to touch. His teacher said he was okay throughout the day, didn't cough much, except that he vomited a little bit of milk before nap time, and coughed quite badly when he was sleeping. And the fever was just detected about half an hour ago so she didn't call me.

We can tell immediately that he was not his usual self. When we reached home and took his temperature, it was 38.9C. This was the second time I saw Hao Re became so lethargy (first time when he was having extremely high fever during Chinese New Year in 2009). But he was trying very hard to be the cheerful boy, trying to put a smile on his face, trying to talk to us, as usual. But he was really not in a good form. Throughout the dinner, he only wanted to hold my hand and slept on my shoulder, can barely keep himself looking good for a few minutes. After dinner, his temperature raised to 39.7C! We decided to give him one dose of paracetamol seeing how lethargy he was. He was trying to play as normal but he just couldn't. Soon he asked for milk and went to bed before 9pm. He woke up 2 times crying/wailing, probably having a nightmare. Then coughed a few times, luckily not as bad as the night before. We took his temperature every one hour or so, and it's a great relieve that it's dropping every time we measured it. And by 11pm, it has dropped to 37.7C, phew!

He slept pretty okay. When he woke up this morning and saw me sleeping beside him and hugging him, he gave a sweetest smile and called me mama. I knew he is back to normal already :-) And yes, I was right. No more fever this morning. Temperature recorded at 37.2C.

My brave little fighter! Well done! Now it's waiting for his cough to fully go away. Will not give him any medicine, but continue to boil the cough mixture thingy for another 2 days. And ask him to drink a lot of water.

This time round, the credits went to the very caring and very capable daddy! He was the one who did the sponging, took the temperature, soothed Hao Re back to sleep, etc. Really a very caring daddy. Great job, hubby, so proud of you :-)

Now I think back, could it be that he was overly exhausted on Sunday (the Zoo outing)? That he didn't drink enough water (he finished 1 whole bottle of 350ml, and half bottle of milk shake from Ben & Jerry during the zoo trip) as the weather was too hot? Not sure. But will make sure that he drinks more water in the future outings.

Called his teacher during lunch time to check on him. His teacher shared a tip with me - when the kid has sudden high fever, try to dissolve some sugar in the water and get him to drink, as the kid could be lack of glucose, and after drinking this, fever will subside quickly. I hope I don't need to try this tip for the months to come, but if ever gets to try this, I will update if this is really useful.
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A singer, a dance and an artist..... in the making

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Yes, I am talking about my dear Hao Hao

Little singer
Hao Re might have been sick of the nursery rhymes, and so he composes his own lyric, or in other words, we don't know what he is singing, but he is still very cute all the same :-)

The Singer from TJ Kam on Vimeo.


Little dancer
Hao Re loves to dance, from as soon as he can walk stably at 10 months old till now. Don't you agree he has the potential to be trained as a dancer :-)

Dancing king from TJ Kam on Vimeo.


Little artist
Hao Re's masterpiece! Created using the play dough, and he worked on this piece of work for about 30 minutes, all on his own, without any intervention from the adults, and didn't create any mess afterwards. I simply love this!



Little achiever
Hao Re's progress in the childcare centre, for the past 6 months (mid-year assessment).




In general, he is doing well in every aspect in physical development (self-help skills and gross & fine motor skills) as well as cognitive development (music and arts, social & emotional development, communication, i.e., language & numeracy).

His teacher reckoned (and we agreed) that his strength or interest includes:
- recognises alphabets (not so good/interested in the numbers though)
- loves music
- recognizes "mine" and "not mine"
- able to call names of friends or people in the photograph
- very good in motor skill
- independent

He has started toilet training in school. His teacher makes him go diaper-less after he has pooed after lunch. Yes, he has very good bowel movement that he sure poos, almost everyday without fail, after his lunch, amazing, ya! There is not much "accident" so far. But he still hasn't started to tell teacher/us that he wants to pee/poo. It's the teachers who consistently bring him to the toilet every 30-60 minutes. His teacher and us are on the same page, i.e., we don't want to rush in toilet training, we let him go one step by one step. We are very sure one day he will be fully toilet trained.

There is one thing left out in the motor skill development, i.e., thread (large) beads in holes. His teacher said they are going to let them try this soon. Coincidentally, I have bought a set of this also. But I didn't bring it out for Hao Re to try yet, as it's a high risk choking hazard for Xi Yu. But I promise to do it whenever possible.

He is all ready to be promoted to the N1 (nursery) class on the 1st July 2010.

Please continue to grow up happily and healthily, my dearest lovely Hao Hao :-)
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Our wonderful pair of kids

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Brother and sister bonding time

Haven't been sharing a stroller for a long time already. Here we go again. See how much the little girl has grown!

Sharing is a good thing :-)


Video below shows Hao Re and Xi Yu enjoying their snack while watching the World Cup 2010 (I am serious, they are looking at the tv, and it's playing the Netherland vs Denmark match!). They were snacking on the Happy Baby yogult melts (to me, it's way too sweet!).

Xi Yu has very good finger grasp. She can pick up the melt and put into her mouth effortlessly. She is such a greedy eater (I am not complaining, I am very glad that she is one) who accepts any food and gets interested in any food!

Hao Re is willing to share the snack with his little sister (not always, depending on how much he likes the food). He even tried to feed her. How sweet is the little big brother!

Snacking and tv time! The brother and sister have a good evening :-)

Snack time from TJ Kam on Vimeo.
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Singapore Zoo, again, 2 weeks in a row

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Hao Re and Xi Yu enjoyed so much!!!

Saturday was spent eating, shopping, and running some errands at JB. Nothing to note down specifically. Except that since Friday evening Hao Re was exceptionally well behaved (he is considered a very easy to handle toddler but these few days have been even better!) and made our day so much enjoyable :-)

Guess you knew where we went today - yes, the Singapore Zoo, again! This is to cater for Hao Re's demand to see animals. Since last Sunday, he kept repeating to us what animals he saw, what they did and he wanted to see them again this week. So we made our way there.

Look at their happy face! Xi Yu with 2 noticeable teeth (actually she has 2 very well grown upper teeth too, but can't see them while she smiles). Hao Re with his full set of milk teeth. Different smile but same happy mood :-)


We didn't plan to cover that much of the Zoo, as we usually do a 2-3 hours kind of visit. Today, we spent about 5 hours at the Zoo, and we walked through almost every corner of the Zoo, except some of the more isolated displays like the polar bear. But we didn't watch any of the main shows.

Hao Re was all very excited and wanted to learn the name of the animals! We were at the primate kingdom during the feeding time, so we managed to see a lot of very beautiful monkeys, and it's a handful for us to learn all their names.

This time round, even Xi Yu got very excited when she saw those big-ish animal. When she saw an ostrich, she was kicking her legs and waving her hands and screaming in excitement! Whenever there was a big-ish animal, she would look at it intensely when we pointed out for her. Today's visit has been too long and the weather was very warm and humid, so Xi Yu actually took 2 naps, an hour each.

Looking all tired already........


Highlight, and something new, for today (for Hao Re) was at the Kidzworld! First, we watched a new show at the amphitheatre at the Kidzworld. It was a very short show and it only has a few mice, 3 cats and 6 dogs, and that's it. What entertained Hao Re most was the (a lot of) bubbles that blew out from the 2 sides of the stage! He couldn't take his eyes off the bubbles and played with the bubbles for 10-15 minutes after the show has ended. He wasn't interested at all to touch/take photos with the dogs, which we thought he loves dog as he would want to touch any dog that passes by when we were at a park. Well, obviously, bubbles win over the dogs :-)

Then we went on to let him have him first go at the carousel. There are many types of different animals. He immediately chose the Zebra, insisted on his choice and quickly sat on it. He smiled/laughed throughout. Think kids are really easy to please. Then I walked one round with him to see all the animals, and he was very busy naming almost everyone of them :-) Next on it's the pony ride. He was so brave that he was willing to ride the pony all on his own! As compared to the last one he had at KL Tower, when he was accompanied by hubby, he really has grown up a lot, and to be a lot more independent. The last one was the 4 of us went for a horse carriage ride. Well, nothing to talk about, just let Hao Re experienced it. And all these for only $10 (a promotional price).

At the Kidzworld. On the right, Hao Re on the Zebra at the carousel, and riding a pony on his own!


As I said earlier, we covered almost the entire Zoo today. So Hao Re got to see all the animals he wanted to see, and also learned some new ones. He was very tired after left the Kidzworld, but he was not able or didn't want to take a nap. We just let him be. On our way out, we passed by the Orang Utan display, and Hao Re insisted to go up to the trail again (we did it last week). Maybe he somehow likes Orang Utan? And it was the feeding time also (we were lucky today). We got to see the Orang Utan really up close. Think there are a couple as I saw them sharing food and kissing each other (I mean the Orang Utan), and there is a mum who has a young baby clinging on her, and another child, who is obviously very naugthy (disturbed other while feeding). The mum beat her older child when he misbehaved. So much so like us human, really.

Well, no thanks to this last minutes stop over at the Orang Utan, that we were caught in a heavy rain pour (explained the humidity today)! We were just a couple of minutes to the shop. Luckily Xi Yu was taking her 2nd nap. So when the rain was not as heavy, I pushed Xi Yu, who was safely covered in the stroller, while hubby carried Hao Re, and we braved the rain. Luckily I brought an extra shirt for Hao Re and Xi Yu today (which I don't do often), so quickly changed Hao Re when we reached the shop, and used Xi Yu's clothes to wipe us dry :-)

Had our late lunch at Ah Meng Coffee Shop while waiting for the rain to stop. We left the Zoo at about 3.30pm.

Xi Yu wanted to sleep again at 5pm. Woke up crying out loud at 6pm. Only when she woke up at 7pm that I found out this poor little was having a bad diaper rash as she was having a little bit of diarrhea (pooed about 4 times today). She was a little cranky but was generally okay. I hope she won't give me a difficult night tonight. But I think I have to wake up at least 2-3 times to check if she has pooed and changed her, else her diaper rash might be worsen.

Hao Re continued to play when he reached home, and for the very first time (except that day when we were travelling in China), he didn't nap at all! As a results, he knocked out at 8.30pm. Again, he was very well behaved today. When I was feeding Xi Yu and having our dinner, he played on his own with the play dough for more than 1 hour! I will post his masterpiece another day.

Righto! My turn to head to the bed. It's Monday tomorrow :-P 5 more days to the next weekend. Zoo again? Probably not, but who knows :-)
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Xi Yu has recovered from fever

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Mummy gained some novel knowledge from the doctor

Xi Yu has mild to high fever for almsot 72 hours. She is all well now :-)

Xi Yu was first detected with fever on Tuesday afternoon. Her nanny sent me an SMS at 2.37pm, informing me that Xi Yu measured 39.1C and 39.5C (left and right ears), but she was still active and feeding well. And her nanny kept sponging her throughout to make her feel comfortable. When we picked her up, she looked fine, her forehead was warm to touch, but she was still happy and active and all. Her body temperature was hovering between 38.5C to 39.2C. And she pooed about 3-4 times and it was like the teething poo (very yellowish and "flowery"). Me, hubby and nanny thought she was teething and hence the fever. We decided not to give her paracetamol, and this lazy mummy didn't even sponger her. She was okay the whole night except that she woke up a few times at night wanting to be comforted.

On Wednesday morning, her temperature was at 38.5C, so we thought the fever was subsiding. Sent her to her nanny as usual. We fully trust her nanny, and we are very sure her nanny would monitor her closely and take good care of her. At about 2pm, her nanny sent me an SMS informing that Xi Yu's temperature has raised to 39.3C and 39.7C (left and right ears). I was a little alarmed as it's nearing 40.0C already. Called her nanny to discuss. She said Xi Yu still ate and drank well, so it's okay to continue monitoring her for the time being. When we picked her up, she looked tired and wanted to cling on to me (oh well, which baby doesn't when he/she is sick, right?). Her temperature was at about 39.0C throughout the night, so we decided to give her 1 dose of paracetamol. Her temperature dropped to 37.7C. But as expected, fever came back again in the midnight, but I decided not to give her the medicine but to keep sponging her. She slept pretty okay.

On Thursday morning, her temperature was still at 39.0C. We knew it's definitely not teething fever, as teething fever won't last so long and temperature won't stay this high and this long (more than 48 hours already). We decided to bring her to see Dr Keoy. Better be safe than be sorry!

Dr Keoy checked Xi Yu through thoroughly, including her nose, throat, hand, tummy, etc, but couldn't find anything. So he sent her for a whole blood count test. Results came back half an hour later showing it's NOT bacteria infection (as all the white blood cells counts are within normal range) and it's NOT dengue (think it's judged based on the hemoglobin/hemotocrit level). So his conclusion was Xi Yu is either having an viral infection or it could be false measles. No medicine can be given. So we left without any medicine prescribed. I asked Dr Keoy if it's necessary to give my gal paracetamol since she is still having high fever (about 39C), he said "look at your gal, she is so active and cheerful, don't need to give her any fever medicine, unless the fever is bothering her". Glad that Dr Keoy is also one who supports not to administer medicine unless is necessary.

I also asked Dr Keoy is it safe for the parents to observe/monitor our kids at home if it's only fever with no other symptoms, and when we should bring her in for consultation? Dr Keoy answered if the kid is still active, feeding well and sleeping well, and that the fever doesn't seem to bother her, a parent can choose to monitor the kid at home for up to 3-4 days, considering the fever doesn't go too high and the temperature goes up and down (not on the raise or at a high temperature for long). Fever medicine is optional, and Dr Keoy advised only give fever med if the kid is uncomfortable with the fever. Fever med is meant to help with the temperature and not for curing the illness.

Well, lesson learnt. We are more confident now to monitor our kids at home and not giving them any fever medicine if not necessary.

On Thursday night, Xi Yu fever was dropping. I only monitored by touching her forehead and didn't use the ear thermometer. When I measured her this morning, yeah, it's dropped to 37.2C. No more fever! Still have to monitor if there is any break out of rash (whether the fever was caused by false measles).

Xi Yu won the battle in 72 hours and taken only 1 dose of paracetamol. Well done, girl!
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Resume our weekend activities

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To the great outdoors - Dairy Farm Nature Park & Singapore Zoo!

Saturday

To my dismay, my parents decided to go back home on Saturday, after staying with us for only 1 month. I thought they would stay till my dad's birthday (18th June) is over. But well, what to do? My dad wanted to claim his freedom, going back to his comfort zone. So I just let him be, didn't try to persuade him to stay longer.

We told Hao Re that grandparents would be leaving Singapore. He kinda understand it and took it well. On Friday night, when I put him to bed, he was not happy with something, so he threatened me, "妈妈, 你坏蛋, 皓皓要坐train train 回去salak baru 了, 皓皓要去找公公和婆婆了". How smart the kids are now!

(note #1: His favourite word now is 你坏蛋 or 你naughty, he says that whenever things do not work his way)
(note #2: salak baru is our hometown, a small village in Malaysia)


It has been almost a month that we have stopped our weekend routine to enjoy the great outdoors, due to the visit from the grandparents, the trip to China, the weather, etc. Now we are back on track!

Sent off my parents on Saturday morning. Let them take afternoon nap. Then we went out to the Dairy Farm Nature Park in the late afternoon. It's our first time there despite that this park is so near us. So it's called nature park, meaning it's not like those nice neighbourhood park, whereby there will be nice playground installed, nice green lawn and trees planted nicely, etc. It's all nature, more of jungle trekking. It's not quite suitable for us with the two young kids in tow. But we managed to get Hao Re to walk till the education centre then we turned back. Not too bad a visit.

Exploring the Dairy Farm Park for the very first time. Not suitable for Xi Yu at all. Even for Hao Re, there is not much things that he can do. But well, all for the fresh air and greenary, it's still a good place to go.


Reached home and quickly prepared a dinner for the family. A little of play time with the kids, then they are off to the bed.

Sunday

When we woke up on Sunday morning, hubby said we should go to the ZOO!!! We haven't been to the zoo for almost 3 months already, and our membership has expired. And Hao Re has been requested to go to the zoo to see the animals for the past few days. It's time to make our way to the zoo, again, as frequent as we possibly can.

So off we went. After having our breakfast at home, we reached to the Zoo at about 10am. The car park is under renovation/upgrade so it's seriously lack of parking space. We were told to park our car along the road and the guy said it's guaranteed there won't be a "saman" for illegal parking. I was put off by the long distance from where we have to park to the zoo entrance, probably about 0.5km. But hubby said he didn't mind dropping us off and did the walking alone. Okay. If he was willing to, what else could I say :-)

First thing was to renew our Friends of the Zoo membership. But ended we signed up for the magazines (National Geographic, National Geographic for Kids, and 1 more magazine for kids, can't remember the title already, thanks to my good memory), and we got the free membership for the Zoo. Total damage of $309. And it's supposed to be a great savings on getting these magazine.

Hubby wanted to rent a TINY XPLORER to pull/push the 2 kiddos around the park. Unfortunately, it's all rented out. And yes, it's very crowded. Hubby asked Hao Re what he wanted to see first, Hao Re answered "ELEPHANT!". So we headed straight to see the elephant show which would begin in about 30 minutes.

After not visiting the Zoo for 3 months, Hao Re got all very excited again to see the animals. And we can tell that his verbal has improved so much. He can recognised most of the animals and for those new ones (otter, gibbon, peacock, etc), he can say out the names after we told him once. He enjoyed looking a the map, and told us he wanted to see this, this and this.

See how serious Hao Re was looking at the map :-) Hao Re gets to like the Gerber star puff once again. But he doesn't forget meimei. Xi Yu was so happy munching the puff. Once Hao Re got hold of the bottle of coke, there is no way he would let go of it until the whole bottle is finished up (which we have to do without him knowing :-))


Back to the show. We were late as Hao Re wanted to climb up to the small hut displaying things about elephants. We couldn't get a good seat, so Hao Re couldn't see what's going on. We left before the show ended to avoid the crowd.

When we passed by the amphitheatre, we read that there would be the Dora the Explorer Meet and Greet session soon. We decided to watch the show. Honestly, both me and hubby were quite regretted, as the host for the show (a lady) was literally screaming through the microphone, and we felt like our heads were going to burst after listening to her screaming for close to 20-30 minutes. Plus that we never watched the Dora on tv, so we didn't really know who she is (and the Diego also). But well, I think for Hao Re, a cartoon is a cartoon, he watched the show and followed the game. So kinda worth it though we have to risk our head bursting :-P

We decided to call it a day. But when we walked pass the Orang Utan display, Hao Re wanted to walk up to the trail. So we let him be. He looked very curious when he saw the Orang Utan sitting high up on the tree. We saw a baby Orang Utan too, and he looked so fragile and cute!

Top: Xi Yu got all excited and wanted to get down from the stroller when we walked to the Orang Utan free ranging trail. Hao Re quickly got his camera ready to take a photo of meimei :-)
Bottom: Mum and son enjoying the gibbon who was jumping actively. It's a rare scene, lots of fun!


When we were walking to the entrance, we saw a gibbon jumping from tree to tree excitedly and Hao Re laughed out loud when he saw this. This was the most active monkey we have ever seen for the many visits we made to the Zoo. The monkeys in the Singapore are usually out of sight, and usually you can see lots of them during feeding time, but then they were only interested in the food.

We asked Hao Re if he wanted to have KFC for lunch. He replied "我要喝KFC!". He remembered the soft drink that comes with the fried chicken and so he was actually more interested to have the drinks! Xi Yu quietly fell asleep without us knowing when we were heading to the KFC. Got to have the fried chicken in peace since Xi Yu was sleeping. Hao Re was busy with his popcorn chicken, his milo, and the toy that came with it. He spilled the milo after drinking half a cup, he knocked it down accidentally while playing with the toy, I think.

Hubby has to walk the 0.5km to retrieve the car. Xi Yu woke up when I put her into the car seat. Made milk for both of them, and Hao Re was already too tired and fell asleep after the milk feed. Spent the rest of the day at home.

Cooked a simple dinner again. Same like yesterday. Played with the kids a little bit, then it's time to tuck the kids to bed.

Weekend ended.

Oh well, just one more day to the next weekend :-)
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The Pediatrician

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Dr Keoy Soo Shin

To note down Dr Keoy clinic's address, contact number and opening hours for my easy reference:

Novena Children Clinic
Unit: #10-02
Novena Medical Centre (at Novena Square 2)
10, Sinaran Drive,
Singapore 307506  

Phone: 63976960
Fax: 63976962

Operating Hours:
Mon - Sat : 9:00am - 1:00pm
Tue, Wed & Fri : 2:30pm - 5:00pm
Mon & Thu : 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Sunday and Public holidays : Closed
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Imagination and creativity

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Guess what's Hao Re is trying to make?

Hao Re was into the playdough a couple of weeks ago. He didn't really want to play with us. And we cannot play with him if we are taking care of Xi Yu at the same time as she is in the stage where she puts everything right into her mouth!

We usually let him play on his own, as long as he is willing to.

One day, he was quietly playing with the playdough, again, and then he demanded for his colouring pens and a piece of paper. I was busy with Xi Yu so I didn't ask why.

Later, he came to me and said, "Mama, you see, this's a FROG!" He did this all on his own, without any help from us at all! It's creative piece of arts, ya.

Now, this is like the 国王的新衣 - only the smart person can see the frog :-) The power of imagination and creativity of a 29 months old!
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Enjoying an apple

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Xi Yu is so so so cute!!!

We were having dinner on Friday. I have run out of baby biscuits (all consumed during the China trip and I haven't replenished the stock yet) which I usually bring along to distract Xi Yu while we were having dinner. So I brought with me an apple instead. And it worked wonder!

Most importantly was that Xi Yu enjoyed her apple so much! Though she didn't really eat much this way, but it's a good way to entertain her while we have our dinner in peace :-) If I scrap apple for her, she can easily finish off half an apple within minutes! I guess she might be able to finish 1 whole apple but I usually stop at half an apple as her nanny said that's already way too much for a 9 months old.

Right. Let the photos and the videos show you how she enjoys her apple :-)

Got all excited when she saw the apple (it's organic, bought from NTUC at a good price, and it tastes nice!). It's amazing thing how well she is able to hold the apple and bite it!


I bite off the skin for her to enjoy the apple better, ya, I know it's gross, but I obviously didn't bring a knife along and I thought it's safe to let her eat with the skin since it's organic, only realised that it's not when my mum warned me that the skin could be a choking hazard!

Xi Yu enjoying an apple from TJ Kam on Vimeo.

Continue to enjoy her apple while we enjoy our dinner :-)

Xi Yu and her apple from TJ Kam on Vimeo.
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8 days Shanghai-Suzhou-Hangzhou

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Our first family holiday at China

And this is going to be the longest post ever, please bear with me, or you can just view the photos :-)

Travel rule #1 - TRAVEL LIGHT. Super light. For us, a family of 4, we packed everything into a cabin size luggage and that's it (okay, a bit cheating here, as I packed the formula milk powder and some baby food into my parent's luggage).

Travel rule #2 - BE RELAX. Don't have to follow any schedule or routine. Let the kids sleep and eat/drink whenever and wherever, as long as they are happy.

Travel rule #3 - BE HAPPY. Whatever we do, should be making us happy, and only this would fulfill the aim of going on for a holiday. What should we travel so far to be unhappy, right?

With these in mind, the journey of our 8 day China trip began......

Day 1 (22nd May 2010) - Singapore-Shanghai

We booked a 10am flight. So we had our breakfast at the airport. And the flight departed from Terminal 3, making this our first flight out from this (relatively) new terminal. Quite a good experience.

Checking in at the Terminal 3. Hao Re was guarding all the luggage seriously, and the best way to do it was to sit on them :-) And he was very curious to see the luggage being sent to the conveyor belt, and he waved bye bye to the luggage. 


It was a 5 hours flight from Singapore to Shanghai. Both of them were so well behaved! Xi Yu got to sleep in the bassinet for about 1.5 hours. Hao Re got his own seat and was able to take a 1,5 hours nap too. While they were awake, they didn't fuss but were happy to be entertained by us or entertained themselves. Let Hao Re watched the Nintendo Super Mario game for the very first time, and he was so amused by it!

Arrived in Shanghai. Walked all the way to take the Maglev train. Just for the experience. It took about 8 minutes from the airport to the long yang station at Pudong. The fastest it went was at 430km/h, and it's very stable. But we couldn't really feel it, except when we saw the trees and building were really flying passed us! Nothing that special really, just like taking a train. We still needed to take a cab from the station to our hotel. And this was where we stayed - the New Harbour Apartment Hotel. Since we travelled in a big group (8 adults and 2 kids), this kind of apartment hotel suits us very well, and we stayed in a 3 bedrooms apartment, spacious enough for everyone. Location was great too.

We were all too hungry after taking a shower. Just popped into one of the nearest restaurant. Food was okay but it's sooooooo salty! Walked around the nearby street a little and hubby bought a pack of very famous 夫妻肺片 for supper, and bought some fruits too. It was nice, but then again, salty, couldn't eat much.

Back to the hotel. Let the kids play a little while, then tucked them to bed. Luckily both of them were able to fall asleep within reasonable time and slept pretty well.

My aunt, uncle, cousin CT, and his girl friend, SO, arrived at about 2am (they flew with Air Asia to Hangzhou and needed to take a shuttle to Shanghai).

Day 2 (23rd May 2010) - Shanghai

All woke up afresh!

Ready for our first feast - the infamous 南翔小笼包 at the 豫园/老城隍庙. It's nice. Their 汤包 is big, and really a lot of soup inside the dough, and you need to drink from a straw. The normal 小笼包 is nice too. They are clever. They have 3 storeys and 4 sections. The further up you go, the price is steeper. So you cannot complain about the price, they have the cheap and the expensive one (the quality differs accordingly), you choose which level you want to go for. And this concept works well, it's full house in every section. Smart Chinese!

Enjoying a hearty breakfast at 南翔小笼包


Then was exploring the 城隍庙 and the nearby area. They were like still very hungry, when they passed some food stalls, they bought something to try out - 臭豆腐, 串烤羊肉, and some biscuits.

Exploring 豫园/老城隍庙. Do you notice there is no sight of Xi Yu? Because she was happily sleeping in her stroller, regardless of what we are doing and where we push her to. She napped for close to 2 hours! While Hao Re was excitedly exploring the temple, and getting used to the accompany of his 姨公, 姨婆, 舅舅 & 姨姨 (only met them in the morning).


Then we walked from 豫园 to the Bund外滩. We walked pass a pretty nice park. Got to experience a bit of how the locals enjoy their park. Hubby bought an ice cream for Hao Re from the KFC and that made him very happy!
Xi Yu woke up from her nap and happily observed the surrounding. Hao Re was excited, not so much with what he saw, but to be able to play with so many people!


We spent some time to look around. But it's such a long way to walk. And we don't think we have the energy for it. And so we opt for a cruise, the lazy way, but at least we got to see the buildings of both side of the 黄浦江, not too bad a choice :-)

At the park and at the Bund


Then we were all pretty tired already, especially for my aunt and uncle who have to travel on a night coach yesterday and only slept at about 2-3am last night. Went back to hotel for a rest.
Then off we went again to the 南京路步行街. Well, it's the most famous place for shopping. Do you think we have a chance to go shopping with the kids and folks in tow? The answer is definitely not. We just walked along and had a dinner there. It was a special dinner because the restaurant where we went to was actually holding a wedding dinner, the same hall as where we had our dinner. So it's good entertaining for us, and to see what's program they have and how they run a wedding dinner, though of course, it's the modern way, not traditional. There was so much speeches involved, from the groom, the bride, the bride's dad, etc. And there was so much food! I am sure it was more than 10 courses, and it's not like us when they would take away the previous dish before the next dish comes, but the dishes came one after another and after 30 minutes or so, they have to pile up the dishes to 2 or 3 tiers! Very interesting. And our food was not too bad either.

As you can see it the photos, this is 南京路步行街. No shopping done, at all :-)


Since the day was still young, we took a cab back to the Bund, thinking that we could have a nice night view of the river. But guess what? As soon as we stepped out of the cab, we were stunned, totally stunned by the crowd! My mum said she told 人山人海 is only a extravagant description, but only right then she experienced what's 人山人海!!! Gosh, it was so crowded, so many people that we didn't even dare to go near.

So we walked at the quieter side of the street, and have an equally good walk :-) And that ended our 2nd day at Shanghai.

Taking some photos during the night walk at the Bund



Day 3 (24th May 2010) - World Expo 2010 Shanghai 中国2010年上海世博会

Yup. This was the main reason why we chose to have our family holiday at China. Based on the request from hubby, who is very interested in buildings. And the theme for this year's expo sounds interesting enough - Better City, Better Life 城市,让生活更美好!

So here we are. At the Shanghai Expo that many people are talking about. It is, again. 人山人海! According to the report on the official site, there were 310,000 visitors on 24th May 2010.  I think the Expo is considered well managed, for a big event like this.

The all famous China Pavilion had already flooded with people when we arrived about 10am. Can't even join the queue, as it's all full, too full for that day. Can only admire it from the outside. Took a shuttle bus to the Europe pavilions, it's the same. All crowded and with super long queue. We decided to queue for the Switzerland Pavilion. The highlight for this pavilion is the cable car (car lift in the ski resort). It was announced that the cable car was under maintenance. We thought that may make it less attractive and hence need not queue for too long. Wrong assumption. Wrong choice. We have to queue, under the hot sun, for more than an hour to get into the pavilion. And guess what. Total disappointment. Apparently the cable car is the ONLY attraction, and nothing much to see. So we queued for 1+ hour for nothing :-( Thanks goodness that the 2 kids were so well behaved! You won't believe how patient they were, to be under the hot sun, no toys, and no entertainment, just purely queued there.

Okay. Never mind that. We were all tired after that. So we stopped for lunch. Hubby went to pack food and we got to enjoy our packed lunch on a shaded and cooling and less crowded green lawn. Have a good rest. The 2 kids were active though despite the long queue under the hot sun, so we have to take turn to eat and entertain them.

From left to right top and right bottom - China Pavilion; on the shuttle bus; inside the Switzerland Pavilion; free drinking water provided.


After lunch, we decided that we shouldn't stay any longer at the European side as the crowd was so still bad. We wanted to take a look at the Malaysia Pavilion, though didn't hear good review about it, but still gave a bit of support lah, us being Malaysians :-) To our surprise, Malaysia Pavilion was not spared! It's equally long queue! Same as the Singapore ones, and most other pavilions. We took some photos outside of the pavilions. And then to our big relief, we saw NO QUEUE AT ALL to enter the Brunei and Indonesia Pavilion. And so we went in. Brunei one really nothing to see and that explained the no crowd. The Indonesia one was actually quite a good with, using bamboo as the building materials which was impressive, and with nice exhibits also. It has no queue as their Pavilion is HUGE, really huge that it can accommodate lots of visitors. Have a good visit there!

From left top to left bottom to right - Malaysia Pavilion; Australia Pavilion; Singapore Pavilion; when we first arrived at the Expo.


We figured that we have had enough. Made our way to the shop to get some souvenirs. Mainly to buy the Expo mascot 海宝, and some T shirts. Then we split into 3 groups. Me, the kids and the folks were to go back to hotel to rest. Hubby went to explore on his own. CT and SO also continued to explored the Expo. Hubby didn't join CT and SO as he has to send us to take cab first, and also his interest would be different from them, so he went solo :-) Think he was very grateful for this few hours, free of the kids and to see things that he is interested of. A reward for him for being such a nice daddy :-)

Photos taken by hubby when he explored Expo in the late afternoon and evening.


I was really, really tired. So I was glad to be back to the hotel. Hubby came back and bought us dinner. Tucked the kids to bed and I knocked off too. Didn't know what time CT and SO came back.

Day 4 (25th May 2010) - Shanghai-Suzhou

Right. We figured we have had enough of Shanghai. So we departed to Suzhou after having breakfast. We have planned to take a train from Shanghai to Suzhou. We flagged down 2 taxis to take us to the Shanghai train station. It's a total culture shock!!! It's so crowded and messy and noisy! And what's worst - we forgot to pre-book the train tickets! Hubby and CT went to queue for the train ticket, which was a big disaster because they only use the vending machine and there is no counter selling tickets. Those machines were not intelligent enough and each person took more than 5 minutes to buy a ticket and there was a very long queue, and tickets to Suzhou were on hot pick, already sold out for the next 2-3 trips. Earliest will be at 2pm and it was only 11am then. When we have decided to give up on the train, and wanted to call a cab instead, there was an announcement that they have added in a last minute fast train to Suzhou, just what we wanted! We quickly queued for it (better this time as there was a counter with real person selling the tickets). It only cost us RMB15 per person, what a steal (calling a maxi-cab to fit in the 8 adults + 2 kids + our luggage would have cost us RMB900!).

We were on the train about 15 minutes late. Having being checked through our luggage and queuing for another 2 rounds and walked for a distance to arrive at the platform. It's pretty much a nightmare but a good experience :-) We didn't manage to get the better seats. Only the lowest class ones, with no seats assigned to us, just have to randomly grab whatever seats available. The train was not too bad, to be fair, and the ride was quite pleasant.

Arrived in Suzhou safely after 1.5 hours. I was excited as would be able to meet up with Viv and Isaac! And we arrived at the hotel at the same time! Hao Re and Isaac were playing together well this time round. And they still do look like twins (see photo below) At Suzhou, we were staying at the Chateau Regency. It is, again, an apartment hotel, and we booked a 3 bedrooms apartment too. Being at Suzhou, this hotel was cheaper and better than the one in Shanghai. But location was not as good. A bit out of the town, but we have no choice as this was the only one available with a 3 bedrooms.

After having a quick rest, we went out to explore Suzhou already! Had a quick (and late) lunch at one of the popular local shop, trying out their 馄 饨. Not really to our liking, but okay lah. You see, the problem we have while touring in China was that no more food available once it hits 2pm! So it's very risky to have late lunch, you either ends up with no food or fast food :-)
First on the program was to go on a boat ride to enjoy the scenic Suzhou. They call Suzhou "The Venice of the East". Er, I think it can really be compared with Venice. But I do agree that it's charming on its own way. Have had quite a good one hour on the boat admiring the scenery.

On the boat touring "The Venice of the East". Don't you agree Hao Re and Isaac look like twins?


After that, we only have time to tour one garden 园林, and the tour guide recommended 定园. He said this one is not as famous as some others, but it's quite special and nice to tour. So we just took his recommendation. And yes, it's a nice walk at the garden. Spent close to 2 hours there. Then he drove us to 寒山寺. Actually only for photo taking purpose. The very famous temple was closed at 6pm. 寒山寺 was very famous as it's mentioned in very famous poem. Well, at least we have been there :-)

Having fun at 定园


The old couples have fun too, enjoy the tranquility of the garden (especially that we just came from Shanghai), and probably they haven't been to any garden for a long time already!). A nice (complete) group photo of us at 寒山寺 (thanks to Viv who took the photo for us). Oh no, it's actually more than complete (8 adults + 2 kids), we robbed in Isaac also :-)


Today was fully packed with program. Night time was a walk around at the 山塘街. We knew the folks were tired and hungry, but the famous 松鹤楼 didn't have a big table for us. So ended up we have to walk to the end of the street to have our dinner, which by the time, everyone was tired and hungry. The food was not very nice, but at least we got to try out some of the famous Suzhou dishes. Hubby was angry with me as to why I arranged for such a packed program today and made the folks all very tired. Oh well :-(

The scenic 山塘街. Nice to walk around and they have some interesting 小吃.


The night view of 山塘街. The second picture was taken when we were sampling one of the unique 小吃, but forgot what's called :-)


Day 5 (26th May 2010) - Suzhou 

Due to the hotel location, we were kind of force to have our breakfast at the hotel. It's quite expensive and the spread of food was quite lousy. Never mind. At least we filled up our tummy and gained energy for the next few hours.

First thing was to visit a nearby water town, 同里水乡. It's about an hour drive out of Suzhou. The tour guide said it's a must-go to truly appreciate the whole Suzhou experience. Oh, I forgot to say, because we travelled in big group, we hired a van that comes with a local tour guide, to bring us to a few tourist attractions on our request, with his input. Yesterday we paid RMB100 for half a day, and today we paid RMB300 for 1 full day (if without travelling to 同里, then it will be RMB200). It's a pretty good deal, as this saved us lots of time and probably is cheaper than flag down 2 cab to go so many places.

Here we were. Arrived at 同里 about an hour later. Once we got down from the van, I didn't feel too good about that place. As everything has been made to be very commercialised! The ticketing booth, the visitor trams, etc. Another about travelling in China is, that, everything is about money, money, money! Have to pay for almost all the attractions. And it's NOT cheap. Yesterday the boat ride was RMB100 per person, the 定园 RMB50 per person. Today 同里 is RMB100 per person. It's no joke, it's actually considered very expensive to travel in China.

Anyway, back to 同里. It's an ancient town with thousand years of history. There is a river running through the town (hence water town). Life here is pretty relax. It's nice to walk around to see an ancient town. But it's still too commercialised, lost its original charm, really not to my liking. Anyway, spent close to 3 hours there.

Arriving in 同里. In front of the town gate.


We visited a garden inside the town. Pretty much the same as those in Suzhou. Just strolled around slowly, enjoying the laziness of their lifestyle :-) Then have a quick tea at one of the famous tea house. Well actually was requested by my dad, he said he was very tired with all the walking. CT and SO bought some small souvenirs, we took more photos, my dad and my uncle bought a stewed pork trotter (was one of the most famous food there), we were ready to go back to Suzhou.

We were late for lunch again. The driver had to drive us around to look for a restaurant that was still opened for lunch. We were lucky to find one. Order some simple dishes, more vegetables and less meat this time.

Next on was to visit another 园林. We wanted to go to the 拙政园, but the tour guide/driver recommended 留园 instead. Both are as famous and are duded "the 4 best gardens in China 中国四大名园", with the former being a little more famous. With this little more famous, the admission fee for 拙政园 is RMB100 per person, while 留园 is RMB40 per person. And the tour guide said 留园 is more compact.
To me, 留园 is the best among all the other gardens we have visited. But unfortunately spring has over, and there was not much flowers blossoming around this time. What a pity, else the garden would have been a lot more nicer. But it's still a nice place. We took quite a lot of photos. And there was pretty lady 苏州美人singing and playing the classical Chinese music. Add some extra charm to the visit, definitely.

Do you know what's Hao Re doing? He saw us busy taking photos and so he mimics us! He would ask us to post for him, then he goes in front of us, putting his finger together and say "ka ca 咔嚓!" He is so cute! And see how pretty Xi Yu is (but I think that photo was taken at 同里.


Hao Re also enjoyed this one most, as he was very playing with my mum. The two of them busy looking for insects, ants, and bees. Lots of laughter from them. Xi Yu was equally happy too. And she got excited when someone walked near her and wanted to play with her.

More photos at this scenic garden. See that photo with Hao Re. He wanted to be put on top of the rocks, probably about 2m height. As soon as he was on there, he was frightened and wanted to be put back on the ground. A few young ladies walked pass and they couldn't take their eyes off him :-)


Oh! And I forgot to say that there were so many people interested to take photos of either Hao Re and/or Xi Yu whenever we went. In Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou. Some asked to take photos of them. Some took the photos without asking. Some even video-taped them. Could be local Chinese, the ang-moh, or Asians. They were really like celebrities (making me a celebrity mum, keke!!!). So proud to be their parents! Our boy is really handsome and our girl is really so cute, hor :-)

After this, we felt it's enough to call it a day. We asked the driver to drop us off at Viv's apartment. She has a very cosy apartment. Very homely. And she has been a great host! My mum was so impressed by how much effort she put in for Isaac, and how well she maintains her apartment, etc. My mum just couldn't stop praising her. Viv's a great mum for sure! Had a great time at her place, resting, chatting, playing, surfing net, drinking, eating...... everything! The only thing was that Isaac was sleeping and so couldn't play with Hao Re. Good in a way, that no fighting happened :-) Then we went for dinner with Viv and Isaac. Viv brought us to this very nice restaurant specialising in 湘菜, very nice indeed. And she paid for the bill too. Such a great host :-)

We decided not to take the hotel buffet and the next morning breakfast. So we bought some instant noodle at a convenient store at Viv's apartment. And bid farewell to Viv and Isaac. Gonna miss them so much! Hope they come back to Singapore for holiday soon. Thanks so much, Viv! You made our trip to Suzhou a very special one :-)

Day 6 (27th May 2010) - Suzhou-Hangzhou

After the very delicious instant noodle (hubby, Hao Re, CT and SO got to go for the buffet breakfast as we have 3 pax FOC, the folks didn't really like the buffet, so let the young ones have it), we were all ready for our next destination - Hangzhou!

With the bad experience at Shanghai train station, we dared not challenge ourselves with the local public transport. So we booked a van, the driver is a very nice guy, soft spoken and very polite. He picked us up from our hotel and droze us to Hangzhou (about 2.5 to 3 hours), and dropped us off at our hotel at Hangzhou. All went so smoothly without having to lug the luggage to the train/bus station and fight with the crowd. All for the price of RMB900. Worth it, I guess, as the bus ticket is about $65 per person, we we need to call 2 taxis each from hotel to the station and from station to the hotel.
No able to find 3 bedrooms apartment hotel in Hangzhou. So we booked 2 double rooms and 1 suite (with extra bed) at Westlake no 7. Not a bad place. But they used very dimmed light on the corridor, kind of weird.

Again, late for our lunch. By the time we walked into the restaurant, it's very close to 2pm. The waiters and waitresses showed us very black face and the service was very poor. They must have cursed us to walk in at the very last minute! :-( But never mind, we got our food and filled our stomach.

At Hangzhou, there is the one and only place you must go - 西湖! As we were tired from the walking, we decided to take a boat to cruise the ever famous lake. Again, have to pay for the boat ride, and it's RMB45 per person. I don't really like 西湖 though. So pardon me for not describing it anymore.

Photos taken at 西湖, at the city side.


Photos taken at 三漳印月, which is an small island in the middle of the 西湖.


More photos taken at the 三漳印月. It's very nice. But I don't like it, don't know why :-)


Taking a rest, when Hao Re and my dad enjoying a tub of ice cream. The photo on the bottom right showing me taking care of 2 kids on myself, 1 in each hand. Hao Re was drinking his milk and Xi Yu wanted me to carry. A lot of the tourists staring at us. It's quite rare for the Chinese to have 2 kids to begin with, so it's a very rare scene for them to see 2 kids stuck on a mum :-)


Went back to the hotel for a rest. It started to drizzle. No choice but to have our dinner at one of the restaurants nearby. There was a night market just in front of the hotel. But I have no mood to see that with the 2 kids take care of. So we made our way back to the hotel. While my aunt, uncle, CT and SO continued to explore Hangzhou at night, and also because this was their last night of the trip already.

This very night, Xi Yu slept so well that she didn't make any noise. Truly slept through till the next morning. I have had a very good sleep too :-)

Day 7 (28th May 2010) - Hangzhou

Last day of trip for the Poon family. Went to have our breakfast at the very famous 知味观. The food was so-so only. After breakfast, we thought we can explore one more place before they leave Hangzhou. So we flagged down a cab to the 雷峰塔, which was described in a classical Chinese story 白蛇传. Unfortunately, it rained heavier and heavier. So we couldn't get on to the temple as we didn't bring enough umbrella and probably it's not so safe to ride the cable car in this kind of weather.

Took some photos at the entrance to the 雷峰塔. You can see we were eagerly waiting for the rain to stop, but no luck :-(


We gave up after half an hour of waiting and went back to the hotel. The Poon was ready to go to the airport. So we bid farewell to them. We could go no way but to stay in the hotel. Hubby went out to buy train ticket for tomorrow (learned from the previous experience).

Then we went out for lunch. Gonna flag down a cab as it's still raining. Hubby read from the books and wanted to try out one of the recommended restaurants. This was the very first we came across a bad and irresponsible driver. All the previous ones we met in Shanghai and Suzhou were very good and honest. This particular driver dropped us off the restaurant we wanted to go to, despite knowing that the restaurant (the entire building) was under a big renovation, and despite that it was raining heavily. He nagged since stepped in to the cab that it's against rule that he took in 4 adults and 2 young kids in 1 cab. He could have rejected and not to take us in, rather than dropping us off at the bad destination. We had to go under the rain, and found out the restaurant was not operating (I am pretty sure he knew it's under renovation for the fact that the restaurant is one of the most famous in Hangzhou, being a taxi driver, I am sure he passes by that street often, if not everyday). Well, just our bad luck. And again, we were late for lunch, it's close to 2pm already and we couldn't find any other restaurants nearby. So we ended up having Pizza Hut for lunch, which was not bad, a lot more choices than the Singapore one, but it's quite expensive. We had a good lunch, including Hao Re, who was happy with his french fries :-)

Then we wanted to get back to the hotel to rest so that we can go for a show in the evening. But too bad, we were at the busiest street and flagging down a cab was not possible. We walked back instead. But it started to rain heavily half way to the hotel. We stopped by at a children shoe shop. The staff was very friendly, thank goodness. We ended up taking refuge (from the rain) for more than half an hour, and ended up buying a pair of very pretty shoes for Xi Yu and a sandal (with the horrible squeaking sound) for Hao Re. Hao Re insisted to get that pair and nothing else. So we gave in despite that we hated the loud squeaking sound, and it's only RMB9 per pair :-)

All of plan has gone down the drain because of the rain. Ended up we didn't go to the show. Instead we went to have a very nice dinner at the 皇饭儿 at the 美食街. The entire street was full of restaurants! Our dinner last night could have been a lot more enjoyable should we know about this street earlier. Oh well, at least we tried it. Apparently, the owner of this restaurant is the descendant of a cook who cooked for 康熙皇帝, and the name 皇饭儿 was honoured by the king. The dishes were pretty nice. The poor Hao Re knocked out before the dishes were served, as he didn't take any nap today (for the previous 7 days, he took reasonable amount of nap).

Went back to hotel right after dinner. Hao Re slept through till the next morning. Xi Yu slept pretty well too, not sure if it's because of the bed that is very comfy, or because she was too tired?

Day 8 (22nd May 2010) - Hangzhou-Shanghai-Singapore

Right. Finally. Last day of our trip! Went back to the 美食街 for breakfast for breakfast and for a quick walk. Most shops were not open. But we had a pretty nice breakfast with the local delicacy. Bought 4 pairs the famous 张小泉 scissors, but unfortuantely 2 pairs were confiscated by the custom :-(. And 2 pretty umbrella (apparently Hangzhou is famous with its unbrella).

Then we wanted to take a last look at the 西湖 by taking the tourist tram, as we decided we did not have energy to walk and didn't want to do anymore walking. Unfortunately, again, all the trams passed by were full, despite waiting for about 20 minutes or so.

We couldn't wait anymore. Went back to hotel, took a shower and packed our luggages. And it's time to say goodbye to Hangzhou!

(Forgot to add this - Taxi drivers in Hangzhou are terrible, we concluded. First,  a few of them claimed babies and young kids who don't occupy a seat is counted as 1 adult. Second, the incident I described earlier whereby the taxi driver left us off under the heavy rain and a non-operated restaurant. Third, when we tried to call a cab back to hotel, the first driver said since our hotel is in the city centre, thus it would incur extra charges as he has to make a long detour to avoid traffic, and the second driver said about the same thing and quoted us RMB50. The third one was an honest one, he got us on without saying anything and we reached our hotel within 10 min and it only cost us RMB11 (ended up we gave him RMB20 as a gesture for his kindness). None of the taxi driver we met in Shanghai and Suzhou were of this kind, shame on those bad taxi driver!)
Thankfully, the journey from hotel to train station, the train journey from Hangzhou to Shanghai, and from the train station to Pudong Airport were all very smooth one, phew! We manged to buy train ticket for a better grade of cabin. I have to say their train is actually pretty comfortable and efficienty.

Checked in 3 hours before departure time at 7pm. We thought we would have plenty of time to do some last minutes shopping. But how wrong we were. When you are travelling with 2 kids, never expect to have plenty of time. Anything can happen. And most of time will be spent on them. At the end, only managed to get a dress for Xi Yu, a T-shirt for Hao Re and some snacks for Hao Re, to be consumed during the 5 hours flight.
Photos taken at the train station, at the airport and on the plane.


Hao Re was so well behaved on the flight. He pretty much entertained himself with the in-flight entertainment and with activity sets that the cabin crew gave him. Only at the very last hour he wailed a bit as it's already 11pm and he was way too tired. Xi Yu was equally well behaved too. Slept in the basinet for 2-3 hours. Think she was tired also, plus that it's already night time.
Day 9 (30th May 2010) - Singapore

Okay. Got to add in the Day 9. Because it's my birthday! I got to spend the first 20 minutes of my birthday on the plane, SQ835. How special was that :-)

Landed at about 12.20am. Took a cab home and when we arrived home it's already closed to 2am. Thanks goodness that Hao Re slept through, even when we changed him, he continued to sleep. Xi Yu woke up when we alighted the taxi. But soon fell back asleep when I offered her a milk feed.

With that, it ended our 8 days trip in China!!!

We didn't go anywhere to celebrate my birthday as what we wanted most was rest. And I unfortunately caught a flu, very serious runny nose and a little of cough. Got a small cake, as I wanted to hear Hao Re singing birthday song for me, and he did, and that's what I want!
It's a good trip, considering that we travelled with 2 young kids and to a country that is not so kids friendly. Both Hao Re and Xi Yu were so cooperative. They ate/drink on the go, never got fussy with the food/milk. The poor Hao Re has got to survive on his formula, as he was not interested in most of the food. Probably it's a good thing as the food in China were really too salty and oily. I brought along more than enough formula powder for both of them. But at the end, they both finished till the last drop, with Hao Re had to be fed with fresh milk for 2 of his feed.

And they slept well too! Xi Yu just felt asleep whenever she wanted to sleep and continued to sleep in the stroller no matter where we were or where we pushed her to. Hao Re was even better. He would demand for milk and slept during the car/train ride. When we reached the next destination, he woke up and continued to play again. Very good time management :-)

Hao Re was very receptive of his grandaunt, granduncle, CT jiujiu and SO yiyi, and particularly like his Yi Gong 姨公 most. Travelling in a big group made him very happy, as at any time, he would have someone to play with, to talk to, and to accompany him to do whatever he wanted to do.

So right. Everything went so well. Make me thinking when should we go for the next trip :-) This time round, I would want to go to Hong Kong so that I can meet Mickey Mouse and his friends. I think both Hao Re and Xi Yu would be thrilled to meet all the cartoons too. Let see when my dream will be met :-)
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