Back to the usual routine

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My brother came to Singapore during the last week of January. So the kids were happy to have an extra playmate, their favourite JiuJiu.

Then it's the Chinese New Year holiday back at our kampung. Though the schedule was not too hectic, but somehow it's very different from the normal routine. Especially that they can see us 24 hours a day, and have many big and small friends to play with.

When we came back to Singapore, my brother's girl friend, YW and her mum came to visit Singapore and stayed with us. The kids were happy to have few more people to play around.

Then YW's mum left. The kids have got so close with their JiuJiu and YW YiYi by then. They both continued to stay with us till today. They went back to the West Malaysia. It's such a wonderful time for the kids to spend with their JiuJiu and YiYi. Especially Hao Re. Everything was about JiuJiu. Woke up in the morning he would go to JiuJiu's room and disturbed him. He would follow him everywhere even without us tagging along. He even bathed together with JiuJiu! And everyday when I ask him who he loves most, he must include JiuJiu and YiYi, sometimes even putting JiuJiu at the first place! It's just amazing how well the two clicks :-)

So now, they have left. Life is back to the normal. Just me and the kids at home till hub comes back later at night. I have no more excuse to laze around. Have to get things prepared the night before and then cook dinner for Hao Re every weekday night. Have to play and entertain them till their bedtime.

One of the major "improvement" during the past month was that TV time has been cut down a lot! Since they are a few people they can play with in the house, they choose to play and not to watch TV. I am very glad about this. Even yesterday, we only watched TV for half an hour.

Also on the same day, 28th February 2011, I made a promise to myself to go Facebook-less and iPhone-less throughout the night till the kids are asleep. I realised I have been spending too much time on iPhone, and it's a bit unnecessarily, to be honest. So I want to cut this bad "habit". I hope by ditching the phone, I can focus better and more on them, and play with them with full attention.

Life's good :-)
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How to keep a child healthy and to boost his immunity?

I like to think taht we are on the right track on raising our kids healthily. The kids rarely fall sick (*touch wood*)  and so are hubby and I. So, what we have done or not done, that may have kept them healthy and helped them build a strong immunity?

1. SLEEP, SLEEP and more SLEEP
Sleeping is essential, very important! As my mum puts it, if a child (especially young one) wants to sleep, she would rather let her sleep than worry about her skipping a meal. For young kids below 3 years old, 12-13 hours of sleeps is ideal. For older kids, they still need at least 10 hours. Sleeping is important as our body need this "down time" for the repair, regenerate, replenish, and re-energize. Lacking of it would weaken the immunity and hence more prone to infection. Try to put the kids to bed before 11pm, that's the ultimate limit, the earlier the better, of course.

2. HEALTHY DIET - you are what you eat!
Think of it, whatever you take in, it will be digested and absorbed into your body. Whatever not, it will have to be expelled out from the body, else you will get to a certain level of toxicity and become ill, and/or pile up on your fat and, well, become fat. It's very logical, isn't it? My take on this is take everything in MODERATION. Have a balanced diet and take it as much variety of food as possible, all in small to medium quantity. Fruits and vegetables are always the best bet. Quality of the food does matter, avoid heavily processed food and go organic if you can (though we don't). I believe that our body system is smart enough to expel all those unwanted stuff out of our body, if we don't take in too much bad stuff over a prolong period. It's only when we take in too much bad stuff then it's a problem.

Eating too little is another set of problems. If you think your kid is not eating enough or isn't on a healthy and balance diet, you may want to seek your PD advise, to prescribe your kid some appropriate mineral and vitamin supplements (usually multi-vitamin). I am not a fan of supplement, but you think it helps to keep your kid in good shape, it's definitely worth giving supplement than to see him falling sick. Nowadays there are so many options in the market, you can opt for the more conventional type in pill form or those natural remedies.

And on this same page, the "output channel" is equally important, that the diet should encourage good digestion and bowel movement. If a kid is constipated, the toxicity level in the body may increase too. Probiotics help in some children but not all.

3. WATER, WATER and more WATER!
This is also another very important factor. If you think of it, The body of a healthy lean man is composed of about 62 percent water, 16 percent fat, 16 percent protein, and other substances. More than half of our body mass is composed of water! You have to drink lots to meet what your body needs, and to replenish the water you loss. Ideally between 1-2 litres for children including plain water, milk, juice, etc (avoid sweetened drinks as much as possible, a little won't harm though). Adults should drink 2-3 litres. For me, the easiest to monitor is by the output (urine), if the urine is concentration (dark yellow), it's a good indication that the juniors need more water. As long as you don't too much water at one go, there is (almost) never too much water.

Physical activities are important. The junior needs to keep moving to be healthy. Any type of physical activities - cycling, walking, running, jumping, monkeying around, dancing, just make them move the body. Helping with the house chores is a good choice, if they don't create (too much) mess for you to clean up. Bring them outdoor as much as possible, to get a dose of clean fresh air and some sunshine (free Vitamin D)! Also, the more they exercise, the better they do in the eating department, the better they eat, the better nutrient they get, and the healthier they are. The more they move, the less they spend time on TV/PC/iPhone/iPAD etc.

5. Keep CLEAN -wash hands regularly!
Stop the germs spreading! Germs that couldn't get you down may make other people (who get in touch with you) sick. So ask the junior to wash his hands frequently (I am not good in this, my hubby is), especially when they just reach home, touch something, going to meet friends, etc.

Having said that, we don't keep our house sparkling clean. We engage a part time helper who comes in once a week to do the thorough cleaning. On other days, we don't do any cleaning at all, except when it's too unbearable. Their toys also don't get to clean regularly, only when we see the needs to, like once every few months. Thankfully, so far so good.

6. SAVE A TRIP OR TWO to the CLINIC - it's a fact that kids fall ill and bugs are everywhere!
Really, bugs are everywhere. It's impossible to have zero contact with bugs. Kids with weaker immunity fall sick more often than those with stronger immunity. When a child has not been fall sick for a long period of time, say 1 year, it doesn't mean he has been kept in clean room environment and has not been in contact with bugs. But it means he has a very strong immunity that all the bugs he gets contact with couldn't bring him down.

In addition to do the above from (1) to (5) to help your kids build up a strong immunity, bugs would still get to your kid, no matter what. The immune system is a very complex system. It's smart, it learns how to fight with a certain bug after knowing it. Meaning one would have to be infected with a certain virus, then our body will develop a specific immunity towards that particular virus. There are so many different types of virus, and each type has many variants. So it's understandable kids have to be infected many, many times to build up the immunity. But if the kid is strong, he would not be brought down by the virus, just a mild fever and that's it, and his immunity is one level stronger. So, having fever is absolutely normal. Probably you would expect at least 3-4 times of fever (infection) in a year for young kids. Don't have to be panic, though you have to monitor closely. Let the child fight with the bugs so that he can build up his immunity. I know it's weird to say this, but it's true, that falling sick is not necessarily a bad thing.

When you bring a kid with fever to the doctor, what would the doctor usually say? Usually he would say it's a virus infection, esp when there is not any other symptoms. Then he would prescribed you some medicine which include a fever medicine (paracetamol or such). Fever medicine really do the kid no good, as it blocks the immune mechanism in fighting with the bugs. This medicine does not help to kill the bug. On the other hand, it sends opposite signals to your brain and your body gets confused. Read my another post of FEVER. Flu is a virus infection, and you don't need to take medicine to recover. Do the above - more sleep, more good food, some exercise, lots of water and keep clean - that way you recover fast and your body has a chance to learn how to fight with the bugs.

There were a few rounds when our kids were having mild cough or mild fever or slight diarrhea, they both were able to self recover within 1-2 days without any medication, saving a trip to their paediatrician. And more importantly, helped them to build up a stronger immunity. You would be surprised that they actually get well sooner by NOT taking medication than they do. Having said that, be careful though, that if a fever lasted more than 48 hours, or any other illness, like diarrhea, vomiting, etc, that lasted more than 48 hours, or, if the kid seems really lethargic, with Sulken eyes, inactive, etc, bring the kid to a paediatrician immediately.

7. Think twice when you have to give ANTIBIOTICS!
Antibiotics is strictly for bacteria infection only. It DOES NOT have any effect on virus. It's too common now that many doctors would prescribed a course of antibiotics even if he diagnoses the patient as virus infection. Totally wrong - misuse of antibiotics! Though I think it's the doctor responsibility to stop the misuse of antibiotics, as a parent, we should be able to stand firm and question the doctor when he prescribes antibiotics unnecessarily. Using too much antibiotics unnecessarily would cause bad health. Read my post on antibiotics HERE.

Our body is a complex system. To keep it working perfectly, all the "things" (the cells, hormones, enzymes, etc) inside the body has to work harmonisouly.

I am not a medically trained expert. I shared this based on my 3 years of mothering experience, based on what I learned during my uni times, and based on what I read from magazines/books/Internet. Please correct me if I am wrong, I appreciate that. If you have any other tips to share, please leave a comment to share with my dear readers. Or send me an e-mail.

Hope all kids grow up healthily, and so are the parents!
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Visit the Singapore Zoo with Jiujiu and Yiyi

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Hao Re was so happy during this Zoo trip, all thanks to his favourite Jiujiu and Yiyi, who accompanied him, played with him, explained to him, carried him, and adhered to his requests :-) It's so rare that we spent up to 5 hours at the Zoo. Usually we do a 2 hours visit. With the 5 hours, we visited almost all exhibits, except the Fragile Forest and the reptiles, plus watched the Elephant show.

It's a fun trip. And it's an (kinda) educational trip for Hao Re as well. When we arrived at each of the exhibit, he asked either of us read to him what type of food that animal eats. He seemed to be so interested to know and I think he really listened very carefully. I learned something too - do you know one of the many types of food an otter eats is duck? I mean how on earth is that possible, they are about the same size, don't they? And for jaguars, one of their hunt is alligator! Serious? Alligator?!! Wow! I look forward to the next Zoo trip where we can focus on a few exhibit and read more information for him on the signboard. This is gonna be so fun!

Arrived at the Zoo at noon time. A group photo to start off the visit! Hao Re was too busy reading his map, as he's going to be the tour guide!

Xi Yu explored the Zoo that day mostly on her stroller. Easy for us :-) Trying to read the signboard? She wants to have a copy of the map too.

Highlight of the day - feeding the Rhino!!! We wanted to do this since long time ago, but the timing was not right as we usually visit the Zoo either in the morning or in the late afternoon. This is the first time we did it at noon time. And the weather was amazingly nice - not hot at all, a bit cloudy but no rain.

Hao Re enjoyed this so much! But I tell you, Rhino looks okay when they don't open their mouth. When they open the mouth, YUCKS! They are disgusting!

Our tour guide reading the map to tell us where to go next. See how he asks us what's written on the board.

Xi Yu was very cooperative to be pushed around in her stroller. Very unlike the usual her. I think it's because she was tired as she didn't take any nap. The capable Baba successfully made her sleep right before our lunch at KFC @ Kidzworld. Couldn't be better timing than this, we got to enjoy our fried chicken peacefully!

Hao Re and the two big kids trying to jump for the camera. But I was not skillful enough to capture the jump. Only captured one of Hao Re's (bottom left, pretty blur though), and 1 nice one from YW (top right)

Feeding the goats after lunch. He kept smiling and laughing the whole visit. It's such so heartwarming!

Lots and lots of laughter on the Animal Carousel Ride. It's so worth it (the $4 ticket)! Xi Yu was still sleeping, so she missed all this fun :-(

Hao Re and his beloved Jiujiu :-)

We took a short rest at the coffee house before leaving. Jiujiu brought him a pack of chocolate/almond coated biscuit. He likes it but he's also willing to share with us, such a darling boy :-)

Oh, love the left hand photo of Xi Yu. Such a cute expression - first time tasting a piece of lemon! Gorgor offered her a biscuit stick but she ignored that, weird.

And his Baba is going to love this collage! Baba sharing his ice-cold lemon tea with his precious princess.

Arrived home at 5+pm. Cooked dinner for Hao Re. We settled with take away, plus a plate of homecooked stir fried veg. Hao Re was so tired (again, no nap for the whole day) that he knocked out at 8pm, right after his dinner, skipping his milk feed. While that little girl refused to sleep at 9pm, spent one hour with her in the bedroom, still refused to sleep, so let her play for another hour, and finally KO at 11pm, should have let her walked more at the Zoo :-)

A long and tiring trip. But with all the laughters from the kids, it's so worth it!
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A special evening at the Night Safari

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The last time we went to the Night Safari was back in October 2008, when my aunt and her family came to visit us. Hao Re was about 10 months old then and Xi Yu was not "made" yet :-)

I was very lucky to get free tickets to the Night Safari when my brother and YW are in Singapore, so we can go together. Hao Re has a great time, especially with the accompany of his Jiujiu and YW Yiyi. We enjoyed it too as there were 2 pairs of spare hands helping with the kids :-)

Both Hao Re and Xi Yu didn't take nap that day, as they were busy playing with Jiujiu and Yiyi. Xi Yu managed to catch about one hour nap during the short car ride and when we were having our dinner at the Bongo Burgers. Hao Re was dozing off during the car ride but we asked him to stay up, and he did. But he finally knocked off at about 8pm, when we were on the tram. He was too tired already so when he got quiet down, he just KOed!

A group photo at the entrance and some photos taken when we were having dinner at Bongo Burgers.

Didn't take many photos as it's too dark and that we have to take care of the kids.

Review of the Night Safari:

- We went on a Saturday. It's soooooo crowded, that there was a very long queue for the tram ride. And the show was extremely full house that they didn't let people in at all. So if you can, avoid going on Friday and Saturday. For us, it might be a good thing we didn't get to ride on the tram or see the show as our first program, else Hao Re would have dozed off earlier and won't see a thing!

- Nothing much to do - tram ride, watch a show (there was only 1 show, though it's repeated every hourly), and some night walks.

- For kids, often it's difficult for them to spot the animals. Because the surrouding is so quiet, you kinda don't want to speak too much to your kids, scare would affect others.

- There are some animals that we don't get to see at the Zoo, like hyena, that's interesting. And like Malayan Tigers (I always like them than the white tiger).

- The walking trails are actually better, I think. But with kids, it's again, more challenging.

Conclusion - I won't go again, unless I have free tickets. $32 per person is definitely too expensive.

Will stick to the Zoo :-)
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Our princess is 18 months old

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What a 1.5 years old can do?

Time just passes by so quickly everyday. Everyone gets a fair share of 24 hours a day, no more no less, and so you just gonna do whatever you need/have to do within these 24 hours. Plus there is no U-turn, when it's gone, it's gone. I won't say I don't have enough time to spend, but it would have been better if I can have a little bit more time, and more importantly, if I can devide my time equally for both of my kids. Because of their age, their close age gap, and because of their different childcare option, up till now, I still spend most of my time on Hao Re, especially on weekday evenings, as I have to cook and feed him dinner, and with the 1-2 hours left before bedtime, and Hao Re definitely knows how to and wants to get my full attention (and leave little/no rooms for meimei).

I do feel bad when I think of how little time and effort I spend on Xi Yu. I know, I am taking the advantage of her nanny, as she is such a nice person who takes care of Xi Yu so well, I kinda leave all the food-related work to her, or rather, I am heavily depending on her to feed Xi Yu well. And she does! She cooks nutritious and delicious meals for Xi Yu, gives her fruits everyday, and she is stricter than I am when comes to use of salt/sugar/junk food, so I can totally rely on her. She makes me so lazy (okay, it's an excuse) to give any food to Xi Yu. I only remember to give her yogurt or fruit once in a long while, like er, 2-3 times a month :-P When she doesn't eat well on weekends, I don't worry at all, as when Monday comes, she would eat lots and very well at her nanny. How do we know that? We can certainly tell by the weight gain - she is 13.1kg!!! She is amongst one of the heaviest baby for toddlers I know of this age!

Besides food, I also didn't find time to play with her. Though it won't do any harm on her, as her physical development is on the right track, as well as her gross and fine motor skills, speech, etc are all developing well. But whenever I made a comparison between her and Hao Re (yes, yes, I know we shouldn't compare the kids, but just couldn't help it), it's so clear that she hasn't been (given the chance to) enjoying my company. She has more toys to play with, that's for sure, but she doesn't have a playmate (me) who can focus 100% on her. Hao Re does play with her sometimes, but he also fights with her some other times. I would want to say there is nothing much I can do, but in actual fact, I can, if I plan my time better and plan activities that can be played together. Don't want to push myself too hard though (or have I been doing enough?). At this age, Hao Re got very good exposure to toys (blocks and jigsaw puzzles) that help with his fine motor skill and some training on his brain cells. People would say this is unfair. But, what choice do I have?

And the worse part is, still, her bedtime. She is still a poor sleeper. This past month, she woke up very frequently throughout the nights, insisted to have (she would continue to cry louder and louder till I gave her milK) 1 or 2x milk, and a few times more for comfort, which was so draining on me while trying to keep my cool at the same time. Not possible for a prolong period, so I snapped on a few nights :-( It didn't help that the King was woken and confronted why I scolded her Princess, and the Prince was woken up too wanting/fighting for my attention. I was so near breaking down on a couple of nights. Imagine I have been sleeping on blocks of 2-3 hours, have never been able to sleep through since she was born. But I survived, thankfully. The last few days, she has been sleeping a lot better, but was difficult to put her to bed. She makes me so scared of the night, when their bedtime comes. So the outcome of all of this, is that, I made her a bad temper kid too! Boohoo! Yes, honestly, I have to be responsible for her bad temper, probably 50% of it she learned from me, 50% inherited from us, while me and hub contributed half to her genetic makeup, so I have to take 75% of responsibility to her bad temper. No joke, it's true. You know how kids learn from the adults, especially their parents. It's true, very true. Although I was very annoyed when my hubby scolded me for losing my temper on the kids, but I think he is right that there is no U-turn, you cannot undo what you have done on the kids. Now that she has a bad temper whereby she would beat people when she is angry or doesn't get what she wants (learnt from me as I sometimes beat her butt when she still doesn't sleep after 1 hour rolling on the bed), screams and throws herself on the floor when things don't go as she wants to. But I seldom lose my temper, except it's sleeping related. So that's a good thing? I have to keep reminding myself to hold it, hold it, hold it. The first 3 years of their life are the golden years to shape their personalities, I have to try harder and harder. But when the time comes, I would have just snapped, again. I don't know if she would even sleep better, when all the teething, growth spurt or whatever issues have passed. I definitely hope so, though there is not much I can do to change that.

Okay, okay, enough of my ranting :-)

Though I have said all those negative things, our little girl is actually growing up very well!

She grows heavily (though people said she looks slimmer now) and taller.

She is more and more active. Walking, running, jumping, climbing up and down, all sorts.

She is talking more and more, babbles even more.

She still loves books. She would bring a book to us, sit on our lap, and she would start pointing to the pictures or words, and go ee ee ah ah oh oh, flip every page till she finishes "reading" a book :-)

My dear girl, I promise (my hub said I always gave empty promise, as I have said the same Nth time already, but I still have to say it again) I will try harder to have more patient for you, I promise I will try harder to spend more time with you, I promise I will try harder to love you more and more!
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The good boy chart

Enough time to do another post :-)

We have started the second round of the good boy chart early this week. Hao Re wants to get a watch, after his cousin showed him his ultraman watch when they met during CNY. Hao Re was the one suggested that he would be a good boy to earn 10 stars and be rewarded with a watch. He understands this "game" perfectly well.

So here we go. Monitoring him and rewarding him for his good behavior. The conditions haven't changed from the last - finish his dinner, don't bully meimei, listen to Baba and Mama.

He already earned 2 stars this week. Probably in another 2-3 weeks, he would get his watch!


On the same note, he has been eating pretty well. I am so glad that his appetite was not affected after we came back from the CNY holiday. But he is still not wanting to eat much when we dine out. And he requested for me to cook for him. I am happy as this means he likes my cooking. At the same time, I am left with no rooms for a relax evening, being forced to cook for him as much as I can. Though I would still skip an evening when I am tired or when I don't feel like cooking. I should just try my best.

He is still maintaining his weight at 15.3kg. Think it's really slow for kids this age to increase their weight. I should be happy that he is very healthy in general. Haven't been taking any medicine since June 2010. Had a few small episodes of fever/cough/diarrhea, but he managed to self-recover after 1-2 days without any medication :-)

While his meimei is gaining weight very fast, gonna catch up with Hao Re soon! She is 13.1kg when I weighed her this morning! Will do update about Xi Yu next Monday, when she turns 18 months.


Should stop now. Time to get ready for our trip to Night Safari!!! So looking forward to it! But hor, both kids didn't nap today (till now, 4.10pm). I hope they won't fuss and would enjoy the trip. And it'll be Zoo tomorrow :-)
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Bye-bye diaper!

So rare that I get to do a quick post on weekend day time :-)

My brother and YW are with us, so the kids go bother them and ignore me, which I have no complain about :-)

Just want to note that Hao Re went diaperless at night last night, on the 18th Feb 2011, at 3 years and 1 month old! He was already given me 2 totally dry diaper the previous 2 mornings. So I braved it and let him went diaperless last night (with no mattress protector or of some sort), and ta-da, SUCCESS!!! No bed wetting and I didn't even have to wake him or be woken up by him to bring him to toilet. He peed at 11pm (was late last night as we dined out and came home late) before he went to bed and only asked to pee at 8am when he woke up this morning,that's 9 hours in total. He has very good control of his bladder :-)

I am truly glad that I didn't rush in to toilet train him earlier (due to peer pressure etc). He was only diaperless during the day for a a few months. When he was ready to go diaperless during the day, he went diaperless for nap time straight away, even when he took nap for 3 hours, and no accidents at all. Now he went diaperless at night too, without any training or prompting, it happened so naturally!

It's 3 days in a row he didn't pee at all during night time. I am positive that he will stay like this from now on. But for the just in case, I am getting a waterproof mattress protector. He is co-sleeping with me, and I don't want our queen size mattress to be stained with urine.

Well done, Hao Re! Save Baba and Mama some money on the diaper :-)
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About a boy.....

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..... who is talkative (nagging), sensible, loving, happy, have good memory and it's a little perfectionist!

When went for a quick grocery shopping after dinner. Bought 2 packs of Vitagen, so they didn't have to fight over it. But Hao Re insisted that both are from him (because he said meimei is too young, cannot drink Vitagen!). We told him firmly one pack for each, he cannot have 2. He kept chanting on our way back (about 5 minute walk):

HR: 妈妈, 我生气你了, 你知道吗? 我不开心了, 你知道吗? 妈妈! 妈妈!

He kept repeating. I didn't want to react. So he kept going on and on.....

HR: 妈妈, 我生气你了, 你知道吗? 为什么我生气?

Until I asked him why.

HR: 应该是 (he doesn't use 因为) 你不sayang我了, sayang妹妹, 你给妹妹Vitagen, 你不给我, 我不喜欢你, 我生气你!

I spent the next few minutes talking to him why he should share with meimei, what's right to do and what's not. Then he stopped chanting. My mum said she can already imagine Hao Re becomes very long winded and naggy type :-)


On our way back home on a weekday, I told Hao Re he is not going to see Jiu Jiu tonight as Jiu Jiu would be staying a night at JB.

Later when we were cooking dinner in the kitchen, someone opened the door. I asked Hao Re went out to check who's coming.

He ran to me and said (with a very puzzled expression):

妈妈, 可是舅舅回来了!

I thought he was not listening to me, but he did and he really understood and remembered what I said. And I was really surprised that he knew how to use the term 可是, a bit too advance for a 3 years old, no?


On the same night, during our before bedtime conversation:

HR: 妈妈, 我今天很开心叻!

Me: 哦, 为什么你今天很开心?

HR: 应该是 (note again, he doesn't use 因为, I don't know why) 我今天找(看?) 到全部人.

M: 你找到谁所以你很开心?

HR: 我看到舅舅, 爸爸, 妈妈, 妹妹, 舅舅, 但是没有姨姨喔 (note he mentioned his 舅舅 two times!)

Me: 为什么你看到舅舅, 爸爸, 妈妈, 还有妹妹很开心?

HR: 应该是
....... (no answer from him)

Me: 是不是因为舅舅, 爸爸, 妹妹, 妈妈跟你玩, 所以你很开心?

HR: 是, 因为舅舅, 爸爸, 妹妹, 妈妈跟你玩(he can't differentiate me and you well, yet, just simply repeating what I said), 我很开心!


He knocked his bicycle against a storage shelf, and the bell is broken. He declared that his bicycle is spoilt and cannot be used anymore. We told him the bicycle is fine, just the bell is broken, he can still cycle it. He said NO, bicycle is already spoilt, cannot cycle anymore, and must park at a designated area, no one can touch or move his bike.

Until last night, his Jiu Jiu brought him to look for a bell, but they couldn't find it. So Jiu Jiu brought him a safety light instead. Jiu Jiu helped him to fix the light, and also convinced him to take down the broken bell, and assured him the bicycle is okay to cycle. And the clever Jiu Jiu also let me do some hands on, using a screw driver to fasten a screw, which got him all excited and proud of himself.

Finally he is happily cycling around the house again :-) Our little perfectionist!

He is also a clean freak. He cannot bear to have any stain on his hands (though he would wipe if off using his shirt sometimes), and must clean his hands immediately. And whenever he sees the table has some dirt, food debris or spilled water, he would stop his meal to clean the table first, be it at home or when dining out.


Lots of funny and interesting conversation with him. Hope to remember and note down more.
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Sentosa Flower Festival 2011

A nice outing for the kids!

We were not sure where to go on Sunday. My brother, his girlfriend, YW, and YW's mum are here visiting Singapore. At the end, we decided to bring them to Sentosa for the Flower Festival. Before that, we brought them to Katong for laksa, and after that, we brought them to try the Holland Village XO fish noodle. Tried out best to let YW's mum felt the zest of Singapore!

The kids have lots of fun at Sentosa! Hao Re was very grumpy at first as he didn't have any afternoon nap and he was tired. But once he was over that sleepy threshold, he was all active, running up and down non-stop! Xi Yu was giving the chance to walk/run a bit, then put her onto the stroller for a while, and then let her walk a bit, as it's simply too tiring to run after her, someone who is not ready to take instruction, who doesn't understand what danger is. The exhibition was not bad, saw some rare and nice flowers. Not too crowded. Very hot though. We all have a nice time!

Top left photo: Hao Re was still in sleepy mood.
Top right photo: Hao Re was in happy mood already. Showing him a very nice looking small red pineapple.
Baba took lots of photos of us today :-)

Me, my brother and Xi Yu. See the resemblance between the three of us? Some close friends and relatives even commented that Xi Yu looks like his Jiu Jiu when she was born.

When Jiu Jiu asked Hao Re to pose for the camera, he naughtily said don't want. He said can only take his back side. But then Baba took these cheeky photos from the side while Jiu Jiu took from his back :-)

Hao Re voluntarily posed for this. But instead of sticking his head inside the hole, he stuck half his body inside, funny! Xi Yu on the opposite, obediently did as what we asked her to.

Our flowery boy and girl! Very colourful background for the nice shot! But they were a little bit too sweaty then.

Mama and his dear little handsome!

He was having so much fun walking and running and jumping on these structure! We don't have to accompany him, he has his Jiu Jiu :-)

Guess this deco is in line for the Valentine's Day. Took our family photo with the rabbits.
The flower on the top right was the nicest flower (to me) we spotted that day.
Top bottom showed how the designed cleverly turned the palm trees into a carrot.

Good thing about going out with families/friends? They can help us to take a couple photo and to look after our kids. Mama with her Mr Handsome :-)

We then went to the newer side of Sentosa, at the Resorts World.

Daddy bought Hao Re this chocolate ice-cream from Candylicious while waiting for them to do some shopping. Hao Re loved this ice cream so much (probably he was hungry?) that he was not willing to let us take a small bite. He finished it all! He really has good taste for food. This ice cream costs $7!!! He never finished an ice-cream, except this one.
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Chinese New Year holiday

It's the time for meeting people and sampling good food!

29th January 2011 (年廿六)
As what we planned, we started our journey at 3.30am. Made a bottle of milk for both of them, both dozed off to sleep after the milk feed, and slept all the way till we almost reached Ipoh. They woke up at about 8am, and we were reached Ipoh at 9am. Couldn't be smoother journey than this - took us only 5.5 hours, only stopped briefly for peeing, and with both kids sleeping away :-)

Met my parents, my cousin and family for Dim Sum breakfast at Fu Shan. Sadly, the standard dropped so much that I didn't even want to go back for second time. But I have lots of fish balls, which was still nice, thankfully. Hopefully next year they will serve better food again.

Went to Jusco for CNY grocery shopping. And my parents wanted to buy a CNY dress for Xi Yu and Hao Re. Bought one red dress for Xi Yu but Hao Re refused to cooperate, and didn't want to be bought a new shirt and pant.

Went we drove passes Sungai Siput, we thought of the infamous BBQ pork (烧肉). Waited for about half an hour for that and luckily it didn't disappoint us. It's still very nice, and me and hub ate lots of it!

Brought the kids to visit their paternal grandparents, brought them tour around our village on motorcycle, have dinner, and it's time to tuck to bed already.

[p/s: I am always so grateful to have a very supportive husband. In order to make me happier, easier for me to take care of the kids, he always agrees to sleep over at my mum's instead of his. And also thankful to my parents in-law who don't insist on that (though not sure if they complained behind my back :-P). I am one lucky woman who doesn't have to deal with in-law at all!]

30th Jan 2011 (年廿七)
The kids immediately adapted to the new environment. Think their inherited our genes (of being a village boy/girl) :-) We didn't bring any toys back for them. They don't need any toys too. They have one best playmate - their Jiu Jiu, and also two pairs of grandparents to interact with. That's a big different to them, as usually they only have us. We didn't have to worry about them at all. Hao Re was totally independent, he didn't look for us, and we didn't have to take care of him, except meals and bed time. Xi Yu was a funny gal, she was perfectly okay to be with my families when I was not around, but once she saw me, she stuck to me like superglue, wanted me to carry and refused to play with others.

They went round both grandparents house, looks for things to do/play with. Washing cars and doing house chores seemed to get much of their attention. Hubby spent one whole morning cleaning our car. Thoroughly inside out.

Best thing happened on this day was once both kids settled to thier afternoon nap, we left them with my mum and my brother, and we sneaked off to Ipoh, to satisfy our craving for white coffee and other local delicacies. Hub got his hair cut too! Though it's only a short few hours, it means a lot to us! And the best thing, when the kids woke up, they were totally comfortable to be with their grandparents and Jiu Jiu, didn't even ask where we were :-P

Busy with house chores :-) Their car seat got to be washed and sun thoroughly on a yearly basis too.

Grandpa's farming hat has become one of their favourite "toys". But oh, they look so cute in it :-)

Spent some time at Ah Ma and Ye Ye's house.

31st Jan 2011 - 1st Feb 2011 (年廿八及廿九)
Our 2D1N trip to Cameron Highlands, where the kids have lotsa fun!

2nd Feb 2011(年除夕)
As usual, it's reunion lunch at my in-law, and reunion dinner at my dad's. My hubby has a brother and a sister. His brother and wife didn't come back for CNY this year as my sister-in-law is heavily pregnant, so they wanted to avoid the long journey and the crowd. My hub's sister is a married woman and can only come back on the second day of CNY. So reunion lunch was just the 4 of us plus the grandparents.

My elder brother arrived about noon time. Hao Re and Xi Yu were happier as they have 3 cousins to play with! My younger sister and her husband came back too. Later in the day, my aunt 阿姨(who lives in Cameron Highlands) and the whole family (my 4 cousins) came for an early CNY visit too! My parents' house have not been this noisy for a long long long time! My cousin said the last time they came to our house was 7 years ago, to attend my wedding dinner. Gosh, I didn't realise it was so long ago. We have very close to this aunt (my mum's cousin) and because we and our cousins have close age gap, we were all very close too. So the reunion dinner was a big and happy one!

Dressed Xi Yu in her Qi Pao (祺袍), and she looks so good in it, she looks like a doll, a China doll :-) The kids got to play with Pop Pop (those tiny stuff that would let out a "pop" sound when you threw it onto the floor). And later played with some firecrackers. Great time spent!

Don't you agree Xi Yu look great in her Qi Pao? Got this Qi Pao from Jusco Tebrau, meant for 2 years old, fit her nicely. Well, actually a bit too tight, that the dress burst 2 times. My mum mended it the first time, and after it burst the second time, we just leave it as she is not going to wear it again :-)

The kids playing with "Pop Pop"

Playing with firecrackers! The kids love it! Hao Re and Xi Yu were both a bit scared at the beginning, but soon they learned how to play with it (sorry for the blur photos).

My aunt and family went back to Cameron Highlands after the reunion dinner. They used to stay with us, but now all grown up already, and with new additions (5 kids in total) to the family, my mum's house can no longer fit in both families. Not even enough just for our own family. So we packed up and went back to stay with my in-law instead (which is just nearby).

Hao Re got very very bad mosquito bites when he went back to the village for his first CNY. Since then, we are very careful and do all we can, anti-mosquito lotion, mosquito net, electrical mosquito catcher, to protect them from mosquito bites. This year, Hao Re got none. Xi Yu got 2 on her leg on the very last night at the village.

3rd Feb 2011(年初一)
Couldn't really remember what we did on the first day of CNY. Probably nothing. But just to meet with some friends, more eating. This year was a lot quieter than previous year, as almost all of our kampung childhood friends have got married and some, us include, have children. Made it harder and harder for everyone to gather. Some chose not to come back to kampung for CNY. Some busy with young babies. Some went somewhere else to spend CNY, etc. Only met a few friends this year. Didn't arrange any gathering with my secondary school friends either, as that's even harder, for about similar reasons above.

The day just passed like any other day. Still stayed at in-laws. Xi Yu was a bit feverish at evening time. But luckily she woke up all normal the next morning.

I have to admit I am a very, very bad daughter-in-law. I don't really communicate with my in-laws. I sometimes raised my voice to my father-in-law, when he asked unreasonable or unanswerable questions, bad me. My mum always scolds me for that. So I usually don't talk, better that way. I have never helped out in their house. NEVER do a single house chore. Not even sweeping the floor. Surely haven't cooked or done any activities in the kitchen. My hubby is spoiling me all the way. Maybe he rather me staying away from all this than to have conflicts started between the two women (me and his mum). And because the two houses are so close, I haven't even taken a shower at my in-law. Always go back to my mum's to shower and to do laundry. Very, very bad. In the old days, I would be called the most infilial daughter-in-law :-( But well, luckily I live in the modern society. I am sure lots of people, our villagers, talked bad about me behind my back, but who cares, they can say whatever they want.

This CNY, because Hao Re was glued to his Jiu Jiu, he sometimes refused to go to his paternal grandparents house. And me, being the bad daughter-in-law, used this as an excuse to not to go back :-P There were a couple of times, hubby brought Xi Yu to his mum while me and Hao Re stayed put at my mum :-) Being too pampered by the supportive husband :-)

4th Feb 2011(年初二)
Think the kids were a bit bored. So I suggested to visit my uncle (伯夫) at Taiping. My dad only has 1 brother, so it's only this uncle we need/have to visit during CNY. Since it's still the second day of CNY, 3 out of 4 of my cousins (堂兄和堂姐) were around. One of my cousins went to his in-law for CNY visitation. It's great to meet all of them, whom I only got to meet once a year. My eldest niece has just completed her Form 6 study (A-level equivalent)!

My dad has 4 kids, 2 boys 2 girls, and my uncle also has 4 kids, also 2 boys 2 girls. All of us, except my younger brother, have married and have kids. So now the family has a total of 35 members (plus 1 in the tummy), not a big family to Malaysian standard. After having lunch at a Thai restaurant, we headed to the Taiping lake for a family shoot.

The Seng family (incomplete though).

[p/s: Nice and natural photos, except that my hub and Hao Re were photoshopped in, as the one with them in is not nice, with my hub's hand blocking the kids. This nice one without HR and hubby (who were busy setting up the camera), so at the end they were photoshopped in]

After that, the group was dismissed, and each family went off to continue on with their activities. We brought the kids to take a boat ride to tour around the scenic Taiping lake (short trip though). And then brought the kids to the playground. And ended the trip with the famous Taiping delicacies - char kuey teow, lor bak and spring roll.

Hao Re, Xi Yu and Zhi Jie and their grandparents. Enjoying ice-cream Jiu Jiu bought for them before the boat ride.

Having fun at the playground. Do you see the big slide of the top left corner? We used to play at a similar slide at Taiping lake too, even bigger than this one. It's so much fun that it can keep us occupied for hours!

Food, food and food!

My sister and her husband left and went back to KL after dinner. So we moved back to my mum. I gave my dear hubby a night off. That he was spared from childcare duty, that he was "allowed" to go back to his mum, that he was "allowed" to stay up late chatting with friends, and that he was able to do whatever he wanted to, without me and the kids tagging along. He sure was happy to have a night off, and missed us :-)

Maybe Xi Yu knew Baba was not around. She gave me a bad night! She refused to be put to bed, and screamed/cried for almost an hour. Nothing I did can soothe her, and after an hour or so, she just decided that she needed sleep and fell asleep when I put her onto the bed. I thought that's over. But at about 4am, she woke up crying, again, nothing can soothe her, except carried her and walked around the house. I was very tensed up as she's already woken my mum a couple of times. I have to try my best not let her cry out loud. So I carried her and walked around for almost 3 hours, till she finally decided to sleep at 7am. 3 hours of carrying a 12.5kg baby!!! My hands and my back were numbed. Luckily when she woke up the next day, she was totally normal, like nothing happened the night before, she definitely couldn't remembered she had tortured me for a total of 4 hours last night!

5th Feb 2011(年初三)
It's the last day we would be at our kampung. The kids got to play around the house a little more, before my 3 nephews went back to KL in the afternoon time. All four of us were down for a much needed afternoon nap.

My little Xi Yu at Por Por house. Despite a bad night, she was all active and energetic!

My dear Hao Re. Followed his Jiu Jiu everywhere. He went to Sungai Siput with his Jiu Jiu without us for a short shopping trip. And his dotting Jiu Jiu bought him a new shade! We bought him another one when we arrived in Ipoh a few days back, but once he got this from Jiu Jiu, he refused to put on the one we bought for him, duh!

After my elder brother and his family left, our family, plus my parents and my brother went to Ipoh for dinner. Wanted to have Ipoh White Coffee at first, but it's unexpectedly having heavy traffic the entire way, so we were too late for the white coffee. We headed straight to the infamous Ipoh bean sprout chicken 老黄芽菜鸡. It's a bad choice. It's so crowded. Both kids were not willing to sit down. So we have to take turn to eat and eat fast, as there were many people waiting for a table. It's still as good though, not cheap, $46 for a chicken, before any adds-on.

At the 老黄芽菜鸡. Hao Re was playing with the meat balls. When the chicken and bean sprout were served, he didn't eat a single bit. Xi Yu was not interested in the food too.

After dinner, my parents and my brother went to do some shopping. While we headed to visit a dear friend of us. Met some other friends there. I was feeling very lousy so we didn't stay long. Plus we still haven't done the packing and we would be starting our journey early morning. Reached home, hurriedly put the kids to bed. Hubby and my mum helped with the packing. I was running quite a high temperature when I finally put both of them to bed. I didn't want to take medicine. So I drink 2 glasses of water and run the to the toilet every hourly. When I woke up at 6am the next morning, fever was gone!

6th Feb 2011(年初四)
As planned, we started our journey at 7am. My super capable mum already cooked breakfast for us (fried beehoon and noodle). Made milk for the kids after we had our breakfast and then lugged them to the car. As expected, both kids continued to sleep till about 10am. They woke up and I have got to entertain them for about an hour before we made a pit stop at Malacca. Went to toilet, let the kids run a bit, had some bites and root beer at A&W, and then continued our journey again. Not long after that, both kids dozed off to sleep again :-) And they slept all the way till we reached Singapore custom at the second link at about 2pm. Slower traffic compared to that day when we went back, plus we made a long stop, so the return journey took us about 8 hours (as compared to 5.5 hours for the balik kampung journey).

Our CNY holiday ended.

Our kids are really great travellers! I couldn't imagine if I have to deal with or entertain them for 5-8 hours in that confined space, I could have gone mad! It's a nice trip. Couldn't have been nicer if we were able to meet up with more friends. The kids have lots of fun. Hao Re still mentioned about his grandparents and the kampung a few days after we came back!
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2D1N trip to Cameron Highlands

A short pre-Chinese New Year trip (31st Jan - 1st Feb 2011)

We planned for this trip before we went back to our home town. We thought it's good for the kids to experience the cold weather, to get close to the farms and nature, and to visit my aunt and family (main purpose). Since the new highway up to Cameron Highlands has been built a few years ago, it's never been easier for us to go up the mountain, it's only about an hour drive from Ipoh, and the road was not too windy as compared to the old road.

We left my parents' home after breakfast. My parents and my brother travelled together with us but they were in another car. Our kids are great travellers. Both of them fell asleep before we reached the highway, and they woke up as soon as we reached there, so they didn't have to suffer the slightly windy road (to our standard, it's not too windy, but it may still be a challenge for the kids and for those we are not use to it). Met with my cousin, my aunt and my uncle, who are our tour guides. They live at Tringkap. Our two darlings have special bond with my aunt, uncle and my cousin as they were with us in our last trip in June 2010 to China. It's heart warming to see them continuing/enhancing the bond.

First we wanted to visit the Boh Tea Plantation. Only when we drove along those very narrow and windy path leading the plantation, then my cousin suddenly remembered they do not open to public on Mondays, duh! So we went for lunch instead. Ordered lots of vegetable and all the dishes, though simple, were very nice, vegetables were very crunchy!

After lunch, went to a strawberry farm just right next to the Equatorial Hotel, which we would be staying for the night. But errrr, me and Xi Yu stayed in the car so that she can finish her milk. Before she finished her milk, the gang has already finished touring the farm, so judge for yourself how attractive the farm is :-P

We proceeded to another strawberry and vegetable farm at the Brinchang town. Much better this one is. Hao Re and Xi Yu got the chance to pick and cut strawberries! This is really the highlight of the whole trip! Let's the photos do the talking!

Hao Re is the one who cut all half a kilo of strawberries! We helped him to choose those ripen ones, and he happily cut it off the plant, and trimmed off the stalk and leaves nicely :-)

After that, we stopped by a cactus and flower farm as my mum wanted to buy some plants for Chinese New Year. Nothing special really, all flowers and cactus are planted in pots, ready for the tourists to just pick and go. Just another commercial place for tourists to spend their money.

It's nice to spend time with grandparents, grandaunt-uncle and Jiu Jius

Then we headed to Kampung Raja, the first town you would arrive in if you use the highway via Ipoh/Simpang Pulai, or the last one if you use the old road via Tapah, for our afternoon tea. My aunt highly recommended this coffee shop for its steamed bun (pao). And oh my, it's sooooooo delicious! The dough of the bun was handmade by the stall owner, in fact, all ingredient was made from scratch, it's so nice, 有嚼劲, 不黏牙, after the first bite, you cannot stop eating more! Nothing can compare to this, not even from those famous dim sum restaurants. Even Hao Re said it's nice, and he happily finished one whole bun! He has good taste :-)

Went to my cousin's uncle's vegetable farm next. We didn't usually go to my aunt's farm as their farm is on a slippery slope, too challenging for us. Too bad, Hao Re fell asleep. He has been chanting all day long that he wanted to 拔萝卜 :-) It was dizzling earlier so we couldn't let Xi Yu explore the farm as it's very slippery. So we just hang around and waited for my aunt and uncle to pick some vegetable for us to bring home.

At the vegetable farm. Xi Yu spotted this beautiful cat and they seems to get along really well. Hao Re sleeping very soundly, I tried to wake up but not successful.

We then rested a while at my aunt's place. Then went for steamboat dinner. Then my parents and my brother went back home, while we went back to the hotel. My mum is very scare of the cold weather so she didn't want to stay a night. It's amazing that the hotel doesn't need to install any air-cons or heating units. It's all natural, and the temperature is just nice.

The next morning, we made it to the Boh Tea Plantation. We enjoyed a cup of hot tea, the greenary, Hao Re enjoyed his mushroom soup, Xi Yu enjoyed walking/running around, it's just a nice morning!

Great morning spent at the Boh Tea plantation!

Hao Re enjoying his bowl of mushroom soup. Probably he was a bit hungry, that he finished to whole bowl of soup and half slice of the bread.

After that, we went to a butterfly farm, on Hao Re's request. It's not a really a butterfly farm, but more of a mini zoo :-) Hao Re enjoyed it at the beginning, but after a while, he kept asking us to leave. At the end, he walked through the whole place, which is not that big. The funniest thing was when he saw scorpian in the cage (see, I told you it's a mini zoo!), he shouted loudly "LOBSTER!!!". Haha, didn't know why he remembered that as lobster. We all laughed, including those strangers, made me so embarassed and hide behind me :-)

We said goodbye to my aunt after this and made our way back home. As soon as they got on the car, they fell asleep, again, and only woke up when we reached home.

The food was good, especially the pao, we don't mind to travel the one hour up the mountain to just to have the pao. But then hor, must call my aunt to reserve the pao for us, as it's sold out in a minute :-)

The tourist attractions were generally a big dissappointment! If we ever go back again next year, we would bypass all these tourist attractions. Probably would let the kids do some hard work at my aunt's vegetable farm. And do some jungle trekking or something like that. We shall see.
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The most loving brother and sister

A normal weekend at our neighbourhood

On a bright sunny Saturday, we brought the kids downstairs to do some marketing at the wet market.

Hao Re: "Meimei, although you are heavy and it takes me lots of energy to bring you around, it's okay, for that I am your Gorgor, I will be there for you, wherever you go. Even if you put on more weight, it's okay, I will make sure I put on even more weight, to make sure I have enough strengh!"

Xi Yu: "Gorgor, see, what's that?"
Hao Re: "Meimei, don't be afraid, gorgor is here!"

Hao Re: "Are you ready for a full speed ride? Hold on tight, my dear meimei!"

Run, run, run!

Xi Yu:" Gorgor, I am tired now. I can't run anymore, I have to walk slowly"
Hao Re: " Meimei, sure, no problem. I slow down to wait for you. Take your time."

The little girl is all dressed up to accompany Mama to get some vegetables from the wet market. She is so cute in this!

Hao Re has some cycling fun while waiting for Mama. He has been wanting to bring his bicycle down for a long time. He asked to do so almost everyday.

Simple family. Simple life. Lots of fun! 平凡就是一种幸福!
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Another hot date with my Mr Handsome!

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We are back to the island on Sunday afternoon.

We didn't start working until Tuesday. So we have the Monday off. We reckoned we have had enough time spent with the kids for the past 10 days, so we decided Monday should be a day just for us, just me and hub, without the kids. Couple time is what we have been lacking of for the past 2 years or so. We haven't gone out for a date for past 2 years! 2 years, 730 days! We definitely deserved one!

The day started with us sending the kids to their nanny/childcare. Both didn't fuss at all despite just came back from the long holiday. Unlike last year, when we came back from our CNY holiday, Hao Re cried every morning when we sent him to his childcare, and that lasted for almost half a year!! A very good start for our special day, don't you think :-)

We then headed to one of our favourite restaurants, Picotin at the Horsecity. A hearty English breakfast was what we needed. We have come here many times for breakfast, but this was the only time without the kiddo tagging along. Surprisingly we didn't miss them much. Had our breakfast in total peace! We have an effort to chat on any other topics except about the kids (though it's very hard to not to talk about them, but we tried).

The next stop was to the Aveda Spa, at Paragon Orchard. I purchased a $128 voucher from for a 60 minutes whole body massage for couple. It turned out to be a nice massage, and they added on a short facial massage and full body scrub too! Felt relax after the session. Very shiok, money well spent!

After that we thought we should go for a movie. This was a last minute plan, since we were already in Orchard and the Cathay Cineplex is so nearby. We chose the CNY movie "I Love HK". Wanted to watch other movies actually but timing not right. Since we still have an hour or so to spare, we walked to the next building, the Mandarin Gallery. Out of expectation, saw Ippudo Japanese Ramen Restaurant. I have heard lots of people raving about it, but I didn't know it's at Mandarin Gallery. And to our surprise, there was no queue at all, probably lunch time has just passed!!! Those English breakfast hasn't been fully digested yet, so we only ordered one bowl of ramen to share. Though there was no queue, the waitress who took our order made a mistake and our order was not registered. Duh, waited for nothing. But they apologized after we queried about our order and the cook cooked it for us straight away. Nice ramen, but I still prefer Tampopo at Liang Court while hubby still prefers Baikohken at North Canal Road. Well, at least we tried it.

Then it's just the right time to head for our movie. We managed to catch a couple seat. My funny husband was very jealous of the hot date I had with Hao Re, when we watched Rapunzel and seated in a couple seat. He has been asking to do the same too :-) The movie "I Love HK" is good enough for us to have a good laugh, would have been much better if it's in Cantonese, but well, this is Singapore we are living in. Saw some familiar faces, laughed out at those typical HK-style comedy, just nice for us to relax. Would be more appropriate if it's a romance movie :-)

We still have about an hour so we went home, took shower, did what we want to do with the limited time left and then it's end of our couple day. Picked Hao Re up at 6.30pm, went for dinner, then picked up Xi Yu, and went home.

My dearest hubby, let wait/plan for our next hot date, ya :-) Love you lots and lots!
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