Update of The Kam Family

It has been a week since my last post. Missed blogging so much! Have been wanting to blog but not able to, and I tell you why.

1. For those who is on my FB list, you would have probably read that I have started my new job last Thursday. With this new company, they practice a very strict NO BLOGGING policy in their handbook. Not only that I shouldn't mention anything about the company, but also cannot use office network to blog, including lunch time and off official working hours. Plus that I have piles and piles of reading to do, so at the end of the work day, I am dead tired already, didn't want to switch on the PC, only have a bit of energy left to browse through FB.

2. Our very trusted part-time helper, who comes once a week to have us with all the house chores and who has been with us for almost 2+ years, have gone back to her home country to attend to some very urgent matters, and she is not sure if she is going to come back. Her sister offered to stand in for this period while she is away, but I decided not to try her out. I rather "suffer" for a few weeks (or longer) than to have to adapt to another person coming "intruding" our home, and to get use to her style of cleaning. So I have to do some (light) cleaning after the kids have gone to bed. That left me with even lesser time to spend on the techie stuff. We have been surviving pretty okay for 3 weeks already. I am okay with the cleaning but not ironing, hate ironing :-( I really really really hope she comes back to rescue us.

3. The Baba is very busy at work. Even since he started his new job (ya, we both started a new job this month), he works super long hours, and so hardly has time to help with the chores, though he still tries to do the light one, like folding laundry, whenever he can. I am back to the solo-mode again on weekday evenings. Xi Yu has been behaving very well and fun to be with (though a little too sticky to me). But Hao Re is going through another round of funny phase, that he whines so much lately, and also throws tantrums, is this Terrible Threes??? I do run out of patience on him, which is very rare, but he just...... grrr..... I hope this phase will be over very soon. So yes, solo-mode means very draining evening. These few nights, I could hardly open my eyes and stays awake after putting them to sleep, so usually knock out soon after that.

That kinda sums up the change of our life at the moment. It's nothing bad, not it's just changes that we need to get use to and get adapted to. Sooner or later, we will be adapting to all the changes.

And hey, guess what? Hao Re's favourite Jiujiu is in town!!! My brother is visiting us for a few weeks, so at least there is an extra pair of hands to help out in the evening. And the kids love their Jiujiu. My cousin was here too for the past few days for a short visit, so the kids have been very excited to have 2 extra playmates! Xi Yu cried badly for about 20 minutes or so when she first saw her Jiujiu (she did that too when they last met). But now she loves him!

And oh, my 3xth birthday just passed half an hour ago (30th May) :-) No celebration in place as I couldn't take leave and hubby has tons of work to do. But Viv was very kind to buy a delicious ice-cream cake from Swensens for me on Saturday when we went to the RSAF Air Force Open House, and my cousin bought a cake for me before she left Singapore this afternoon, how sweet is that! Thanks so much Viv and CS!! And have to thank you all very, very much for all your lovely wishes on the FB, I have received >100 of them! Felt so blessed :-) We don't really celebrate the many different important days anyway, we try to live every day to full, and treasure every single day we have with each other!

Let see when will be my next post. I do really miss blogging! And I sincerely hope that I would be able to keep this blog alive and active.......
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Monthly report from childcare (April 2011)

Hao Re's principle missed out the report (it's ready but forgot to send to me). Finally got it from her late last week.

Here's the report for the April 2011:

Practical Life:
Hao Re is able to follow the instructions given by his teacher. He shares his thoughts and experiences about their outing.

He has good concentration in doing sensorial materials. He is able to use both hands in carrying and stacking up the broad stairs.

He is able to recognize and count 1-20 with the use of beads.

He is able to recognize and produce the phonetic sounds of letters like e, h, r, m, & d. He is a bit confused with phonetic sounds of letters l, f, & g.

He is able to recite the months of the year January – April. He is familiar with common occupations like chef, teacher, dentist, policeman, etc.

Hao Re is seen being independent. He is able to communicate well with his friends and teachers. He is able to follow simple instructions given to him. He has enthusiasm towards learning.

Photos taken by his teacher during Montessori lessons.



1. Hao Re's favourite teacher, who is also his class teacher, has left the school for good. She took a one-week break before that, came back for a few weeks and she left for good. According to the principle, she resigned so she can go back to her home country to take care of her mum, who is quite ill now. We were worried for a while that Hao Re might not adapt to losing his favourite teacher. But to our relief, he adapted to it quite well. In the first few days, he told me Teacher A didn't come to school. Then after that, he didn't mention about Teacher A anymore, but started to tell me about his new teacher, Teacher G. He likes her too. So, ya, phew, no issues with the change :-)

2. As highlighted in red above, his teacher commented he was confused with phonetic sounds of letters l, f, & g. Probably that's because he watches/learns Leapfrog phonic at home, but at school, they use Montessori Phoenic curriculum. Have to talk to his teacher about this when we meet them for the Teacher-Parent Meeting in mid June.

3. In March-April, Hao Re cried very badly in the morning when we sent him to school for 3 consecutive mornings. His favourite Teacher A was still around back then, so it's not because of the change of teacher. We thought it's because he was having too much fun over the weekend and so refusing to go to school on Monday (no crying on Tuesday to Friday). Anyway, he accepted the fact that he has to go to school while Baba and Mama are at work. So no more crying after the 3 weeks. But nowadays, the first thing he asked after waking up is "今天要去学校吗?". Then we have to give him a sweet smile and talk to him in the sweetest tone, "要啊, 今天是星期x, 是要去学校的, 还有星期x, 星期x, 就到星期六, 星期六就不用去学校咯!". He nods his head and goes to school willingly. He has learnt the concept of Monday to Sunday at school.
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Late for the 21st month update

Can't believe I am late for Xi Yu's 21st month update. I have been reminding myself about it a few days before that but then when the day came, I just totally forgot about it :-)

Just going to do a short one.

Xi Yu is now such a dear darling to spend time with!
She is at the BEST stage now.
Spending time with her makes me very happy. Lots of fun and laughter, and hugs and kisses.
She is a very, very sweet girl. She knows how to make my heart melts :-)

She sleeps very well now. I finally can catch some good night sleeps, which I have been deprived of for more than 3 years!
There will be hard time ahead though, as some of her teeth, including the molars are not out yet.
I am not worried about that, I just appreciate and enjoy what I have now, that is sleep and ME time after they go to bed.

She talks very well. I no longer note down what words she can or cannot speak.
Basically she can say pretty much everything.
She starts to string words into sentences.
She is able to express herself pretty well, with words plus actions.
She speaks in a mixture of Chinese and English, more of Chinese though as her nanny speaks Chinese to her most of the time, and so do we.
She finally wants to address herself, as "meimei". She usually says that when she wants something, especially when fighting for something with Hao Re.

The pair of brother and sister are growing up loving each other more and more everyday.
Now they hold hands when walking.
They give each other a hug and a kiss voluntarily from time to time, or when I prompt them to.
Very cute, very sweet, very loving.

I am going to enjoy her as much as possible, and hopefully develop an even stronger bond, before the Terrible Twos kick in anytime from now.
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Childcare (infant care) vs nanny

A good caregiver is what a Full Time Working Mum (and Dad) needs!!!

All parents would have to face the challenge of choosing/deciding the best caregiver option when they first find out about the pregnancy; or when they welcome their new bundle of joy, or during/at the end of the confinement period, or when the mum has to go back to the work force, or at a later stage. It can be a very straight forward decision for some, but it can also be one of the toughest challenge for others.

The few caregiver options that I can think of are:
1) send the kid to a childcare centre,
2) engage the service of a nanny,
3) grandparents offered their help if you are lucky (can be unlucky for some *wink*),
4) get a maid (this is a uniquely Singapore/Malaysia option),
5) take care of the kid yourself if you are the luckiest or unluckiest one depending on how you see it.
6) Recently, I have a friend employing a local live-in nanny, so that's option 6, but she is in KL, not in Singapore.

Whichever option, we as a mum, have to make sure our child is well taken care of, that he/she grows healthily and happily, meets most, if not all, developmental milestones, and learns a little something here and there. Having a supportive/trustworthy caregiver is thus so important, or else we would have to keep worrying about them when we are at work. I have heard (many) cases whereby a trustworthy caregiver cannot be found and the mum has to quit her mum and be a stay home mum. In fact, more and more women choose to become a stay home mum.

For us, who are full time working parents, who live here in Singapore alone (with no other family members), who need two incomes to pay all the bills, and who doesn't want to compromise on privacy and quality of our home (i.e., with a live-in maid), our options can only (1) and/or (2). No choice is, sometimes, the best choice :-)

For Hao Re, we have decided to put him to a childcare centre, as we have no one to recommend us a trustworthy nanny. Luckily for us, the fees for the infant class was not too expensive back then, and us as PR still "enjoyed" a subsidy of a big sum of $75 (of $1000 for the monthly fee)! Most importantly, Hao Re grew up very well under the tender loving care of his teachers. We have always been grateful to the teachers, who genuinely love and care for our boy. This means so much to us, as without finding a good daycare for Hao Re (being our first precious child), we wouldn't be able to go to work with a peace of mind everyday. At one point, we taught Hao Re was going to grow up in this childcare centre till he reaches primary school years, or even beyond. But this incident had completed changed it! Oh well, never mind, we just have to get on with our life. We are so lucky that this second childcare that he is attending is also a good one, that he adapted very well and happily goes to school. He is happy and he is healthy. We don't have to worry, for now.

For Xi Yu, we have decided to engage a nanny, who was recommended by Hao Re's teacher in his 1st childcare (I told you the teachers there are nice people, they are like friends!). Since Hao Re is growing up so well in the childcare, we would have sent Xi Yu to a infant care if not because of the cost. An infant care can easily cost at least $1200 back in late 2009 (it could be even higher now). As PR, we have $0 subsidy, so to fork out the full $1200 from our own pocket is way too much. But then, as Chinese saying, 塞翁失马,焉知非福 (meaning it's not necessarily a bad thing when something undesirable happens). We are truly blessed to have engage this nanny, she is simply the best, Xi Yu is growing so well under her care! I could talk on and on about how excellent this nanny is.

I do get questions from fellow mummies asking me which one is better - an infant care or a nanny? 

Now, before I answer that, let me remind you, that every kid is special with his/her own set of characteristics, and that every infant care centre is different and every nanny is different when comes to handling a kid. I share this based on my own experience and may not be true for all cases. When you decide for yours, you may want to consider things like the cost, logistic, availability of the services, your priorities, etc.

And so my answer is - a nanny, if, only if you can find a trustworthy one. For a young toddler, probably from a few months old to 2-3 years old, what they need most is undivided love and care, and that eating/drinking and sleeping being the most important activities for them for the entire day. At the infant care, a kid won't get 100% attention from the school, e.g., when the kid cries, the teacher may not be able to pacify or attend to her immediately, and though most schools provide great food, but it won't be as good as what she can get from a nanny with good cooking skills, and the kid will be forced to follow a fixed schedule of the centre (which for some, it's a good thing). At the nanny, the kid would receive full attention from her, and the schedule can be specially catered for her needs (which may be undesirable for some). Babies grow exceptionally well when they eat/drink well and have plenty of sleep. And there is certainly less exposure to germs at the nanny compared to a infant care. What's more for busy parents, it's more flexible with the nanny, like you don't have to rush to fetch the kid before 7pm, it's okay to be a little late when work piles up. When the kid is sick, you can still send her to her nanny, but she won't be prohibited to attend a infant care class when she is ill.

The engagement of a nanny for our 2nd child has helped us managed our life with 2 kids well. Our girl is very well taken care of, she has dinner and a shower at her nanny before going home. So when we reach home, we only have to rush out dinner for our boy. Imagine if we have to rush things for 2 young kids with no help, we might not have survived till now. The nanny also does all her laundry, cuts her nails, trims her hair, basically takes care of every single need!

You may ask how about the development part of it. Unless you get a nanny who is super quiet and don't have how to communicate with babies (but then, you won't think she is a good nanny if she can't even communicate with babies), there is no worries, no worries at all on her development. My girl achieved all the major milestones about the same time as my boy. She doesn't have problems socialising with other kids/adults either.

The only down side that I can think of is that some nannies believe in all those old wives tales and have certain way of handling the kid, that we may not agree to. I guess a lot of communication and compromising needs to be done for both parties. We are so lucky that we don't even have this problem with my girl's nanny. She believes in what we believe.

So yes, if a good trustworthy capable nanny is available, that's the best option, to me.
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兄妹 Sibling

刚看完了一本不错的亲子书 - "孩子你慢慢来" (作者:龙应台).

其中, 下列这段文字说出了我对我们的老大及老二的观察:




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Stay home weekend, except attended a show presented by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra

It was a weekend that I got to spend time with the kids at home. Hubby was very busy in the office, working through the weekend to rush out a project.

Saturday was a great day. Both kids were behaving very well, they even took a nap at the same time, which hasn't happened for quite a long while already. Mainly because Hao Re didn't need a nap on most weekends, while Xi Yu takes nap as and when she is tired, no more fixed schedule for her.

Our two little artists busy at work! These photos show Hao Re is indeed a lot bigger than Xi Yu. The little girl still has quite a lot to catch up with her gorgor :-)

The mood was right. So we set up to play with some paint. Nothing fancy really. Just laid out the paper, gave them the paint and the paint brush and they started right away. I busied myself with taking photos of them. Haven't been using our DSLR at home for the longest time, as we have been heavily dependant on our iPhone to capture their day-to-day photos. The iPhone is simply too convenient, though have to compromise of the quality of the photos.

More photos of them being seriously engaged in their painting. Nothing special created at the end. Just random stroke with random colours.

After waking up from their nap, I showered them and prepared them for the only outing for the weekend - we were going to attend a musical play especially made for the children aged 3-8 years old, by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra - 小豆豆音乐会:小小华乐探险家之古代珍宝大发现. They were at very good mood, all ready for the show.

If you follow our blog closely, you would have noticed Hao Re and Xi Yu are always wearing the same shirt and dress, kekeke. We don't spend much on their clothes. As long as they have enough to wear, and have sufficient to be dressed neatly and presentably :-)

We first met Viv, IS and Isaac at the IMM. Have our dinner at IMM before heading to SCO. It's a nice show! If you have been to the SSO Baby Prom, you would know what to expect for this. Main different was that it has a more local feel, with the host mainly speaking in Singlish :-) I would have liked the show more if it were to be hosted in Chinese. But I guess they try to cater for all races, especially Caucasians (quite a number of them). They played Chinese and nursery rythm, while SSO Baby Prom played classical music. And that we got to enjoy this with a much cheaper ticket, only at $11 per person, which is the cheapest children show ticket so far! It's a good show to get the children to learn about some of the chinese musical instrument and to appreciate music.

Hao Re and Isaac enjoyed the show a lot! This particular show put emphasis on percussion music instrument, which is Hao Re's favaorite after we went to the outdoor music play at the Botanic Garden last week, particularly the cymbal and drum. There were 2 special sessions whereby some musicians used only cymbal or drum in their play, and that was fabulous performance, the kids were so engrossed in it! Overall a great show worth attending! The only minus point is the show time, it started at 8pm. Why would they want to start a children show at such a late timing?

Hubby was busy at work, but he took 1+ hour off work to join us. The kids were very happy to see him! Kept calling him Baba, Baba, and wanted him to carry and wanted to show him around. He has to rush back to office after the show. Luckily Viv went with us, so she helped me to entertain the kids during the long car ride home. It's passed 10pm when we arrived home. Both of them fell asleep pretty quickly.

Sunday was not as smooth as Saturday. It started off well. The kids were playing with their toys happily. Then when it's about 3-4pm, both of them started to get cranky. I asked them to take a nap, both refused. So the crankily got worse. I was very tired, could hardly open my eyes, as I was still recovering from the last bout of food poisoning. Turned on the TV for them, hoping to catch a cat nap, but Hao Re didn't allow me to, kept asking me to open my eyes, and that I cannot sleep :-( Both of them climbed onto me and rolled on me as they were sleepy but refused to nap. They really got me on my nerve.

I decided to bring them to CCK park, so that at least we all can get some fresh air than to stuck at home, at least I don't have to listen to their whining and they can get away from my scolding. And thinking that if they skipped their nap, they would go to bed earlier tonight, so it's still a good deal. That little girl, no wonder she was so cranky, she was so already so tired that the minute I put her into her stroller, she already fell asleep before we left the house! So I told Hao Re we have to wait for meimei to wake up before going to the park.

Hao Re kept disturbing his meimei, probably he was thinking to wake her up so that we can go to the park. I didn't let him, scolded him a bit and then he told me he wanted to sleep also. Great! So ended up we all slept together!

Thought they would be back to normal after the much needed nap. But duh, I was wrong. Hao Re was still in bad mood after waking up. He said he wanted Baba. Then he said he wanted to talk to Porpor. So I called my mum and my mum talked to him for a while. He looked reasonably happier. I offered to bring them downstairs and both were happy to go. But Hao Re refused to put on his shoes. I asked him why, he didn't tell me. I said no shoes means not going out. He walked back in to the house but the little girl was wailing loudly "出去, 出去, "gai-gai", she said.

After talking cum scolding, Hao Re finally decided to put on his shoes. Brought him to have ice-cream. He started to get back to normal. After finished his ice-cream, he was all happy. Then I bought them a sticker book each, which I had been wanting to buy for some times already. Followed by 2 rounds of the coin-operated kiddy rides. Both became happy bees again :-) Thanks goodness they stayed good mood till their bedtime!

The worse thing happened to me was that, because I was so exhausted and have no energy left, I couldn't take Hao Re's wailing anymore, that I broke down in tear in front of him, luckily Xi Yu fell asleep in the stroller already. I know it's of nitty gritty small little issues that got on my nerve, but that plus the tiredness that I had, it's more than enough to make me breaking down. For the first time. In front of Hao Re. He didn't know how to react. He stopped wailing and kept calling me Mama. I tried to gain back my control a.s.a.p. and hugged him. What a day!
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Successfully changed their bedtime routine

Since the day Hao Re visited the dentist a couple of weeks ago, I have to change their bedtime routine. The kids MUST brush their teeth AFTER the last milk feed. Thanks goodness that it's been a breeze changing the routine.

Here how's their bedtime routine now:

1. Drink milk. Hao Re drinks fresh milk from a mug, while Xi Yu drinks formula milk from her bottle (I let her try both straw and the mug, but she is not ready yet) in the living room while watching their only 30 minute TV at home . For the past 2 months or so, we have been able to keep TV at the minimum, i.e., 30 minutes a day for weekdays. The kids are busy with toys and books and thus dependant on TV has been lessen. They have not touched iPhone and the PC for a very long time already. The kids are able to calm down after watching TV so I just let them continue to "enjoy" their 30 minutes.

2. Each of them gets to choose 2 books to bring into the bedroom (they often bring more). Living room light off totally.

3. Brush teeth. Pass urine. If the weather is really hot like last week, they get a quick shower after brushing teeth to cool down their body temperature (we don't use air-con at all, when the weather gets very hot, it's just way too hot to fall asleep). I let Xi Yu takes out her diaper once she gets home. So she is diaperless till bedtime. Make her pee before putting on the diaper so she wakes up with a lighter and hence more comfortable diaper. Hao Re has been off night diaper for many months, and he is still maintaining zero accident thus far.

4. Reading begin. Usually I am reading to Hao Re, as Xi Yu is not interested in listening to the story. She sometiems happily reads on her own, sometimes disturbs us, sometimes she sits and listens for a short while.

5. Bedroom light off. Time to sleep. I am still co-sleeping with the kids. Hao Re on my left and Xi Yu on my right. I don't really need to pat them, but just to be there so that they can touch me to fall asleep. They roll, turn, sing, talk, play a little, annoy me a little, roll, turn, roll, turn, then sleep. Xi Yu is still sucking her pacifier to sleep.

Time they take to fall asleep is still the same as before, i.e., about an hour. It's a little bit more tiring for me, as I have to read to them for 15-30 minutes. I know, it's a good thing, and it's practiced by many parents. But I don't really like bedtime reading. I prefer to read in the living room. To me, bedroom should be limited to sleeping only. But well, since they are adapting so well to the change, reading seems to be fitting in right. Only when I am very tired, I am so reluctant to read. Hao Re wants me to read a book very thoroughly, cannot skip any page/line, must be exactly like how he remembers the story (and he has very good memory) and must finish the whole story. For those nights, I only allow (very) thin book, no long stories allowed :-)

Hao Re cares about his teeth a lot now. He would not skip brushing his teeth (only happened one so far as we were one hour late that night and he was very sleepy). He asks me to brush for him. After brushing, he asks if his teeth are all clean and as white as pearl. I say yes and he gives me a big smile :-)
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新的里程碑! New beginning




其一,虽然我已将要接近四十高龄了,这还是我第一次在私人企业打工。过去都在半政法部门或非盈利组织工作,工作的环境及运作,会有相当程度的不一样吧。而且我工作龄还是很浅,所以“入道”不深。新工作有至少一半的东西是我毫无经验的。而我的新雇主能给我这个机会去学习,是一个很好的机缘吧。希望我的新雇主的眼光不会错 :-)


好啦!是时候该收拾心情, 整顿生活, 再重新出发!加油,加油,加油!

也在同一天,我打败仗了,应该是食物中毒。还蛮严重的。熬得实在不能了,提早下班回家躺一会儿。孰知,这一躺后更加不得了。醒来后,眼前发黑,连忙又倒回床上去。但胃在闹,肚子也在闹,又得逼着跑厕所。还没弄好,眼前又发黑,又得倒回床上去。来来回回折腾了好几回,才能好好的躺在床上歇歇。但没一回儿,又跳了起来,因想到是时间去接那两个小瓜了。老公还在公司,就算立刻回来也赶不上。就逼着自己好好的,静静的,什么都别去想的休息 (当中还是打了通点话给老公啦,好让他知道情况)。




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East Coast Park and Botanical Garden


When we walked pass this bench, she pointed to it and said "坐!", and so she climbed on it and made some nice pose for my camera :-) Isn't she such a sweet cutie?! A group of people walked pass and asked for my permission to take photos of her with their very professional looking cameras, I said yes, sure, go ahead, and my little sat there with these pose for them to photograph :-)  

Despite the extremely hot weather, we were still brave enogh to make two outdoor trips over the weekends. On both days, we stayed home from morning, have home cooked lunch, left our house at about 3-4pm, and only came back after dinner, arriving home close to 9pm. It's really very, very hot, and topped with the humidity, phew!

Saturday was to East Coast Park, as our dear Hao Re said he wanted to cycle and play sand. East Coast Park it is.

Hao Re and Xi Yu have so much fun at the beach. It's a relaxing day for us too as we just leave them alone, sitting near them to watch them play. Hubby even caught a 30min nap!

On Sunday we went to the Botanical Garden, as our dear Hao Re demanded to feed fishes. Botanical Garden it is.

Hao Re has become so good with his bicycle! He can cycle very fast, he can go up and down (not-to0-steep) slopes, he can turn his bike to the correct direction swiftly, and he can brake his bike timely!
Bottom left showing he cycles down a small slope, with Baba guarding him.
Bottom right showing Baba being silly trying to ride his bike :-)

Xi Yu fell asleep during the car ride. She was so tired that she continued to sleep soundly in her stroller depsite the scorching hot sun. We have to wake up when it's time for feeding fishes, and her favourite animal - turtles! There are so many (very hungry) fishes and turtles waiting to be fed. They have a great time!

This is definitely GREAT music, by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO). Look at the crowd, and can you feel how hot it was?!!

Sunday was Mother's Day. As usual, we don't celebrate any of such days, especially those loaded with too much commercialisation (no offence, ya). Nonetheless, I sure remember to call to my mum and to wish her a Happy Mother's Day. The best present for me, though, was to see Hao Re enjoying one hour full of classical music at the Botanical Garden (we didn't know SSO were playing free outdoor music, so it's a real surprise!). He enjoyed it so much and paid full attention to how each of the instrument was being played (told me about it and asked me some questions). He continued to talk about it till now. I need to do some research /reading on how to start help him appreciate classical music. Ideas, anyone?

While for the little girl, she was running up and down the stairs non-stop! Glad that hubby was the one to keep an eye on her, not me :-) She perspired so much, and that didn't do her any good. She later broke out some pretty bad heat rashes on her back, and she kept scratching on it the WHOLE night, both the little girl and me couldn't catch any sleep, as she woke up and whined at least once every hour, if not more. Drove me crazy. At the very moment, I wished we have functional air-con at our house (we don't use air-con at all for the past 4 years) and that I could just leave her there and sleep in another room (of course I won't and I couldn't).

Tonight is still as hot as last night :-( I showed both of them right before bed (after all activities have been completed including teeth brushing), applied Calendula cream on their entire body, and wish they can have a good night sleep. So far so good (finger crossed!!!). And I hope for a good night sleep myself, too. Wish me luck!
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First dental visit for our 3 years old

I have never expected a visit to a dentist for a young kid can be this enjoyable!!!

Left: First time touching a rubber glove
Right: Filling of his pre-molar in progree

Initially we planned to bring Hao Re to School Dental Service, recommended by Jane. Appointment was made to be on the 7th May, but it's become the polling day so they have to reschedule the appointment. I have observed quite a big hole on one of his lower pre-molar, so decided not to wait for the rescheduled appointment but to bring him to a private clinic immediately (besides, I found out PR has to pay for a fee at the School Dental Service, that is close to what it's being charged at the private clinics, it's free for Singaporeans though). Yes, yes, it's my fault. I didn't help Hao Re to cultivate a good habit of brushing his teeth before bedtime. He only brushes his teeth like 2-3 times a week, ops!

All thanks to my fellow mummies who recommended this chain of dental clinics (Smile Work) who is well know for children dentistry. We visited the branch at the Bukit Panjang (Fajar Shopping Centre) on a weekeday evening, as it's near to us. Hao Re was attended to by Dr Berenice Chan.

Dr Berenice Chan is a very kind and gentle (and young and pretty!) dentist. She was the one who came out of the room and called for Hao Re. I supposed she can ask her nurse to do it, but I think she was trying her best to give Hao Re a good first impression, and that's important and it helped!

She led him to sit onto the treatment chair. Before doing anything, she told Hao Re if he said "up", the chair will go up magically, and same as when he said "down". So they played with the "up" and "down" game for a couple of minutes. And then she let him try putting on a rubber glove. Hao Re was amused! Kicked off a very good start.

Then she has a little chat with Hao Re and with us, asking him what he would like to be addressed as, his milk drinking habits, teeth brushing habits, etc. Before she started checking his teeth, she told him clearly what she is going to do, and told him what to expect. Each piece of the tool/equipment she was going to use, she would let Hao Re to touch it, to feel it, and to play around with it a little.

Hao Re was doing great. He was relax and didn't look nervous at all. He was given a sunglasses to put on to shed the sharp light and was all ready for the checking + polishing to start. For young children, the polishing was done manually, as in by using a scrapper-like tool to scrape off the residue on each teeth, unlike the drilling tool that is used on adults. She was very good in catching how we communicated with Hao Re. We told Hao Re the dentist was going to look for 虫虫 (small worm) in his mouth. Dr Chan immediately picked that up and used 虫虫wisely in her later conversation with Hao Re :-)

As we expected, there was indeed a big cavity in one of his lower pre-molar :-( Dr Chan said she could do a filling for it, but we may have to come back another day as she wanted to make his first visit pleasant and didn't want to traumatize him. As she continued on cleaning the rest of his teeth, she suggested that she could do the filling today too, as judging from Hao Re's reaction thus far, she thought he can handle the filling procedure well. We agreed for her to proceed with the filling.

Same thing. She let her touch each tool she was going to us and explained to him what the tool does and what to expect (noise, cool air, suction). She never mentioned the word "pain". She also let him choose what flavour of filling he would like to have, a bubblegum or a strawberry. Hao Re chose the bubblegum at first but he didn't quite like it. So she changed to the strawberry and Hao Re accepted that better. The filling process continued and it was a very smooth process! We all praised him for being such a good boy, and he was proud with the praises he received. Dr Chan also praised us being a pair of very cooperative and supportive parents, she commented "haha, the Baba and Mama are so funny!" :-) We were there to cheer for him, to ask him to open his mouth wide enough for the dentist, to distract him when needed, and to count to ten with him when the dentist asked us to. Fun for us too!

Dr Chan said it's very common to find tooth decay in kids around this age (3 years old). Problem lies with the milk feed before bed. She said it's very important to get kids to brush their teeth before bed, as when he is sleeping, the saliva he produces is not enough to clean up the milk residue in his mouth, unlike the day time milk feed. She advised to switch Hao Re to drinking milk from cup than from the bottle and must brush his teeth after last milk feed. Hao Re listened to and agreed on what she said.

She also explained that filling for kid is not as long lasting as the adults ones, as she is not able to dry up the cavity totally (doesn't want to risk the kid being listless if he has to be pinned down for too long). So it's common that the filling may drop after awhile. She suggested to bring Hao Re for a visit every 6 month from now on, so a better and efficient dental management.

All done! Not a single bit of whining, not a tiny bit of reluctance/rejection. It's gone so exceptionally well! Hao Re said "thank you, dentist", "goodbye, dentist" and "see you again!" before we left the room. Oh, before we left, Dr Chan blew up a rubber glove using one of her tools and gave it to Hao Re as a souvenir, very creative, huh :-)

After this visit, I have changed my mindset. Now I totally agree having a good first experience is indeed very, very important (I didn't think so before this). Even for a non-fussy kid like Hao Re, this great experience has laid a very solid base for him, that he is very willing to come back to the clinic again. And surprisingly, the fee is very reasonable, didn't burn a big hole in our pocket :-)

It's almost a week now since the dental visit. Hao Re has been brushing his teeth every night very willingly, without me having to force him to. He drinks his last feed of formula or fresh milk from the mug too. He remembers and follows what his dentist said. I hope this lasts.

Here are the contacts for the clinics for your easy reference (you may find the same info from their website - http://www.smileworks.com.sg//index.php/contact-us/):

Smileworks Pte Ltd

290 Orchard Road, #11-11/12 Paragon
Singapore 238859
Contact Number:
[t] +65 6238 9318
[f] +65 6733 2959
Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am – 6pm
Sat: 9am – 5pm
Sun/PH: Closed

Dentalcare @ Fajar
Blk 445 Fajar Road #01-522
Fajar Shopping Centre, Singapore 670445
Contact Number:
[t] +65 6762 2955
Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm, 6pm – 9pm
Sat: 9am – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm
Sun: 9am – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm
PH: Closed

iSmileStudio Pte Ltd

Blk 303 Woodlands Street 31 #01-185 (Level 2)
Singapore 730303
Contact Number:
[t] +65 6363 1982
[f] +65 6363 1986
Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm, 6pm – 9pm
Sat: 9am – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm
Sun: 9am – 1pm
PH: Closed

As I mentioned, we went to the DentalCare@Fajar. When you call to get an appointment, tell the reception that you want a dentist who has experience with young kids. Dr Berenice Chan only goes to DentalCare@Fajar on Monday and Thursday (was told by the receptionist), she is at Paragon for the rest of the time. I heard from my fellow mummies that the fees are steeper at the Paragon. You may make a call to find out.

Here's the take-home message:

1. Three years old seems to be the ideal age to bring your kid for his first dental visit. At this age, they are aware and understand what's happening. Easier to communicate with them. And it's a good time to give their teeth a good polishing.

2. First dental visit should be and have to be a good one. Go for a clinic that is pro with working with children, especially young children. Make sure you ask about the friendliness of the dentist before making a trip down (and check the price too if cost is a major factor for you).

3. Brush, brush, brush. Good teeth brushing habit should be cultivated from young, not too young, I personally would say between the age of 1.5 - 2 years old, kids should have built up the habit of brushing their teeth once every night, if not twice a day. Like everything else, we shouldn't force them into doing it but to give them enough time to do it willingly.

4. Check your kid's teeth from time to time. Build up food/milk residue would not only cause cavities, but would weaken their teeth too, and it would then affect their eating habit, which has a big effect on their physical growth!

5. Preempt your kid before the visit. We told Hao Re about the dental visit 2-3 days before it actually happened. But be careful though, do not use negative words to describe how the visit is going to be. For example, you shouldn't say "don't worry, it's not painful", he likely would interpret it the opposite way - that it's going to be painful! You should just put it simply by saying we are going to make a visit to a dentist, so that the dentist can check and clean your mouth. If he asks more questions, give him with a general answer and remember, do not mention any negative words.

6. Parents have to remain calm. Trust the dentist. And help your child to be relax and enjoying the experience.

Hope your child's first dental visit would be as enjoyable as Hao Re's one. Good luck!

(Disclaimer: We are not advertising for the clinics. We do not have any links or whatsoever with the company. It's just purely sharing of good stuff)
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Singapore Zoo and Singapore Zoo

The reason why I mentioned the Zoo twice in the title because we went there on Sunday, and again on Monday :-) The weather over the long weekend has been pretty groomy. It suggested for us to stay home. But that's just not so us, to stay at home the whole day (though the kids were having fun all the same, with TV therapy added in :-)). The nicest and nearest park to us is, besides the CCK park, the Singapore Zoo. So ya, why not? The kids never got bored with the zoo.

This is taken on Sunday, where we dressed them in the same polo T. Hao Re was tasked to hold meimei's hand and to take care of her, he happily took on the task. They make such a good pair of sibling, don't they :-)

We went to the Zoo on Sunday morning despite the dark cloud. Hubby was confident to predict that it won't rain. So off we went to the Zoo. It didn't rain, but it drizzled very lightly. We didn't bring umbrella. We weren't bother by the drizzling so we just continued to explore the Zoo.

They went to the Snake House. I definitely won't go in with them. This time round, I am already a lot braver to be able to sit right in front of the Snake House and wait for them. Previously, I would be waiting for them far away, I would never go near to the Sssssnake (Xi Yu pronounced as "nare"). Hao Re knows I am very scared of snake and he encouraged me to go near them, and said there is nothing to scare about and he would protect me. I said thanks, but no thanks, and asked hubby to quickly bring in him and let me alone :-) Then it's the playground. Then the fragile forest. Then the African exhibits and then ended the trip. We were there from 10am to 2pm, quite a long day. Xi Yu got very tired and fell asleep on the way out to the entrance. My back nearly broke carrying this heavy girl :-P

On Sunday, we basically stayed at home the whole day till about 4+pm. Then we decided to make a short trip to the Zoo. This trip was a special one, as we decided not to bring any stroller with us. The kids have to walk. We prepared to carry them when they got really tired. The kids were very cooperative, they walked on their own throughout the entire 1.5 hours! Xi Yu is especially excited, that she was being let FREE to explore the animals on her own. She walked/ran very fast till she tripped over a few times (luckily didn't break her skin, she has got cow-ish thick skin, you know :-))

Hao Re is good, very good with the animals. He can name almost all the animals in the Zoo. And knows a bit on what each type of animal is eating. He is so familiar with the Zoo that he knows what to expect when we walked near an exhibit. Xi Yu learns a lot too. She can name a few of the animals correctly (though couldn't pronounce precisely), particularly for today, hippo, ki (for monkey), dile (for crocodile), emu, roo (for kangaroo), turtle, yu (for fish in mandarin), eli (for elephant), etc. Zoo is indeed a good and fun learning place for children.

Good thing to visit Zoo on a groomy evening - the animals were very active and happy to walk around! We have seen so many animals today. Usually they are simply hide away under the shade and it's difficult to locate them. Hope the kids grow up to be animal lovers.

See how lovely the kids exploring the park holding their hands. Hao Re always wants to be a big boy, and one of the conditions to be a big boy, is, to him, to be able to take care of meimei. How sweet :-)

So for Monday, we did a different route than the Sunday one. Today, we saw the tapir, babirusa, white tiger, pygmy hippo (the exhibit is still under construction so can only see them by the roadside) (and note the baby hippo has grown so much!!), the outback (emu, kangaroo), then the himalayan thing. It's surprising to us that we have never visited this himalayan exhibits for the past 2 years! The main attraction is the baboons. Hao Re was very interested to see their super red and big butt :-) Then the elephant, and the Orang Utan, and then it's the end of the tour. A fast one today. Oh, and we got a small tiger umbrella for Xi Yu today, as she is always fighting with Hao Re for the Buzz Lightyear umbrella he got from the Disneyland.

Hao Re the little explorer is well equipped with a pair of binocular :-)
Xi Yu eating Ben&Jerry ice cream for the very first time.

For a outdoor family like us, how do we spend our time when we stay home, some people asked.

Oh well, the usual thing. A bit of TV (limit them to an hour a day), some reading/story telling, playing with toys, puzzles, building blocks, drawing/painting/writing, messing around, all sort, to keep ourselves occupied. Trying to have as much fun as possible. Both Hao Re and Xi Yu are very independent kids. They have no problem playing on their own.

Good thing to stay at home? Is that I was able to cook more for the family. Healthier and cheaper :-)
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Baking fun!

Baking with the kids! Isaac and Hao Re made a good team :-)
See how much concentration Hao Re puts in at the bottom panel. He does have very good attention span and he likes baking/cooking quite a bit.

Xi Yu's nanny reminded us to let her have more rest over this long weekend, as she has just recovered from a bout of virus infection. So we headed for her advise and didn't plan for busy schedule this week.

To start off the long weekend, we did baking at home on Saturday morning, together with Isaac (as Hao Re has been asking to see Isaac every day, and so has Isaac for the entire week). Both Viv and I don't have much experience in baking. I did it once with my brother and YW when they were here visiting us in end February. To play safe, we used to same cupcake recipe as what we did in February, taken from Annabel Karmel's book. It's very easy to make. At the same time, we told ourselves that it's the process that matters, not the outcome , excuse for us to not producing nice edible cupcakes :-)

The boys were exciting with it to begin with. But soon after that, Isaac lost interest in it, while Hao Re continued on for the entire process. When we got the mixture ready, we got Isaac back to the table to help scooping the mixture. And they did enjoy that scooping bit a lot (good for their motor skill too, haha). Our little girl was not involved much in this. She was given a bowl of cereal and joined us at the table. She happily eating/playing with her cereal throughout.

After that, we got the icing sugar ready, mixed in some food colouring and got those decorative out - mash mellow and those sprinkle stuff. Oh, these sure got the kids interested in! The outcome was not that nice, but it's decorated by the boys, with some of our help, so it's not too bad :-)

This is the part where the two boys enjoy quite a lot. They are given one tray and one spoon each for scooping the mixture into the tray. So no fighting at all :-)

The cupcakes taste not too bad actually. With the colorful icing on top, it's a sure hit with the kids :-) Isaac couldn't wait to sample a cupcake as soon as the icing is laid (he is more interested in the icing than the cake for sure :-)) The boys ate one each right after the baking. Xi Yu got to eat one as well, without the icing bit, and she loves it!

Then Viv cooked us Korean style "mee hun kuay" with the fish bone soup I prepared. It's really yummy!

Oh, the boys. They didn't get on that well today. Isaac accidentally threw a ball and it hit Hao Re's head. We are very sure it didn't hurt at all, but Hao Re was being very petty and kept whining that Isaac hit him with a ball, and became quite moody after that. He even said he doesn't want to play with Isaac anymore :-P But when Isaac left, he cried for him again. Though after crying, he didn't mention about Isaac for the rest of the day and the following two days. "Isaac fever" is cooling down. But it sure goes up again when they meet up more often :-)

The four of us got to take a nap together around 4pm. So nice, never done this for the past year or so. Thanks to the grooming weather. After the nice nap, we brought them to have some fun at the West Coast Park. Since we were late already (arrived at the park at around 6pm), we were there till it turned dark. Have dinner at the Taiwanese restaurant at the Bukit Timah Plaza and headed home.
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