Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Survived!

Sorry for the hiatus. The past week has been one tough ride. I'm surprised that I even survived, and that makes me feel good.

If you do not yet know, I have been left stranded without a helper and coping alone with caring for my happily crawling-climbing baby and an elderly mom.

Two weekends ago, we sent our old Indonesian helper off. I didn't renew her contract as I thought I can't do without help for the two, three weeks that she would be away (in Singapore, when a maid's contract ends - which is usually after two years - and it gets renewed, she will normally return home for a few weeks' break before coming back to start the new contract). The other reason was the communication problems we had due to her relatively poor command of English. So I thought why not change a helper and get someone who speaks better English. However, I have to say that besides the language issue, she is overall quite a good helper.

So on the same day that our old helper left, we welcomed a new one. It was tough emotionally, as I was feeling so, so sad to see her go. Yet before I could recover from that, I had to welcome someone new. It's a really weird feeling - it's like ending one relationship and immediately jumping into another. But I had it planned this way so that there will be no gap in between the change of helpers, as I can't imagine doing without help for even a day.

Yet I soon realised what a mistake I've made.

While our old helper was not the best I could ever ask for, she is definitely an angel compared to what the new helper did and the shock she put us through (the details I shan't mention here, perhaps in another posting). We had no choice but to immediately send her back to the maid agency.

So ironically, I still end up having to cope without a helper for a few weeks until a new one comes! But it's worse as we had to scramble to put a system in place compared to if I had renewed my old helper's contract, we could plan for her absence in advance. Oh well...

Given that I have no siblings whom I can turn to for help and the mother-in-law is going for some treatments  for her knee pain and can't lend a hand, we had to find alternative solutions.

I asked around for contacts for a part-time helper to help with the house chores. I also ordered tingkat lunch and dinner (from two different companies). However, after the first day, I figured some chores can wait till the weekends when hubby is around, so decided to put off having a part-time helper. I'm still contemplating getting a part-time babysitter to have some time off to either do housechores or work.

So now, I spend the bulk of my day looking after Kenan, which honestly, isn't something I enjoy best. It can get SOOO tiring keeping an eye on a baby who is at the crawling stage. Not only does Kenan crawl around the house, he is happily climbing onto low furniture like the coffeetable and TV console. Once, I had to repeatedly take him off the TV console and he thought it was some sort of a game and kept laughing!

I'm so glad we've pulled through the first week.  I'm thankful that God has provided and my appreciation to the friends and forum mommies who tried to help in one way or another. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Free-Range" Baby

Since Kenan started crawling (slightly over eight months old), it's been getting busier and busier for this mommy, as well as her helper.

Recently, he has also learnt how to pull himself to a standing position and once he does that, he is all over the coffee table and the TV console. He loves to grab things from the fromer and plays with the speakers or buttons on the DVD player on the latter.

video


So I rented a play yard (from Rent That Toy, $25 a month) to create a confined area for him to play in.



He sure looks happy playing in the play yard. But not for long! Each time, after about 10 minutes, he would be making lots of noises to ask us take him out. And then off he goes, crawling all over the house, with poor mommy or the helper following him wherever he roams! 

Unless I find a solution quick, I'll have to resign myself to raising a "free range" baby!

Any mommies with any brilliant ideas to solve my 'problem'?




 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Safety Issue

Few weeks ago, I had a scare when changing Kenan's diaper at one of the malls.

I've just placed him on the changing table and turned around to take a clean diaper from the baby bag when he rolled around almost tumbled fell off the edge. Thankfully the spouse was around and stopped him in time.

Honestly, I'm still getting used to Kenan's newfound mobility and sometimes thought that he would stay still in whatever spot I've placed him.

Since this incident, it has opened my eyes to how well or poorly designed some of the baby rooms are.

Take for example the baby room at Harboufront Centre. I used to find the design of the changing table with a barrier at the front a bit cumbersome but now I really appreciate the thoughtfulness of the designer -it's really to help prevent babies from falling off easily!

Designed for baby's safety: a barrier at the front; huge changing table and the ends are against the walls so babies can have abit of space to roll yet they can't roll and fall onto the ground easily.
A really thoughtful design - well done!


Where changing table is concerned, I think by far, the one at Harbourfront Centre is the safest. Let me know if you see other well-designed changing areas - in Singapore or even overseas. It would be interesting to see how they are like!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Great Finds at Daiso

I know that Daiso has a myriad of products including household items, stationery, snacks, drinks, cosmetics, skincare, accessories and many more. Recently I discovered that they carry some useful baby stuff too. Here's what I found:

Corner guards to prevent crawling babies from knocking against
sharp edges of furniture

Edge guards/cushion tapes that you can stick around edges of tables, door frames etc.
to prevent babies from bumping into them

Door safety locks to prevent little ones from opening cupboards
and take out things that might be hurt them

Big ,small, red, white, blue, silver, gold... there's lots to choose from.
I bought a bag of 10 multi-coloured balls to keep Kenan entertained

Was wondering where I can find a pump for Kenan's swim float and here they are!

The label shows the pump can be used for balloons, balls and floats




Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No One Ever Told Me This!


Recently when I took Kenan for a walk around my apartment, I bumped into a friend who is a first-time mom with a two-month old baby. I asked her how has mommyhood been and she talked about how she is coping. Then she blurted out why is it no one ever told her it's going to be THIS TIRING - the exact words I said to a friend months back! I even lamented about that on my Facebook account.

So how come no mommies tell us first-time moms just how tiring and busy it can be? Why wouldn't someone give us the details and prepare us mentally for the onslaught of challenges, never-ending tasks and not forgetting the emotional rollercoasters?

I pondered over it and came up with this conclusion: Because no words can ever suffice in describing all that we ever go through as a mom.

And more importantly, I believe mommyhood for each of us is about as unique as our thumb prints can get. While no doubt all mommies will share similar experiences, yet the actual journey will never be the same for each one of us, given our different combinations of psychological, physical, social and financial factors that end up determining how we cope with parenthood.

But that said, would I dish out the details to my friends who are expecting?

Hm...

While I don't wanna bore them with the mundane, the truth is, I don't remember the initial days of my mommyhood with much details! It was as if everything had gone by like a whirlwind and I'm only left with somewhat of a hazy recollection. Thankfully, I've got this blog to help me remember the more significant details.

But really, I think mommyhood is a journey to be experienced rather than described. After all, how can you ever adequately describe something that is exhausting, scary, frustrating, exhilarating, wonderful, rewarding, awesome all rolled into one? And even if I could ever put all that succinctly into words, I shan't spoil the fun for the first-time moms or moms-to-be... shhhh....!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Project Nursing Rooms - Marina Square

Not sure how many nursing rooms there are in Marina Square but I have an inkling this is probably the mall with the most number of them. I have already been to three - two on the first floor and one on the second and they are all conveniently situated near to the toilets. So it seems to me there is likely to be one nursing room next to every toilet - am I right?

The nursing room comes with just the basic amenities- a sofa bench, a diaper changing area and wash basin. There is no hot water here. The room is big enough for me to push in the stroller and I found it comfortable breastfeeding the baby here as it has a nice cushy sofa rather than some plastic chair. The air can be a bit still though. In one of the rooms I went, there was a slight stench coming from the dustbin. But overall, I'm satisfied with the condition.


A cosy nursing room for breastfeeding; the amenities are minimal though.

The lively design on the ceiling - I like it!


Ratings:
Cleanliness: 4/5
Amenities: 3/5
Ambience: 4/5




Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Review on 'Rent That Toy'

I have been renting toys for Kenan from Rent That Toy since July and I must say I'm a satisfied customer so far. Here's why:

1. User-friendly website
The website allows customers to search for toys either by age groups or brands (I wish that it also has a search function that allows me to find toys by key words). If a certain toy is currently not available, it has a 'notify me' function.

Once the toy is available, you will receive an email notice. But this means you must check your email account regularly. From experience, popular items get rented out again very quickly - it's a first-come-first-serve!

2. Large selection of toys
The rental company has a large selection of toys and there are currently 19 brands available. There are also items like the Bumbo seat and play yard available.

3. Good service
Elaine, the owner of the company, provides really prompt service. Once, I made an email enquiry with another toy rental company about certain items and it took them a few day to reply! By then, I had already rented some alternative toys from another company (too bad for them).

And when you've confirmed your rental items, Elaine will contact you (either via sms or phone call) to arrange a delivery date and time that is convenient for you.

In addition, all the toys that require batteries to work, Elaine will provide (I've previously used another toy rental company which didn't provide the battery). Once, a few days after renting a toy, the battery went flat. I asked Elaine if she could change it for me and she did. Now, that's good customer service!


One of the exersaucers I've rented

A toy car that Kenan enjoys playing with


So far, I've rented mainly bulky toys like the jumperoo and exersaucer. I don't want to spend money on these items because I foresee storage being a problem later on. Furthermore, I don't even know if my boy will enjoy the toys, which are quite expensive, so I better let him have a try first.

However, don't expect the toys to be in brand new conditions and sometimes, part of the toy may not be functioning e.g. the music function of one toy on the exersaucer may not work. In such cases, usually Elaine will inform you. 

Also, it's rental fees are not one of the lowest around but taking into consideration the minimum amount needed to get a free delivery ($35, which is lower than some other companies) and the overall service, I'm happy being a Rent That Toy customer.

Is there a toy rental company that you like? I would really love to hear about it!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Poo Ordeals - Mommy's Journey in Solving Baby's Constipation

Kenan has been having constipation since end of August. On various occasions, it was so bad that there's blood in the stools (as they were hard and pebble-like) and the poor boy would be crying in pain.

We have brought him to the pediatrician twice and was prescribed lactulose and suppository but the problem persisted. The last time we took him to see a doctor was also the worst bout of constipation the little boy had experienced.

It was on a Sunday night when my hubby was out of town. Kenan was pushing so hard but the stool was stuck at the anus - it could neither come out nor go back in. The poor boy was in so much pain and cried so terribly that I ended up crying too. Thank God for my helper, who really loves Kenan. She told me to calm down and then we rushed him to the 24-hour clinic at Thomson Medical Centre. The little boy was so exhausted from the crying that he slept all the way during the 20 minutes cab ride and only woke up when the nurse inserted the suppository, which was probably another hour from the time we arrived at the hospital.

We were told by the PD and GP that constipation in babies can be a sticky problem. But I hate to see my baby suffer so much and believe there must be a way out.

So off to my favourite forum I went to get some advice from fellow mommies.

Solutions that worked

I was told to keep bananas and apples away as they are known to cause constipation. In my boy's case, I observed that banana does seem to aggravate his condition. I was also advised to give fruits starting with 'P' - pears, prunes, plums, peaches, papaya. Oh, peas as well, though it's not a fruit.

Papaya was very effective for Kenan and I used to give him lots of it. But I began noticing that his skin seems to have taken on a yellow tinge, which is likely due to consuming too much papaya and other orange-coloured fruits and veggies like pumpkin and carrot. So I decided to limit the intake of these.

And while I used to be quite relaxed about how much water Kenan drinks, I would now make a conscious effort to give him water regularly, even if it's just two, three spoonfuls. And boy, it can be a real chore just to let him take that bit of water. Because he doesn't know how to drink from sippy cup and would choke; he can use the Pigeon magmag cup but often ends up chewing the straw rather than sucking it. In the end, what works are syringe (yes, there's no typo error here!) and spoon.

Besides water, juices can be effective too. One mommy said her PD told her to give prune juice, the Del Monte brand (no sugar added), and I did that. It worked for Kenan. My PD also mentioned apple juice, but somehow, my boy didn't quite like it.

I also made barley water, which Chinese believe is 'cooling' and can aid bowel movement ('heatiness' can cause constipation, and many believe that formula milk is 'heaty'). One mommy who is knowledgeable about TCM advised me not to boil the barley for too or it will become 'heaty'.

Food wise, by some trial and error, I found spinach, peas and avocado really helpful. I buy organic baby spinach from NTUC Xtra and use it for making porridge. I also put peas in; I buy frozen peas that come in one big pack.


Taylor organic baby spinach, $6.30 per box (5oz/142g), from NTUC Xtra


As for avocado, I either give it as fruit for breakfast, or put it in the cereal and Kenan loves its creamy texture.

In addition, I also gave lots of Gerber's prune (I suppose any other brand's fine too). I didn't puree fresh ones because I found it a hassle to remove the skin (without resorting to using a knief).

With all these efforts, Kenan's condition has certainly improved.  I don't give him lactulose on a daily basis anymore and we have not used the suppository on him for a while now. He poos about once every other day now and I'm satisfied with this.

Honestly, I wish I know what caused the constipation. He never had problems when he was on total breastfeeding. In fact, he pooed watery stools everyday. Even after he started weaning, the first month or so was fine. He was taking cereals mixed with formula milk (I'm too lazy to pump) and I latch him four times a day. The problem only started when I began introducing porridge and oat cereals. I'm not sure which of this two is the culprit, or if they might even be the culprit to begin with.

Whatever it is, throughout this journey, the moral support I received from the forum mommies and their many useful tips and advice, have really helped and encouraged me. I really can't imagine what I would have done without them. Thank you, forum mommies!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wedding Anniversary

Hubby and I got married on 10 October. This year's wedding anniversary is a special one for us as we now have Kenan. To celebrate, we decided on a staycation at the Pan Pacific Hotel. We would love to go on a short trip overseas, but with my husband's heavy work commitments, it's a bit difficult for us to make any travel plans for now. And we are content to celebrate our special day in this simple way, as the joy Kenan brings us more than make up for not being able to go overseas.

Here are some photos of our staycation weekend.


Kenan was all smiles on the way to the hotel, seems as if he knows he's going for a staycation

Kenan playing happily with his 'gift' - Pigeon's baby toiletry travel set

Somehow, we hardly take photos as a family. Time for more!

Heading off for dinner; Kenan's mood remains high even though
he hardly napped the whole afternoon! 

Glorious sunset!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Kenan Learns a New Trick

My husband taught Kenan how to clap, so I decided to teach the little boy how to do the 'hi 5'. Amazingly, he picked it up almost instantly, and after that, adapts it a little to create his own version of it. See how he does the 'hi 5' in the video clip below.


video

Did you see how he would hold my hand with his left and then clap it using his right hand? We've been really amused by this. It's so fun watching him!


Monday, October 4, 2010

First Real Swim

Three weeks ago, Kenan had his first dip in the baby pool below our apartment. We hadn't got his swim suit then, so he just had on him a swimming diaper, neck float and off he went!

However, the moment daddy put him inside the pool, he started crying. We were not sure if it was because the water was too cold for him or he was simply afraid. So ended up we just let him play with water and he really enjoyed himself.



After that, we decided to get him a swim suit and found a cute one at Kiddy Palace; we paid about $46 for it.

Kenan in his very first swim suit!


Even then, Kenan cried again during his second swim - so maybe it wasn't about the water's temperature after all. Thankfully, daddy managed to calm him down quickly and help him get used to bouyancy of the water.

About 15 minutes later, the little boy finally seemed more relaxed in the water, but he didn't appear too thrilled about swimming. But we do hope he will grow to enjoy the sport. After all, it is one of the best forms of exercise available - it's low impact and works the whole body.

Coincidentally, when I was listening to radio 938Live last week, I heard an interview with a pediatrician and a former national swimmer about the benefits of swimming for babies and children. The PD mentioned that it is more advisable for babies to start going to a public pool only after they have done their major immunisations, which is by the time they are six months old. She also said that swimming is good for children with asthma (and I thought it was the opposite - I've learnt something new).

I'm looking forward to Kenan's next swim session. Meanwhile, here's sharing with you some benefits of baby swimming:
  • Enables baby to acquire a wide range of movements and physical abilities which helps promote development of higher functions of the brain
  • Improves core muscle development and coordination
  • Baby gains sense of confidence as he develops greater psychomotor skills
  • Strengthen baby's heart, lungs and respiratory system
  • Helps baby to relax, which in turn contributes to improving the appetite and sleeping patterns
  • Provides social stimulation; a good way of bonding between parents and child
  • Also provides verbal stimulus when parents or instructor teaches baby how to swim - aids their understanding and language developments
  • And one more benefit for mommies - it's a great way of getting away from the daily humdrums and be with other mommies!
Wanna come and join Kenan in his next swim?

"Daddy, I can be on my own!"
Kenan finally relaxes in the water

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Clap, Clap!

A few weeks ago, daddy taught Kenan how to clap. Since then, he has been doing it often, especially when he is happy. I don't know how he learnt that association, made me wonder if this is something universal, such as a smile.

But what amazes me even more is that he understands that the action is call 'clap'! So when we say "clap, clap", he would do exactly that! However, it also depends on his mood, there are times when he simply refuses to do it. Just goes to show that babies are smart and you can't manipulate them any way you like!


video

Kenan, you're such an amazing boy. Watching you grow up has been a blessing and mommy is learning just as much as you are. Thank you, my boy. Mommy loves you, always.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Mood Lifter

Over the months, I've taken many, many videos of Kenan, and there's one that I keep watching over and over again, especially when I'm down; it never fails to put a smile on my face. It also made me feel so thankful that we are living in this modern age blessed with modern technology and gadgets that allow us to  effortlessly capture the many beautiful moments around us.


video

Hope you've enjoyed this video clip!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We Are 'Model' Family!



We are on the cover of Ikea's catalogue!

Have we become models for the popular Swedish furniture company? Unfortunately, that's not the case, even though I think we look good enough... haha!  It happened that Ikea was offering free cover shoot, so I jumped at the chance to have our first family portrait taken.

Our photo session was scheduled on Sunday (12 Sep) at 3pm but we arrived a bit late. I was afraid that there might be many people and we may have to end up waiting a long while. Turned out there wasn't anyone before us and everything happened real fast - in about 10 minutes, it was all done and over. I think the team did a great job at scheduling.

During the shoot, a number of the staff, including the photographer, tried real hard to make Kenan smile and I found it quite amusing. Passersby also stopped and watched as the photo was being taken. Perhaps they found Kenan cute?

An hour late, we returned and got our copy of the personalised Ikea catalogue with our photo on the cover. I'll keep this and give it to Kenan when he is older. Thank you, Ikea, for this special gift, you've made our day!

And of course, I must also thank the forum mommy who informed us about the photo shoot! (if you're reading this, a big "thank you" to you!)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Munchkin Infant Spoons

When we started weaning Kenan, we got him the Pigeon's bowl and spoon set. It worked fine because he was just beginning to take semi-solids. Two months down the road, I felt that it's time he uses a bigger spoon, because he 'complains' when I feed him too slowly and I thought it would satisfy him if he gets a bigger mouthful. Furthermore, I also give him water using the spoon and bowl and it feels like forever to feed him all the water using the tiny Pigeon spoon.

Today, we happened to be in town to run some errands and decided to drop by Tangs to get Kenan a new spoon. The choices were very limited, but the Munchkin BPA-free infant spoons, which come in a pack of six ,caught my eyes. I bought one pack ($8.90) and immediately tried it out tonight. I got to say, I absolutely love using this spoon!

Here's what I like about the Munchkin spoon:
  • Bright, cheerful colours - each of the six spoons comes in a different colour and their chirpy hues make feeding fun.
  • Soft plastic tip - compared to the hard Pigeon spoon, I really love the soft plastic used by Munchkin. The packaging states that this is "gentle on the gum", which I believe is true after trying it out.
  • Perfect size - the size of the tip is neither too small nor too big; it fits snuggly in Kenan's mouth.
  • "Ergonomically-designed" handle - I agree that its handle is "comfortable to hold"; that of the  Pigeon spoon is a bit too narrow in comparison now.
Anyway, my husband asked why do I need to get six spoons. I thought that it's helpful to have some extras. Furthermore, they can easily double up as teether or toy. As Kenan is teething and bites almost everything he can get his hands on, it gives me ease of mind  knowing that he is chewing on something that won't hurt his gums. He is also at the stage where he likes to throw things off the high chair when I leave him in it to play, with this soft plastic spoon, I have no worries that it will dent my floor... haha!

Base on my first use of the Munchkin spoon, I'll rate it 4.5/5. I would like to give it a full score, but I always give room for improvements. For example, this spoon can't be sterilised using boiling water or steam steriliser. I know some mommies still sterilise cutleries and milk bottles even though their babies have turned six months or older, so this might be a concern if you want to get the Munchkin spoons.


Dimensions of Munchkin infant spoon: Length - 4.5cm, Width - 2.5cm, Full length: 17.5cm


Dimensions of Pigeon spoon: Length - 4.5cm, Width - 2cm, Full length: 15.5cm

Friday, September 17, 2010

For Future Generations

Yesterday, I brought Kenan to visit his grand-uncle. On the way back in the cab, I had an interesting conversation with the driver.

We were talking about the mid autumn festival and I sheepishly confessed that I don't know when the actual day is (because none of the calendars I have at home has the lunar calendar). Then he started telling me how he feels strongly that  his children should celebrate Chinese festivals and uphold traditions. Next comes the interesting bit - he told me he plans to do a CD or something equivalent to record his life events so that his children and grandchildren will remember him and the generations to come will know of their ancestry!

I thought that is a totally creative and brilliant idea. It got me thinking perhaps my hubby and I could do something similar. It will likely be a big project though - almost as good as trying to write your  autobiography. But I suppose it is something worth doing and a great project to work on during retirement! The more I think of it, the more cool the idea sounds!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Getting a Much Needed Break

The past few weeks have been real CRAZY. Was rushing several deadlines at the same time when Kenan started having a serious bout of constipation. That made him cranky and irritable. Because he was feeling uncomfortable, he wanted even more attention than ever before and refused to be left alone for long, not even when he was playing in the exersaucer, which I would leave in front of me when I work.

Then when he got better, I started having fever. Not only did it persist for over two days even though I was diligently popping panadol, the temperature actually went higher and passed 39 degree celsius on several occasions. Besides that, my throat was painful and there was even traces of blood in the phlegm I coughed out. That's when I decided to see the doctor and was told my tonsils were inflammed. "There's even pus on the left side," the doctor reported. She prescribed antibiotics and advised, "Finish the full course, if not, the inflammation will flare up again."

But I'm glad that I'm finally well and the bulk of my projects are completed. I'm also cutting down on the number of projects I take up so as to focus more time and energy on Kenan.

As I slowed my pace, it suddenly hit me how much my seven-and-a-half-month-old boy has grown.


Kenan now has four teeth, with the fifth one erupting. He makes a lot more different sounds now and shrieks in excitement or delight. When he wants to be carried or when we indicate to him that we are going to carry him up (saying "up up" or "抱抱"), he lifts both his hands.

And not so long ago, I was complaining that he couldn't roll around. But now, he is rolling so much that I wish he will stay still a bit more. Changing diapers has become a challenge and I can't imagine what happens when he starts crawling! When we change his clothes, he knows how to stretch his hands when we pull them through the sleeve holes.

Personality wise, he is beginning to exert his preferences, especially with food. When he enjoys something, he would sit still for us to feed him. If we feed him too slowly, he will complain by making lots of noise. Then when he finishes it, he will literally cry for more. If it's something he dislikes, depending on his mood, he may take a few mouths to please you, then turns his head away and refuses to eat anymore. On bad days, he will purse his lips tight and may even start crying if we try to get him to take more.

So I'm glad to have made the decision to take a break and put Kenan as my priority.

But meanwhile, I also wanted this break to catch up with things I enjoy doing, such as reading and updating this blog. However, I got a real treat when I decided to attend the Think Big! Entrepreneur Convention 2010 organised by Mediacorp and sponsored by Canon. Not only did I get the chance to network, I went away totally inspired by the five speakers who shared their entrepreneurial journeys. I hope someday, I'll have my own success story to share too!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Project Nursing Rooms - United Square

Positioned as a 'Kids Learning Hub', it's no surprise that this family-friendly mall has a really well-equipped nursing room (level 1). Everything that a parent needs is provided - hot/ cold water, three spacious nursing rooms that comes with a cushioned armchair each, a highchair, three changing units, a cushioned bench and even some magazines for reading.

My only complaint is the unpleasant stench that greeted me the day I was there. Perhaps it was already in the evening and the cleaning lady hasn't got the time to empty the waste bin in time (imagine all the soiled diapers in there!). Other than that, it's one of the best baby rooms I can find in Singapore.

Interior of one of the three nursing rooms

The three nursing rooms - the one at the far end is larger than the first two.
The hot/cold water dispenser is at the corner of the vanity top.

There are three changing units here. Would like it better if the two at the end are separated, so as to give parents more space.

A highchair is available here, next to it is the cushioned bench. The magazine rack is on the wall, just next to the entrance (on the right).


Ratings

Cleanliness: 3.5/5
Amenities: 4.5/5
Ambience: 4/5

Would have given higher ratings for cleanliness and ambience if not for the stench I encountered.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Project Nursing Rooms - Ion Orchard

Ion Orchard is a huge mall and not wanting to go around hunting for the nursing room, I approached the concierge counter (B3) for help. I was told there are two baby rooms are available: one at Basement 3, opposite Starbucks, and the other at Basement 4, inside the food court.

Since I was at Basement 3, I naturally headed there first (located near the toilet) but was shocked when I stepped in. I saw two groups of people inside the baby room, one group was changing baby's diaper, the other was feeding a baby (using bottle of course). I guess I wasn't expecting to see two groups of people inside what I thought is a single nursing room - and it was cramped with so many people inside.

Anyway, I knew I won't be able to breastfeed there, so decided to try the other one just one floor down.

Luck was on my side, there wasn't anyone in the baby room. When we went in, I realised we could actually lock the room from the inside.

With its beige marble walls and warm lighting, the decor in this spacious room resonated a modern vibe. There is an orange plastic chair, a changing table (secured to the wall and foldeded away) and a Pigeon bottle and baby food warmer. However, I wish there's an extra chair so that fathers can sit while waiting for their wives to finish breastfeeding.

There's no hot water dispenser in this baby room.
You can see the changing table (white) from the reflection in the mirror.

The tiny Pigeon bottle and food warmer on the vanity top

You can lock the door of the baby room from the inside. But how can we tell if the lock is spoilt or not?
Can you imagine a mommy breastfeeding inside, thinking the lock is working when it's actually not? It will  cause a lot of embarrassment.


Ratings

Cleanliness: 4/5
Amenities: 3.5/5
Ambience: 3.5/5


Update, 2 November 2010
I was at Ion Orchard on Sunday (two days ago) and used the baby room on the fourth level and noted that there's hot water dispenser and even a fan next to the armchair. There's also a power point above the armchair.






Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rethinking Work

I've been thinking lately if I should take on fewer assignments to focus more energy on Kenan - and I think I've gotten the answer today.

This afternoon, hubby brought Kenan out with his colleagues for what was supposed to have been a drive-around-the-island makan trip. I went along, because I really worry that the daddy can't take good care of our little boy. The session coincided with Kenan's normal nap time but he ended up not sleeping and instead, was busy 'socialising' - getting to know daddy's colleagues, as well as taking in the sights, sounds and smells around him.

The makan places

The first stop on this makan trip was to the hawker centre at Alexandra Village. Unfortunately, it turned out the place was under renovation. So we headed to Tiong Bahru food centre instead. The two main items we had were chwee kuey and lor mee with shark's meat (178 Lor Mee, Tiong Bahru Food Centre, #02-58), which we proudly recommended to the foreigners in the group. The latter came highly recommended by one of the colleagues. Though hubby and I  used to come to this food centre quite often, we've never eaten the lor mee before, mainly because hubby and I are not fans of this dish. But I would say this lor mee is good! What makes it so is its shark's meat - which is coated with flour and then deep fried till it's crispy. Surprisingly, it was still rather crispy even till the last strand of noodle. No wonder the stall had such a long queue!

We next adjorned to Maxwell Market. This is definitely a food haunt for hubby and I, even till now. We readily recommended some of our favourites - no, not the Tian Tian chicken rice or Zhen Zhen porridge. We were proud to introduce the teochew handmade sotong and pork balls soup and fried sweet potato balls. I also recommended the Xing Xing ondeh ondeh and tapioca cake, but too bad it was closed by the time we got there (opens for business from 8am to 2pm).

Meanwhile, Kenan finally fell asleep by the time we got to Maxwell Market. He only woke up when we were at our last stop - Ji De Chi, a dessert place that sells traditional fare like peanut or sesame  paste, and the newer shaved ice desserts.

Though Kenan looked more energised after his sleep, he wasn't his usual cheerful self throughout the outing. I know it's not because he was suddenly shy or afraid of strangers. I think part of the reason was we brought him out while he should have been napping at home. I felt really bad that we disrupted his usual routine. Thankfully, he was able to squeeze in about an hour's nap. But what was truly bothering him, we were about to find out soon.

Feelings of Guilt

When we got home, Kenan became cranky. We quickly bathed him and then gave him his dinner - which was oat cereal. Shortly after his food, he started crying. I realised he had pooed and wanted to change his diapers. But to our horror, we saw that there was a bit of blood in his poo. And while cleaning him half way, he started crying loudly and began to poo again. This time, there was even more blood and we could tell that Kenan was in a lot of pain because he was crying really pitifully. It broke our hearts to see him crying so badly and yet we couldn't do anything to help!

I felt like I've been a really bad mom. I believe part of  the cause of Kenan's constipation was because I've been so busy with work that I've neglected his dietary needs and didn't prepare as much fruit purees as before.

I guess this is a wake up call for me. After today's episode, I've decided that once I'm through with this  proofreading/editing project (which is taking me much more time than expected - I might have as well be the one doing the translation with the amount of changes I'm making), I will take up less jobs and spend more time with my son.

Honestly, the thought of working less has never crossed my mind until today. Though it has been a really trying time for me, because I would work late into the night and sleep anywhere between three to five hours a day, I've never entertained the thought of working less.

But I realised if I'm to continue with what I'm doing now, it will defeat the very purpose of my being a WAHM, which is to take better care of my son and be able to spend more time with him during these crucial first years. It won't be easy for me to let go of my work but it's a sacrifice I need to make. As much as I love my work, I guess the time has come for me to re-examine and re-prioritise my life.

Indeed, life with a baby will never be the same again - it's just that I have not fully let that sink in yet. Not until this moment.




Thanks to Alvin, my hubby's colleague, for the photos!

Friday, August 20, 2010

谢谢你,宝贝


宝贝,时间过得好快!一眨眼你就已经是个七个月大的宝宝了!妈妈想告诉你我很爱你,真的真的很爱你。我每天看着你,心里头一直在想我怎么会生了一个这么可爱的你?真的很神奇,更是感谢上帝将你送给了我。

宝贝,很对不起妈咪不是世界上最好的妈妈——有时候我忙得没时间陪你玩,有时觉得为什么照顾你这么麻烦,甚至有几回还因工作压力大的关系骂了你。但你知道吗,妈咪每回在事后一定感到无比的内疚,因为你还那么小,怎么会是你的错呢。而你,不论什么事,即便被我骂,却还是对着我笑;只要我一抱你,你就乐开怀。谢谢你,宝贝,你对妈妈的依赖让我觉得很幸福。

不错,有了你以后,我才更了解幸福是什么,尤其是做女人的幸福。是你让妈妈的生命有了另一重意义(爸爸也有同感哟)。更是你,让妈妈感受到一辈子从未有过的喜乐。

谢谢你宝贝,我希望可以 成为一个更好的妈妈。为了你,吗咪会加油的!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Weaning Journey Continues

It's almost a month since Kenan started taking semi-solids and it's interesting to see how he takes to some of them immediately while others he simply doesn't like. Isn't it amazing that a six-month old baby has already developed a sense of what he likes or dislikes eating?

Here's a list of what he has tried so far:

Carrot
Pear
Potato
Broccoli
Avocado
Apple
Prune (Gerber's)
Banana
Papaya
Sweet potato
Peach
Grapes

For things that he doesn't like, what I did was to add it to his cereals. So far, that seems to work and he would happily finish everything up. By the way, while I initially stuck to the three-day rule, in the end, if I don't see any negative reactions after a day, I would move on to a new food. I did ask Mrs Wong how strict do I have to be about adhering to the three-day rule and if I can introduce a new food if I don't see any allergic reactions after a day. She said it's alright. I figured if none of us in the family has any adverse reactions to a type of food, it should be quite alright for Kenan too.

Besides fruits and veggies, I've also let him tried baby yogurt (bought from Fairprice Xtra). The first time he ate it (pear flavour), he scrunched up his whole face and it was a really funny sight! Yesterday, I decided to let him eat yogurt again - vanilla flavour this time - and guess what, he's suddenly so fond of yogurt he almost finished the whole cup! But I stopped him, as he has already ate some papaya prior to that. But I wonder if it's because the vanilla flavoured yogurt is sweeter than the pear one (that's what I thought after trying them) so he was happy to eat it. Nevertheless, I'm glad that he is finally taking yogurt.



Kenan is taking Yoplait's Baby First Yogurt bought from Fairprice Xtra (6x70g).
This one comes with three flavours: pear, vanilla and peach


Though Kenan is progressing well, my hubby commented that our boy's diet is very 'western' - cereals and purees. So my next project is to get him started on porridge.

But honestly, I dread making porridge. It feels like a lot of work, especially the part about making stock to add flavour to it. I know it's just a matter of time that he starts eating porridge. I feel extremely guilty that I'm not doing more, yet looking at my current workload, I definitely won't be able to get to it any time soon... at least not this week. But if the daddy would like to be a bit more hands-on in the food department, I would gladly let him do it! And dreams do come true, ya? ;)


PS: Now that Kenan is taking semi solids, the days of eating left-overs have also started for me!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Work, Work and More Work


I've been buried under tonnes of work lately. On top of a demanding as well as frustrating (I'm upset with the standard of translation) proofreading/editing project of some translated text, other assignments are also pouring in.

Like this afternoon, I received a call from an editor for a new assignment. I've not worked with him before; he had gotten my contact from his colleague.

Later, when I read his email (sent me materials for the article), I felt both flattered and pressurised. He said he has heard "a lot of stories" about my "wordsmith-ery" and is looking forward to reading my article. My first reaction had been "Wow, I'm really flattered", and then almost immediately after, my heart sank. Hm. I'm happy to know that my clients are satisfied with my work but in this case, I'm feeling the great pressure to perform. After all, I've not worked with him before. What if I don't meet his expectations? What if in the end he thinks my writing is just mediocre? I guess I would be happier to hear the positive feedback after my work is submitted.

But that said, I'm really thankful for all the good words. It's affirmation for my decision to leave the corporate world three years ago to pursue my passion for writing. Work has never been the same since I became a freelance writer and my only regret is in not having made the switch earlier!

Meanwhile, I gotta say thank you to every editor for your faith in me, especially to those who gave me the chance while I was still new in the field. Without you, I won't be where I am today.

Indeed, as a mom, my work has taken on greater significance than before. Not only is it a means to earning an income, it's also what keeps me balanced as an individual - it's reminder that my life is not just about changing diapers and breastfeeding a baby, but that I still have dreams and passions. I'm looking forward to the day when Kenan can go to pre-nursery and I can spend much more time on my work. It's strange that I've turned into a workaholic of sorts, but I guess that's what happens when work is not work but something you love doing. So yes, I'm happy to be called a workaholic, and make that a workaholic mom.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another Tooth!

About two weeks ago, we discovered that Kenan's first tooth had erupted. Now, his second one's out too!


It may appear trivial, but as a mom, it's simple things like this which brings me joy and makes my day. More importantly, I'm thankful that I can be around to witness his new developments and milestones, rather than being told by the mother-in-law or maid or whoever else that takes care of him. I would be really jealous if that happens. And it is in moments like this that I feel that I've made the right decision to be a WAHM and all the hard work has been worth it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Project Nursing Rooms - Forum Galleria

The nursing room at Forum Galleria is located on the first floor. While it is tastefully done up, it's amenities are really minimal. There are two nursing rooms, one facing the main door (see photo) and one on the right of the entrance. There's an armchair plus a changing table inside each of the room (curtain provides the needed privacy). There's another armchair near the basin, I suppose the hubbies can sit and wait here while their wives are breastfeeding.

By the way, I couldn't find any hot water dispenser here, which is commonly found in many other baby rooms.

The decor is beautiful but amenities could have been much better, and there's no way you can have a stroller inside that nursing room with you


Ratings

Cleanliness: 4.5/5
Amenities: 2.5/5
Ambience: 4.5/5

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Staycation

We had a staycation at Grand Hyatt (again) over the National Day weekend.

After checking in, we headed out for some shopping in Orchard Road, but not before we had our stomachs filled at Wendy's (it was my choice; I've not had the chance to try it after its return to Singapore). Followiug lunch, we popped into Forum Galleria, thinking there might be some shops with interesting baby stuff and were disappointed. We decided to go to the Takashimaya baby fair but the crowd and long queues at the cashiers put us off.  So we just walked around and window shop.

When it was Kenan's meal time, we returned to the hotel to prepare his cereal. I brought along some sample packets of Nestle brown rice cereal, where all I needed to do was to add in water. It smelled really yummy and I couldn't resist tasting it. Good thing I did, because I found out just how sweet it was. I doubt I'll let Kenan eat it on a longer-term basis, but for this short holiday, I shall make do!

While I enjoyed the staycation, I'm really looking forward to a real holiday overseas. For a start, we probably won't venture to any where  exotic or far away, as after all, it will be Kenan's maiden flight and we want to see how he (and us) copes with it. But one thing's for sure, this little boy enjoys sleeping on the big hotel beds with their fluffy quilts and soft bedsheets!


Kenan looks so tiny on the big hotel bed!

The little boy having a rolling good time on the bed!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Project Nursing Rooms - Isetan Scotts

The nursing room at Isetan Scotts is located on level 4, children's department. It is very well equipped with two nursing rooms, three changing tables, thermo flask with hot water, cold water, one highchair, washing area, a sofa just outside the nursing rooms (I suppose it's for husbands to wait for their wives while they feed baby) and even a machine selling Yakult!

Three changing tables, but I feel that they are placed too close for comfort, especially the last two. I can imagine the parents banging into each other when they change babies' diapers.

Too bad both nursing rooms were occupied when I was there, so I didn't get the chance to take a look inside, not to mention taking photos.

The washing area, together with supply of hot and room temperature water


Ratings

Cleanliness: 4/5
Amenities: 4.5/5
Ambience: 3.5/5


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