Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First Outing

Last Friday was the first time I brought Kenan out alone. I was meeting up with some mommy friends at Marina Square for lunch as well as to check out the Young Parent Fiesta.

Normally, I would have hopped onto a taxi. But I didn't know where I found the courage that day and  decided to take the MRT instead. Thankfully, Kenan was well behaved throughout the journey and the curious streak in him kept him busy as he turned his head from side to side ever so often to look at all the people around. I'm not sure if I could have coped had he decided to fuss!

And not only was he well behaved in the MRT, he could have won a 'model baby' award for being such a good boy throughout the time I was with my friends.

While at the fiesta, Drypers was offering a free photo shoot for parents and babies. I thought what better way to mark this special day. Here's the scanned copy of the photo:

Thanks Kenan for being such an angel!

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's Another Day

Today’s one of those days where I feel really down, exhausted and vexed all at the same time.

The weekend was another whirlwind of activities as we try to complete a list of ‘to-dos’ which we couldn’t attend to during the weekdays. It always leaves me feeling drained on a Monday and makes me vow to slow things down during weekends, but I know full well that things will be the same again when the weekend arrives. Because with my husband’s gruelling hours – if he comes home by 9pm, it’s considered early - many things just have to be left to the weekends.

Then with some deadlines looming ahead and yet I can’t get down to work because I have to take care of Kenan, I feel really vexed. Making it worse is the forgetful helper who keeps repeating the same mistakes. She not only drives me up the wall, at the rate it's going, I think I can scale Mount Everest already.

I yearn for the time not so long ago when life was much simpler and there were fewer responsibilities. I miss being able to fully devote my time and attention to my work (I really love what I do for a living); I miss having my own study room that is now taken over by my mom and helper; I miss going out on dates with my hubby and going for short getaways on a whim; I miss shopping for clothes and shoes instead of baby stuff. The list can go on and on. Basically, I just miss the freedom I had before I was a mommy. It makes me feel really down.

No doubt Kenan has brought me lots of joy and allow me to experience womanhood more fully. But it comes at a huge sacrifice, and something that I realise I wasn’t truly prepared for and something I’m struggling with ever so often.

I just hope that with some sleep, I will feel better. God help me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Toys - Rent Them, Don't Buy!

Salvatore Vuono, freedigitalphotos.net

As parents, toys are something many of us splurge on for our little ones. But we soon realise what a mistake that is as our children quickly outgrown the toys and they end up as clutter in the house. Or our kids may not even like what we bought and the toys go into the storeroom almost as soon as the packaging is thrown away.

Solution? Try renting instead of buying.

Renting toys have plenty of advantages. Your children will always have new toys to play with, you pay only a fraction of the original price and there’s no worry of not having enough space to keep all the items. It is also a great way to let your child try out a toy, especially an expensive one, before you decide on buying.

That is exactly what we did when we were considering buying a Bumbo seat for Kenan. We weren’t sure if Kenan will like sitting in a Bumbo and thought that letting him try it out would be a wiser option. After all, we have made quite a few bad decisions that land us with a number of unwanted baby items clogging up the storeroom.

Our experience with one toy rental company

We searched the internet and found two toy rental companies that have the Bumbo seat. Even though the Bumbo is not a toy, I think it’s great that these two companies offer the item. However, for one of the companies, the Bumbo is perpetually unavailable (we waited for about two weeks), so we went with The Toy Rental Club, which is located in a warehouse at Pasir Panjang Road.

The company doesn’t offer any free delivery (nor collection), so we decided to go down and pick up the Bumbo ourselves. While it may be inconvenient, we like the fact that we can select the item in what we thought is the best condition. We could also go around the warehouse and browse. In the end, we picked up a Fisher-Price peek-a-boo piano too.

What we appreciate about The Toy Rental Club is that it does not only rent out toys but also baby essentials like nursing equipment (e.g. breast pump), baby bath, baby carrier, car seat, stroller and high chair! I think this is probably the only toy rental company that has all these items! I attribute this thoughtfulness to the fact the company is run by two expatriate moms and having these items on rent will be especially helpful to the expatriates (for locals as well, given that some of the things won’t be needed anymore as baby grows e.g. breast pumps).

However, The Toy Rental Club will be closed from end June for about two months as the two owners have to be both back in their home country this summer holiday. Anyway, we are also keen to try out some other rental companies that offer free delivery and collection. Below are the toy rental companies I found.

List of Toy Rental Companies

1. My Growing Toys

Search toys by: Brands
Delivery & collection: Free for orders above S$30; one-time charge of S$10 for less than S$30. No deposit required.

Payment mode: Cash on delivery, also accepts uncrossed bearer cash cheque.

Rental Period: 4 weeks. Will receive email reminder near the end of rental period; you can choose to extend the rent at this point.

Search toys by: Brands or age groups

Delivery & collection: For orders above S$40; one-time charge of S$10 for orders less than S$40. If delivery is within CBD, additional charge of S$6 (one way) applies.

Payment mode: Cash on delivery, also accepts uncrossed bearer cross cheques.

Rental period: 1 month

Other services: Offers rental of toys for parties

3. Rent-A-Toy

Search toys by: Toy categories/ brands

Delivery & collection: Free for orders above S$40; one-time charge of S$12 for less than S$40. No deposit required.

Payment mode: Cash on delivery, also accepts uncrossed bearer cash cheque.

Rental period: Either 2 weeks or 1 month. Will receive a call reminder near the end of rental period; you can choose to extend the rent at this point.

4. Rent That Toy!

Search toys by: Brands or age groups

Delivery & collection: Free for orders above S$35; charges courier fee of S$10 if less than S$35. No deposit required.

Payment mode: Cash on delivery.

Rental period: 1 month. Will receive email reminder near the end of rental period; you can choose to extend the rent at this point. Delivery charges will be waived when you extend the rental period for all toys. Otherwise, a pick-up fee of S$7 will apply.

Other services: Offers party bucket - will recommend a suitable bucket of toys based on the age group of the children attending the party.

5. The Toy Rental Club

Search toys by: Functions or types e.g. ‘On the Go’, ‘Educational Games’, ‘Puzzles & Boardgames’ etc.

Delivery & collection: Charges S$25 for one way, hence S$50 to both deliver and collect. Refundable deposit of S$50.

Payment mode: Cash on delivery. If self-collect, can pay by cash, Nets or credit cards at the company’s premise. Alternatively, can pay by phonebanking, interbank transfer or ATM transfer (to OCBC bank).

Rental period: Mainly 1 month, but some items can be rented by the week or day, such as car seats, travel cots etc.

Other services: Offers rental of toys for parties

Search toys by: Age groups

Delivery & collection: Free for orders above S$50; one-time charge of S$15 for orders less than S$50. If delivery is within CBD, additional charge of S$6 (one way) applies. No deposit required unless stated in the description of toy. Surcharge of S$15 for public holiday delivery and S$10 for eve of public holiday. Surcharge of S$15 for outdoor venues (e.g. zoo, chalets) and condo/apartments/HDB with no direct access (need to climb stairs), surcharge of S$5 applies.

Payment mode: Cash on delivery, also accepts uncrossed bearer cross cheques.

Rental period: 14 or 21 days. Will receive email reminder near the end of rental period; you can choose to extend the rent at this point, granted that it has not been reserved by other parents.

Other services: Birthday party packages (for 18 months and above). Gift vouchers are also available - minimum S$10 and in multiples of S$10.

7. Toy Rental World

Search toys by: Age groups, brands or toy types (e.g. educational toys, kitchen & workshop)

Delivery & collection: Strictly between Mon – Fri, 10am to 5pm. FOC for members without any minimum orders. Non-members will enjoy free delivery and collection for orders above S$40; one-time charge of S$10 applies for orders less than S$40. Delivery

Payment mode: First subscription based toy-rental company. Join as a member and buy Credits to make payment for orders. The more Credits you buy, the greater the discount you enjoy (as much as 15% off).

Rental period: 1 month

If you have tried any of the above toy rental companies, would love to hear your experience!

Note: above information accurate as at 23 June 2010

Photo Contest

I did a photo collage of Kenan to take part in the Sophie the Giraffe photo contest. Here's the collage:

The contest also requires us to say what we love about Sophie. Here's what I wrote:

"We love Sophie because she is irresistably cute. More importantly, she is a great yummy, chewy companion for our baby.. and her soft squeaks delight our son to no end!"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's a Boy and I Love Him

Kenan turns five months old today. He has been such a sweet and relatively easy baby to take care of that I should feel nothing but thankfulness for this bundle of blessings.

But truth be told, God knows just how upset I had been about a year ago when I first found out that I was pregnant with a baby boy.

I remember that day in my gynae's office. It was a Saturday morning, all the weeks of waiting would soon be over as we were about to find out the sex of the baby I was carrying. I had been praying all the time for a girl, I didn't want to think that it would be otherwise. I even had a vision of a little girl running towards me calling me mommy.

Yet God had other plans. When the gynae did the scan and pointed out the baby's sex organ on the monitor screen, my heart sank. It's going to be a boy, there's no mistake about it. I was utterly disappointed and felt really sad.

After that, I cried all the way home and no words from my husband could comfort me.

I felt like all my dreams were dashed. I had wanted a baby girl, I wanted to be able to doll her up pretty and play girlie toys and games with her; when she's older, we could chat about fashion, makeup and boys, and we'll go shopping together. But I can't do all these with a boy. Moreover, what do I know about boys' games? How do I play rough and tumble with a son? Plus boy clothes are so limited and boring - step into any kids' clothes store and you'll find that boy clothes at best occupy a third of the shop space and the rest are taken up by girls' clothes! I also think that girls will always be closer to their parents compared to boys, so I prefer to have daughters.

But when Kenan arrived, he slowly changed how I felt about having a son, or not having a daughter for that matter. He melts my heart with his generous sweet smiles and angelic look when he's sleeping. He is also a relatively easy baby to take care of - he sleeps through the night by about two months old, he is sociable and he doesn't cry much except when he's hungry, bored/lonely or sleepy.

I remember telling a close friend how badly I wanted to have a girl and was sad to have a boy instead. "He's your child, you will definitely grow to love him," she told me in all confidence.

I didn't believe her when she said those words. But she's right! As the days went by and the bond between Kenan and I deepens, I grow to love him more and more. Doesn't matter that he is not the daughter I had wished for. He is my son and he's found a special place in my heart. I do not know why God did not answer my prayer for a daughter but I believe He has a reason for giving us this lovely boy.

So God, thank you for this child that You have brought into my life. I will love him and cherish this gift that You have given. I pray too, that I can be a good mother, worthy of this precious life You've placed in my care. And thank you Kenan, for loving mommy in spite of her shortcomings. You are a blessing and I love you with all my heart.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Kenan Attends Class

Being a mommy in Singapore, it’s hard not to give in to the pressure of joining the 'Kiasu Parents Club', where it's a norm amongst members to send their kiddos for all sorts of enrichment programmes in the name of giving them a head-start in life.

So few weeks ago, this kiasu mommy took Kenan for a trial FunMOVES class conducted by Sabrina, one of the mommies I got to know from the forum; she's a trainer and co-owner of NurtureWorks. Before the class, I felt a little apprehensive, wondering if Kenan would cooperate or would he fuss and cry. Fortunately, he was in good mood and we all had a great time.

The class was held in the morning (10.30am) at Highland Centre along Kovan Road. Including Kenan, there were four babies for the trial class and it was great that they were all about the same age.

The programme comprises Brain Dance movements (developed by Anne Green Gilbert), singing, baby sign language and flash card exercises. It lasted about 45 minutes, which was a good length I suppose, any longer and perhaps all the babies will become cranky. In fact, some of them were fussing near the end of the programme, which is expected since they are all so young (about four months old) and can easily become over-stimulated and tired out.

What I liked about FunMOVES:

I like the fact that it’s a combination of different types of activities so they stimulate different parts of baby’s brain. It's an added bonus that these are activities which parents can do with their babies at home, unlike some programmes where specific equipment may be needed. What's more, there are few enrichment courses for young babies (to the best of my knowledge), so FunMOVES certainly helps fill the gap.

I’m also glad that hubby came along for the class; in fact, almost all the daddies were there. It turned out to be a good time for us to bond as a family as we took turns to help Kenan through the different activities. It was also a good time of socializing for him and he was really happy to see other babies! And of course, mommies had fun too – it was a great opportunity for us to share about our babies’ developments and exchange parenting tips and information.

I’m looking forward to signing Kenan up for the programme once there is a confirmed class!

  Flash card exercise: daddy teaching Kenan about shapes

Kenan and his newfound best friend - the two boys are holding hands!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sophie the Giraffe Teether

Sophie is finally here!

Over the weekend, we collected the adorable giraffe teether for Kenan. I've ordered it through a forum spree and had been eagerly awaiting its arrival. I bought Kenan the teether not so much that he is teething now but more as a toy in the hope that he will stop putting his hands into his mouth!

About Sophie

Born in 1961, Sophie the giraffe is a teether "handmade in the French Alps using natural rubber from the Hevea Tree and decorated using non-toxic food quality paint". More importantly, Sophie is BPA, PVC and Phathalates-free so mommies can be assured about baby's health when chewing on this teether.

Sophie is lightweight and its shape and size is designed to fit snugly in babies' small hands. It delights babies with a small squeak when squeezed.

Kenan and Sophie

Kenan took a little while to warm up to his new 'friend'. Initially, he didn't know how to put it into his mouth and was frustrated. He also needed time to explore the most 'chewable' parts. For a moment, I was worried that Kenan will not like Sophie, as after all, this is no cheap teether (retailing at SGD39.00). But when he got the hang of it, he just gnawed away!

Look, this is my new 'toy' Sophie. Actually, it's a teether; mommy
got me this as she can't stand me sucking my hands all the time! Hahaha...

So anyway, I'll give Sophie a try, but no guarantee that I'll like it

Hm... the legs look interesting

Oh yes, it's nice to chew on!

But mommy, is Sophie the only thing I can put into my mouth?

Think I have enough of Sophie for now.
What shall I chew on next? Hm...

I'm glad Kenan has taken a liking to Sophie. So far, he enjoys munching on the giraffe and delights in hearing its squeak. However, it doesn't hold his attention as long as I would like. But then again, Sophie is designed to be a teether and not so much a toy. I just hope it will really be able to sooth Kenan's discomfort when his first tooth starts pushing through the gum. I shall review it again when the time comes!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Five Seconds!

Few days ago, I was lamenting how Kenan has yet to roll over. But guess what he did this morning?

He sat for about five seconds without any form of support!

Needless to say, I was delighted, and it was great that the daddy was around to witness it too.

Then I checked Kenan's health booklet again. It states that most babies will only be able to do that at about seven and a half months old. Wow!

So it seems like Kenan enjoys giving daddy and mommy surprises by jumbling up the sequence of his developments and keep us guessing what he will do next. Yet at the same time, I suspect he is also telling us to respect the fact that he has a mind of his own!

Ok my little boy, mommy here will learn to give you the space you need to grow at your own pace, but don't let mommy wait too long in reaching those milestones, alright? I love you, son.


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