Copyright © incy wincy spider | BLOG
Design by Dzignine
Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stylish storage for toys

While shopping for furniture for Aiden's room, we must have checked out the kids section in Ikea a million times in recent years.  Ikea is probably the place where most young parents first come into contact with purpose built kids furniture, and frankly, we didn't know where else to look then!

Actually, Ikea does have beautiful kids furniture but its popularity is also its biggest problem - it takes just one look to know that it is from Ikea and so many people have the same furniture!

Where can we find a storage solution for children's toys which is stylish, flexible and affordable?

The answer for us lies in Kartell, an Italian designer brand specialising in colourful plastic furniture.  We already own several pieces of its iconic designs and are familiar with its product range (we spend quite a lot of time at Space Furniture as well, where Kartell is available locally).  It was one of those days where a light bulb suddenly went off in my head and I found the perfect storage solution in its Panier occasional coffee table! 
With a wide range of eye popping colours, it is so easy to find a colour to suit any room!  We chose the Panier in light blue, which complements the blue/white striped wall, light blue Vitra Eames Elephant, white cot bed and white Kartell Lou Lou Ghost chair in Aiden's room very well.

As the Panier is translucent, you can see what toys are inside clearly, yet keep them neatly stored within its belly.  The cover is wide and round, making it easy for children to keep their toys after play.  It was really easy to encourage Aiden to throw his toys back into it, since there is no way he can miss the humongous opening! The lid also serves as a table for your kid to do some arts and craft on.  It is a coffee table after all!  So even after your kid grows up, you can still use the Panier as a proper coffee table.  Who knew Italian furniture can be value for money!

Make a design statement with the Kartell Panier table - affordable, flexible and very stylish!
Aiden (15 months) in his room with the Kartell Panier table.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Marriage & Parenthood Package 2013

Ironically, the marital indiscretions of a certain Michael Palmer led to the unexpected early announcement of the Marriage & Parenthood Package 2013.  Usually, such goodies would be announced through the Budget (this year's edition slated to be 25 February 2013) but I guess the government wanted Singaporeans to cheer about something else in the midst of the Punggol East by-election fever, tsk tsk.

Details of the enhancements as well as existing measures can be found at the official website Heybaby.

It is a fair observation to say that the most common reason given for our shockingly low birth rate is having Money No Enough.  Not enough to feed ourselves, not enough to feed another mouth, not enough to go on annual holiday, not enough to buy that latest gadget, not enough to buy the latest 'IT' bags, not enough to buy a house, not enough to buy a car, not enough to employ a maid!  Simply not enough!

I think it is just a lousy Singaporean excuse to grumble about money.  Afterall, the older generations have been raised on smaller budgets and in smaller spaces.  I guess we can validate this by seeing how little effect the ever increasing baby bonuses had on birth rates in Singapore through the years.

Personally, I feel that the solution is simple, although implementing it would be anything but.

1.  Build HDB flats in advance instead of Built To Order (BTO)

Due to the long and tedious balloting and building process that is peculiar to Singapore, a couple would have to wait at least 3 years before having a place of their own.  Add to this the time it takes to save up for the downpayment, the time a couple may want to spend as a two-some and the time it takes to successfully conceive, it may be too late for a couple to want more than one kid, if at all.

Luckily for us, owing to the bad economic times, there were lots of unsold flats back in December 2006.  Through a Walk-In-Selection process (which has gone the way of the Dodo), we got from homeless to penniless (after paying the downpayment to our first marital home) in just a couple of months.  As a result, we had plenty of time to enjoy life together as newly weds and to plan our careers and parenthood.

Fast forward to January 2013, we have since had Aiden and moved out of our first home in Sengkang to a condominium in Bedok to be near Cheryl's parents.  Logistically, we have everything in place.  This certainly gives us more breathing space to balance our careers and family life and think about having children.

On the other hand, we have many married friends of the same age who are still worrying about how to secure their first home, and for some, still waiting for theirs to be completed.  While bunking in with their in-laws, many have suffered from strained relationships as a result.

If the government/HDB can build in advance and release flats according to demand, prices would not fluctuate so much and people will have ready-made homes.  This will certainly pave the way for couples to have more children!

2.  Work-life balance

Singaporeans are a workaholic bunch.  Add to that the kiasu nature of our society, how to have time for so many kids!?  It would be a crime to bring them to this world, only to leave them in the care of our maids or worse, neglected and left to their own devices.

In a conversation I had with a friend who happens to be a gynae, I asked for some insider tips on how to improve the odds to conceive.  He smiled and gave me three words of wisdom - "Have More Sex!"

I think it is goes without saying that sex is the last thing that is on your mind when you return home after a intense/stressful/crappy day at work.

Work-life balance is still a big challenge for me, and that is why I sometimes have second thoughts about going for more.  Just imagine, everything (including time) that I am able to give Aiden, it will be halved if a second one comes along!

Perhaps I need a less stressful/demanding job. And oh, more money.
Monday, January 28, 2013

Slide to unlock

The iPhone is an amazing invention.  In just six years, this "little wonderbar" has transformed our lives in ways we cannot imagine.  Our lives depend on it - from checking our schedule to booking a movie online to getting Siri answer the proverbial question of "What is the meaning of life?".  In fact, some of our lives are literally on it - photos, videos, messages, tweets.

Should our kids get a headstart on this great technological marvel then?  Afterall, I'm sure you remember praising how smart or savvy your friend's kid is when you see him/her playing with the iPhone like a Mac Genius.  Surely the myriad of educational games available on the AppStore would help your kid develop into a real genius?

Or are we locking up the growth of our kids, when we allow them to unlock the phone?

Luckily for me, I have seen many kids being addicted to the iPhone (and iPad and iPad mini and iPod Touch) and their diminished ability to properly interact with things/people to realise the harm the iPhone can do to a young mind.  For that reason, we do not allow Aiden to be engrossed in it. The only times he would be exposed to it is when he tries to be helpful and brings the phones to us to read incoming messages, or when he wants to FaceTime us, or when he wants to watch home made videos /photos of Daddy and Mummy, or the occasional video that catches his eye when he flicks through YouTube - he loves dancing to videos with upbeat music.  No games, no pseudo-educational apps and definitely no Angry Birds.

On his favourite Y-Bike (20 months)
There are many articles on the internet that discusses the good and bad of the iPhone to kids.  I like this article by The New York Times.

We have so far resisted the temptation to use the iPhone to deal with a cranky/crying/restless Aiden.  Instead, we would talk to him, play with him or use up some of his energy by encouraging him to dance/ride his bicyle/run around.  The best thing is that we get a little workout in the process too!

I am also convinced that kids would be able to learn how to use such devices easily so I don't think Aiden is disadvantaged in any way.  In fact, without us ever teaching him, he has already learned how to unlock the iphone, fire up Photos, Videos, YouTube, flick through, play videos, zoom in, go back, go to home etc. He even got me a bit worried when he tried to flick the non-touch screen of our digital camera the other day.

Second time on a futsal pitch (22 months)
I hope he will love soccer and playing with Lego instead, just like his old man.

Tower built entirely by Aiden (21 months)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Flashback: Aiden's 1st Birthday

In just a few more weeks, Aiden will be turning 2!  As we think of a suitable venue for a little birthday celebration, memories of a dramatic first birthday surface again.  Well, dramatic from my point of view!

The plan was to start the day at about 10am from Sengkang (where we were living) by picking Aiden up from the in-laws' place in Bedok, followed by the collection of Aiden's favourite balloons and birthday cake from Parkway Parade, before we meet our relatives at the lunch venue, Jade at The Fullerton Hotel, for a scrumptious dim sum buffet.  The supposedly leisurely day took an exciting turn on the way to Bedok when I received a mobilisation call up from the army to report to camp immediately in uniform and with the army full-pack!  Running out of time and ideas, I had to turn around and rush to camp in my civilian clothes and with my wife in tow.  The guards must have thought I was the camp commander when I threatened to run them down along with the gantry.  As I drove into camp, I wasn't sure if the guards were saluting me or scratching their heads wondering who I was.  Feeling even more mystified was the Military Police who was trying to tell me not to park in the middle of the parade square.  Before he could even start his lecture, I was asking him where the CO/person in charge of the mobilisation was!

"I don't know?" muttered the poor soldier.

"OK NEVERMIND!" as I gave him the 'why you dunno look' while running away.  I might as well ask him to park my car nicely and give it a good polish before I return.

Eventually, I found the CO who was kind enough to let me go early, although I did force him into a corner by saying that I would leave camp anyway with or without his permission.  Nothing can stop a proud father from celebrating his dear son's first birthday!!!

And so, soaked in adrenaline and sweat, we made it to Parkway Parade for the balloons and cake close to 12pm.  We had to ask our in laws to bring Aiden to The Fullerton Hotel instead and by the time we reached the restaurant, we were just in time to place the last order!

I wish Aiden's second birthday will be a little bit less exciting.  Fingers crossed!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dress them smart, Start them young

One of the really enjoyable part of parenting is dressing up our little one. It is never too early to start grooming your child to look stylish and our preference is towards miniature version of adult clothes.

What's more, babies are becoming a hot fashion accessory for both mums and dads so dress them right to always be camera-ready. 
Her dream come true - finally a girl for mummy to dress up!
A tip on how to dress your child would be to follow the style of well-dressed (celebrity) kids and recreate how they are dressed. There aren't many options in our market for stylish and affordable kids clothing so, looking online is a good avenue to hunt for affordable clothes to create a high end stylish look.
So chic & stylish - if only we had an uncle like Aila Wang
Love his style - laidback with trendy accessories. He's so charming like his dad, Matthew McConaughey
Suri Cruise, who is very often named Most Stylish Celebrity Child
Simple, basic pieces like jeans, khakis, t shirts (experiment and be bold with colors) & some accessorizing would do the trick for boys. They are more practical as they are very versatile. As for girls (having a girl will definitely burn a hole in my pocket!), I lean towards dresses with leggings - miniature versions of what we would wear, and accessorizing with trendy hairbands and shoes. I find myself browsing at the girls clothing section while shopping for Aiden, just to gush at how pretty the collection is.

Of course, comfort is an important factor so this is a key consideration when we select clothes for Aiden. Especially when he is so active, he needs to be able to move freely and unrestricted in his outfit. With the hot & humid weather in Singapore all year round, fashion options are greatly narrowed as blazers, jackets, vests cannot be wardrobe staples. We make up for this with a good hair cut and hair styling to complement his look.

Here are some pictures from our recent Hongkong trip - we'd share details of the trip in a separate post. 
Dressed for the cold
Walking along the streets of Mongkok

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Aiden Starts School

It hasn't been easy for me to start writing. Since having Aiden 23 months back, I have spent most of my time (apart from work) with him, looking for activities to excite him and spending quality time together as a family. Any remaining free time would most often be spent re-energizing & getting my much needed rest. 

Finally, our boy has started school! This, is indeed an exciting new phase for him, and for us. As I am writing this post, he is in class independently for over 6 hours. I am really proud of him, as he didn't strongly resist going to school nor put up an emotional struggle. 

On his first day of school this Monday, Darren & I fetched him from my parents' place and he seemed to be in a good mood despite insufficient sleep (woke him up after 8 hours of sleep vs. his usual 10 - 12 hours). I took the day off to accompany him. He seemed pretty curious and joined in the group initially but got more aware and slightly afraid of being part of the group. I can sense his fear as he held my hand and pulled me away, preferring to walk around and explore the surroundings. I didn't stop him as I think it would be good for him to familiarize himself within the school. I distanced myself when he appeared to be interested to participate in the lessons, especially enjoying the outdoor exploration walk and music/dance session. Here's Aiden joining the line - totally hilarious as he gave a tight bear hug. 

On the first two days, Aiden seemed to be putting on a brave front (so interesting to see from a 23 month old) as whenever he spots me spying on him, he'd burst into tears and come towards me. Each time, his teachers managed to coax him to continue with their activity. I was surprised that he is cooperative during bath time, feeds himself during meal time and am happy to see our (not so) little 23 month old grow more independent and interact with the kids and teachers in school. Here's him on his favourite bike before day two in school.

I am glad that we prepped him well before school by sharing with him about the activities he'd go through, people he will meet who are his teachers and friends. I am also glad for remaining firm even as he starts crying and running to me during lessons. Aiden seemed to understand well when I explained that he has to attend school while we leave him to do our work and will return to fetch him after. Some parents do the disappearing act, which is not right as the child will feel abandoned and lost when they realized their parents are no longer there. For a start, we have managed his and our own emotions well. It is a learning experience for me as well as I discover how he behaves away from us, and I am proud to say that he adapts well. 

Next up, preparing for Aiden's two year old birthday on February 13. Looking forward to it!
Sunday, January 13, 2013

Who's your Daddy!

Hello world, this is Daddy Darren.  Welcome to incy wincy spider!  It has been many years (maybe 4?) since Mummy Cher and I last blogged after being, well, bogged down with work and other interests.  As therapeutic and enjoyable as blogging is, keeping a blog can also be a risky hobby, opening up your lives to people with less than friendly intentions.

Ironically, the one thing that should be keeping us even more busy is also the motivation of this blog - the birth of our first child, Aiden.  You might have guessed by now that Incy Wincy Spider is one of his favourite tunes to dance to (along with Gangnam Style - see video below).  Admittedly, we are kind of late in setting it up as our little bundle of joy is already exactly 23 months old today, and looking not exactly little.  However, we will have some flashback posts to talk about the experiences of our small family during these 23 months, before our memory fails!

Getting excited already!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...