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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Art Garden 2013 - Singapore Art Museum

With the Vesak Day long weekend, we shortlisted the Art Garden at Singapore Art Museum as one of the must visit places to bring Aiden and spent half a day exploring the installations put together by both local and international artists. We highly recommend this to families with young kids as it allows both parents and kids to discover, explore and learn together. This runs through to 1 Sep, so remember to mark this down on your calendar. Singaporeans and PRs enter for free, so just flash your identity card to gain entry.

There were four levels to explore, and we stepped right into the enchanted garden city adorned with illustrations of fairytales with an Asian twist. I didn't have time to look at every wall as I was busy chasing after the active boy who was climbing up and down the rainbow bridge and running about in the colorful, whimsical room. 
We stepped into Vicente Delgado's Around the Day in Eighty Worlds, where there were many interactive exhibits perfect for the little ones to lay their hands on. It is great that the exhibits were more interactive and not all labelled 'No touching', otherwise it would be boring for the kids.

On the same level was Stellar Cave II by Julien Saluad, which was really breathtaking. Made with threads and screws and illuminated by lights, there was a room where visitors can try their hands on how the installation was done - look at Aiden and Daddy in action.

Aiden is wearing the Rocker Star Print Pink T-Shirt from our store PriviKids.

We spent some time on Level 3 to catch a series of short films by local schools at The Moving Image Gallery - think there were more than 10 short films altogether so you can spend close to an hour here. As we were leaving, we popped by the installation, Landscape in the Box situated at the entrance to look at over 100 individual boxes housing different perspectives of Singapore by individuals.

Overall, this year's Art Garden is definitely still worth a visit though we preferred the previous year's. Some useful tips for parents: Parking is very limited so you can park at the NTUC Income Centre or SMU building. Entrance is not at the main SAM building but across the street at a separate building - SAM at 8Q. Feel free to bring your stroller that can be left at Level 1 while you explore the exhibits.

Here's a flashback to Jun 2012 when we visited the Singapore Art Museum with 16 month old Aiden:
Father's Day weekend outing
Whee! Catch me if you can!
Coloring with Daddy
Beautiful wall of art pieces
Too tired and too conducive for a cat nap
Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What Keeps Me Going

It has been a really tiring and stressful month for me. Sleepless nights, endless work and just pure stress. What has kept me going is this little boy who never fail to put a smile on my face.
These are my favourite shots from the last week that cheered me up, made each day more bearable and gives me the energy to persevere.

He is sweet when he pulls stunts to make us laugh. Just look at that mischievous face. He pulled a diaper over his head, adjusted it and started to grin cheekily at my direction to make me laugh. He knows too that mummy needs a good chuckle to unwind at the end of a long day.

He cracks me up with his expressions when he tastes something sour! We were chilling out, having ice cream last weekend when he tried the strawberry flavored scoop. You've got to move fast if you want to have your fair share, as Aiden greedily digs in very quickly.

He loves going to the supermarket. He will do his own shopping, adding items into the cart. Funny how my dad brings home facial cleansers and snacks he thought one of us took - and later finds out that it was Aiden!

This charming boy melts my heart and looking at his pictures alone does wonders!

Keep going people! One more day and it's the long weekend to enjoy with your loved ones. I can't wait.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bridal games that Singapore grooms play

Reading this Straits Times article on the bridal games that Singapore grooms play got me thinking about the tradition and my own experience more than 4 years ago.

As much as I think that bridal games/gate-crashing are necessary, customary, and generally memorable, there is a part of me that resists it.  Perhaps it is due to the many things that I don't eat - vegetables, durian, oysters, raw chilli, and have I mentioned vegetables?  Or perhaps I don't like sweating buckets on my wedding day.  Or perhaps I just don't think the games are particularly interesting.  Seriously, how many times have you viewed gate crashing videos that feature variations of eating sour-sweet-bitter-spicy foods, singing love songs, hair removal, wearing underwear outside, swaying bananas, and dancing to the most popular tune of the moment?  I think this tradition contributed significantly to the number of hits on the Gangnam Style music video on Youtube in 2012. :D

Anyway, preparation for my gate crashing started way in advance.  It began with me laying down the rules for Cheryl and her bridesmaids - no sweating, no durians, no vegetables, no degrading games that might affect how my children see me when they chance upon our wedding video.  It continued with some reverse psychology - me taking every opportunity in the 6 months leading up to the wedding to remind the bridesmaids that I HATE eating FRIED CHICKEN WINGS if they are thinking about making me eat something gross during gate crashing.  It ended with me warning them that I will simply leave and wait downstairs for Cheryl to come out if they go overboard.

In the end, the games were fun, meaningful, relaxing and brought so much laughter to everyone.  Here's how we did it!

Bridesmaids posing with the props.

They are ready (to feed me with fried chicken wings I hope).
With DUFC - Darren United Football Club. 5 top players, a referee and the manager in white suit!
MCs on hand in case we need to call in sick on any gate crashing game.
Our wedding date - 11.01.09!
Beep beep beeeeeep! Making a din with our whistles as we enter the playing field.
We had to fill in the lyrics of songs that Cheryl loves to sing.
Charades now. Had to guess significant milestones in our lives.
Balancing the ball between specific body parts based on the cards we picked.
A warm up dance routine.
Then things went a bit wild with wigs around.
Tongues were wagging.
Supposed to be 10 things but I deliberately used very large fonts.
I think this is called hip-hop. I'm just glad my shoe didn't end up in someone's mouth.
Trying to create an acapella on the spot. Bom ba bom ba ba!
I thought they deserved at least a yellow for wanting more money so late into the gatecrashing.
Gate crashing big wigs with medals.
Peeeet! Extra time now. Referee gives the go-ahead to score the free kick and see my bride!
What usually happens when football is on the telly.
Locking horns.
She shoots!
Job done! Finally got to rest for the wedding dinner.
For the record, I did not get to eat any fried chicken wings during the gate crashing.  We were instead served with thirst quenching packet drinks. :D
Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hollywood parenting we can learn from

When somebody talks about celebrity parents and their children, images of adopted kids from Africa and spoiled little brats living it up with $100,000 treehouses and diamond-encrusted everything would inevitably come to mind. So when I first saw the big headline "Jaden Smith wants to be emancipated from Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith", I thought oh well, another one bites the dust.

They say the devil is in the details, but in this case, it's not the devil you find but a piece of parenting gem from the Smiths!

Will and Jada’s very modern attitude to parenting involves talking to their children rather than telling them they are wrong. 

Will says: “We generally don’t believe in punishment. From the time Jaden was five or six we would sit him down, and all he has to do is be able to explain why what he did was the right thing for his life. 

“I think it’s a much more difficult question to ask someone — ‘Why was that right?’ — than to try to show them why it was wrong. 

“Nobody wants to be wrong, all parts of yourself fight like crazy to not be wrong. So I’ll say to Jaden, ‘Why was that the right thing to do for your life?’ and if he can explain why kicking his sister in the chest was the right thing to do, we can see to it that he understands that it wasn’t so smart.”

I'll admit that I don't actively read up on parenting tips, be it on the Internet, in books or in magazines, but what Will Smith said struck a chord with me.  I agree with it wholeheartedly.  When Aiden does something wrong, I would choose to talk to him about it rather than to accept it, to resort to physical punishment or to play the parent card.  I feel that if Aiden internalises a certain behavior as acceptable through a conversation with us, he is more likely to keep that behavior for a longer time.

As Aiden (at 27 months) has limited vocabulary, most of the time I would be doing the talking while he listens and absorbs.  If he understands and agrees, he would tell me and proceed to correct his behaviour.  If he doesn't, he would resist.  If we can't reach some sort of a compromise, then I would still let him know that I am disappointed.  I look forward to the day when I can have a proper two-way conversation with Aiden.  I'm sure it'll be fun!

Jaden Smith seems to be turning out well despite such an extraordinary childhood and circumstances, it gives me that confidence that my similar parenting style/belief would pay off eventually.  I hope Aiden grows up to become a man who knows right from wrong, dares to dream and takes ownership of his own life.

Anyway, it was quickly clarified by the Smiths that the emancipation rumour is not true - a Hollywood-style happy ending I guess!
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

It was a sweet Mother's Day weekend for me this year.

My cousin threw a surprise party at my place for my aunt's 50th birthday and made it a Mother's Day celebration as well for the mums who attended. The games they played pairing mothers and kids are simple and heartwarming. At the end of it, all kids presented a gift of appreciation to their mums. With 27 month old Aiden, it is really a joy when he comes up to me with a gift in hand and hugs me (of course upon request now, though I am looking forward to him initiating hugs and kisses in the near future). Here's the happy boy with his pet elephant.
On Sunday, we chilled out (literally, as the heat is really terrible these days) at home and dipped in the pool to cool down from the weather. This cheeky boy came to the room where I was resting and flashed this board, before planting a kiss on me. Awwww too sweet.
We set out to East Coast Park for dinner & had a leisure walk along the beach after. Seeing him enjoying himself so much really makes me really happy too.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mummies out there! Being a mum really teaches me so many things, and one of which is appreciating my parents more.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tips on dressing up children

For some parents, putting clothes on their little ones is more difficult than getting a suspect to confess to a crime.  In the latter, at least you can try it undisturbed for 48 hours and the subject is unlikely to put up physical resistance.

Angry and not very stylish.

I'm not sure if you have the same experience as us, but Aiden doesn't seem to see a pair of shorts or pants as essential wear.  He would often run to the door to put on his shoes as soon as he puts on his top.  I am still not convinced that a neatly pressed polka dot long sleeved shirt goes well with his Huggies Pull Up Pants and camouflage boots.

But yet, children aged 1 to 8 are the best for us parents to experiment with different styles, as they are now walking (clothes look better when they can stand up straight) and are generally busy developing other skills rather than their fashion sense.

To help parents out there, we share 5 tips on dressing up children in this post:

Tip #1 - Put it on when they sleep
Children are heavy sleepers, so one of the ways is to avoid a clothing tug of war by dressing them in their sleep the night before.  The best thing is that your kids will be ready to go when they wake up in the morning.  Perfect for an early start to a day of fun!

Tip #2 - Measure clothes and sort them before storage
One of the most common problems parents face is to rummage through the wardrobe, only to find the cutest piece of brand new clothing that you bought in advance a while ago is now too small.  Unfortunately, different clothing labels have different measurements.  Sometimes, even within the same label, the sizing can be very inconsistent.  The way to avoid these problems is to measure each piece of clothing and sort them by the measurements before storing them, separated by a divider (e.g. piece of paper or cardboard).

Tip #3 - Offer a choice, sort of
Sometimes, kids want to be in control, and unless you don't mind letting him pair striped shirts with checkered bottoms and camouflage boots, you have to trick them into picking something that you like.  If you force him to wear a particular piece, chances are he will resist until you give up.  What we do with Aiden is to offer a choice of two clothing, both of which we are ok with.  We will place the two choices side by side and ask him to pick one.  The question of "Yes" or "No" has now become a question of "Style A" or "Style B".  Works like a charm!

Tip #4 - Wear the top first
Unless you are into flamboyant looking bottoms like MC Hammer, chances are you would pair basic bottoms with distinctive tops.  Therefore, put on the top first before the bottom in case your child insists on a particular top.  You will avoid having to change a pair of non-matching bottoms this way.

I won't touch this.

Tip #5 - Get comfortable and easy to wear clothes
This seems obvious enough but you would be surprised how many stores out there sell bad fitting and uncomfortable kids clothes.  Not the clothes at PriviKids of course!  Make sure the fabric is soft and the cutting makes it easy to slip over your kids.  Think V-necks, stretchable collars and big/wide openings for the head and arms.

Have fun!
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Singapore safest place to be born in Asia

According to the latest 2013 report by children’s aid agency Save The Children, Singapore is the safest place to be born and the best place to be a mother in Asia.  And I suppose it is true.  Just think about it.  Japan and Indonesia have earthquakes, China has tainted milk powder, Philippines has child abductions and very recently, even Malaysia has unexplained blackouts (you don't want electricity to be cut off in the middle of an operation, do you?).  The most unsavory thing that can happen to a mother and her new born child is perhaps the hospital bill or the realisation that all spots at nearby child care centres were already filled 11 months ago, before the child was even conceived.

Of course, I am just joking.  The rankings are based on the following indicators:

1. Lifetime risk of maternal death
2. Under-five mortality rate
3. Expected number of years of formal schooling
4. Gross national income per capita
5. Participation of women in national government

As Singapore has comparatively high national income and good healthcare, we expectedly had the edge over our Asian neighbours.  However, if you take into consideration other factors such as stress levels, cost of living, government support, availability of childcare infrastructure and the availability of family support, I think Singapore would not be sitting pretty at the top.

In fact, if we looked at our ranking in the report and our low birthrates collectively, the resulting picture would come with the following headline - "Real causes of low fertility among Singaporeans not addressed as Singapore chases higher income and better healthcare standards."

I hope the above report would give our dear leaders some food for thought as they deal with an aging population, and not somehow make it into a performance matrix for the next round of (upward) ministerial pay revisions.
Sunday, May 5, 2013

Our Weekend!

Kids remind us to slow down and appreciate the smaller, simpler things in life. We usually wouldn't think much about driving to a car wash, but this evening, we brought Aiden along and he enjoyed his virgin car wash experience. His laughter brought smiles to our faces despite a very tiring week and a weekend that's too short.

It was a very long day for me as this boy woke up at 6AM, on a SUNDAY! One of those things I really miss since being mummy is sleeping in on weekends.
Aiden: Mumeeeeeee.....
Me: Hello Aiden, can we sleep some more? It is still very dark outside, let's wake up when it's brighter
Aiden: Started mumbling to himself and asked me to read him some books
Me: *passes him a few books' You should be able to read these yourself dear
Aiden: Mummy read book
Me: I am very tired... maybe you can watch some videos first? *pulls out ipad and plays him a video

I am guilty of shoving the ipad to him nowadays when I need to catch some sleep. I hope he doesn't get addicted too soon.

We went to the playground and swimming pool after breakfast - see how relaxed he is in the Night Owl T-shirt from our store - indoors, outdoor, dry and wet! Perfect for the active toddler.
Am happy this boy is exhausted after six whole hours of play and konked out at 12 noon. Finally a nap for both myself and him to recharge!

As much as I am so tired, I am so glad to have spent quality time with him over the weekend and can't wait for the next.
Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Star Awards 2013

Congrats to all winners.

And so, the biggest night in local TV ended after the usual patting of almost everybody's each other's back.  I'm sure many would be touched by the spotlight shone on the late Huang Wenyong, but I'm never interested in who won what at the annual Star Awards.  If the judging made any sense, Ann Kok's Herve Leger tube dress and the long-sleeved netted top would jointly win the Best Supporting award for the gravity defying feat.  Hands down.

Cha Tae-hyun agrees.  He did not know where else to place his hands other than down there.

The whole point of the show, to me, is to see what kinds of hits and misses the Mediacorp stars would come dressed in.  In keeping with the starry theme, here's some of our designs available at  No prizes for guessing what elements they all have in common!  And the nominees are...

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