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Saturday, June 29, 2013

We're Going To The Zoo!

'We're going to the zoo!' This never fail to put a wide smile on Aiden's face and I enjoy seeing him light up with excitement when he is happy. So off to the zoo we went!
Yay! Happy dance
Driving to the zoo! Vroom vroom
Let's go!
This is Aiden's 3rd time to the zoo and I like how he has grown each time and enjoys the visit a different way. He is at a stage now where he is camera shy, and always hides away when we pull out our cams for a quick shot. It's a pity as we enjoy capturing moments of him.
Shying away from the camera
Dancing to his own happy tune
Hand in hand with daddy. I think they have the same strut
Love this shot with Ah Meng
Aiden observes and imitates very well at 27 month old. He is intrigued at the lion feeding and enjoys mimicking them at home with his mouth wide open when we feed him.
Lions! Rwaarrr!
This boy can be really timid at times and we try to encourage him to experience feeding the goats and I'm glad he did!

He broke down though when we brought him for the pony ride. We were not even near the ponies and only stood aside to watch the other kids take turn to ride, and he was scared and started sobbing. Daddy even tried to take him on his shoulders to mimic how the ride would be but couldn't coax Aiden to go for it. He was excited about this when I asked him to select the activities he would like to do at the zoo before we set off!

This visit, we spent time at the water play area at the Rainforest Kidzworld before the Animal Friends show. Aiden enjoyed himself very much and went for the water slide several times. I'm glad my boy mustered up courage to go for it on his own. He is pretty cautious and hesitates usually.

When it's time to leave the water play, he kicked up a fuss and refuses to change, screaming, struggling and crying. A behavior that we wished he didn't have and I try coaxing him first and have to resort to forcefully dry and change him quickly. When we settled down to grab some snacks, he got mischievous and  refused to sit at the table with me while daddy went to order. Instead he went alone to play with the door at the entrance. He screamed and threw tantrums again when we tried guiding him how to hold the cup to prevent spillage, with so many 'concerned' eyes on us. It's so challenging having to calm him down and correct his behavior at the same time. It was embarrassing for us as well.
Enjoyed himself at the Animal Friends Show
I enjoy watching Aiden interacting gently with the dogs
Mr Cheeky
We headed to the Splash Safari Show after this, and it was really enjoyable for both myself and Daddy Darren. The sea lion was such a performer, showing off his skills and is super humorous.

It must have been a tiring day out for Aiden who dozed off in the car on the way home.

Aiden is wearing the Star Print T-Shirt from our store PriviKids.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Reviewed: Bartley Ridge

Yes yes yes, I am a true blue Singaporean.  I embrace most national pastimes and icons (other than the dreaded durian) - condominiums, cars, soccer and chope-ing seats in CBD during lunch time.

I often check out properties in Singapore in my free time (to the point where Mummy Cher thinks that I have millions stashed away in secret bank accounts in Bermuda).  Like many readers out there, we dream of the next home that we can own.  I thought, why not share my two cents worth on the many properties in Singapore, from a daddy's point of view?  Few websites offer unbiased reviews of projects in Singapore, and even fewer do so from a family man's perspective.  A gem in the eyes of a property investor could be considered inhabitable in the eyes of daddy and mummy!

So, here's my first review on a popular project in District 13, the Bartley Ridge.


Address: Mount Vernon Road
Tenure: 99 year leasehold from 16 April 2012
Status: Condominium
Land size: 224,008 sqft
Number of units: 868
Number of carpark lots: 868 + 6 handicap lots (basement carpark)
Number of floors: 8 blocks of 18 floors and 1 block of 19 floors
Estimated TOP: 1-Oct-18
Developer: Hong Leong, CDL and TID  


Clubhouse Cluster 1 with Gym, reading room and changing rooms
Clubhouse Cluster 2 with 3 function rooms, toilets
Gourmet Pavilion, incorporating Outdoor dining & lounge with open kitchen, Dip Pool, Hot Tub
Hydrotherapy Oasis, incorporating Hydro spa seat/bed (with massage jet), massage pavilions
Dining Pavilions
Lounge Pavilion
Meditation Pods
Outdoor Fitness Stations

Children’s Fun Area, incorporating Children splash pool, Play agora, BBQ pavilion
Community Garden, incorporating Scented garden, Gardening zones
Ecology Pond
Topiary Garden

50m Lap Pool with Aqua and Sun Pool decks
25m Lap Pool with Hot tub and Sun pool deck
BBQ Pavilions
Putting Green
Tennis court (x1)
Basketball court (half Court)

Entrance cascading water feature


Layouts (3 & 4 beds)
Good: North South facing. No baywindows. Efficient layout. Attached bathrooms concept for bedrooms. Bad: Large balcony. Large AC ledge. Small bedrooms

North partially blocked by Bartley Residences. South partially blocked by Gurhka Contingent Camp.

1-bed: 189 (22%) / 2-bed: 272 (31%) / 3-bed: 322 (37%) / 4-bed: 34 (4%) / 4-bed-dual: 51 (6%)

4/6/7/8 units per floor

Buyer profile

HDB 60.5%, Private 39.5% / Singaporeans 82.3%, PR 11.7%, Foreigner 6.0%  


Primary schools / childcare
1km: Maris Stella, Cedar / 2km: PLMGS, Yangzheng, Canossa Convent, Macpherson / various childcare centres nearby

Retail malls/Supermarkets
Nex (1 MRT stop / 2.6km / 6mins drive)


Paya Lebar industrial zone 


City (Shenton Way) 
Via CTE: 12.2km / 15mins drive

MRT station
Bartley (CCL): 329m

Bus-stop Along Bartley Road

Expressways CTE: 3km / 4mins drive KPE: 3.5km / 7mins drive  


Future connectivity None

Future development Investment potential driven by future success of Paya Lebar Commercial Hub. Unknown how Bidadari New Town would increase the value of the project. 

  • Key selling points for families are proximity to schools, connectivity and quiet, private enclave. 
  • Need to get high floors for good unblocked views. Otherwise, settle for pool views. 
  • Large proportion of 1 & 2 bedders and proximity to MRT station are good news for bigger families with more than one car.
  • Busy development with large number of units, potentially large number of tenants and limited number of facilities for children/family bonding.
  • Limited investment potential unless grand retail/commercial plans are unveiled for Bidadari and Paya Lebar Commercial Hub lives up to the initial hype.

  • Score: 45/72
Let me know if you want to know the full breakdown of the score!

Sources: Google Maps,,,,,
Sunday, June 23, 2013

Featured: Weekender lifestyle broadsheet

Really pleased to be featured in the Weekender earlier this month!

Click to enlarge

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Featured: Today newspaper and online

Our brand and products were featured on Today on 31 May 2013!  And PriviKids is sharing this URL with super brands such as Celio and Puma.  Oh yeah!

Click to enlarge
Friday, June 14, 2013

Toothbrushing For Toddlers

As much as we know that dental hygiene is important, and as Aiden starts eating more sweets like ice cream, fruits, cakes and continues to have his regular bottle of milk before sleep, it is with much difficulty that we get him to brush his teeth.

My mum who is his main caretaker on weekdays, attempts to brush his teeth after he falls asleep! I was amazed to see it work, as I thought he would startle and wake from his sleep. I wanted Aiden to get into the habit of brushing teeth daily and nightly, and to independently do it himself, so I did not adopt the same method.

Here are some of the ways I attempted to cultivate this habit in my 28 month old:

1) Link Toothbrushing With Daily Routine
I started by reading him books that relate to toothbrushing to encourage him to want to do so himself. It worked in getting him excited to go to the bathroom. I would try to coax Aiden into letting me brush his teeth and it would always end up a struggle as he would clamp his mouth shut, and I have to force him to let me brush those little teeth.

2) Monkey See, Monkey Do
I read about how toddlers learn best when they watch how adults do things - so with Daddy Darren, I let Aiden watch us brush our teeth and show him how fun it is, and allow him to brush his own teeth independently. This worked initially but he seemed to enjoy sucking water off the toothbrush instead of brushing the right way.

3) Treating Him Like A Big Boy
This worked for me! It started when I wanted Aiden to be more independent and not always rely on me to carry him to wash his hands (as he could not reach the wash basin as yet). I set aside a low stool for him, so he can pull it in place, climb onto it and reach the tap easily when he wants to wash his hands. He was very pleased with himself when he first accomplished handwashing all by himself, and I was also happy this baby has grown to be more independent. He initiated toothbrushing himself, as he could now see himself in the bathroom mirror and his toothbrush was right beside him when he was on the stool. He takes some water in a cup and placed it carefully on the basin.
I placed a cup in the bathroom for him to use for rinsing his mouth.
He enjoys it better when he can see himself brushing his teeth in the mirror.
I decided to start him on toothpaste, those sweet strawberry flavored ones but I only squeezed a teeny weeny bit on his toothbrush. He keeps asking me to top up the toothpaste and we would repeat this over 4 times. Nowadays it becomes quite a struggle as he insists on putting on toothpaste himself - and it's not the teeny weeny bit I usually put, but a huge blob of it!
Happy brushing my 28 month old!
Anyhow, I am glad that he now goes to brush his teeth happily. We would now need to work harder on teaching him the right and thorough way of toothbrushing.

Please share any tips you have in guiding your kids in the correct way of toothbrushing!
Sunday, June 9, 2013

Nothing easy about ABCs

These three alphabets sum up this weekend.  Unfortunately, there is nothing cheerful or upbeat about ABC (like Michael Jackson's song) when it stands for Ailments, Barney and Crying.

After two intensive work weeks, with a few nights working past midnight, I was really looking forward to spending some quality time with Aiden this weekend.  But things got off on a bad foot with me catching a bad bout of flu. Still on antibiotics and feeling weak.  Another long week is ahead but I don't feel rested at all, but I guess that's the life as working parents - the weekend is not for resting but for making up to the kids.

Anyway, we had promised Aiden that we would bring him to City Square Mall to catch the Barney & Friends Show.  So after seeing the doctor on Saturday afternoon, we rushed down to the mall to catch the 4pm show.  As we approached the carpark entrance of the mall, it was clear that the whole of Singapore were attending either the PC Show or the Barney & Friends Show.  Ironic how the self-proclaimed "First Eco-mall of Singapore" made unsuspecting motorists enter the car park when there isn't enough car park spaces.  After circling the equivalent distance of the Earth's circumference and contributing quite a bit of car exhaust fumes to the atmosphere, I finally made my way to the show area to watch Barney & Friends lipsync with Aiden and Mummy Cher.  It was only a 15 minute song and dance (can't believe many waited almost two hours for this show) but Aiden enjoyed it thoroughly.  Job done!

On Sunday however, it was crying that took center stage.  Aiden cried when he refused to put on his t-shirt, cried again when he refused to keep his toys, cried again when he insisted on being carried by Mummy Cher, and cried again when I offered to carry him.  Perhaps it was my weakened body, but my patience was really being tested today when he broke down in public.  What has happened to our sweet, understanding and obedient boy?  Is there no way to avoid the terrible curse of the "terrible two"?  I have to think about how to build his resilience to not having things his way.  Just like how he can brush it off each time he falls, perhaps the only way to stop the breakdowns is to let him breakdown all he wants until he realises that all the crying is not going to solve anything?

I've never told Aiden this before but it hurts inside to see him cry.  Both of us must be brave.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013

2 Months Old!

It has been close to 2 months since we launched PriviKids and to all of you who have supported us, we are happy to have added new styles to the wardrobes of your little ones. We were recently featured in TODAY newspaper under Style Scoop, thank you again TODAY newspaper for the feature. Read more here.

We introduced our third collection at PriviKids this week and here are some of the styles I wished I had them in adult sizes! Whenever I see mummies and their mini mes dressed in the same styles, I secretly wished I had a baby girl to play dress up with.

From the initial sourcing for designs, to the actual purchasing, photo shoots, photo selection and launching of each collection, we have painstakingly looked into every detail before delivering our edited collection of kids' apparel to your doorstep. And it puts a smile on my face every time we pack an order, as I am really pleased to dress other kids in Singapore and have our products presented as gifts for young children's birthday parties & newborn baby showers.
Like us on our facebook page if you have yet to do so to receive updates on our pop up stores, launches and promotions.

Are you in the mood to shop yet?
Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Toys For Boys (or Girls)

Do all boys necessarily have to play with lego and trains while girls play with dolls and kitchen sets? Is any toy too girly for a boy or too boyish for a girl? I personally feel that we should allow kids to explore playing with different toys and observe the way they interact and learn from each playing experience.

It does seem strange for a boy to enjoy playing dress up for his doll, or pretend play tea time with his toys, but I feel that this is part and parcel of growing up and forms part of their childhood and exploratory journey. I have been stopped by Darren when I wanted to get a kitchen set for Aiden for his 2nd birthday, and still thinks about it time to time.

I recently bought Aiden this shopping cart and specifically chose blue (over pink), but the picture still shows a girl pushing the cart. Oh well.

Extremely pleased with his new toy
We had fun role playing at home as Aiden especially enjoys his trips to the supermarket usually with my dad. I would place the merchandise at various places in the house and get him to pretend to go supermarket shopping. We also gives him a shopping list to pick out fruits for us. When he is done with his shopping, I will be the cashier, and we will pretend to scan the items. I also teach him about the concept of money, paying for his shopping and getting the right amount of change. We can play this over and over again and it's really fun for him. It's nice seeing him play 'daddy' as he will choose one of his toy to go shopping with him by placing it carefully in the cart.

Then comes Aiden the terror after he tires from role playing with me. He will throw all the merchandise around the house and refuses to pick them up. I had to remind him about the right behavior and how he should take care of his toys and treasure them. He finally relented and helped keep every piece neatly in the cart. I get really upset when he does not treasure his toys and misplace parts - as it gets very tough to play a meaningful game like when he loses a few pieces of a puzzle.

How about cartoon characters and soft toys? Are there stereotypes too? I think many of you would think it is really strange for a boy to hold on to a Hello Kitty soft toy. But he's just a two year old. He is loving his new toy now and brings it everywhere he goes. I am not too bothered, but have received some giggles and hear people say 'so wrong!'

Do you intentionally influence your kid towards gender specific toys and why?

His charming smile, with Hello Kitty (Lion)

Monday, June 3, 2013

[Daddy Matters Father's Day Special] Dear Daddy

For Father's Day, the Daddy Matters Group posted a writing challenge for us to imagine what our kids might really say to us if they were to write a letter to their father. This is what I imagine Aiden might say.

Dear Daddy,

You've always encouraged me to speak the truth, for example, when you see spilled milk on the floor, or when you find Lego bricks hidden in the weirdest places, or after you smell something pungent and you suspect I just farted.  On the last one, I sometimes suspect you were the one who farted instead and was asking loudly to divert attention away from yourself.

So anyway, I am going to tell you three hard truths.  Be brave, daddy dearest.


Whenever I do something unacceptable, you would often bring me to the side to talk about my misbehaviour and explain why I should correct it.  I would resist and disagree (by shaking my head or shouting) initially, but eventually, I would tell you that I understand and apologise.  

The truth is, alot of times I don't really understand/agree as I am only 27 months old.  For example, I reckon it's perfectly fine to use brute force to snatch a toy from another child since I don't know how to ask?  I nod my head and say sorry to you because I don't want you to be angry with me.  Please, don't be too harsh on me the next time and do remember to give me a hug at the end of the counseling ok?


The second thing is, you often tell mummy and ah ma that they should insist on a sleeping routine for me, so that I will get the amount of sleep I need at my age.  More importantly, it will also allow everyone to have a good night's sleep.  I know that my random waking hours would probably cause the Swiss or Japanese to gyrate due to shock and then spontaneously combust.  Sometimes, I might wake up 7am New Zealand time (3am Singapore).  Other times, I might choose to sleep at 10pm London time (3pm Singapore).

The truth is, I can't get into a regular sleeping routine because you come back from work at irregular hours.  I really want to see and play with you every day if possible, but mummy never tells me exactly when you will be getting off work.  And so, I would not go to sleep until you are back, even when I'm so tired after a long day in school.  Over time, my body clock is unable to settle into any form of routine.  I know that you look forward to seeing/playing with me at the end of the day, so help me help you, by coming back home earlier if possible!


Lastly, whenever you get into unpleasant traffic situations or when you are unlucky enough to cross path with a bad or inconsiderate driver, you have the urge to put pedal to the metal and transform into Michael Schumacher.  I've been told that if our car came with a flux capacitor, we would have been time travelling by now.  Anyway, I would react to the sudden acceleration by letting out a laughter that goes "Heh. Heh.".  You seem to think that I enjoy fast cars the same way that you do.  Same genes, you would tell mummy (whom by now has sweat all over her palms).

The truth is, I am wetting my diapers whenever you floor the pedal.  Please, take control of your emotions and don't let it grow into road rage.  Remember that you are carrying precious cargo (i.e. mummy and me) the next time some koo koo swerves into your lane without checking/signalling!

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Motherhood Magazine Interview on Fatherhood

Motherhood Magazine (June 2013)
It's always exciting to be featured in the press, unless we're talking about the back pages of Lianhe Wanbao where the juicy scandalous news are usually found.  So when I was approached to offer some thoughts on fatherhood for an article in the June issue of Motherhood Magazine, I readily agreed!  Afterall, I had already blogged about the topic before and it would be wonderful to share my perspective with a bigger pool of parents out there.

As such interviews go, most of the answers were left out in the editing process and didn't make it to print.  Here's all the questions and my full answers!

1.  How would you describe your parenting approach/philosophy?
My parenting goal would be to raise a happy person who tries his best in life. We treat Aiden as an adult, letting him explore the world freely (hard knocks and bruises included) but with us providing the necessary guidance and support. My views on parenting are shaped by my own experience - I grew up in a family where my estranged parents left me to my own devices without providing the necessary emotional support and guidance. While I loved the freedom I had as a child, I realised later that I was extremely lucky not to have gone down the wrong path in life. I turned out well despite of my family circumstances and I would not want to leave Aiden's life to chance.

2.  Before and after fatherhood: how has being a dad changed you?
I shared in April, in a light-hearted way, how fatherhood has changed me. Please refer to On a more serious note, the 3 biggest effects fatherhood has had on me are as follows:

Sense of purposeFatherhood has given me renewed motivation to work hard so that Aiden can have the best chance of fulfilling his potential.

Different perspective of lifeGrowing up in a family with estranged parents and in a materialistic Singapore, fatherhood has given me a very timely reminder that none of the '5Cs' are as important as the well-being of the 6th 'C' in our lives, Children.

Sense of responsibilityI have observed that Aiden would soak up what I tell or show him like a sponge and it would directly influence how he behaves. I now truly know what is the meaning of being a 'father figure' and would strive to be a better man just so Aiden can be the same.

3.  What is the biggest challenge you face as a dad, and how do you overcome it?
Work-life balance is the biggest challenge I face as a dad. While I have taken active steps to try to achieve a better balance between family, career and self, I understand and accept that this is always going to be a goal but never a destination.

Prior to having Aiden, I was working very hard at getting ahead in my career and this was very clear to my bosses. Less obvious to them and myself was why I was working so hard - was it to provide a better life for my family, or was it to satisfy my own desire to be a successful professional?

After I had Aiden, it became crystal clear to me that I was working to provide a better life for my family. To ensure that I spend more time with my family, I made the effort to become even more efficient at work. I also spoke to my bosses to let them know honestly that family would be my priority in life and it would change the way I view work. Thankfully, they were very supportive, although they were understandably disappointed to see a big change in me compared to the time before Aiden.

4.  What is the most rewarding thing about being a dad?
To see the sparkle in Aiden's (little) eyes when I see him after work - that's when I know Aiden is really happy.

5.  Please share an oft-overlooked/underrated tip/advice for other dads
Many dads tend to take the backseat when it comes to bringing up children, with reasons such as "I don't know how to do it." or "My wife can do it better.". Dads should understand that their roles are complementary to moms' role in bringing up children. We might not know how to make the best milk for our children but we can teach them how to ride a bicycle. We might not know how to feed our children but we can read them bedtime stories. A dad's role should not be just putting food on the table.
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