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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Yoga fun with CBeebies

Recently, we were invited by BBC to be part of the CBeebies Club, an exclusive club for parenting bloggers in Singapore which provides fun, educational workshops for the whole family.

The inaugural workshop, 'Yogo for Kids', was held at the Singapore Botanic Gardens earlier this month. This is a yoga class for children to learn some 'Yogo' moves that are featured in the TV series, Waybuloo.

Waybuloo is the hit CBeebies television show that explores emotions and relationships, and takes pre-school children on a journey through stories of co-operation, friendship and enjoyment. At its heart, it is a philosophy for a happy life with uplifting themes of happiness and harmony brought vividly to life through a combination of live action and cutting edge CGI animation.

To be frank, I didn't know about CBeebies or Waybuloo before - you might know that Aiden spends little time in front of the TV and iPhones/iPads.  I was however, excited about the fine print that came with the invite - the parent will be attending the yoga class together with the child.  Aiden and I are used to unrestrained goofing around playing, so I thought it would be interesting to see how we fare at *gasp* following instructions.


We reached Singapore Botanic Gardens super early at 8am and the venue was by then bathed under the most glamorous morning sun.  Aiden and I quickly picked a random yoga mat as the two instructors were about to begin.  I was abit apprehensive at first as Aiden can be quite stubborn when he decides on doing something, or in this case, not doing something.  He was also one of the younger ones as the class was meant for kids up to about 8 years old.  Thankfully, with the help of the calming voices of the instructors and the interesting method of leading the class - using a series of connecting stories and creative imagery, Aiden managed to follow the instructions and had fun in the process!

We started with closing our eyes to listen to the birds chirping and feeling the warmth on our faces.  We then slowly went through various yoga poses without us even realising, pretending to be big birds, cats, trees, mice, bridges etc.  See if you can make out which pose is which!


We might not be the most elegant yoga partners but it sure was fun!  The picnic breakfast and goodie bag provided by the thoughtful organisers completed our perfect morning.  Looking forward to the next activity already!

Aiden is wearing the Flag Print T-Shirt from our store PriviKids.

More about Waybuloo
The series is set in a magical place called Nara; a land of happiness and laughter that’s home to four animated Piplings – Yojojo, Lau Lau, Nok Tok and De Li – who interact with children to explore and experience natural and spontaneous routes to happiness: through warmth, friendship, co-operation and citizenship.

The educational emphasis of Waybuloo is upon personal, social & emotional development and in each episode, six children known as Cheebies – visit the world of Nara to help the Piplings explore new situations and the emotions that arise from them. Through Waybuloo, children are able to understand their emotions in a way that no other pre-school series has done before. Every episode will explore a theme specially chosen for children who are starting to think more independently, and displaying greater curiosity about the world they inhabit.

Watch Waybuloo on CBeebies (StarHub channel 303) every day at 10.30am, 2.30pm, 6.30pm and 10.30pm throughout July. After that, visit for more scheduling information, as well as Waybuloo games and videos.
Sunday, July 28, 2013

A dent in good parenting

Everyday, we encounter situations where our character and morals are put to the test.  It could be something huge - do you jump into the pool to save a drowning person? Or, it could be something insignificant - do you clean up after your dog in the park?  For parents, the significance of our decisions is usually doubled.  It puts us to the test, and it also puts our children through a lesson.  This weekend, I unfortunately witnessed first hand how a learning opportunity was squandered by another parent.

My car was parked at Downtown East and I was heading back to get some stuff from the car.  There was a grey MPV parked beside and I saw this middle aged man opening the rear door towards my car. He looked like he was taking an unusually long look at his door and instinctively, I felt that something was wrong. It must be the Spider Man movie that I caught on TV the night before as my spider sense proved to be right.  I checked the right side of my white car and notice a new dent with a bit of grey paint on it.  I didn't want to accuse anybody so I went up to the grey MPV to take a closer look as it stopped at the drop off point nearby.  True enough, the edge of the rear door of the grey MPV had a scratch with white paint on it and at the same height as my dent.

The driver must have felt that I was standing too close to his car as he got out of his car to see what I am up to.  I asked him point blank whether he caused a dent in my car and showed him the matching points of contact and paint colour.

He didn't answer my question but instead reacted defensively by saying that his car has many dents caused by other people too.  He then said that the fresh scratch that I pointed out on his car must have been created along with some other scratches on the side of the door.

I told him that was obviously a lie and he should admit to his mistake.  I wasn't going to make him pay.  In fact, if he could be a gentleman and apologise for an unintentional act, that would suffice.

He gave an arrogant smirk before his parting shot - "You can't prove it."

In return, I took a good look at his kids, wife and maid in his car and told him that while I cannot prove it, his kids will in time mimic his bad behaviour.

It was easy for that man to avoid apologising to a stranger today, but I think he would have a difficult time teaching his loved ones the values of honesty and courage tomorrow.  The dent might physically be in my car, but the real lasting dent lies within the vehicle with the registration number SJL5345R.
Thursday, July 25, 2013

And it's a Girl!

Ever since finding out I was pregnant again after a bad episode last Nov, I was elated. But also got more 'pantang' and decided to keep this under wraps until the second trimester at least. With me really busy at work, I also sort of cruised through the first trimester amidst the heightened nauseousness, food cravings, sensitivity to smells, giddiness, drowsiness and extreme fatigue.

After seeing our gynae at week 18, and him telling us that he sees a white spot between the legs so it is likely to be a boy, I did not have high hopes of having a girl.

We went for the detailed scan today at almost 20 weeks and I was really happy to see that baby is growing well. And another piece of good news is that we are having a baby girl! As much as I love boys, it is a nice balance to have a boy and a girl and I am thrilled to have a mini me and being able to dress her up and have her model for us! I've got to stop myself from shopping for a baby girl, but I have already started to do so in our own store.

So how different is this pregnancy vs. when I was expecting Aiden?

#1: I can afford to be more selfish and self centered when I was expecting Aiden as we did not have a child to care for then. Even now, I am lucky to have my parents helping out with Aiden so I can get sufficient rest (though this is very often spent catching up on work). 

#2: Tummy showed up earlier when I was about 3 months. And colleagues have commented how my tummy appears to be rounder this time. I am also heavier to begin with for this pregnancy.

#3: Bloatedness began earlier in my feet (got to get new shoes for work), my fingers (could not put on the wedding band now), face, oh well, everywhere and as early as 15 weeks! 

Generally, I felt that symptoms were pretty similar for me.

#1: Always feeling nauseous especially on taxi rides where the driver seemed to drive like a drunkard, but never puked.

#2: Very often having blocked nose, flu & cough.

#3: Extreme fatigue. I have dropped my iPhone on my face while surfing as I dozed off in bed!

#4: No serious cravings, seriously. 

At the mid-point of this pregnancy, I've got to remind myself to be happy and relax more. It helps to have the understanding of Daddy Darren as he accompanies Aiden while I get some shut eye, and does most of the housework. I really enjoy spending time alone with him and will work towards having more regular just the two of us dates. With our family of 4 come December, I am sure it wouldn't be easy to cope but I am looking forward nonetheless!
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Painful Experience: There Goes His Tooth

Nothing pains a parent more than seeing their kid in pain and not being able to take their place or ease the pain. An unfortunate accident in school last Monday resulted in Aiden having to go under general anesthesia for his root canal treatment at 29 months old.

On the way home with Daddy Darren after my gynae visit, my mum sent me some pictures of Aiden. As soon as I saw the pictures, I noticed something amiss. His tooth looked different, and from the blurry picture, it looked like a sharp vampire tooth. I was pretty upset (my first thought was how he didn't look good without perfect teeth now!) and was anxious to find out what happened. As soon as we spoke, it seemed that Aiden had a fall in school earlier in the day and cut his lips. His tooth may have chipped during the accident. We rushed to the school so we could find out more but it was closed when we reached, so we drove to see Aiden. I felt so angry as we were not informed of his fall - how irresponsible was that.

Left: A day before the accident, Right: The chipped front tooth
Aiden didn't show signs of pain when we saw him. He told us how he ran and fell down in school earlier today. Visibly, the wound on his lower lip was still fresh and he was still bleeding slightly.

The next morning, I went to see his principal and the teacher in charge when the accident happened. First of all, the principal was not informed of this accident and Aiden's fall. The teacher explained to me how the floor was wet from spilled water and Aiden ran, slipped and fell when she turned to get a cloth to clean up the spill. I was mad, how negligent was that? How do they expect a class of two year olds to understand the danger of running on wet surfaces? When questioned on why she did not call to inform myself or Daddy Darren, she said that she had told my dad of the incident when he fetched Aiden and had him sign an incident report (which wasn't an accurate account anyway). The incident report also mentioned 'Informed parent', which she conveniently asked my dad to sign. I was shocked and made it clear to the principal that the school should call and inform us when there is such a fall. They did not check closely to notice a chip in his front tooth either. And they got my dad to sign on the inaccurate incident report.

The next few days were spent going to dentists, consultations and arranging to do the recommended procedure - root canal treatment soonest possible to minimize the pain of the exposed nerve in his tooth. The brave boy followed me as we went to the different clinics and hospital, and did not make a fuss when he had to see the dentist for the first time. In fact, we went to 3 consultations to ensure that the recommended treatment was the best solution, that he has to undergo GA, and to arrange for the soonest possible date for the procedure. 
Waiting to see the dentist
Examining his chipped tooth
An xray to make sure his roots are not affected
Finally we managed to arrange for the procedure to take place last Thursday morning at Gleneagles. The boy had to go through a few routine checks before his operation, and he felt discomfort even with us around.

 It was time to get him dressed for the op, and it took some coaxing to get him to change into this.

I had to put on a really brave front so Aiden would also feel confident and assured. Seeing him lay on the oversized bed and pushed towards the operating theatre, I felt a tinge of sadness. He was quiet for awhile, and I knew he was worried and a little scared. As more nurses, doctors came to see him, he was also getting more cranky and wanted to hold me and be close. I accompanied him into the operating theatre where they applied GA and it was a struggle I really couldn't bear see as they made him breathe into the mask. I had to leave when they started the procedure and under an hour, they called us back.

It was so heartbreaking to see my boy feeling lost, wailing loudly and inconsolably when I saw him after his operation. He wanted to get out of bed even when he was still feeling groggy. I carried him close to me as soon as they removed the drip from his hand. I could see him in pain as he cried and pointed to his teeth and hand saying, 'Pain, mummy pain'. This lasted almost an hour and he calmed down when we returned to his ward.  I felt so helpless then. Though I know that holding him close in my arms would comfort him, it couldn't ease the pain he was going through.

Throughout this, the school contacted me to be updated on his condition. I felt that they were slightly threatened that we would make a big fuss and complained or even sue them after the recent child abuse incident at My First Skool. It really was an oversight on their part that led to this unfortunate incident. We hope this incident would serve as a reminder to them to ensure safety in the environment where kids as young as 18 months old roam freely. This could happen to any other kid, and it could have been worse than a broken tooth.

I am happy to see Aiden bounce back to his self after the procedure. It also reminded me how resilient and strong kids are, though it pains me to have to see him go through this at a young age. Hopefully he doesn't remember this in time to come and be the happy boy he has always been.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

GRUB @ Bishan Park

GRUB recently sprung up among the lush greenery of Bishan Park and is already drawing in the big crowds.  The family and pet friendly food oasis awards patient customers with a relaxing vibe, responsible eats, and respite from your busy lifestyle.  The waiting time for a table may be long, but with 62 hectares of parkland around you and a nifty tablet based automated queue system (enter your details into the system and you will get an automated phone call informing you that your table is ready), you have the perfect excuse to get out in the sun for some playtime with your kids or pets in the meantime.

Relaxing vibe

As you settle down in your seat, you might feel like you have arrived at one of those trendy restaurants at Dempsey Hill.  High ceilings, large black frame windows and an exposed brick wall juxtaposed with cement screed walls definitely feel familiar.  However, take a closer look around and you would notice that most of the patrons are families with children and people with dogs.  The relaxing vibe does not just come from the surrounding greenery and cool outdoor seating, but also from knowing that the antics of your misbehaving child or pet would not raise the eyebrows of other patrons.  Not when they also have their own misbehaving child or pet to deal with!  Unless you really cannot stand the heat, the best seats in the house are outdoors.

 Responsible eats

Luckily, responsible eating at GRUB doesn't involve serving only celery and apples.  Instead, GRUB believes in using responsible ingredients such as grass fed, free range cows and antibiotic and growth hormones free chickens, all freshly prepared and free from additives, preservatives and MSG.  Families that don't wish to introduce their children to sinful fast food can satisfy their cravings here.

We had the GRUB cheeseburger ($11), crispy fish burger ($12) and churros with dark chocolate and tangy creme anglaise ($8).  While the cheeseburger was very well put together - well-cooked and juicy meat patty enveloped by soft melted cheese, fresh and crisp greens, topped by a picture perfect bun, the crispy fish burger was abit of a let down.  Well, it wasn't the fluffy type that you could even get at MOS Burger.  Perhaps it was overcooked, since it tasted dry.  Saving grace was the fries that came with both burgers, being crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside even when cold.

The last time we had churros was way back in 2008 in Spain, so it was always going to be an uphill battle for GRUB.  The churros itself tasted fine and it is difficult to go wrong with melted chocolate.  The creme anglaise did not go well with the churros though, as the custard was too light/watery to be picked up.  Aiden seemed to love it though, but I suspect he's more interested in the chocolate than anything else.


Perhaps the phrase "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" holds true here at the GRUB @ Bishan Park.  The eatery itself might not be worth a visit (and the wait) without the surrounding greenery and many fun features of the park, while the park itself might not be enticing enough as a one-stop destination (like the East Coast Park) without GRUB providing a cool place to rest tired legs and fill empty stomachs.

A bit like the GRUB cheeseburger that I'm still thinking of.

Aiden playing bubbles with his cousins.


510, Ang Mo Kio Ave 1 (Bishan Park 1)
Singapore 569983

Travel along CTE towards SLE and take exit Ang Mo Kio Ave 1. Continue for about 2km and turn left at Marymount Rd. Keep right for 450m and turn right to Sin Ming Ave. Travel along Sin Ming Ave for 800m and turn into first car park on the right (opposite Blk 408). Grub is right across the bridge. (marker A)

Public Transport:
From Bishan MRT Station (North-South Line NS17 & Circle Line CC15), take bus no. 52 or 410W (NOT 410G). After passing The Salvation Army on your right, alight at the 3rd bus stop [no. 53349]. 

Opening hours

Tue – Fri:  5:30pm – 10:30pm
Sat, Sun and PH:  9:00am – 2:30pm,  5:30pm – 10:30pm

Kitchen closes at 2pm and 9:45pm daily.

GRUB is closed on Mondays and the last Tuesday of every month.

Aiden is wearing the Up, Up & Away T-Shirt from our store PriviKids.
Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fixing the COE system

The Tata Nano, now available in a new paint colour called "The Singapore COE"

As the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Judging by the way Certificate of Entitlement (COE) prices have defied gravity even with the recently added weight of car-cooling measures, Singapore's unique car ownership scheme must be thoroughly broken?

And many solutions (with some being very creative) have been offered to fix the system, if only the 'gahment' would listen.  But are these real solutions?  Or would they prove to be duds like removing taxis from COE bidding exercise.  We take a closer look at the more popular ones below and offer a suggestion of our own.

1. Use engine power/OMV to determine COE categories, instead of engine capacity

This suggestion has a flawed assumption - rich people are pushing up the prices of the Category A as they are buying the low engine capacity, high power luxury cars.  The truth is, many well to do families don't buy luxury marques.  For every high flying banker/businessman picking up their flashy Porsche 911s, there are many more who think a Toyota Vios is the most practical car to have in Singapore, regardless of their wealth.  That is why the prices of Category A and Category B COEs historically do not vary much and generally move in tandem.  They reflect the interaction between general demand versus supply, and not the gradual influx of luxury marques into Category A.

2. Stricter car financing measures

Remove the marginal car buyers from the car market to reduce the demand for COEs.  With a lower demand, prices will fall and I will be able to buy my dream car!  Right? Wrong.  They only thing it does is to make us realise that we have just become the latest marginal car buyer.  That is why COE prices have rebounded post-cooling measure to over $70,000 after the initial wait-and-see attitude of rich car buyers waned.

3. Balloting system or any system that favours certain groups of people

If HDB can do it, so can LTA?  This is a fair system, as we should remove money from the equation and let the needy families with children/Singaporeans/Singaporeans who served NS/families with maids/salespeople/old people/pregnant people/people living near parents/people living not near parents/people living near faulty MRT lines (delete as appropriate) have a shot at car ownership?  Well, these are obviously all self-serving suggestions.  And this might even lead to a black market for COEs.  Think NDP tickets. 

The car ownership conundrum

So what could be the solution then, you might ask.  The way I see it, the root of the high COE prices is too much money chasing after too few COEs.  It is not going to be fixed, as long as the income inequality remains high, as long as the car population size needs to be contained, and as long as people continue to desire spanking new cars.

Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about the first two.  However, on the bright side, we might be able to do something about the third problem. 

A fresh perspective on car ownership

Perhaps our attitudes on the lifespan of cars have been shaped by the ticking of the 10-year COE clock.  Cars approaching the 10 year mark are shunned by the majority of car buyers here.  Actually, most cars would be able to last more than 10 years, especially in Singapore where people service their cars regularly and generally under-use them.  If the government can come up with incentives to encourage people to buy the older, say 7-10 year old cars, I think it would help those who really need a set of wheels and spread out the demand.

This could come in the form of cheaper and shorter (say $6,000 for 3 years) COE extensions for people buying over the 7-10 year old cars.  The cheaper COE extension would lower the overall cost of ownership for these buyers.  Additionally, a salary cap could apply to prevent high income folks from entering this market.  This way, the mass market might have a financially viable way to finally own a car.

Perhaps it is not the COE system that needs to be fixed, but rather our attitudes on car ownership?
Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mummy's boy, Daddy's girl?

Are two year old toddlers necessarily closer to mummy? Or are boys generally closer to mummy and girls closer to daddy?

Since he was a baby, Aiden is more clingy to me on most days.

Now at 29 month old, he wants my company when he plays with his toy trains, building Lego, fix jigsaw puzzles and read storybooks. I have to admit I really enjoy alone time with him but sometimes I just need some time to myself or to catch up a little on rest and he starts throwing tantrums or can't last a few minutes playing independently.

Barney fever
Both Daddy Darren and me discipline him and Aiden is more fearful of Daddy's scolding than mine. Sometimes he can't get over Daddy's scoldings and says he is scared of Daddy or that he doesn't want Daddy to accompany him. This really breaks  Daddy's heart. At times I really need a breather, to use the toilet, to have a quick shower and he refuses to spend some time alone with Daddy. What could we have done to make this more balanced or even for him to stick more to his dad?

With us expecting a baby this Dec, I do hope to intentionally have Daddy and baby bond more so that I can spend more time with Aiden and to seek a balance as well.

Do share your thoughts and tips on this!

At Aiden's second birthday dinner

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Second thoughts on the My First Skool child abuse case

Aiden with one of his favourite teachers.
Shock, anger and condemnation.

I think these are the most immediate reactions of people who viewed the child abuse video that went viral since Sunday.  The follow-up actions were just as swift, with the school management dismissing the 51 year old pre-school teacher, and the government making their stand on the issue very clear, by Monday night.

To us parents, there will be an added element of pain.  The pain comes from putting ourselves in the shoes of the parents of the 3 year old who was being handled roughly by the pre-school teacher at My First Skool Toa Payoh Central.  Allegedly, the acts of the pre-school teacher caused a fracture in his shin.  It is no wonder why many of us hope that we would never have to go through this ordeal with our own kids.

But, perhaps, we should leave the shock, anger, condemnation and pain aside for a moment and view the incident from another angle?

No.  If you are one of those ridiculous people online who think a naughty child could possibly 'deserve' such a treatment, shame on you.  Personally, I don't believe in corporal punishment.  There is something inherently wrong in trying to correct or stop a non-civil behavior with another non-civil behavior.

Instead, let's think about it.  The perpetrator does not fit the profile of someone capable of child abuse.  The pre-school teacher is an elderly 51 year old lady, has been a teacher for 16 years, had no prior compliants and was working part-time at the school.  I think that something as unbearable as the act of child abuse itself must have happened to her to trigger such an outburst from a seasoned educator with a clean record.

I'm not saying it is justifiable, but I don't believe such a person would suddenly decide that it is alright to mishandle a child like that.  I would even say that it might be understandable why she abused the child.  It could be due to illness, medication, stress (work, physical, emotional, financial), family issues, a series of unfortunate events, etc.  It is somewhat like the recent case where a young mother allegedly threw his own 9 year old son down from the fifth floor of their flat.  Tragic and unbearable, but there are could be understandable reasons (medical or otherwise).

As I see it, there are two deeply troubling observations.  The first was that the school attempted to cover up the abuse by informing the child's parents that he had a fall in school, and the second was that no other adult present at the school attempted to stop the act of child abuse happening right in front of their eyes.

Does this mean that we have a culture in our pre-schools of accepting such cover up for fear of backlash from over-protective parents?  Does this mean that the system has over time moulded generations of teachers that would find such acts of abuse justifiable?

If the answer to the two questions is 'Yes', then we should really react with shock, anger and condemnation.  And I hope the follow-up actions to these problems would be just as swift.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Kith Cafe at Quayside Isle (Sentosa Cove)

Crowds, crowds everywhere - words that sum up Singapore on weekends.  And for families with kids in tow, dinner options that come with more space and shorter queues are as desirable as the Hello Kitty Singing Bone doll from McDonalds.  One such option would be the Quayside Isle, situated next to the equally new W Singapore (hotel and residences), within the Sentosa Cove enclave.

The Quayside Isle offers a wide range of dining options (from fast food concepts to sports bars to cafes to opulent restaurants), with a view that transports you to a place quite unlike Singapore. Think gentle seabreeze, beautiful boats, luxurious condominiums, walks along the waterfront/viewing decks and yes, no crowds.

So, this is how the rich live it up in Singapore!  You can come dressed in your casuals, as this is more like the kopitiam of the Sentosa Cove residents, without summon aunties looking out for expired parking coupons.  I'm sure the owners of the swanky boats pay monthly berthing fees on time.

I first visited the place on a Friday night to celebrate a friend's birthday over seafood and drinks at the Quayside Fish Bar and Bistro. The best time to visit would be before 7pm to catch the sun setting over the horizon before adjourning for dinner.  It was pretty relaxing experience that night, so I decided to give the place a try on a Saturday night with Mummy Cher and Aiden.

When we arrived at close to 8pm, most of the F&B establishments did not have queues, although there were quite a few restaurants that looked pretty packed with happy diners.  We had a short stroll along the waterfront while checking out each restaurant before settling on the Kith Cafe.

What we like about this place is that it serves fuss-free Australian cuisine in a bright open space/layout.  You won't feel the need to watch over your kids every second for fear of them breaking something expensive or disturbing other patrons who might have come for a romantic dining experience.  The best seats in the cafe are undeniably the outdoor tables, with two tables right beside three different types of rocking/bouncing horses.  They even have animal biscuits, a popular kids snack for sale at 50 cents a cup!

Most patrons went for the pasta dishes but the mixed grill platter ($32) that I ordered was quite good as well.  Mummy Cher had the Gnocchi Bolognese ($18) which was a tad heavy in taste.  Avoid the fries in truffle oil ($9.50) though, as you can't really get much taste of both the potato and the truffle.

31 Ocean Way
Quayside isle
Singapore 098375

Opening hours
Everyday 8am - 10pm ( Closed on Tue )
+65 6734 9007

For reviews on other Quayside isle F&B establishments, do check out this review at Ladyironchef.
Sunday, July 7, 2013

Of iPhones and iPads

There are too many toddlers and kids who are addicted to these gadgets.

In shopping malls, I see them glued to the screens while chauffeured around in their prams. During mealtimes, only a screen in front of them would coax them to open their golden mouths. At bedtime, only a long time spent on these gadgets will lull them to slumberland. This lessens human interaction and cuts off their sense of curiosity and discovery of their surroundings, and worsens eye sight!

I'm lucky to say that at 28 month old, Aiden occasionally plays on the iPad and often watches YouTube videos on songs for kids but he's never reliant on these or addicted. And I hope to keep it this way.

I feel guilty at times when I'm too exhausted to wake up so early with him especially on weekends. I'd pass him the iPad with a coloring app or interactive games that he can play independently.

I'm amazed at how toddlers can intuitively and so quickly learn how to navigate these gadgets. Sometimes playing video after video on the iPhone to entertain him while I catch up on some sleep. So I'm glad to say he isn't all addicted, yet, despite me shoving them his way at times,

He's happy piecing jigsaw puzzles with me, coming up with new creations with his Lego and imaginary play and talk with his train set, cars, lorries and bikes. He enjoys reading bedtime stories with me- an activity I really enjoy with him as its bonding time and I am happy he likes and picks up words quickly. In the last six months, I'd have to say that Aiden picked up so many new words and can link them in sentences though he needs to work on pronunciation. He is also very into music and dance and I am always happy to hear him singing happily away - totally in tune though words are muffled. Makes me feel rewarded for singing to him since he was a baby.

Is your kid addicted to the iPad or iPhone? How do you balance this with the traditional toys and encourage more human face time?

Father & son bonding over a video
Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Birthday to Mummy

It was Mummy Cher's birthday two Saturdays ago.  After stuffing ourselves silly with the buffet spread at Melt - The World Cafe (Mandarin Oriental) the day before, we were looking to celebrate her big 3-0 with Aiden on Saturday with a different theme - less food and more fun.  And what an apt choice we made in deciding on the EatPlayLove Craft Cafe.  We read that the place offers food, crafting fun for kids in a laid back setting.  Sounds perfect for a lazy/hazy Saturday so to 28 Aliwal Street we went!

EatPlayLove Craft Cafe is nestled among the shophouses along Aliwal Street, near Haji Lane.  The bohemian vibe of the better known street can be felt in the Aliwal Arts Centre as well where the cafe is located.  There is a public carpark right opposite the cafe but finding available lots could be difficult.  Alternatively, you may want to park at the Sultan Plaza along Jalan Sultan.

First impressions of the cafe were very good.  The Tiffany blue walls, the quirky posters, the well stocked crafting corners and the upcycled tables made from wooden crates inspire you to take it easy and embrace your creative side.

As liberated as we felt, we experienced the cafe in the same order as its name - Eat first, then play, then love.


We were surprised to find that the prices of the food were very affordable at around $10 for mains.  There were many Thai dishes on the menu, but since we just had Thai food recently, we opt for the western options.  Grilled fish for me and chicken chop for Mummy Cher.  We also ordered a small Milo flavoured MommaHero (from local brand The Tiramisu Hero) while we waited for the mains to arrive.

While the MommaHero was moist and flavourful, the grilled fish and chicken chop were a disappointment.  I think your regular kopitiam would serve better tasting western food than the cafe.  Perhaps the Thai dishes would be much better.  We did observe that most patrons ordered the rice/Asian dishes.


The biggest selling point of the cafe is the two crafting corners where you can have some fun with your kids.  You are free to use all the materials there!  One looks smaller than the other but the staff told us that both corners are equally stocked in terms of variety.  So I guess you should just go to the corner with fewer people to avoid fighting with other kids haha.  It costs $5 for 2 hours of play time on weekdays.  On weekends and public holidays, it costs $7.50 for 1 hour or $10 for 2 hours.  Additional hours at chargeable at $5.  Unless you are planning to create something that would put Martha Stewart to shame, 2 hours would be the maximum time that you need.

All I wanted to create with Aiden was a birthday card for Mummy Cher, so I paid for 1 hour of crafting time and got down to it straightaway.

It was my first time doing art and craft with Aiden and I enjoyed myself very much.  I know that he does some crafting in school (they return to us all his creations at the end of each month), but frankly, I'm not sure whether it was the teachers that do all the work.  In the end, it was a wonderful experience for me as much as it was for Aiden!

On the piece of A4 paper, I marked out the areas where the garden, the tree, the sun and the sky would be in pencil.  Told Aiden about the plan and I must say we make a great team!  He picks the pieces that he wanted to paste, I helped him put the glue on it and he would paste it on the paper.  I must say he understood my concept very well, other than his very bold interpretation of how the sun should look like.


It was $7.50 well spent, as Mummy Cher loved our creation!  We ended the day at my in-law's place with a cake and candles.  All very important as Aiden had been looking forward to eating his chocolate cake, blowing the candles and singing the birthday song to Mummy Cher ever since we told him Mummy's birthday is coming.  He says Mummy is 3 years old.

It is usually the simplest celebration that warms the heart.

Aiden is wearing the Tie Die T-Shirt with Vest from our store PriviKids.
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