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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sick Child Of Mine

As a full time working mum, whenever your child falls sick and can't go to childcare, it will be a crazy day. Aiden was down with fever, cough and runny nose last week, and he was too sick to go to school.

The night before, this boy couldn't get to sleep with a stuffy nose. When he finally did after midnight, I went to my room but woke up at 2am and 4am to his cries and whining. I ended up not sleeping much, attending to him, sponging him to keep the temperature down and I squeezed myself on his bed as it was too much hassle going to and fro my room to check on him. At 32 weeks pregnant, it was really an uncomfortable night for me.

I applied for urgent leave on Wednesday but had to settle a few outstanding issues at work before I can go. Lugging Aiden along, I went to office to sort out the issues and took my laptop home to work & prepare for a conference call the same afternoon.

Since we are out in town, I ran a few errands, brought this sick boy to an indoor playground which helped lower his temperature after sweating it out. And it was a rare occasion the two of us had lunch on our own, before heading back home.

The piggy buns he ordered but didn't eat as he had no appetite
Back home, the boy became so hyperactive he got on my nerves as he should be napping after his medicine to get better. After much persistence from me, he finally fell asleep but woke up within an hour! I couldn't get much work done, so I was pretty harsh on him to return to bed - great job here as he slept 3-6pm while I squeezed in as much work I can.

The next few days, I returned to work but was down with sore throat, cough and flu. It's such a terrible feeling and my ballooning belly is not helping either as I feel aches from walking.

Let me get better soon, I do need the energy for this last few weeks before Ava arrives.
Monday, October 21, 2013

Keeping toddlers entertained, without using iPhones!

A couple of weeks ago, we finally found a pocket of time to bring Aiden to a nearby park (in between a photoshoot for the new arrivals at PriviKids and shopping for furniture for the baby room) to test out the top speed on his scooter.  Unfortunately, with just a road separating us and an afternoon of fun, what greeted us was a thunderstorm that came so suddenly!

We ended up getting stuck at the void deck of a HDB block, with no where to go and limited dry floor space to scoot around.  Luckily, Mummy Cher had the foresight of bringing along bottle bubbles and we ended up having so much fun at the gloomiest of places.  As you can see, Aiden didn't cared that he looked absolutely ridiculous (and perhaps overly cautious) playing with bubbles while wearing a helmet.

And that got me thinking.  In times where many parents readily hand over the iPhone/iPad to keep their toddlers entertained, is there a better and equally convenient way to do so without the use of any electronic device?  I ended up with 5 essential things that can be packed into baby bags for every outing!

1. Bottle bubbles

Kids just love chasing bubbles and trying to burst them.  If there's enough space, you can do the blowing while moving around and your toddlers will get a good workout chasing the bubbles without even realising!  Just make sure that the bottles are sealed/closed properly when not in use.  You don't want the soapy water to leak out!

2. Stickers

Light weight, easy to keep and cheap to buy, stash a few pieces of stickers into your bag and surprise your toddler when they get restless.  They will have lots of fun practising their fine motor skills (i.e. peeling and pasting) and you can also get them to talk through their choices (of which ones to remove and where to paste them).

3. Crayons and paper

Let's face it.  Digital photos rarely get viewed again after being taken, and digital paintings done on iPads seldom gets printed out.  Artwork done by your toddler with crayons and paper is more likely to be remembered and treasured, even though it would not look as polished than one created with an iPad app.  You will see and feel every stroke made with the crayon very clearly and it makes a fantastic item to paste in your work cubicle to remind yourself of your precious little one!

4. Favourite storybook

Toddlers just love repeating stuff (it helps them to absorb), and when it comes to their favourite storybook, they just can't get enough of it!  Seriously, we have lost count of the number of times Aiden has asked us to repeat the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar!  And he enjoys the story every single time!  We reckon it's a better way to bond with your child by reading a story to them, compared to having them listen to a pre-recorded audio book.

5. Plenty of imagination

Last but not least, this is something that you can pack in unlimited amounts.  Just use your imagination to think up mini-games to occupy your toddler!  Turn the void deck into a racing strip, or a shootout with hands as imaginary guns.  Take turns to improvise on lyrics to their favourite songs (we love Aiden's rendition of the Bob the Builder song - Daddy daddy, can you fix it! Aiden aiden, yes I can!).  Anything is possible!

So, try to leave your electronic devices in your pockets and bags the next time you need to entertain your toddler!  Have fun!
Thursday, October 17, 2013

Amazing Mummy

Being a mum to 32 month old Aiden, there are so many things I amaze myself since becoming mummy and also so many things I learn and experience. Are these familiar to you?

1) Hearing everything from the next room, even when I am dead tired (especially when your child is sick)

2) Sleeping through breastfeeding especially during night feeds (so looking forward to this... not?)

3) Reading bedtime stories which didn't make sense as I am dozing off before him

4) Jumping out of bed when you hear a baby's crying even on nights when your child is sleeping over at grandma's

5) Showers under five minutes

6) Toilet break under three minutes & patiently saying 'Mummy's coming out darling' while he bangs continuously on the bathroom door

7) Having the energy to play after a hard day's work

8) No matter how tired, a hug and a kiss from your child will melt your fatigue away (momentarily at least)

9) Saying too many 'No's and regretting it when your child starts saying 'NO' to his baths, mealtimes, school and so on

10) Not losing my cool when there are umpteen spills at mealtimes as he learns to feed himself

11) Feeling guilty not spending enough time with him, and making it up with gifts (which isn't always the right thing to do)

12) Hoping he will sleep earlier or take longer naps though I want to spend more quality time with him

13) 80% of your phone content is all about your child

14) No more sleeping in on weekends, instead, jumping up early to prepare for the day ahead with him

15) Singing kids songs aloud in the car and everywhere else with him

16) Turning to my parents for tips on treating a cold//cut/bruise and to baby sit when I really need a breather

17) Seeing my parents in a different light, how self sacrificing parents can be for their children

18) Screaming 'be careful', 'don't run' all day long

19) Putting him first and above all else (as much as I can)

20) Secretly wished I had more time to myself for simple pleasures like uninterrupted showers, quiet meals and longer deeper sleep
Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reviewed: De Hygienique Mattress and Sofa Cleaning Service

Special for our readers!

10% discount on De Hygienique's cleaning services!  To enjoy the promotion, appointment bookings must be made by 30th November 2013.  Please inform their Customer Service when booking the appointment that you got to know about De Hygienique through our blog.

People who have been to our house would usually comment on how neat and tidy it is.  They are being kind though, as I may be closer to having the obsessive compulsive disorder than just being neat.  But I have to admit, that when it comes to the cleanliness of my mattress and sofa, these are just about the tools I am armed with since moving into our new place in April 2012.

Just spray and tell yourself that it's clean.
Smack that!
Frankly, all Febreze does is to mask the odour and give you the impression of cleanliness (read about the dangers of Febreze).  And there's only so much your hand can do to dislodge dust by slapping on things, unless of course you are some martial arts expert, or Ip Man.

Ip Man's patented cleaning technique to achieve whiter whites.
So when De Hygienique approached us to give their cleaning services a go in exchange for a honest review, we gladly welcomed them into our house!

De Hygienique is Singapore's leading soft furnishing cleaning service provider, specialising in cleaning and sanitising of mattress, carpet/rug and upholstery. They are the first professional cleaning service provider in Singapore to introduce soft furnishing cleaning treatment using 100% dry, or low moisture, and chemical safe cleaning technologies from Europe.

Last Saturday, we tried out their 100% Dry and Chemical Free Mattress Cleaning Treatment as well as the Low Moisture Upholstery Cleaning Treatment.  Here's what we think of their service:

1. Timeliness

First impressions were good, as they arrived 10 mins early for the 9 to 11am time slot.  I'm sure many of you would have experienced service providers that arrive late for your bookings, leaving you frustrated as your other appointments for the day would have to be pushed back, or worse, cancelled.  So I was really pleasantly surprised to have them arrive and ready to start at 9am sharp!  However, their bookings are open from 9am to 6pm, Mondays to Saturdays, so I was a little disappointed to not have the option of choosing weekend nights.  That would really help many dual-income families like ours.

2. Efficiency

I was told by their Manager that they would send at least a team of 2 to each booking to ensure maximum efficiency.  Their training was very apparent too, as each step of the cleaning process was smoothly performed with no waiting around.  I didn't want to deliberately slow them down so that I could observe the actual service experience and I have to say that I almost didn't have time to take enough photos!  The Manager also mentioned that they would conservatively estimate the service duration based on the extent of the work, so that they can keep to the time slot communicated to customers.  For our session, they were super efficient (even with me buzzing around taking photos) and were done cleaning our 2 mattresses and 1 sofa in just 1 hour.  That to me is how service providers should be - under-promise and over-deliver!

3. Service knowledge

I was impressed with the product knowledge of the Manager.  He was able to explain in layman terms exactly how each step of the process contributes to the overall cleanliness of the mattresses and sofa.  I've had other service providers who would just go through the motion not knowing why they are doing what they are told to do, so De Hygienique's professionalism really impressed me.  No wonder they have been in the cleaning business since 2003.

Citrus spray to combat dust mites.
Tracking stickers provided so that you know when the last service was. Thoughtful!
4. Honesty

What I also appreciated was the honesty of the service.  The Manager did not mind telling upfront that the puke stains on my mattress (thanks to Aiden) cannot be removed by their system (luckily it gets covered up by bed sheets anyway!) and while deep sanitising of my fabric sofa will be achieved, the system will not be able to remove all stains.  His honesty put me at ease, as frankly, my main objective is having a well sanitised home rather than one that only looks clean.

Puke stains looking disgusting!
 5. Effectiveness

I will not bore you with the technical details of the service (you can read about it at De Hygienique's website), but it is obvious to me that their cleaning system does exactly what it says it does.

The mattress cleaning system thoroughly removed embedded dirt, dust particles, dead skin flakes and effectively eliminated microorganisms and allergens. Just look at how much rubbish it picks up on our bed after just 1 minute of treatment! Shocking that we are breathing in all these day in day out!

Demo time.

Dust! Dust everywhere!
They call it a system as they also use an in-built UV-C light that was specially designed for the purpose of disinfecting the mattress, as well as a chemical safe solution (sprayed on the mattress) that will help delay the re-infestation of dust mites.  The best part is that the system is 100% dry, so there is no downtime at all (how many of us are lucky enough to have spare beds in the house?)!

Well-trained staff.
Aiden's stuffed toys getting some sun while the bed is getting cleaned.
For the deep cleaning of our fabric sofa, the cleaning treatment included the thorough vacuuming of the sofa set to remove embedded dust and dirt particles, shampooing of fabric and sanitisation to eliminate bacteria and allergens.  In order to achieve deep cleaning, low moisture shampooing is used, so you would have to wait a couple of hours (and have good weather on your side).  Ours took almost 4 hours to dry though, but I suspect it was due to the rain outside (and a really dirty sofa that needed more shampoo!).

Starts with some serious vacuuming.

Time for the shampoo.  They are careful not to dirty your place.
Low moisture shampoo means minimum downtime.

Finally clean again!

We would highly recommend De Hygienique to busy families with small children, as it is convenient, effective and also affordable.  There are no expensive packages to be tied to, or extravagant/fancy vacuum cleaners to purchase. Try it once and I'm sure you will be as impressed as us!  The proof is in the pudding sleeping! :D

Happy Aiden = Happy us.
Contact Details:

De Hygienique ( Asia ) Pte Ltd
53 Ubi Ave 1 #03-44 Paya Ubi Industrial Park Singapore 408934
Tel: (65) 6749-1950
Fax: (65) 6749-1179
(RCB No.: 200308996K)
Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Celebrate Your Kid's First Milestones!

Celebrate your kid's first milestones with Raffles Medical GroupStand a chance to win up to $700 worth of prizes with a photo or short video of your kid's milestone. 

Simply tag your photos or short video (of not more than 2 minutes) to ‪#‎RHkidsfirst‬ & #KFRH13922 when you upload them here or email your photo in jpeg format to

Entries with the best moment captured and most number of ‘likes’ win!

Closing date for submission: Wed 6 Nov 2013

Here's our entry, of Aiden's first taste of tomato ketchup!

Monday, October 7, 2013


Life has been a roller coaster ride in recent years, and in recent weeks, it took quite an unpleasant turn. The weekends seem so short, and I found myself spending very little time with Aiden during the weekdays due to work commitments. Frustrations crept in more easily than usual, and I feel tired most of the time. Didn't help too that I gave Aiden a scolding last week when he wouldn't behave himself, and he subsequently gave me the cold shoulder for a few days.  This boy knows what emotional blackmail is all about.

Anyway, I thought I had better move on to happier things and snap out of this grumpiness soon.  Instinctively, I flicked through the photo gallery of my iPhone for an 'instant lift'.  Didn't take long to find one!

We took these pictures while in a lift (we were on our way to a birthday party).  Check out our impromptu rendition of 喜怒哀乐!  It has been quite some time since we played this, so I was surprised to see that Aiden has expanded his repertoire of facial expressions.  I think he must have secretly picked up some new expressions from me.  Last Sunday, I had my secondary school classmates come over to our place and we were browsing through an album of old photos from almost 20 years ago.  Incredibly, Aiden could recognise me in the photos!  Mind you, these were from the 1990s when I was very skinny and very tanned, and er hmmm, much less handsome than I am now.

My friends explained that I did not actually become more handsome since 1994 but that is of course utter rubbish!  My own theory is that my expressions have not changed much since then.  I do see alot of myself in Aiden in the 喜怒哀乐 photos.  What a handsome chap! :D
Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cooler, or colder?

As Mummy Cher moves into the 30th week of her pregnancy, I realised that I have been much more nonchalant compared to when she was pregnant with Aiden.  This was quite normal, according to most people I spoke to.  It's a case of 'been there done that', they say.  But on some days, I wonder why I am so 'cold'.  Where's the equal and unbiased love that I proudly proclaimed when Mummy Cher asked if I would love our second child less?

I think it is more of a mixture of worrying about how we can cope with two kids and keep both of them as happy as Aiden is, and also acknowledging that there is always a slight possibility, touchwood, that things outside our control can happen.  Just before this pregnancy, Mummy Cher and I were still recovering from an early miscarriage.  It was with surprise and trepidation that I received the good news, and even now, I am taking it one day at a time.

Forest Gump's mum was probably sugar-coating it when she told her son that life is like a box of chocolates.  It is actually also filled with other stuff that are hard to stomach.  She did get the part about not knowing what you will get right though.  Last month, a good friend of mine had to deal with the pain of losing his newborn to an infection.  I also heard news from Mummy Cher about her colleague's baby Neira suffering from a rare form of disease.  Thankfully, in the case of the latter, baby Neira's battle for survival was picked up in the social media and the last I heard, donations are pouring in and she also did well in recent operations.

These two pieces of bad news affected me greatly, and reminded me of how fragile and precious life is.  Perhaps I am not colder, but cooler?  I will do my best to raise Ava in a loving and happy environment when she finally arrives.  But for now, I am going to keep Aiden happy, one day at a time.
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