Facing a New Year

So we've come the end of yet another year.

I leave you with the question above that is stuck onto my cubicle wall:
What would you pack to pursue a dream and what would you leave behind?

I will be taking time to answer this question this weekend and to reflect on my hopes, dreams and purposes for 2011. I suspect some decluttering is due.

Have a wonderful 2011 people. May the new year bring you much joy and contentment!

Over Freshly Brewed Coffee

A girlfriend came by my office to meet me for lunch. We then popped to a friend's place for an after-lunch coffee. She was nursing a cold and holed up at home.

We each had a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Upon the girlfriend's recommendation, I chose the Ristretto. I was slightly worried it would have a sourish taste that I hate in coffees (that's why I usually choose to have mochas or a coffee-tea mix). Thankfully it didn't, and was actually rather pleasant. I finished my cuppa!

The coffee break was perhaps made more pleasant because of the company and the lovely home we were drinking the coffee in. (How do people keep their homes so very pretty and neat all the time?!)

These 2 friends - one is single and the other married without kids - have been hanging out quite a bit doing random things. As much as I love Bubbles dearly, I have to admit that I do miss those carefree pre-baby days! Oh, the freedom to travel at the drop of a hat, to take 2-hour naps in the middle of the day, to hang out over late dinner and drinks whenever one felt like it, to shop at leisure.

Having a baby does somewhat put a stop to living life spontaneously. If you are like me, someone who thrives on doing things on the fly, the new structured lifestyle can sometimes feel too regimented and restrictive.

Thankfully, I have managed to carve out bits of space for spontaneity every now and then. Having freshly brewed coffee with lovely friends counts :)

The Love Dare

My lil sis bought Roboman and I The Love Dare book for Christmas. 

As quoted from the book's website:
The Love Dare personally leads you through daily devotionals, records your thoughts and experiences, and ends each day daring you to perform a simple act of love for your spouse. This 40-Day journey equips you to melt hardened, separated hearts into an enduring love that can withstand the flames of fear, pride and temptation. The Love Dare book will help you reinforce and enrich your marriage, earn back a love you thought was lost, and hear more about the One who not only designed unconditional, sacrificial love—He illustrated it.

I was going to start doing the Dares on the 1st of January, but as I glanced through it yesterday, I thought we might as well start immediately (why not, right?) Our marriage is in a good place right now, thankfully, despite the major changes in our lives (Bubbles being the crux of it all) in the past year. But we are conscious that we cannot take what is good for granted, and need to keep sharpening the saw.

So Roboman and I read the 1st devotional on Patience last night, and are both on the 1st dare today. In short, we are not to say anything negative to our spouse for a day.

He says he'll have no problem. He'll just not say anything! LOL yeah right =D

Anyway, it seems to be a pretty neat thing to do - let's see how we keep it up for 40 days! Stay tuned!

Road Trip Affairs

Other than during Chinese New Year when the roads up to Malaysia are notoriously jammed and we choose to fly, we like to drive up to KL visit my in-laws. This recent trip up to attend a cousin's wedding and to stay over Christmas was no different.

Driving up allows us flexibility of packing things in. We usually fill the boot to the brim there and back. We can afford to bring in creature comforts like a variety of toys and shoes (For me. haha!). This time, we also brought home tins of Karihome Growing Up Milk powder that Bubbles takes. It costs about S$10 cheaper per tin!

We never rush and drive safe. Door to door, we take around 6 hours, including a 45-60 min break in between.

Bubbles is an excellent traveller. Give her a few of her favourite plushies, and she's a happy bunny. She talks to them and then sleeps for most of the journey. She wakes up at our pit-stop for a little meal (usually some biscuits or bread and a drink), a diaper change and a run around. I've realised that she does not have appetite for her usual pasta or rice porridge while travelling, so she gets a bigger breakfast prior to the journey, and more milk along the way.

Here she is at the pit-stop on the way home, happily carrying her keropok handbag (as she calls it), that she insists on hanging from the crook of her arm!

A New Neighbour?

We arrived back from KL last evening with me nursing (still) a stuffy nose, a sore throat, and a throbbing headache. Got a text from a Kiwi cousin whom we are supposed to meet up with tonight and read that both she and her husband are also down with a cold. Must have been the same bug we caught over the Christmas festivities in Malaysia!

Anyway, I woke up this morning and decided that I had better work from home. I shouldn't be spreading this bug to the office folks. Dreadfully, sometime at mid-day there were brain numbing drilling and knocking sounds from next door. I took a peek out of our front door and realised that we are going to get new neighbours! The apartment next to us has been empty since we moved in almost 3 years ago.

New neighbours for the new year! Prayfully we get nice ones! I hope to bake them something when they move in. Exciting! :)

Till after Christmas, Rocking Horse!

Rock Rock Rock

With her 3 favourite furry friends :)

We're on a 10-day trip to KL. This much-loved rocking horse obviously had to be left behind. As it is, we already lugged so much stuff up.

Thankfully (for Bubbles and for us), we managed to pack in Eeyore, Bear and Pup (ok naming plushies is not my forte! Maybe Bubbles will do better next time).

Roboman has asked me to turn off my data roaming so as not to incur the kind of charges I did during our last trip up. Boo hoo! It feels really weird not to get instant connectivity. I'm looking on the bright side. At least there's wireless in the house!

I'll be back probably a kilogram or two heavier, from the daily feasting that has already begun. Tubby tubby flab flab. Mmm. Yums

What one does with a Phone

It wasn't this phone but you get the idea.
Bubbles borrowed my sister's phone and walked around the house chatting away in a knowing manner.

There were baby sentences in many forms, pauses to 'listen' (it was after all a conversation), and accompanying facial expressions which ranged from happiness to excitement to quizzical frowns. Hand gestures were thrown in once in a while.

At the end of the animated conversation, she walked up to the both of us and gave an instruction:
Pok Cart!

Erm, what do you mean, dear?
We were puzzled.

Pok Cart!
She repeated earnestly, looking from my sister to me pleadingly while holding up the phone.

Sorry dear, we don't understand!
Just what does she want?

Pok Cart!
She said again in exasperation, and tried to put the phone INTO THE BACK OF HER DIAPER.

My sister and I unanimously exclaimed before rolling with laughter.
The little one grinned with pleasure at being understood!

*Reading this conversation makes me giggle all over again!

Me and my Knapsack

Sack! she says, referring to this little bag
Bubbles can finally use this cutest little bag given by a friend a couple of months ago. Doesn't she look all grown-up now and almost ready for school?

I just have to say it again because it hits me every now and then: They grow up waaay too fast.

My heart aches in a strange way.

Eczema Update: Lacto GG

I wrote an account about Coping with my Child's Eczema. You might want to read that post first, as it links to this page, and my other posts on Eczema.


I thought I'll do a little update on Bubbles' Eczema situation: 

Since the last skin prick test entry, I received advice from mothers whose children have eczema. It does seem to be a pretty common thing to have. Mothers shared with me how they helped their children cope with it, what products they used, and which doctors were good. Thank you to those who took time to share your experiences with me!

As 2 different doctors all felt that her eczema was unlikely food related, I needed to find other remedies.

Moisturising plays a big part in the treatment of eczema. The 2 most common moisturizers that were recommended to me are: California Baby Calendula Cream, and Physiogel Cream (or Physiogel AI Cream for more serious cases). I used an entire tub of the California Baby Calendula Cream, and a whole tube of PD-prescribed Eczera Cream. Both helped to keep her skin moisturized but did nothing to stop the eczema flare-ups. 

Many mothers switch to skin-friendly bath gels from the above-mentioned brands, or others like the ranges from Cetaphil, Seba Med and QV. We used Cetaphil for quite a while.

A mother also shared with me an old Chinese remedy of boiling bitter gourd vines and letting Bubbles soak in the solution. I really wanted to try this but could not find bitter gourd vines. A call to a local vegetable farm had me rebuffed!

After one really bad episode of eczema flare-up (weepy, crusty and bloodied skin), and seeing how Bubbles was obviously in discomfort, I whisked her off to see Dr JC as recommended by a friend and many others on the motherhood forums.

With his clinic's own bath gel (which contains Almond extract), and creams, her eczema cleared up in a week! Bubbles suddenly had a surge of energy, which made us realise just how much the itch and general discomfort was bothering her. I later found out that one of the creams had a small amount of steroid, which I wanted to avoid, but seeing how the eczema cleared up I was happy to use it just for that one week. The other creams are just moisturizers.

Dr JC also prescribed something which research has shown is lacking in the guts of babies and children who suffer from Eczema. It is a strand of probiotics - called Lactobacillus GG. It has been found that by supplementing the body with this strand of probiotics, many recover from Eczema conditions over a short time. 

We have therefore been giving Bubbles a capsule-full of this every day. We hide it in her yoghurt or dip bananas in.

And so a miracle has happened (in my books). The combination of Dr JC's bath gel, creams, and Lacto-GG has kept Bubbles Eczema-free for a couple of weeks already.

We're so thankful for this outcome!


Jee Gee! she says affirmatively, when I tell her she's a Cheeky one.

Thanks for all the words of concern about my current mess.

Although I say 'current', it really is a result of longstanding circumstances that I cannot change, and the recent weeks of no rest and time for myself knocked me off balance and the downward spiral began. While I recognise the need to steel myself to respond to the situation I'm in with positivity, and for most times I have managed to, I somehow could not cope with a recent amalgamation of events.

I hesitate to say that I am depressed, for that is a big word, but I'm definitely feeling nagging tiredness and a sense of despair that is different and much darker than what I have ever experienced.

I've put a stop to the increasing amounts of coffee I've been sustaining myself on, and have started taking Vitamin B supplements. Both of these seem to lift my mood a little. I'm also hoping to start an exercise routine again but this is more challenging given that I don't have much time and the recent rainy season has put a stop to my go-to choice of hitting the pool.

Thankfully, I know that God is with me, and that He truly understands just what is happening in my life. He is the one I turn to these days when I really am unable to explain to people what is going on in totality. Thankfully too, He has given me Roboman, who has shown deep concern and patient understanding, although it is clear that this is a battle I need to fight mostly on my own.

Bubbles has been learning Psalm 23. This is her take on it, said with much enthusiasm:

Me: The Lord is my...

Me: I shall not be in...

Me: He makes me lie down in still...
B: PAR PES! (this one needs a bit more work. haha)

Indeed He is my Shepherd and I will be comforted. My little girl will be reminding me of this wonderful truth!


Have you been very busy? A friend asked.

As always with such questions, I simply said yes. Well, I probably have been, for the last 3 weeks or so, with work deadlines and the bustle of daily living (which happens to include a wedding and a funeral wake)

More than busyness though, I have been in a bit of a mess. Not an obvious mess like if you meet me you'll think she's a nutcase kind of mess, but one that is private, quiet and hidden. One that causes me to crave solitude, rest and sleep. To run away to be in another place.

I have felt this way before, and remember holing myself up in my wardrobe as a kid, just to be alone.

My brain tells me that I probably need more exercise and time for prayer.
It is being propped up right now by increasing amounts of caffiene I am feeding into my system.

I hope this mess will unravel itself soon and not tighten into knots.

Colours of a Rainbow

Prancing around in rainbow-coloured pants must be one of the best things about being a kid!

I inwardly squeal with delight when I see this particular pair on this particular bub :)

Happy Monday, folks!!!

The Breakfast Show

Did you know that you can watch a free show at the Jurong Bird Park?

We discovered it by chance last weekend while deciding on a family outing. They do The Early Bird Breakfast Show, where you  get to watch a couple of birds perform while having your breakfast. Park admission tickets are not required, and you are allowed in as long as you purchase a Hawk's Cafe breakfast item.

Breakfast starts at 8.30am, and the Show at 9.15am.
After the show, you'll get a chance to take photographs of and with the birds, and can choose to get your fortunes predicted by a card-picking bird.

Our plan was to just stay for breakfast and the show, and then let Bubbles roam around outside the Park. There's a little pond with fishes, ducks and swans. However, after seeing how Bubbles was so intrigued by the colourful birds, we paid to enter the park and stayed for half a day!

Anyway I thought I'll share about the show because the chap you see in the photo told us that hardly anyone goes for it! I think it makes for a very pleasant morning outing!

Bubbles & her Fwend

This is Bubbles and her dear friend. She says her name and that she is her fwend.

They are so sweet together, sharing their books and things, and taking turns to hold each other's hands as they trail behind their mommas.

Her fwend's mummy and I are delighted that they get along so well. Their dads grew up together. As boys, they had many joint family holidays and recall carefree days playing on beaches along with their brothers.

Looking at the girls' friendly interactions, perhaps we can continue the family holiday tradition in this new generation. I'll look forward very much to that!

I know what THAT is!

Hug! Cold (Bottle)

My lil Bubbles just turned 14 months yesterday. We have been told that she's an early talker. I didn't quite know this for sure as she's the first baby of her generation on both sides of the family. I've only watched one other kid grow from birth and he is a boy who hit all his physical milestones way earlier than Bubbles and when he started speaking he said everything at once.

In this past 2 weeks however, I'm beginning to realise that we may really have a little wordsmith in the house. I tried to email my in-laws my regular update on Bubbles' development and found it quite difficult to include every single thing she now says. She's learning new words so fast and furiously by being game to repeat whatever we say, and having the ability to connect meanings to the words. I'm now in the process of writing down all that she now knows, just for memories' sake!

Friends have asked me what I have been doing to have enabled her to learn so many words so quickly. I think back and would say that besides regularly reading to her, I simply go about my day talking to her about what we are doing. It  is mostly mundane things like "Mummy is putting on my shoes now" or "You're having brown rice with carrot and spinach and salmon" or "Uncle is sweeping the floor" or "Look, the bird is hopping!". I do make it a point to keep her involved by always speaking to her, describing everything around us and what we are doing.

There's a flipside to talking to her about everything I do though:
Last Saturday, we walked by a lingerie shop when my little girl stopped, pointed to a mannequin and shouted BRA!

Roboman turned to me and gave me THE LOOK.

Read other Bubbles' Speak entries!

Rad Hair

I was doing my usual "photo therapy" and came across this one from the weekend.

Doesn't my baby really rock this look?

Her hairband fell off after she bounced around testing out mattresses at a furniture shop. Instead of asking me to put it back on for her, she gamely did it herself, with this stylish result ;)

Mother-Child Bonding on Keppel Island

During one of my recent days off from work, I bundled Bubbles into the car and drove to Keppel Island.

We spent the morning strolling around looking at boats and other random things. She was particularly intrigued by the large concrete 'balls' that wouldn't move (she tried very hard to 'roll' them), and an orange float that hung near the jetty.

As we both already had our breakfasts, I didn't bother sitting at the cafe, although we did walk in to have a look at the selection of breads and cakes.

At close to 14 months of age, Bubbles and I can now take simple pleasure in each other's company. Just the both of us exploring the world - pointing out interesting things, saying hello to strangers, holding hands with each taking turns to lead the other, and occasionally giving each other assuring mummy-baby hugs. It is a special relationship we now share, and I pray so hard that this will be a relationship that blossoms as she grows to be her own independent person.

Marriage after Baby

View from OC taken at our recent date night

These few weeks, I've had friends who went off on holidays sans kids/babies. Childcare arrangements were made and the couples took off for romantic getaways. One mother was still breastfeeding, and lugged her breastpump along to prevent engorgement. All the couples reported that they had a wonderful time, and although they did miss their kids, most felt that the getaway was worth it.

In contrast, a colleague shared that her husband and her have never gone on a date since their 1st child was born. (He's now 7!) They did try once - they made reservations at a restaurant and arranged for the Gramps to babysit. However, on the way to dinner, they felt so bad for leaving their boy behind that they turned back to pick him up. In response to my (kaypoh) question, she said both her husband and her feel the same about this, and have since not made arrangements to go on dates.

The recency of these related experiences made me think about my own marriage to Roboman. Certainly things are not the same since the arrival of Bubbles, and I don't think it is reasonable to think that it should be.

The focus of our marriage now is undoubtedly Bubbles. For her, our lifestyle has dramatically changed - we now have most dinners in, plan weekends around her, keep our socials to baby-acceptable standards, moved furniture to ensure her safety etc. Basically, we enjoy personal and couple time only when she is being taken care of by the grandparents, or is asleep. I've realised that this change in lifestyle is what scares many people from choosing to have kids.

We have also found out what it means when people say 'marriage is hard work'. Because it can be, and especially so when you have children. You have to work to pay the bills, get by with little sleep, deal with baby related challenges, sacrifice personal time and enjoyment, and constantly make decisions for the sake of someone else. Having a kid also opens up a whole new area in a marriage that includes a change of relationship with parents and in-laws, and the surfacing of deep-rooted, sometimes subconscious beliefs and expectations that each of us hold.

Roboman reminds me that our kid(s) will grow up and leave home to lead their own lives and therefore I should remember to have a life apart from Bubbles. I remind him that I still need to be romanced even though I am now a mother and only have pockets of time to spare. We take time to have deep conversations, to pray together, to work on our differences, and consciously take steps to strengthen our marriage in this season of life. Some things we manage to change straightaway, some, we acknowledge that we may take a whole lifetime to perfect. We work on appreciating each other more, and train our hearts and minds to see the positives that each of us bring to the marriage and family.

For some of us, taking steps to protect and strengthen the marriage may mean date nights or child-free holidays too, or not. Whatever it may be, press on, for a strong marriage is the best home for children.

Jay Chou, you have a new fan

Yesterday, Bubbles was rummaging through our DVD collection when this caught her eye.

She held the case tight and ran to show it to me.

Hat! she says, giggling with excitement
Hat! she repeats, as she dramatically pats her head, her face beaming

Today, I saw her pick out this DVD again, mumbling Hat! to herself before giving Jay a kiss.

Well, she has come a long way since our very 1st hat game!

Doggy Stickers

A friend gave Bubbles a sheet of Dog and Cat stickers from the Animal Lovers League after reading about how she seems to like dogs as you will recall from the posts here and here.

I stuck a couple of dog stickers around her cot. (the purple one in the middle is a random wall tile sticker and not one of the nice doggy ones)

She likes them and I've seen her waving to and kissing the dogs when she wakes up from her naps :)

A Photo to keep me going

I have a whole store of photos of Bubbles on my phone. I flip through them when I need a little something to perk up my mood.

This photo in particular has put a smile on my face this PMS-filled week. It shows a jubilant Bubbles after purchasing a loaf of bread from a vending machine.

A bread vending machine through the eyes of my Bub is a very interesting and attractive contraption. The exciting machine allows her to drop in coins, press buttons, watch a loaf get pushed outwards and drop, and use both hands (and all her might) to pull out the chosen loaf. Upon retrieving the loaf of bread, she will make gleeful sounds and hug it protectively all the way home.

This has now become an enjoyable little weekly ritual for us. (Her grandpa has been known to let her do this more often by purchasing small cake rolls that we usually would not choose to eat =P)

It is impossible for me not to smile when I remember my baby and her loaf of bread!

Baking Cakes!

We're expecting a number of visitors at home this week so besides curry puffs, I decided to make my usual carrot cake.

Although I used the SAME non-stick silicone cake pan, one cake stuck rather badly to the bottom of the new pan. It is rather disappointing as I bought the same cake pan because I thought it worked quite well.

As this is the 2nd time I'm using it to similar cake-sticking results, I think I got a lemon. Boo

We had fun baking though! I parked Bubbles in her highchair next to me in the kitchen. She got to see how I cracked the eggs and shouted Boom! with glee each time an egg plopped into the mixing bowl. I even let her hold the wooden spoon for a bit to help with the mixing. She saw the mixture turn colour with each new ingredient added. She was later given a little bowl and a measuring spoon to do her own 'mixing' as I completed the rest of the cake making.

For safety reasons, I took her out of the kitchen before the cake was put into the pre-heated oven. When the cake started to rise, I carried her back in to see the cake through the oven's window. She excitedly pointed to it and demanded Open! Open! (which in reality sounds more like Ah Pen! Ah Pen!) I had to explain to her that we could not open the oven door until the cake was cooked. Thankfully, she graciously accepted my refusal to Ah Pen after just a few tries.

So Happee it was!

I am so glad to read how wonderful Happee Day went!

We were there in the morning to drop off the Activity Kits and I was blown away by the sheer number of enthusiastic helpers buzzing around! I particularly liked the colour-coordinated balloons that matched so well with the Happee Day logo. We couldn't stay, but it is heartwarming to read Daphne's post about how well it all went.

Thank you dear friends who joined me in making the kits possible! Thanks Yuling, PTeo, GLee, JLee, RKoh, LohLL, and SLau. Thanks too to all the others who offered to help pack. In the end it was easier for me to do it late at night when Bubbles was asleep and chores were done. I actually had 2 pregnant friends who offered manual labour! (You know who you are!)

Donations to the Children's Cancer Foundation will still be open till 7 November 2010. Click the button at the end of this post to make your donation.

Flowers in my hair

A friend crocheted an assortment of flower hair-ties for Bubbles.

They're really pretty and I like them on Bubbles' hair. She gets curious about them and often pulls them off to have a good look. Once satisfied that she doesn't mind them, she'll attempt to place them back on her head again before turning to me to ask for help!


This is a blurry pic but it clearly reminds me how funny my little girl can be.

I had just dressed her in going out clothes. She asked to 'wear' my necklace and upon putting it on, said 'waaah' and did a little twist from her waist.

This is her admiring the necklace that hangs to the bottom of her dress.

She still has on the one sock we put on her right foot every night to keep in moisture on her ankle with eczema. (We're keeping to intense moisturising and it seems to help.) She doesn't mind pottering around the house with that one sock, and sometimes I am not allowed to remove it...

Date Night Up in the Sky

Dinner @ OChre

Roboman and I went on a date last night. Our first in a very long time. In fact, I can't quite remember when was the last time we did! hmm.

Thinking it would be nice to try out one of the many restaurants 'in the sky' that have been springing up all over the island, I tried to make reservations at several roof-top places, including Ku De Ta, Lantern and Orgo. Each of these boast incredible views, which I really wanted to experience. I naively thought I wouldn't have a problem securing a table for two, given that it was a weekday. Well, they were all fully booked! Ku De Ta is booked all the way till sometime end November, in case anyone is interested.

We ended up at the rather pleasant OChre at Orchard Central, and made up for the lack of a view by taking a walk on the roof garden after dinner. It was a lovely, cool and quiet night. Perfect for a long overdue and much needed date.

Hyland's Teething Tablets Recall

Please help to spread the word to anyone who may be giving their babies Hyland's Teething Tablets.

The US FDA has just recalled it. See full report here.

"FDA is issuing this warning because the use of Hyland’s Teething Tablets may pose a risk to children. FDA analysis and testing identified some Hyland’s Teething Tablets that contained varying amounts of belladonna, a potentially toxic ingredient. FDA has received reports of serious adverse events in children taking this product that are consistent with belladonna toxicity. An ongoing FDA inspection at the manufacturer indicates substandard control of the manufacturing operation."

I bought some for Bubbles as it came highly recommended on many sites and I know of many mothers who use it too. Although I don't recall any averse effects on Bubbles I feel terrible for having exposed her to potentially harmful material :( The bottle I own is going straight into the bin.

Hat on my Head

It was another outing to Ikea and we found that they now have these really adorable hats for kids. They come in all sorts of irreverently fun designs. Birthday Cake (complete with 3 candles), Viking Helmet (?), Ladybug, Flower on a grass patch, Aeroplane etc. Some even had matching eye masks to pull the look together!

I couldn't resist putting a hat on Bubbles. She started running around the moment she had it on, as if to put it on a test drive. Zoom zoom zoom, as fast as her little legs would take her, stopping occasionally to hold the hat in place. She seemed to be programmed to take off every time I managed to set my phone's camera to focus! We must have been a funny sight!

Flowerpot dessert, anyone?

Which of the above 2 would you choose to end off a meal?

I was at a birthday celebration over the weekend at the quaint little Vanilla Cafe.  When desserts were served, I eyed them suspiciously, wondering why on earth would they waste space by putting fake flowers on the tray.

As it turns out, the little 'flower pot' was itself a dessert choice! The 'soil', that is!

What a cute idea!

Children's Community Library

Last week, I took Bubbles to a Clementi Community Children's Library. It was so funny to see how excited she was! Rows and rows of books on low shelves to pull out and flip through.

If you live near the library, do check it out! It is small but cozy and the best part is that it is ok to make some noise (since all other kids will as well).

Check out A Dollop Of Me's Facebook page to see a video of Bubbles 'reading' at home. I've watched it tons of times myself :) Warms my heart. Do 'like' the page too (if you do!) I'll be writing a post about this FB thing soon, am going off for my Monday outing with Bubbles now!

Homemade Breakfast

I took Bubbles to a dear friend's home this morning to pick up T-shirts for the Happee Day Activity Kits.

If there is one domestic goddess in my circle of friends, she would be it.  She actually woke up early this morning to bake poppy seed cupcakes and chicken curry puffs for our breakfast!

That, along with home-brewed coffee and a heart-to-heart conversation, made a very lovely start to the day.

Bubbles too, had a good time pottering around exploring the house and all the lovely things in it!

Painting Fun

I read that around that time babies walk, they can begin to draw and paint.

One day, before bathtime (yes, painting THEN bath - this order is essential), I stuck a piece of mahjong paper on the floor - a big square piece. I set out some Crayola washable finger paint on plates and left Bubbles free to do her 'art'.

She worked her way to removing as much paint as she could from the plates and splattering them on the paper. She looked at her coloured fingers and tasted the colourful, slimey paint.

Later, I handed her a small balloon. It was one of the leftover balloons from her 1st birthday party (yes they are still around the house!). I had let some air out so that it was a size she could handle. I showed her how to dab the paint using the little balloon.

By then, she had tired of the paper, and started dabbing the floor, creating round patches everywhere.

When she had enough of paint play, we transited to water play in the bathroom :)

Read about her first 'taste' of painting here.

2 Naps to 1

At 13 months, Bubbles seems to be transitioning from 2 naps a day to 1.

She hardly takes morning naps any more and when she does, they are very short - about 20-30 minutes. On her 1-nap days, she usually sleeps for about 2-2.5 hours in the early afternoon.

I am looking forward to having her nap schedule settled down and be more predictable soon. In the meantime, on the days I am home, I can now have uninterrupted lunches while she naps.

If I am very tired, I will also sneak in a nap while she sleeps, before she wakes and demands "Up! Up! Up!" while expectantly peering over the side of her cot.

With the sis

Since becoming a mother, one of the things I miss most is time-outs with my sister. Since a child, my answer to the question of who I love most in the world would be this sister of mine. While she now has to put up with Roboman and Bubbles contending for that top spot, she knows she will always have a special place in my heart reserved only for her.

It was her birthday yesterday, and we both squeezed some time-off from work to spend the afternoon together. We spent a few hours over a long conversational lunch, a sleep-inducing massage and a heart-to-heart chat over coffee.

Although it was supposed to be a birthday treat for her, I myself felt refreshed from the afternoon.

As we discussed exciting plans for her future, I prayed that she will always find joy, love and meaning in her life.

Happy Birthday, Sista! I love you!

Another baby?

This is the "conversation" I had with Bubbles last night at bedtime:

Me: Who's the baby in the family?
Bubbles: Enthusiastically pats her chest.

Me: Oh, but that may not always be the case. Would you like to have another baby in the family?
Bubbles: Stares and proceeds to vigorously shake her head.

Me (disbeliefing): No? Wouldn't you like to have another baby to play with and to sayang?
Bubbles: Pauses, and shakes her head even harder (her hair was flopping all over her face)

Me (thinking maybe she was in a 'shake head' mood): Really? How about a dog, would you like a dog?
Bubbles: Eyes open wide, and shouts "Dog!" with fervour. No head shaking this time.

Hmmmmm... ...

Looks like I may have to do more conditioning before planning for No. 2?

Have you tried the bowling alley?

This is the thing about bringing kids out.

Sometimes you have it all planned. You do your research (ask other mums, check out forums, read blogs like this one muahaha etc), set the date and time, prepare the kids (naps out of the way, preferrably poo too), pack your bag and set out with a confident expectation that your kids will have a reasonably enjoyable time.

Then there are those instances where you suddenly stumble upon a place you've never considered as A place for kids.

Well, we stumbled upon the bowling alley. I wonder why I've never thought about it before?

Bubbles sat enthralled by the big bowling balls rolling down the alleys, crashing into bowling pins with satisfactory bangs. When there were strikes, or especially loud bangs, she would raise her arms up and shout something that sounds like bangoom! (I think it is a combination of a bang and a boom)

While we were there, there was a company tournament going on, so in addition to the exciting bowling balls and loud bangs, Bubbles was treated to regular claps and cheers. She clapped along of course, everytime others did.

And oh, she tried really hard to lift a bowling ball. You should have seen her puzzled expression when she realised it was just.not.possible.

To the beach we go!

In the past months, our 2 planned visits to the beach were thwarted by rain.

Thankfully the weather was beautiful this morning!

Bubbles was true to her pick-up-anything-that-looks-like-a-ball self. She excitedly picked up and presented to us a small coconut(?) the moment we set foot on the beach.

I was lamenting that we didn't have any beach toys for her but my concerns proved to be unfounded. On the sand, she delightfully went into her 'zone' - a recent ability to be totally engrossed in doing something. She sat barefoot on the beach, digging and throwing sand around with all her might. At one point I thought she was intent on covering herself with sand. She giggled, babbled, waved sandy hands into the air, put sand on her head and face, and tasted its gritty saltiness. I watched her like a hawk to make sure she didn't bite into any shells (she tried to).

Sand got everywhere. She truly had a blast!

She also confirmed my suspicions that she loves to be barefoot, taking off without her shoes to roam around happily after the sand play.

My little one is no gu niang.

Hi Doggy, I'm Bubbles!

I'm always trying to find new places to take Bubbles to let her have varied experiences.

Recently, on a friend's recommendation, I took her to a large pet shop in a shopping mall.

Bubbles' first reaction to seeing so many puppies at once was to shriek with excitement! She let go on my hand, and walked to the puppies as fast as her little legs could take her. She pointed animatedly at them and babbled happily.

What amused me most was when she went from cage to cage waving to each dog, and then patting her chest (her way of saying "I'm Bubbles!"). I realised my dear baby was introducing herself to all of them! Haha!

She was disappointed that she couldn't touch them though, as they were all behind glass panels.

Maybe someday I should seriously consider getting a dog for the family. If and when that day comes though, I will adopt and not buy.

Happee Day Activity Kits!

There are wonderful people out there who regularly put in time, effort and heart into supporting their chosen community causes and charities.

I realise I don't measure up very much in this regard. My giving has so far been rather sporadic - via my church's activities, a small regular cut of my income to a chosen charity, and occasional creative efforts that ride on fundraising events hosted by others.

Recently, I felt compelled to support Mother, Inc's Happee Day event by working to put together Activity Kits for each child who will be going for the Carnival. The intention is to bring Happeeness beyond the fun they will experience at the Carnival. Hopefully, each item in the Activity Kit will help engage the children during times they are cooped up at home or at the hospital, and to take their minds off any pain and discomfort they feel, even for a little while.

I sent a shout out to my friends to ask for sponsors. I am humbled and surprised by the responses I received via text messages, emails and Facebook posts.

So yes, the Activity Kits are definitely going ahead thanks to the generosity of my friends! 40 Roald Dahl books have been delivered to me, ready to be packed. On the way to me are T-shirts and fabric paint, Origami sets, Puzzles, Christmas Card making and Photo Scrapbook materials.
Thank you friends, and thank you Daphne for having the heart to start this in the first place!

Best Prawn Noodles

I know this photo may not look like much but I tell you, this must be the best prawn noodles I've had in a very long time! 3 big whole juicy prawns (and not those sliced into two) in an addictively tasty soup sprinkled with deep fried ikan bilis. Woaah

Found at Nonya Delicatessen on Level 2, Bukit Timah Plaza. Apparently they have been around for 32 years! 

The last time we were there the chap who serves up the food saw Bubbles and said "Hey you're that little girl again!" No prizes for guessing why! =D