A part-birthday luncheon

I recently had lunch at Café Hacienda with 2 long-time girlfriends. it just occured to me that we've known each other for at least 10 years!

It was more of a catch-up session than a birthday celebration. Still, given that 2 of us share the same birthday week, we did the whole pose while blowing the candle thing.

The food was good, the birthday cupcake not so. I really enjoyed my fish and chips and stole bites of the girlfriends' tasty pastas. The smoked duck salad with fresh figs and parma ham was delightful. Much better than the other smoked duck dish (a smoked duck linguine) at Hosted on the Patio I had just the day before. The food there was thoroughly disappointing! It is just as well that I didn't manage to capture good photos of that lunch.

Another girlfriend is taking me out for a belated birthday lunch! I just wish my nose isn't so stuck. I can't quite taste food properly these days!

A Toddler and the Phone

Toddlers thrive on predictability and routine. They like to know what is happening next and feel assured when they do.

One little routine we have on the days I work is for the Bub to give her grandparents a call before we leave the house.

She will say Por Por (or Gong Gong, depending on who picks up the phone), I'm coming! and See you!

I find it terribly cute to watch how she listens intently to what they say. She sometimes forgets to articulate a verbal response but instead nods or shakes her head.

Roboman was away for a couple of days recently. On the 2nd night, she must have missed him because at bedtime and said: Call Daddy.

Me: You want me to call Daddy?
Bubbles: Yes!
Me: Are you sure? If I call Daddy will you talk to him?
Bubbles (nodding enthusiastically): Yes!

So I called.
Bubbles: Hello Daddy!
Roboman: Blah blah blah (I couldn't hear)
Bubbles: See you! Good night Daddy! (shouts)

After the conversation, she mumbled Daddy come home, before plonking on her stuffed toys.


* The bub and I have been ill (and still are). This month has been really bad for the family health-wise!

I use a lot of notebooks at work. I scribble and doodle, and went through a mind-mapping phase.

On a regular basis, I throw out used notebooks to make space for new ones. Before I do so however, I always flip through them to see if there's anything I should save.

Look what I found in a notebook I used last year - right after my maternity and no-pay-leave.

I first saw this:
 Then this, a couple of pages after:
I couldn't help psycho-analysing myself (sorry peeps who are in this field, is there even such a term?!).

Was I telling myself that I am an individual? A Me, a Self, a Person, before a mother and wife?

I certainly don't remember such thoughts. Perhaps my notebook did!

What shall I do with her hair?

Taken just before she noticed and pulled the flower tie off

Bubbles no longer allows me to tie or clip her hair! No more pony-tails like before.

It is a real pity. Her hair is rather long now. The tips reach her shoulder blades. It has pretty waves!

She'll pull clips and ties off, give them to me and say Mummy wear! She'll then look expectantly as I obligingly put them in my hair, however silly I might look. Without fail, she'll give a big nod of approval and declare Nice! or Pretty! But still refuse to have them on her own head.

The grandparents have been asking me to take her for a hair trim because it does get in the way at times.

A friend also advised me to do so to ensure stronger roots for fuller hair in her adult life.

I can't bear to have her hair cut! My baby's hair! Boo hoo!

Lost and Found

Soon after I lamented about our plant that died, I discovered this in a hidden corner of our service balcony.

A few months ago, I thought we had killed another plant, and my then helper removed the pot from our living room. She must have placed the pot here, wedged in a little space next to my washing machine. (I didn't know that's where our Baygon went either).

Somehow the sunshine and occasional rain sprinkling in must have caused the plant to re-generate. Some bud must have been lurking in the pot. It looks like it is growing well, and I might just move it back in again when it gets bigger!

I'm in the midst of planning a little re-do of our home. We're designing our own TV/media area that can accomodate Bubbles' things and Roboman's speakers and amps. These are efforts along with my ongoing de-cluttering process. Besides bringing in soft furnishings, I'm also very keen on doing a photo wall (or two!). Bubbles will also get new book/toy storage in her room. Excited! May God grant me energy!

Kitchen at the Gramps

On the days I work, I drop Bubbles off at my parents' place. Her grandparents love her to bits and provide the best childcare I could ask for.

Bubbles looks forward to my return home from work though. The moment she hears the front gate open, she'll run to the door and wait in anticipation. I will be greeted with a happy smile and a request for a hug. She will then take my hand and lead me to whatever is the excitement of the day. It melts me every time.

A few days ago, I arrived at my parents' and Bubbles immediately pulled me to this:
She brought my hands to the 'tap' and said Mummy Wash!

Seeing the 'tap', 'sink' and a real dishwashing sponge, I was most amused!

My dad actually took the effort to set this up for her. The rack is an actual kitchen rack that he dug out, and he used proper tubing and all for the tap. His intention was to run REAL water through this, to the understandable protests of my mother.

This kitchen reminds me of the Shoe-Rack Kitchenette I wrote about previously. Only more realistic. My parents tell me they plan to wrap the 'sink' up in aluminium foil to make it look more sink-like!

Bubbles apparently spent much of the day 'washing' her pots and pans and cooking up a storm. She does a pretty mean 'washing' too, I saw her using the sponge on both the insides and outsides of her pots!

You don't see any 'food' in this pic as she had already brought me a pot of 'soup' that 'contained' eggs, pork and carrots, and that was declared yummy by the lil chef :)

She also has 2 sets of crockery and a wash cloth (to 'dry' her dishes). I chuckle to think about how I shall remind her of this when she's old enough to help me with washing real dishes!

Birthday at Work

2 lovely things greeted me in the office on my birthday...

A colleague actually made this!

A fresh cream cake from my team:
Yes I decided to go to work.
Took the afternoon off after being told many times that I should not be at work on my birthday!

After lunch, a pre-school visit, and putting Bubbles' laundry in the wash,
I went for a hot stone massage. Twas nice :)
I'm very boring I know =P

Happy Birthday to Me :)

I turn 33 today.
I'm feeling like this picture/caption right now.
In a good way I think!

I haven't made any plans except for a nice lunch with my sis.
This happens when your birthday falls in the same month
as your husband's birthday and your wedding anniversary.

I've decided to spend a birthday-day sometime mid of this year instead :)

Happy Birthday to Me!

4th Anniversary Dinner

Roboman booked us a table at Forlino for our anniversary dinner. He kept it a surprise and I let him because some happy anticipation is always good for the soul :)

We got a table by the window overlooking Marina Bay Sands. Very lovely view, although the 'light show' was a little cheesy.

Changing our minds, we gave the degustation menu a miss and instead ordered a main each and shared an appetiser, a pasta, and dessert.

Although I can't remember our first post-baby date, I do have records of where we went for our birthdays cum wedding anniversary 2 years ago! The bun was in the oven then, and I had just emerged from the difficult 1st trimester.

Here are some photos from our dinner at Forlino:

View from our table:

Cake courtesy of the restaurant in celebration of our wedding anniversary:

Taste Paradise

As part of our 4th Wedding Anniversary hanging out (yes, you wouldn't believe how much we miss just hanging out like normal couples do), we had lunch at Taste Paradise at Ion Orchard.

We had our first meal at the Taste Paradise's Mosque Street branch a few years ago. I remember being impressed then with the degustation dinner we had, with each course presented in creative crockery, and always had it filed in my head as one place to return to. When a Taste Paradise opened at the more accessible Ion Orchard, we called to make a reservation once. Unfortunately we were told that they did not have baby highchairs. We promptly then gave the place a miss, and never considered going back since.

From what we observed over lunch, they do have highchairs now, and will be happy to go back with Bubbles!

Our dimsum lunch was lovely. Every dish was done beautifully. I was especially impressed with the Century Egg Congee. The broth the rice was cooked in was very richly flavourful, unlike in many other restaurants where there is a certain blandness apart from the century eggs.

It was a pleasant lunch date!

I can't help but recall our very first dinner date as parents. I remember all the emotions that made up that evening, but strangely have no memory about where we went for dinner!

We've great neighbours

If we ever move out of our neighbourhood, I know that it will be the people that we will miss most. There's a wonderful community where we live, especially among the mothers.

One mother makes it a point to inform the rest of us if her children fall ill after a playground session with our kids. This helps us keep an eye out for possible illness in our own children. I've had such information passed on to me via SMS-Email chains, which really surprised and touched me.

When I needed the telephone number of a gas company, I asked my neighbours. I did the same when I searched for a part-time cleaner.

We drop by each other's places when we run out of supplies like sugar or potatoes, and I've even been offered coconut milk!

A few days ago our next door neighbour (this super mother of 3) came by with this cheery plate of cupcakes:
While we were chatting, our new neighbours stepped out with their pet dog, creating a stir of excitement among our kids. Bubbles and our neighbour's little girl took turns to pat the dog and receive loving sniffles and licks.

When it was time for everyone to return to their own homes, Bubbles said a bye-bye, then brought her hands to her forehead and said a loud Aiyah! We don't know what made her do that, but it was a very funny end to a pleasant neighbourly time.

Happy Anniversary Hon!

We said our vows 4 years ago on this day.

Thank you dear for an amazing 4 years of laughter, conversations
cuddles and loving companionship!

I thank God for bringing you into my life.

May we continue to grow in God and in love for each other,
reaching out to others around us
as we build our little family.

Here's to many more happy years!

Another Melty Moment

When I got to my parents' place after work yesterday, I found Bubbles sitting at the front door having her dinner! The door was wide open and she was on her little stool that she normally uses when we put on her socks and shoes.

She immediately jumped up when she saw me, face brimming with excitement. She then said Mummy, feed! while pointing to her bowl of food.

My mother told me that she was yearning for me to get home, and insisted that the door be left open.

Once again, I melted. (Looks like this melting thing is now part of my life!)

For the rest of the evening, she was an absolute sweetheart. So much so that I felt guilty for writing about her tantrums. Why does guilt plague me so ever readily since I became a mother?!

I love you, my dearest Bubbles! We will build beautiful memories together.

My adorable munchkin...

The Arrival of Toddler Tantrums

Bubbles turns 18 months today.

In the last few days, the Terrible Twos Toddler Tantrums arrived. Although she still displays many sweet moments, she has clearly become a toddler who knows what she wants and will make her wants known. Loud and clear.

Overnight, she has morphed into a child who has a verbal opinion on everything. What to eat for breakfast (Flower Biscuit!), who should be feeding her, what colour socks to wear (Pink! Pink! Pink!), when reading should take place etc etc.

When she wants something it is always NOW. So if we're going to to the supermarket (she loves going there), she now demands MARKET MARKET MARKET all through the car-ride there, as if teleporting is actually possible. Or if we so much as hint at it, we will get PAYGOUND PAYGOUND PAYGOUUND (Playground).

The worst thing for me to cope with is when she insists on something, and when given it, she changes her mind. Especially if it involves me actually cooking something for her.

Unfortunately, she has also learnt the art of screaming. As in really screaming. I actually caught her practising it once after she heard another child scream. (How's that for learning from your peers?) Now, she uses it to protest or to gain attention.

We have been really tired out by all of this. I have been getting the brunt of it because I am her most favouritest person in the world and at times ONLY mummy can do a whole host of things. Like take an empty milk bottle from her. Or hand her a spoon. Or read a chosen book. Or pat her to sleep.

On the subject of patting, she now demands to be patted. She actually lies on her side, pats her thigh (or bum) and tells me Pat! or even Sarge! (Massage). Yes, my baby demands Massages. I survive by the cutest sight of it all: A tot patting her own diaper-clad bum while holding a bolster and sucking her thumb!

This is her protesting against her breakfast oats.
She wanted chocolate bread.
The funny thing is that she actually stops mid-scream to respond to our comments or questions.

Ahhhhhhhhh! DUN WAAAAANTTTTT! KEEEEEP! *Takes bowl of oats and thrusts it at me*
Me: Do you want to eat bread?

AHHHHHHHhhhhhh....*Big eyed look*
Yes! *Nods enthusiastically*
Me: Ok if you want bread you'll have to eat your oats first.

*Scrunches up face* DUN WANT!! NO NO!
BREEEAAAD!! THERE!!! *Points to bread*


Right now, besides painful eardrums, we're just thankful that she has not thrown herself to the ground or anything at us for that matter. Prayerfully that will never happen. If it does, then I pray for a bigger dollop of patience and lots of loving wisdom.

Mummy knows it is a phase, baby. A phase. That will pass. Soon enough. Doesn't time always fly?

Nasi Lemak Debut

I recently came across this Nasi Lemak Recipe, and I had to give it a try. (Cherie's photos are just mouthwateringly gorgeous! When reading her site, I sometimes feel like licking the screen. Haha!)

My husband comes from one of those Peranakan families where good food (and cooks) abound. I often dream of being able to cook like the women in his family, and concede that I have a long way to go, if I ever get there, that is.

Still, I do have a desire to be able to whip up a few dishes that I know he will like and appreciate. It is not like I am short of recipes, but I only dare try those that 1) Don't require too much time, 2) Require ingredients that I actually know of! (And err, not many family recipes meet these criteria)

Anyway, here is the 'before' version of the rice. I only had to put in the coconut milk and salt before popping this into the rice-cooker. (This is a short-cut method by the way. My mother-in-law has this recipe for steaming the rice etc etc)
I already had chicken curry that I cooked earlier in the week in the freezer, so I just wanted to cook one more dish to go with the rice. 

The initial plan was to go simple and do a Sambal Ikan Bilis, some hardboiled eggs and cucumbers. However, my plans were thwarted because I just could not find Ikan Bilis in the 2 supermarkets I had time for.

So, after 'wasting' all that time, I cheated and bought this chilli sauce:
I fried up some onions, threw in tiger prawns, added this chilli sauce and some sugar. Tadah! Sambal Prawns. Hee hee.

I didn't take any more photos of the cooking process as I was trying to cook as fast as possible while Bubbles napped. I thought I would have beautiful 'after' pics to show.

Unfortunately, I was SO excited about presenting the food that I dropped and broke a big plate :( So, between calling for the husband to help pick up the (many) pieces that found their way into the nooks and crannies of the kitchen, and making sure that Bubbles didn't step on any, I totally forgot about photos! Boo

The good news is that the man whom I cooked for declared it very nice, 'repeatable' and good for 'when guests come' :) That to me, is a better result than any ole photo.

Yay :)

One of those moments

Magical moments. There are many when you spend time with a child.

Here's one bath-time conversation that I will remember:

Bubbles: Frog. On!

Me: Do you want Mummy to turn it on for you?
Bubbles nodding: Yes

Me: What must you say?
Bubbles: Pease!
I wind up the toy frog and place it in the water, where it swims.

Bubbles: Gute! (cute)
waves at the frog
Bubbles: Hi! Morning!
smiles shyly

Me: Do you know who bought the frog for you?
Bubbles: Yeeeee (Yi Yi - my sister. She can't seem to repeat Yi twice, hence the long Yeeee)
Me: Yes, Yi Yi bought the frog for you.

She suddenly reaches out for her face towel.
Bubbles: Ta wol!
Me: Yes, that is a towel
Bubbles: Mummy!
Me: Mummy?
Bubbles: Buy!
Me: Yes, Mummy bought the towel for you! (Surprised)

Bubbles smiles and nods, happy to be understood.

She then leans forward, looks earnestly at me and says
Tank Yew!

I don't know if she noticed that my eyes misted up. I gave her a hug and whispered a You're Welcome sweetheart.

She grinned and happily splashed around in her tub while I sat there watching her, knowing that the Tank Yew moment will forever be etched in my mind.

Sitting is Hard Work

Conversation in the car as I was driving today:

Me: We're going to pick Daddy up, ok?
Bubbles: Yay!

After a while,
Bubbles: Busy!
Me: Busy?
Bubbles: Yes.

Me: Who's busy?
Bubbles: Bubbles!

Me: Oh you're busy?
Bubbles: Yes

Me: What are you busy doing?
Bubbles: Sitting


The Needle Syringe

People say kids are like sponges. They absorb everything in their surroundings, storing up bits of information in their little heads every single day. 

This fact is becoming more obvious in our observation of soon-to-be 1.5-year-old Bubbles.

She learnt a couple of words during her recent hospital stay just by being there. Most notably, she now says doc ta (doctor), nurse, and (to our dismay) dun wan (don't want).

Dun wan was a term she learnt from an older boy at the next bed. The poor thing had fractured his elbow and spent most of the time there declaring dun wan for any medication or food he didn't like :( After about half a day, Bubbles started to repeat after him. Now, she says Dun Wan! in addition to her usual No No! for added emphasis. Ah well!

It was however, this that took us a bit by surprise (and to be honest, it was a little heartbreaking for me):
This, for the uninitiated, is one of those syringes that come with kids' medication. It is a washed and clean one that was lying around the house.

It does however, look suspiciously like something one uses to poke a patient with in the hospital. It must have seemed so to Bubbles because my mother saw her using it to poke at the back of her hand!

*mini muffled sob*

3-inch Heels, coz I'm erm..Short

I don't know if anyone really cares for my choice of footwear (Besides my husband, that is. Like he doesn't understand why anyone would pay more than S$100 for a pair of slippers. But like most women know, my FitFlops are not slippers! Right?)

Anyway, in case you do care, let me share about my recent shoe purchase:

Those who know me in real-life would notice that my go-to shoes for work invariably have at least 3-inch heels. (What does a shortie do?)

I am known to be able to walk a lot in them for extended periods of time. I am a walking-in-high-heels whiz.

However, as Bubbles grows past the 10kg mark, carrying her while wearing 3-inch heels sometimes result in protests from my knees and lower back. With baby, (especially a slumped-on-Mummy sleeping one) I am whiz no more.

This pair therefore caught my eye. Can't have it 3-inch high? Let's squash the heel for you.

Very nice. I like.

And talking about being height-challenged (as I reported on Facebook), I was reading a Children's Bible to Bubbles last night:

Me: Zacchaeus was a short man.
Bubbles: Mummy!
Me: Mummy?
Bubbles: Short!
Me: -_-

Wooden Toys for Toddlers

Our guests always marvel at the sheer number of toys that Bubbles has. We have to admit that she does have A LOT of toys and they can be found not just in our apartment, but also at her maternal AND paternal grandparents' homes as well.

We are amazed at the number of toys she has accumulated in a short span of 1.5 years. Bubbles is blessed in that very few of her toys were bought by us. Most are lovely hand-me-downs like the rocking horse, or generous gifts from loved ones.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend who was preparing to move to Australia asked if I would like her daughters' old toys. I took Bubbles to her place, and we chatted while her girls happily entertained Bubbles. We came home with with lovely well-kept toys and a few puzzles. 

My favourites of the lot are the 2 wooden ones pictured above. Gorgeous colours. There's just something special about wooden toys - natural, organic and beautiful even after years of use.

Bubbles doesn't care much for the train. She does however love to hammer in the wooden balls and watch them roll down the slopes.

She has also inherited a number of MY old toys that my mother carefully kept all these years. I need to find time to photograph them to show you!

When the woman of the house is busy...

...plants bear the brunt of it.

Yes indeed. I'm missing some greenery in the space where this poor withered one now sits. 
Can someone tell me what hardy plant can I grow indoors? (Besides money plants or cacti!)

And for those of you with sharp eyes, you would have spotted the hand-drawn picture in the foreground. That was done by Roboman while giving Bubbles a commentary on colours, birds, plants and the sun. 

We now have many little pieces of Bubbles' world of play around our house. Little scatters of messiness happiness :)

When your child has a seizure

I thought I should share what to do when a child gets a seizure.

I knew enough to handle the situation when it happened to Bubbles, although actually experiencing it was almost scary enough for me to forget all that I read. I am so thankful Roboman was there with me when it happened.

The most common type of seizure that occurs are febrile seizures, which are convulsions triggered by high fever. Do read this site for a full description.

Bringing down your child's fever as quickly as possible will shorten the seizure.

Although Bubbles' episode was not due to fever, we did the same things as one would do in a febrile seizure:
(Adapted from NUH Kids Pamphlet on Febrile Seizures)

1. Don't try to restrain your child or stop the seizure movements. The seizure needs to run its course.

2. If your child has anything visible in his mouth, clear it with a finger to prevent choking. Don't try to force anything into your child's mouth.

3. Place your child on his side to help drain secretions and to prevent choking.

4. If your child vomits, help clear his mouth.

5. Call for an ambulance if the convulsion continues for more than 10 minutes.

For us, we chose to call for an ambulance immediately because we were so worried and needed to do so for our peace of mind. We didn't even wait 10 minutes. We also knew that an ambulance would have all the equipment and medication neccessary should things take a turn for the worse. As it turns out, Bubbles was given oxygen during the ride to the hospital.

It is also recommended that a child be brought for a doctor's evaluation after each seizure, just to rule out any sinister issues, and for an evaluation of the cause of the seizures to be done.

I'm glad I knew most of the information above before having the experience we did. I hope this helps serves as another important piece of data to be stored in everyone's minds, hopefully never needing to be used but when it does, to be helpful!

On the Mend

* Thank you all who commented on the previous post. We appreciate all your thoughts and prayers! Bubbles is much better now.
As a parent, I've realised that many bad habits are formed when a young child falls ill.

When our kids are sick, we allow them a multitude of things to make them feel better, to help them get well, or simply to make lives easier for ourselves.Co-sleeping habits are often formed during episodes of illness.

Since Bubbles took a turn for the better after that frightening episode, we have allowed her to eat whatever she wants (with the exception of shellfish, eggs and milk).She lost quite a lot of weight through the whole ordeal, and we were anxious to put back calories and nutrients into her newly skinny self.

So, despite my previous dietary rules about no added sugar or salt in her food, I gave in to anything that she fancied.

And boy, has she taken a fancy to chocolate wassants!

In Singapore, I believe this bread was made famous by Provence Bakery, and since then other bakeries have followed suit with their own versions of it. Bubbles has had her fix on those from Breadtalk and Four Leaves as well.

The light and fluffy, not-overly-sweet bread has made her a happy camper this past week. She literally asks for it all day long. I'm now wondering how I'm going to wean her off it! Deep inside though, I'm just so relieved she's finally eating normally. It is truly a weight off my shoulders.

Provoked Seizure

It has been a harrowing few days for us.

Those of you who follow A Dollop Of Me's Facebook Page would have read that Bubbles had a seizure on Sunday morning.

It ranks as the most frightening experience ever for me.

It was also completely unexpected. Although she was suffering from stomach flu for a couple of days, we had taken her to the doctors twice, once only the night before, and were told she'll just need time to ride out the virus. She wasn't even having a fever when it happened, and only had low grade fever 2 days before.

She had her breakfast and seemed tired, so I patted her to sleep on a mattress. I thought she had fallen asleep and was about to leave the room when she suddenly flipped over. Her eyeballs were rolled up, and her limbs and body totally stiff. A strange frothy sound was coming out from her mouth.

I screamed for Roboman (who later told me he did not recognise my voice which had taken on a new pitch from fear). He too was shocked and held her to her side while I rushed to call 995.

Bubbles had to be warded for 2 nights, and the diagnosis was that of a provoked seizure, possibly due to the stomach virus or because of low blood sugar.

She's now recuperating back home and I am thankful we are getting loads of help from both sets of grandparents.

I am thankful for a few other things:
1. I was there when the seizure happened. I can't imagine what could have happened if I had walked out of the room.
2. Bubbles was cooperative throughout her hospital stay. Pronounced as really cute by the nurses and doctors.
3. She's on the road to recovery.

I'm rooming with her now till she's 110% better. Even then, I need to pray for faith to let her sleep on her own again.

Thank you all who have texted, left messages on Facebook, emailed etc. Thank you too for praying for Bubbles and for us. We appreciate it very much!
My brave Bubbles with her drip (and splint) that she had to have on throughout.
She called the tube a wire.

She did not flinch when a nurse pricked her finger to draw blood.
Said plaster!, when the nurse put one on her finger, and declared it funny.

When a doctor came to check on her in the middle of the night,
she peered at the doctor's mask and declared it funny as well.
She was rewarded with 2 masks to take home.

On the final day, when her drip/plug/splint was taken off,
she did a little jig.