Author Archives: jazzyinlove

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Baby Signs

Jasmine: Since Dylan was seven months old, I have been teaching him how to sign.

Why signs? I heard that pre-verbal babies can experience frustration when they aren’t able to express what they want, so signing is a way to reduce unnecessary tears for both parent and child. It may also help babies pick up speech faster if you consistently reinforce the sign with the spoken word.

The signs are actual American Sign Language (ASL), we started with “milk” at seven months old. Basically before every feed, even at night, I would ask Dylan if he wanted milk while signing “milk” in front of him. Within two weeks, he was able to pick up the sign and sign back to me whenever he was hungry. When my helper and mum saw that Dylan could sign, they started signing to him too, and that helped him learn all the faster!

Around one year old, which is when most babies are developmentally ready to learn signs (even within a day!), we started teaching Dylan more signs. We chose about half a dozen recommended signs, which I printed out:

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Now, Dylan has a small repertoire, mostly centered on food and mealtimes, which includes

-milk
-drink
-eat
-please (Dylan loves this, he knows he is practically assured of more raisin bread or another go on the kiddy ride when he says “please”)
-more (very useful sign when he isn’t full!)
-all done (another very useful sign to indicate when he has had enough)

The good thing about the last three signs is that they can be used in many contexts, not just mealtimes. Dylan signs “please” and points to the door when he wants to go out. He also knows how to ask for “more” when he wants to read a book again. The one thing he doesn’t like is “all done” coz that means he has to go home or stop playing. Haha.

Here’s a video showing how we combine the signs at mealtime:

It’s been quite fun (and i imagine empowering) for Dylan and us too, being able to communicate with him at this early age!

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House Tour: A Ten-Minute Laundry Area Makeover

Jasmine: I have been putting off re-organising our laundry area for months. It’s kinda always been a source of embarrassment to me, since unlike other areas that you can just shut off, it’s right there in the open of the kitchen.

Thankfully, when I was at work, our trusty contractor Mr Poh came and helped us fix an Ikea shelf (thank Mum for overseeing!), so all I had to do today was shove things into these woven Daiso baskets, which again, I’d been holding on to for ages. (Andrew: Our contractor has been really helpful – dropping by now and then to help us, I mean Dearie, with all her little makeover projects, saving me the trouble of having to do any drilling or fixing of furniture.)

This is the neatened-up condition- not perfect, but better than before:

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Mr Poh also helped install these flip-up hooks from Ikea. They fold up to streamline visual clutter when not in use…

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And fold down if we need to hang some clothes, laundry bags etc…

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The before condition (only one shelf, un-coordinated and therefore unsightly open storage):

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And after:

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I really like how deep the Daiso baskets are as they help conceal all the unattractive laundry paraphernalia, yet keep everything within easy reach. I only wish they had more substantial bases for the heavy bottles I’ve put in there.

Check out the before condition of the other side of the laundry area:

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Mess, mess, mess. Sigh. We actually made this matching faux marble laminate to store our baby bathtubs, pails and stool, but for some reason, other things keep accumulating on the countertop, which is a pet peeve of mine.

Once we installed the extra shelf, all the soap bottles and bath toys could be contained in the Daiso baskets on the other side! Even the wet laundry and dishcloths hanging off our window grills can now be hung from hangers on the flip-up hooks…

But it looked a little too spartan, even with the fake orchid plant, which I just shifted over from the library dining room…

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So I tacked up a Paris map that Dear bought for me during our dating days with some washi tape. Dear is already not a fan of it, but I’m gonna just live with it there for a few days to see how I like it. If I like it, I may consider a more permanent way of framing it which would also protect it better from the afternoon sun.

Andrew: What I’m not a fan is the way it’s pasted/ ‘bandaged’ up and how the map looks so crumpled – but I have no objections to it being there.

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Best part is, this mini-makeover took 10 minutes and cost nothing, as we already had everything!

Sources:

Faux marble custom cabinet: Maple Construction

Paris map: Books Actually

Shelves, flip-up hooks, fake orchid and white vase: Ikea

Woven baskets (turquoise): Daiso

Woven basket (rattan): Bali

Laundry bag: King & King Wong

Hiding in Full View: Storage and Home Organisation for our 4-Room Flat

[Andrew: I was telling Dear that this blog post title is one of the geekiest ever – resembling almost one of this journal articles I would read!]

Jasmine: Nesting instinct –or that time in the pregnancy when you just suddenly want to declutter, pack and get everything neat and tidy for baby’s arrival– has really kicked in. [Andrew: Okay, I generally approve of this instinct – it’s better than your ‘craving’ instincts which get me out of the house at 10 p.m. to buy Magnum.]

Many of these ideas date back to when we first moved in or when I was expecting Dylan, and since they have served us well, I thought it might be worth devoting an entire geeky post to. I’m not the most organized person around (just ask my mum!) [Andrew: Or ask me – Dearie’s definitely not the neatest person around, but she’s more organized than me, especially when it comes to the house. She’s been bugging me for ages to get my bed-side table organized, and even offered to buy organizer for that – but I don’t see the point!], but ever since moving into a place of my own, I’ve tried to be neater. One thing that helps me is having a storage system, so that all I need to do is buy the storage and put it there, and put things back in the same place every time!

Kitchen

We try to keep our kitchen neat by keeping counters clutter-free. This is only possible by maximizing our storage space. Here, we take a leaf from HDB and… go vertical!

This three-tiered stand makes it easy to see and reach for sauce/ spice bottles at the back of the cabinet.

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These Daiso shelves can be used alone for smaller plates…

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Or stacked. I spent a happy hour today while Dyl was napping, packing all the milk bottles we used last round for freezing expressed milk.

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Another completely underused area for storage is cabinet doors. Yep, doors! I got these stick-on towel grabbers from Amazon years ago. You can just drape a dishtowel on it without it needing a loop, and of course, sticking this behind a door removes more clutter from your counter-tops.

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This Daiso plate stand also doubles as a chopping board holder… can’t believe I got this idea from Buzzfeed of all places!

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An under-sink storage system (a splurge at $36, which I had been eyeing for over a year, and finally got from Howard’s Storage World when it finally went on sale!) also doubles storage in a tricky space by working around the plumbing. To make way for the plumbing, simply shift or remove one of the white shelf parts. The shelving is also extendable and height-adjustable, so I raised the lower level high enough to fit pot lids and flatter pans underneath.

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My buying philosophy is pragmatic: most value for money (rather than cheapest) wins. If i can get it from Daiso/Ikea/Amazon cheaper and it does the job just as well, I will. But in some cases, Howard’s has cornered the market with some unique offerings that can’t be bought anywhere else, such as this under-sink storage system, so the best is to wait impatiently and snap it up when it goes on sale.

A final goodie from Daiso… a mini whiteboard for my helper to write down items we are running low on, so that I can factor them in when planning groceries for the week. Please do not be as mean as Andrew and laugh at her spelling. That being said, we should probably try to value-add to her during her time with us, by helping her with English! [Andrew: To be fair, I was laughing not at her spelling, but at the fact that you chose to put up a picture of this – which strictly isn’t even a storage solution! Note that this post has been pared down – Dear even wanted to put in photos of our shoeracks and key holders.]

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Close the cupboard doors, and this is what our kitchen looks like. Do excuse the poor-quality iPhone photos, I hastily snapped them to show how our countertops look by the end of the night.

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Bedrooms

One of our niftiest hacks was to Velcro fabric panels under our bookshelves. One panel is for Dilly to play hide-and-seek, but the other is for keeping large but infrequently-used items out of sight, like Mum’s overnight bag, birdcages and fan.

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Release the curtain and the mess disappears. Haha.

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For all the bric-a-brac that a home inevitably accumulates, we bought these Ikea boxes and labeled them with their contents e.g. red packets, pens and markers. It’s been two years since we got them, and we’ve managed to keep the right things in the right boxes… Mostly!

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For small items, we –attempt- to keep things organized by using all sorts of drawer dividers.

This “picket fence” one is customizable, just measure out how much you want and break off the excess. It’s that simple. We got ours from Howard’s at $8 (enough to use for this whole sock drawer) but after realising that Daiso sells them too, we’ve switched allegiances. [Andrew: Okay, I’ll have to admit that this was pretty useful or else my socks would just be strewn all around in a disorganised manner. I should make it even more organised by designating certain compartments for exercise socks, work socks, outing socks etc.]

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This is my makeup drawer. While I’ve used a variety of containers to corral my stuff, I’d really like to point out the round holder for lipsticks and makeup brushes. At only $2 from Daiso, I’ve had it for many years and it is arguably my best storage buy ever. In comparison, Howard’s sells it for $14 so you know where to go:p

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On top of the dresser, we’ve got two more containers from Howard’s, which i haven’t seen in any other store. I love acrylic because it’s stylish, takes up little visual space and allows you to see everything that you have at one glance. Since becoming a mum, I officially have no time to blowdry my hair anymore, so my roomy hairdryer organizer now stashes all my skincare.

This other concentric container for cotton buds in the centre and cotton wool in the periphery is genius. I first saw this when we were staying at De Brett Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand, and was so happy to chance upon it at Howard’s. I like that it keeps the two kinds of items separate, yet next to each other, since you use both when removing makeup anyways.

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More dividers, this time from King and King Wong, a furniture store at Nex which has since sadly closed down. These are in the nursery, and for only $3 apiece, they’ve certainly been value for money. They can hold so many baby clothes rolled up! Just count how many pieces have been stuffed in! Oh yes, and my jetsetting fashionista friends would already know that rolling and folding clothes takes up much less space than hanging them.

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Another container from Boon, which is slanted for easier access and visibility. We use it for baby’s medicines and grooming products. [Andrew: Actually this Boon container is originally intended for wall-mounting, you can take whatever you need conveniently.] Next to it is a practical life tray (actually a Cathay Pacific freebie for his in-flight baby food) that I’m thinking of starting for Dilly that will consist of his hairbrush and toothbrush. In the future, I imagine that we will repurpose the Boon container for art or school supplies- it can also be wall-mounted at that point.

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Storeroom and toilets

What would we do without the storeroom? We were contemplating hacking it to enlarge the nursery, but my mum persuaded us to keep it, and I’m SO glad we did. Even if we had supersized storage, it would not be as convenient as having a room to chuck all the ugly, bulky stuff in!

Andrew assembled our floor-to-ceiling shelves himself (his pet project, which he is still very proud of- it’s his major contribution to our home heheh), but what I want to show you is how we utilized the remaining wall and door space…

[Andrew: Yes, the shelves were amazing because they almost doubled/tripled the amount of storage space we had there. I went to buy one, but I saw that our storeroom could do with another, so I drove all the way back to get another one. Never regretted these shelves! We got them directly from the supplier – Jin Yu Trading – at a significantly better price than Howard’s, who sells the same shelves, but obviously marked up significantly!]

An over-the-door iron organizer, again from Howard’s for $15. I generally veer away from over-the-door hanging caddies, as you can see the edge of the caddy over the door, but I figured that as this was in my entryway which people walk right through anyway, no one would notice.

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And a vacuum/ broom wall organizer from Howard’s for $19. This is the only item featured in this post which had to be drilled into the wall. Thankfully our trusty contractor Mr Poh helped us install it for free!

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Finally, a caddy from King and King Wong, which we use for toilet cleaning supplies. I was inspired when I saw housekeeping services in hotels carting all their supplies around! My domestic helper brings this downsized version from room to room when she is cleaning our bathroom, so I guess it comes in useful?

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The house is not perfect by any means, of course, and I can only imagine it getting messier with baby girl’s arrival! I still need to re-organise our guest bathroom and Andrew’s bedside table, which is the stuff of nightmares! [Andrew: You won’t give up – will you! and indeed she doesn’t – as you will see in the next post.]

Montessori with a Toddler: Practical Life Activities at Home

Jasmine: At fourteen months old, Dylan loves imitating us adults. For now, the big thing is walking, and we give him plenty of chances to totter around the house barefoot (best for foot development) all day, But as he becomes more confident and dexterous, he is copying our actions and trying to “help” us, for instance, he will help Daddy pick up all the (clean) diapers after he is done throwing them around. After observing his interests, I decided to come up with some Montessori-inspired practical life activities for Dilly.

Montessori philosophy stresses respect for the child, and allowing the child the autonomy to explore and eventually master his environment. We do let Dylan “help” us in many authentic ways, such as moisturising his tummy, or  “vacuuming” the floor…

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Actually, my helper is holding the vacuum up, some distance behind him

But Montessori practical life trays  are still useful as they help to isolate a specific skill that they may need in real life and give the child repeated opportunities to perfect it, through repetition. These practical life trays allow the child to build focus and concentration, while improving hand-eye coordination etc. Trays are used to demarcate the boundaries of the activity, but as I have no trays, I have used… my high chair tray. Heh.

Anyway, theory aside, let’s move on to some practical life activities that I set up for Dilly. My own approach to activities is that they must be QUICK AND EASY to create. These took maybe a minute to grab the stuff from my kitchen:

1. Scooping activity

Setup: Two bowls, a spoon and some rice (or beans/ pasta/ pompoms)

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Dylan loves this happy-faced spoon bought by his Ee Ee

Dylan is in a phase where he likes to use implements. I noticed that at dinner, he would hold his spoon or place it in his mouth and try to scoop up leftover porridge. Thus, I set up a scooping activity where Dylan had to transfer uncooked lavender-scented rice from one bowl to another.

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Although I realised it was quite hard for him to scoop such small grains with such a shallow spoon, I was really proud of him for concentrating for 15 min. and yes, managing to transfer some rice to the other bowl too! When he threw one of the bowls on the floor, that was when I ended the activity, and gave him his little Daiso broom to sweep up the rice on his highchair tray.

Andrew: Dylan is really quite into ‘scooping’ right now and even during meal times, he always makes noise when is fed and wants to seize the spoon from us now. The problem is that he only scoops the food into his mouth for a while, following that he starts to scoop porridge out and either fling it on the floor or scoop it onto his high chair table and subsequently start smushing it around. Well, I guess everyone starts somewhere…

2. Water transfer activity

Jasmine: Setup – Two bowls, a sponge (cut in half for smaller hands), and water

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Water play is a sure hit with our little one. I added food coloring to the water so it would be easier for Dylan to see. He was supposed to transfer the water from one container to another by squeezing the sponge. This activity was pitched too high, and he was more interested in dipping his hands in the water though. I’ll probably revisit this in future as the act of squeezing the sponge is good for hand-eye coordination and building strength.

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What was more successful was the extension:

3. Cleaning

I sprayed a little more water, and gave Dylan some tissue so he could help wipe the spill up!

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4. Baking

Of course, Dylan’s favourite was helping Granny bake bread! We gave him a little ball of dough and Granny showed him how to flatten and roll it.

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He enjoyed the sensory nature of the dough, just squishing it delightedly in his chubby little palm and banging on it.

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Andrew:  He looks so cute, with that concentrating look and hair all so sweaty, like he’s working hard rolling that little piece of dough. Maybe he’ll inherit the baking genes from Granny that somehow Dear didn’t! 😀

4. Latch board

Jasmine: This one was Amazon-bought, but I have a friend who made her own by hot-gluing lock fixtures onto a plank of wood (Andrew: Two friends actually – I’m so glad Jas didn’t get ME to DIY this.)! Dyl is fascinated by all the keyholes of our drawers and will spend ages (meaning 10 min) trying to pull the key out and slot it back.

Thus, this Melissa and Doug latch board, with six different locks and doors revealing different numbers/ colours/ animals, was a useful practical life activity for Dylan, and one that keeps him quiet and busy too. He has so far managed to open doors no 6 and no 4!

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If you’re wondering why he’s in his crib, we’ve introduced a new Quiet Time routine for him after his afternoon nap. I’ll turn on the music, explain to him that this is his Quiet Time, and bring in some toys that he can play with (usually the latch board and books work the best), whilst Andrew or I sit quietly nearby and read. We try not to talk to him or intervene in his play.

We’re only 4 or 5 days in, but Dylan can go up to 20-35 min of Quiet Time play! Of course, he may whine a couple of times for attention or try to pass us a toy, but we will smile, accept and return the toy, and minimise the interaction, and he will go back to his own play shortly. This is not a Montessori idea, but we thought it would complement Montessori as it fosters independence and concentration.

We also have a special box filled with toys for his Quiet Time. These include his beloved maracas, balls and books. Even the box itself (actually a $5 dumpling carrier from Toastbox) is fun to explore with the lid, the removable felt and all the different textures!

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Andrew: Thanks Dear for planning all these meaningful activities for Dillie. I really do see that the length of his concentration is improving indeed and nowadays he can spend almost 20 minutes just on the same toy, on his own initiative. He is really learning to take anything from the environment to keep himself occupied, without adult intervention or guidance, exploring how to use that item. Now he’s been walking around with our bamboo pole ‘holder’ for the past twenty minutes! It seems like he loves playing with household items – that bodes well – he can help out with the housework in future! 

Newborn Fashion for Baby Girl

Jasmine: When we were expecting Dylan, we were very chill about his wardrobe and only bought a couple of cute rompers at the Sydney airport and while in Tasmania, for souvenirs’ sake. We also were quite confident that Dilly’s grand mum, aunt and all his relatives would be buying more than enough clothes, and they did! In fact, Dyl is still wearing quite a few pieces gifted from his first month.

From Seed Maternity at Sydney Airport

On sale at Salamanca Market in Tasmania

However, with a little girl on the way, things are a little different this time round. We (actually Andrew) have pulled out all the stops buying baby girl clothes! Here is our current (but by no means complete) collection. It is a listing of our indulgences and essentials, but if you are looking only for what is absolutely necessary, I’ve got a handy summary at the end 😀 (Andrew: …. you’re evidently having too much fun writing this entry.)

Andrew: Honestly Dear, I am currently trying to take stock of which items of Dillie’s can be reworn by baby girl when she arrives. Heh. Not quite true that I pulled out all the stops, but strangely enough, even though she hasn’t arrived, buying clothes for her just makes it feel like we are pampering her already. We really haven’t been half as attentive to her as we were with Dillie, so I guess it’s our way of showering her with love.

1. The Carter’s on Sale Capsule Collection
Jasmine: When I was on bedrest, I had to shop vicariously through my mum and sis, who went to the Metro sale and whatsapped me pictures of all the baby merchandise and helped me buy the ones I shortlisted. Oops… actually I think I still haven’t paid my sister back. Oh well, such a great family I have! Hee.

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Jasmine: I love the colors, styles and quality of Carter’s baby clothing, but they are always so expensive in Singapore. With the 20% + additional 20% off, my mum and sis helped me buy all these cute little mix n match outfits! I am actually not a big fan of always buying pink for baby girls, not so much because of the gender stereotyping, but because I find it quite limiting. I asked myself, would I like to have a wardrobe based on one colour? Probably not. So we chose some yellows and mint greens too, and even navy blue:

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Love the owl print on these leggings

In fashion,  a capsule wardrobe is a small collection of staple clothing items that can be endlessly co-ordinated for different looks and occasions. This Carters’ series seems like a capsule wardrobe in itself- not only are all the pieces somehow colour-coordinated, the varying lengths of the bottoms (shorts, bloomers, leggings, long pants) and the cotton material are great for both hot weather and aircon temperatures!

 2. Gender- Neutral Rompers

Jasmine: After having Dylan, we’ve realised how convenient rompers can be- plenty of mobility and comfort for baby, no need to think about a matching bottom and easy-peasy diaper changes!

This is one of our favourite pieces- a polka dotted romper with spaghetti straps! I don’t believe in buying revealing clothing for little girls… But this was so cute and it came as part of the Carter’s set above anyway! (Andrew: I can just imagine Mummy and little baby girl wearing matching clothes since Dearie loves polka dots too – just matching the polka dots, not the romper part. LOL.)

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I love gender-neutral colors for babies. Dilly always looked like an angel and it allowed us to focus on his face and sweet smile, so we bought a neutrals three-pack for baby girl, with a bunny print, a cloud print and a raglan beige.

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Truth be told, Dylan has plenty of gender-neutral rompers that we can recycle for baby girl (Andrew: Exactly!), but I just wanted baby girl to have a few items of her own, instead of a 100% hand-me-down wardrobe. Not that she will know the difference, but I guess it will weigh heavily on the conscience of this shopaholic mummy!

Andrew: As it is, our clothes cupboard for Dylan is already almost 75% full, with one drawer for his socks and another drawer for his home clothes which he wears and another drawer for clothes which he can’t wear yet or has outgrown. We might need another wardrobe altogether when baby girl arrives. That being said, I have to say it’s more fun buying clothes for little girls than little boys. Just seems like there are so much more designs, colours, styles you can play around with, whereas for boys, it’s just shorts, t-shirts or polo shirts.

3. Going Out Outfits

Jasmine: Not strictly necessary as babies can pretty much live in playsuits and sleepsuits, but if you have a baby girl I think that’s valid reason to indulge. We bought some blouses and shorts for her. (Andrew: Since when do you buy clothes based on ‘necessity’ anyway?)

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The shorts are ruched at the hem, so the butt will look fluffed out. The paisley green pair is also special, it was the first piece of clothing I bought (on sale at another of my favourite kids’ brands, Gingersnaps) when I found out we were having a girl.

When they are so young, there’s really no need for shoes as they can’t walk, but we did buy her some socks to match all the pinks, greens and yellows in her wardrobe. Socks are much more useful than shoes at the newborn stage, they help to keep baby warm.

Andrew: The white dress with light pink, purple and green prints  in the top right corner is so girly, sweet and colorful in a very subtle manner – just the kind of dress I feel will be perfect for a little baby. Think our little girl’s going to be a really well-dressed baby.

4. Home Wear

Jasmine: Ohhh I love baby bottoms and always thought rounded bums and fleshy thighs were the most adorable thing ever about babies. They are also as easy to unfasten as rompers for diaper changes and keep baby cool in our tropical humidity too without looking quite as "naked" as just wearing diapers!

I got a pair of these frilled knickers from Mothercare, as well as The. Cutest. Bloomers. Ever from Amazon, which I had been eyeing since, frankly, my first pregnancy. Each bloomer has a cupcake with a cherry and ruffled icing on the bum! I wanted to say this was my splurge item for baby girl but I realised all the going-out outfits above were splurge items. Moving on.

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Jasmine: And some mittens and booties as well. Dylan has plenty (and we got them in white too so they would be gender-neutral as well) so we just bought one wee set. From experience, the mittens with the wide bands (and not gathered elastic) fit tiny newborn wrists best and won’t slip off. As with socks, it’s good to have a few pairs as these tiny items get lost easily.

We also bought these singlets and cotton bloomers for day, and long-sleeved PJs by night. For the bloomers, the gathers and teeny bows make the butt more puffed-out, which I like on babies.

If you like these, surprise surprise, Andrew picked them out. In fact, he specified that he wanted "more pink" since it was a baby girl. (Andrew: Sorry, call me traditional!)

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The singlets and shorts are gonna be essential, I just know it. In this hot weather, it’s pretty much all that Dilly wears, and the ribbed singlets may look miniscule but can expand- he’s been wearing them from birth till now so I’m quite confident baby girl will get as much wear out of her sets.

5. Gifts Etc

Jasmine: Of course, baby girl is so blessed! Even before she is born, she has lots of people who love her buying things for her already!

Here is a wonderful denim dress and mustard romper with puff sleeves, sponsored by her Ee Ee. Hey sister, go on another Europe trip so you can buy baby girl a Europe collection too!

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Update (2 June): the buying continues! My mum and sis bought these little dresses on sale for baby girl which we will probably pair with her bloomers. The rosebud one is so teeny it can be worn by my sister’s Rilakumma bears (ugh). When baby girl grows bigger, she can wear them as tops too, with shorts which are meant for Dylan right now!

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My aunt got a five-pack from Mothercare for her baby Leia and gave me one! This newborn size is not easy to find and I liked the colours in the store but refrained from buying, so… it all worked out!

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My dear cell girls bought these technically for Dilly, but I’m sure Dilly won’t mind sharing with his sister. Heheh. They were so thoughtful to buy stuff for baby on their travels- Celine bought the cat set from Taiwan and Jillian bought the monster set (with very cool angular pants) from Korea! Can’t wait till Dyl and baby girl grow big enough to fit into them!
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Lastly, my cousin Steffy got these soft washtowels for baby girl from Perth. It comes with a cute little cow that I hope will not be the next Smelly Penguin.

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We already have plenty of towels including our very useful apron towel, but washcloths are a great addition as it was about time to retire some of our washcloths which Dylan has been using daily for a year and are beginning to look a little tired. And more Aden+Anais bamboo swaddles for baby girl, since Dyl got so much use out of his. We went with white (rather than the pink/mauve version of Dyl’s aqua set) so it erm, wouldn’t clash with our nursery colours.

What else I would like to buy- probably a tutu, a little white lace bonnet for sun protection and more cute socks with faux ballet slipper patterns. Oh, and mother-daughter dresses in whimsical circus patterns! Lest I frighten anyone (probably just husbands of friends, haha) with the photo spam above, let me share some words of wisdom:

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Fridge magnets say the darndest things. Thanks Miao for the magnet!

I should probably add that all the items above were bought for varying ages from newborn size all the way to 6-9 months, so baby girl will only be wearing a few of these at any given time, which are actually intended to supplement the hand-me-downs from Dilly and (I hope) all her older baby girl cousins *blatant hint alert*.

However, if you are a baby clothing minimalist (which makes perfect sense since the clothes will be worn for a few months to a year at best), this is our list of clothing essentials:

  • At home by day: 5 sleeveless rompers (aka playsuits)  OR 5 singlets and 3-4 pairs of shorts/ bloomers/ diaper covers
  • At home by night: 5 long-sleeved, footed rompers (aka sleepsuits) OR 3-4 short/ long-sleeved tees and 3-4 pairs of long/ footed pants.
  • Going out: forget those fiddly jackets and cardigans. Just wrap baby in a swaddle cloth (on top of whatever she is wearing) and add socks.
  • Bath: 2 towels and 3-4 washcloths

Last tip for new parents: get clothes that snap down the front (faster than buttons or kimono ties, gosh) rather than things you have to pull over the baby’s head. It can be scary for baby to not be able to see, and quite unnerving for parents when baby is wailing. We had a few snap-down shirts for Dylan (again, a three-pack from Mothercare) and they were very easy for us to handle.

Dylan in a snap-down shirt at exactly one month old

Instead of pulling a shirt over a wriggly baby’s head, you can just turn baby to one side to pull his arm through one sleeve, and repeat on the other side. Fuss-free!

A couple more examples:

Dylan in a Petit Bateau romper from Uncle Miao and Auntie Crystal

Another snap-down romper from Granny, all the way from Japan

This time, we are feeling abit more confident in our baby-changing abilities so we haven’t gotten any snap-down rompers…. yet. But if a nice set comes up, it will certainly be on my radar 😀

Come soon baby girl, I can’t wait to dress you up!

Green Toys Submarine and Dump Truck: Product Reviews

Jasmine: I love toys (probably more so than Dylan!!) but we all know that toy production has a harmful impact on the environment, with the waste generated, toxic by-products and also the BPAs and phthalates in some plastic toys which could pose a danger to kids.

I was excited when my endless hours of aimlessly surfing Amazon  toy research  led me to this company, Green Toys, which makes toys out of 100% recycled milk jugs. According to their website, every pound of recycled milk jugs saves enough electricity to power a TV for 3 weeks or a laptop for a month! (Andrew: Btw, every ‘green toy’ we buy is sufficient to power the electricity in our house for 3 days, based on our current electricity bill.)

And not to mention, the entertainment value of the toys was highly rated on Amazon, so when a Green Toys sale came up at Motherswork, I just had to get a couple of toys!

Andrew: Oh man, I thought usually it’s the parents who have to stop the kids from buying more toys! Looks like I’d be alone on this in future. Dearie even commented after leaving the toy shop that we should bring Dylan here some day in future, to which I told her, “You never bring a kid to a toy-shop, because you’ll end up with him wanting to buy everything.”

Submarine

Jasmine: As you know, all Dylan’s bath toys are gifted so this was the first bath toy we got for him. I like that it has so many possibilities in water- it can float when empty, sink when filled with water and has a handy handle and wide spout for pouring!

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Dilly didn’t quite enjoy being ‘rinsed’ with it today and kept wincing and closing his eyes, even trying to climb out of the bath-tub. Heh.

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However, he liked spinning the movable propellers, which rotate underwater. 

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The top of the sub also lifts off so you can put toy figurines in, for more imaginative play! This seems like a great unisex toy, and at just $13 on sale, would be ideal for a birthday gift!

Dump Truck

Andrew: I still remember when I was a kid, one of my favourite toys was a big yellow dump truck! It had a handle by the side, which you could use to tip the dump and I had endless hours of fun with it, pushing it around and loading it with Lego blocks. Occasionally, we would also recreate destruction scenes, where we would specially create a nice house/building using Lego and then ram the whole dump truck through it! LOL. This is the kind of game boys love to play. Anyway, on to Dylan’s toys…

Jasmine: We were deciding between this and the recycling truck, which would be great for inculcating eco-friendliness in kids (one mum blogger wrote that her children had “recycled” every piece of scrap paper in the house by end of the week!). However, we thought that a dump truck would be a classic for both boys and girls, and it could hold many of his toys, such as his little collection of balls:

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Dylan can also tilt the dump bed to empty out whatever’s inside. I can imagine that this is a toy that will grow with him, and will be perfect for sand play. The wheels are super large so they run well both indoors and I presume outdoors too.

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However, what he really enjoyed was our little tweak to the truck- adding Daddy’s belt to convert it into a pull toy.

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Because of the way the belt was positioned, Dilly couldn’t quite steer the truck right, so Andrew improvised again, taping our measuring tape to the truck.

Andrew: First of all Dear, please do not use my accessories/clothes as toys for Dylan. Next thing I know I’ll find my cuff-links dumped in a tupperware of rice as part of your ‘treasure hunt’ activity. Secondly, you clearly have no idea how pull toys work (or any basic sense of motion)! Basically, Dear had attached my belt in such a way that the truck would be pulled sideways, which goes in a completely opposite direction to its wheels… Let a man do it…

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Jasmine: Tip for all wives, if you want your husband to be involved, make sure you do it wrongly so he will feel compelled to “fix it”. Darnit I’m good!

And off Dilly went!

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Jasmine: He had fun pulling along various things in his dump truck, such as the balls, books, diapers (the clean ones) and even… smelly penguin.Which sadly he did not dump.

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Dylan has been playing with the dump truck for the better part of this afternoon and night, so we are now going to box it up and keep it until his little sister is born, then present it to him as a gift from his sister! My mum says I shouldn’t be a cheapo and that I will most likely end up buying more toys since I’ve been put on yet another week of bedrest –_-

Baby-Proofing Your Home (Stylishly): 6-18 Months

Jasmine: We started babyproofing our home when Dylan started crawling early, around 6 or 7 months. When I started researching babyproofing, I was completely intimidated by the recommended number of areas in the house that we had to look into.

Andrew: I’ve never been a real fan of baby-proofing, and feel that the best ‘baby-proof’ is simply to keep a good eye on your children whenever they are playing. Also, honestly, I’m kinda lazy because there’s just way too many things to baby-proof if you want to start – all the cabinets, cupboards, sockets, doors, table corners (thankfully all our tables are either round, too high for Dylan to reach, or made of light material).

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Jasmine: It helped that we already believed in the Montessori philosophy of setting up a “prepared environment”, which basically advocates setting up a safe space for the child to learn through free exploration and sensory stimulation. Reggio Emilia takes this idea one step further, believing that the environment is the “third teacher” (first is parents, second teachers, or atelieristas as they are known) and the space, materials, and even lighting should be natural and welcoming to promote open-ended play. Thus, we decided we wanted the house to be first and foremost a baby-friendly environment rather than a baby-proofed environment.

Let’s face it, we can never have a 100% baby-proof house as baby will always find a new way to get into potential trouble, but we can try to ensure that some safety fundamentals are in place while creating a baby-friendly home environment where baby can still explore and learn. Baby-proofing is a work-in-progress that we will have to constantly revise as Dylan gets older and smarter, but these are some of our basic baby-proofing measures:

1. Box up electrical appliances/ cords

Andrew: Dylan has a great fascination especially with laptop wires and he would always come to me when I am doing work to drag the wires, or pull out the wire and worse – put it in his mouth!

Jasmine: We bought these boxes from Blue Lounge for areas with high electrical appliance density. Not only do they keep the cords and wires safely away from baby, the house looks instantly neater.

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No more messy wires!

2. Socket covers

Jasmine: This is a must, because we had seen Dylan poking his little fingers into the sockets on quite a number of occasions.

The first thing you can do is to move heavy furniture to block the sockets if they are infrequently used.  Do ensure that the furniture is sturdy enough that it won’t fall down on baby, which was the case when Agnes pulled herself up on my mum’s telephone table and the whole thing (glass cups, telephone and all) came crashing down on her!

Our two sets of sockets in our nursery are blocked by the mirrored dresser and armchair. This used to be Dyl’s favourite hiding corner but we have since moved the dresser to block the sockets behind it. (Andrew: This little boy just LOVES that corner so much. There were occasions where I’d just find him, sitting there, staring at his reflection in the corner and smiling to himself!)

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Just an excuse to show a cute photo! Dino-hat from Adeline.

If barricading sockets with furniture isn’t feasible, we got our socket covers quite cheaply from Ikea. Choose ones that are white and flat so that it draws minimal attention.

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We also tried to hide them where possible, for example in Dylan’s play area in the living room, where we have draped the curtain and then wedged two cushions in front of the socket:

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Andrew: Of course, even with socket covers, that doesn’t negate the need to watch over him. There were times where I’ve seen him tugging at the socket covers, trying to remove them. You would notice that for Dearie, baby-proofing is not just functional, it must be done in style… if it were me, I’d just dump something in front of the sockets like boxes or a stack of books to cover them. After all, that’d achieve the purpose right? (Jasmine: Not really, that would draw baby’s attention to the exact spot we want him to avoid.)

3. Use drawer latches or keep dangerous things in boxes

Jasmine: Dyl loves exploring cupboards and drawers and rummaging through all the contents. He’s not being naughty; exploring is a baby’s job and that’s how they learn about the world around them.

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Andrew: His favourite cabinet right now is our tupperware cabinet, which is just located at floor level. He’d open it and spend a while just taking out each tupperware, opening it up and throwing them all over the floor. In fact, he’s doing that right now as I type this – so much for watching over him… He has so much fun doing all these activities that sometimes I wonder how much I should restrict him…

Jasmine: We should honour the child’s impulse and curiosity while setting boundaries on acceptable areas and things to play with.  So that is the one kitchen cabinet we have identified as being ok for Dylan to play in.

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I thought it would be good for learning but I didn’t know it would be this educational! Dilly stacked five boxes for the first time- the most he’s ever stacked up till now is two!

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Okay clever baby, you’ve earned your license to play with the boxes all you want!

For the other cabinets, we wanted to get drawer latches but most of the ones in stores (Mothercare, Homefix, Ikea) needed to be drilled into the drawers, which I neither had the time nor energy for. (Andrew: Neither do I… I’m not really the handiman sort.)

Instead, what we did was to store all toxic substances (detergent etc) on high shelves. The lower kitchen cupboards are now just full of safer, lighter items like floormats, plastic boxes etc.

In addition, I also box up all potentially dangerous items or small electrical parts so that they’re even harder for Dylan to access. Right now they’re just in simple lidded boxes but I probably will have to switch to boxes with more difficult clasps once Dylan wises up to my ways.

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Andrew: Such baby-proofing is also an excuse for Dearie to sort out my electricals for me, because I used to just leave all my various chargers and devices all around the place. She’s nagged me nonstop to do it, but I’ve always given the excuse that it’s in the most convenient (Jasmine: and unsightly) place for me… I guess now she can pack them all up, in the name of baby-proofing…

4. Fan covers

Jasmine: Similar to the socket covers, when Dylan started pulling himself up, we had to rescue him a few times from sticking his fingers inside the fan when the blades were spinning.

Thankfully, we found this fan cover (this was the last piece) a couple months back at Spring Maternity, after a fruitless search at NTUC. It was quite expensive at  $11 but it does the job of protecting Dylan’s fingers. The bug is actually a pocket for air freshener but that is quite an unnecessary frill.

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Andrew: To me, this was the most essential and useful piece of baby-proofing. We have quite a few fans around the house. Dyls gets so active and sweaty during the day, so we tend to turn on the fan to keep him cool. Things which move tend to attract him a lot, so he has on many occasions walked towards the fan and almost stuck his finger in. I wonder though if that brightly coloured bug in the middle has the reverse effect of ‘attracting’ him to the fan, even more!

Although I did say that the best baby-proofing is to keep watch on the baby, I am on the lookout currently for a good safety gate to barricade the kitchen from Dylan. We have an open-concept kitchen, i.e. no door to the kitchen, hence there’s nothing to latch the gate on to. Still on the hunt! (Jasmine: actually I have already identified a retractable safety gate which matches our decor. The problem is that we need something to latch it on to, which means replacing our current open bar counter with a kitchen counter with built-in storage to prevent Dilly from going through. And if you must know, I have already gotten a quote for the new kitchen counter. Just waiting for your approval :p)

Wacky Baby Products

Jasmine: I guess it’s no secret that we quite love testing out baby products and toys- if I were to link all the posts we’ve done, I’d probably need a glossary. Heh. We do believe in durability, aesthetic appeal, open-endedness and ease of cleanliness, and read reviews with great fervour to separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves.  (Andrew: Dearie’s the one who judiciously researches every product we buy on Amazon to ensure we buy the stuff that has the best customer reviews – to the extent that once we stood at Isetan for about 20 minutes, while she checked thru Amazon for which wooden toy had the best reviews. Yes, that’s how crazy my wife is.)

We have, however, occasionally caved in to buy some silly or outright wacky baby products- and here are our reviews:

1. Baby shower hat ($6 at Isetan)

Jasmine: This is supposed to keep shampoo and water out of baby’s eyes as the water drains off the grooves. In reality though, using one hand as a “visor” to shield baby’s eyes works just as well. (Andrew: No it doesn’t… when was the last time you bathed baby?) Now I supervise, dear 😀

We just bought this silly hat on impulse coz it makes Dylan look like a sunflower. Weirdly too, we found this in the kitchenware section of Isetan.

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Andrew: Dylan used to detest things on his head, like hats, and would keep pullin them off, but he had no issues with this shower hat. It worked well when I had to wash vigorously, with the showerhead to remove the rice grains in his hair after a very messy lunch. Well, aren’t his meals all messy? Anyway, the size is also customizable to your baby’s head size, by cutting slits in the middle. The crazy things people come up with! Dillie looks soo cute in it!

2. Japanese baby banana toothbrush ($9.90 at Kiddy Palace)

Jasmine: We were actually rather late in starting dental hygiene. Apparently, we are supposed to start brushing as early as 4 months of age, or whenever baby gets his first tooth. The idea is to start young so that he won’t be resistant to having a toothbrush in his mouth- however, if you know babies, they can’t resist putting things in their mouths, especially contraband items, so I don’t really feel like we missed the boat here. Heh.

We did get this Japanese baby banana toothbrush for him, which also doubles as a teether as there are different grooves on the base. Dyl loves the squeaky sound of the brush against his teeth, and will not only brush his teeth (and gums) himself, but let us do so for him as he squeals happily.

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It’s easy to hold and looks like his favourite thing in the world, bananas! What’s not to love?

We later realised this was an imitation of the original Baby Banana Toothbrush- which costs double the price (Oral B should really tap this toddler market) but is supposedly very good quality- reinforced bristles to withstand the tearing power of teething babies who use it as a teether. We bought one for Baby Leia, hopefully she will like using hers too.

3. Summer Infant Tiny Diner placemat ($12 from Amazon)

Jasmine: “What is this thing?” was the unspoken question my family had when we unrolled it and put it in front of Dylan when we went for Mother’s Day dinner.

It is a placemat with suction cups to adhere it to any table, to provide a clean eating surface for baby. We thought this would be quite handy for Dyl to practise Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) or have finger foods at restaurants.

Well, he didn’t get to make much of a mess ‘coz all he got was cucumber…

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Sorry, I take my words back.

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Also comes with a crumb-catcher pocket to minimise spillage or droppage.

Andrew: This is a great invention, which makes meal times that much more bearable. At restaurants, we usually like to give Dilly some finger food, because that means we can continue to eat while we occupy ourselves with our own food. Problem is sometimes the surface can be dirty, or Dilly just ends up smearing the food all over the table. With this mat, that reduces the mess slightly. More good meal-times ahead for Jazzy and Andrew!

4. Pacifier Medicine Dispenser ($4.90 at Toys R Us)

Jasmine: And lastly, most babies hate being given medicine through a syringe, so we thought this was equal parts ridiculous and genius. We haven’t tried it yet, but Andrew suggests that we can offer this to baby with some yucky liquid inside to break Dylan of his pacifier habit. So mean.

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Andrew: We bought this when we first had to give medicine to Dillie and he kept squirming whenever we used the syringe to ‘squirt’ medicine into his mouth. However, since then, he has become used to taking medicine from a spoon, so no more use for this! As you can see, it’s still nicely packaged, so I’m not sure when we’re going to find a use for it – maybe for baby girl?

Jasmine: I think maybe Andrew can try it if he falls sick. Men tend to be so whiny when ill…

Bath Toys!

Jasmine: Bathtime is now one of Dylan’s favourite parts of the day. To be fair, the water on its own is fun enough, but when we throw in some bath toys, he never wants to get out. We have written about the bathing routine here, so this post will focus on some of the toys that have kept Dilly busy in the water. Most were gifts or if bought, were pretty low-cost.

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Stop styling my hair with my shampoo

Andrew: Bath-time has always been his favourite time. There was a period where we were told to cut down his baths to once a day because his eczema was so bad, and it somehow felt that during that period, he was less smiley and cheerful. Poor boy… Bath-time is a fun time for us too and we have many cute videos of him giggling and laughing while we sing to him or tickle him during his bath. Anyway on to our bath-toys…

1. Stacking toys

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A shower hat which we bought coz it looked so silly, the Ikea Mula stacking cups and a Munchkin snail bath set

The Munchkin snail bath set was a gift from Uncle Miao and Aunty Chrystal for Dylan’s man yue. Every item in this set floats and can be played with together or separately. It includes a snail, a sun squirter and three rings with different types of rotors or beads inside, which spin or rattle when water goes in. Dyl loves the rings the best. He uses them as teething toys and they keep him occupied after the bath when we’re changing him, which explains why one ring is missing from the picture- he probably threw it behind the dresser during a change. The rings stack on the snail, so they’re also good for teaching sorting and size recognition.

The Ikea Mula stacking cups were a gift from my former HQ colleague Eileen. I actually asked her to help me get them as our office was only 5 min drive from Ikea, but she refused to take payment from me. So nice of her! They are only $2.90 but Dylan has gotten so much use out of them, both dry and wet! A really good just-for-fun buy if you have a friend with a baby!

In the bath, they are especially useful as they have different sizes and numbers of holes, which varies the pouring experience, as it could be a gush of water or a rain shower. (Andrew: I have to admit I’m quite amused by the cups too and enjoy pulling them out of the bath-tub and looking at the differing streams of water. Actually, I do enjoy bath-tub baths! During our renovation, one of my few requests was to have a bath-tub for our bathroom, but it was too small for it. That would be one of my dreams for our next house.)

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Yakult bottle strategically covering his boy bits

2. Pouring and hand-eye coordination toys

Jasmine: A very impressive title, but essentially just a sift (for flour) and a ball from the bag of ball pool balls Mum bought.

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Jasmine: Inspired by pictures of basketball hoop bath toys I saw online, we thought Dyl would like catching the ball with the sift. However, he seems content for now to just use the sift to splash water all around (and on us).

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 3. Bubbles!

Jasmine: Cannot go wrong with this one! Of course, any bubble solution would do, but we got this great German one, Pustefix, from an atrium sale. The bubbles don’t burst easily and are soap-free, which means it’s better for Dylan’s sensitive skin than other bubble solutions which contain soap. The wand mechanism is also nice for babies, as you have to press the bear’s tummy and the wand will slowly slide out for a peekaboo effect.

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Andrew: I have great memories of me making my own bubble solution when I was young with our own body soap! Heh. My cousins and I also used to see who could make the biggest bubble using our hands or arms…. Anybody can visualise that? Heh.

When Dylan grows older and is able to play with stackable toys like Duplo/lego, we might consider buying him this Megablocks Build and Splash set, which we saw at Toys’ R’ Us while buying Bruce’s present:

Jasmine: If you stack it, you can pour water from the top, which will make each sea animal tip over so that the water will flow to the bottom. 

At $39.90 though, I think I’d rather make my own with empty plastic bottles, especially since it’s not quite as open-ended as the other Megablok sets. But a fun alternative and I can see Dilly liking all the moving parts and running water anyway.

Baby Day Out at Family-Friendly Vivocity

Jasmine: This Sunday, we had a few baby errands to run (buying potty, shoes, swaddle cloths etc), so we decided to head to Vivocity as it had most of the baby shops we needed to visit.

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Easy enough getting there- a 20 min train ride! Hard to miss us coz we were accidentally stripey

We were quite happy with how family friendly it was:

  • wide aisles for steering strollers
  • lots of outdoor spaces for kids to run around
  • large selection of baby boutiques (though regrettably almost none selling maternity wear) including Mothercare and Toys R Us
  • family rooms
  • family-friendly eateries at low and mid-range price points

Unfortunately, it seemed that every other family had the same idea, so it was very crowded!

Andrew: Yes, the lifts were perpetually full, with families & their strollers as well as families and very full trolleys from Giant. We were packed like sardines in a lift with 3 families and a double-stroller!

1. Outdoor spaces

Jasmine: There are three main outdoor spaces, the rooftop, the playground on the 2nd floor and the ground floor.

Dylan loved pottering around close to the harbourfront, and seeing the train go by (this costs $6 a ride, yikes!):

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Andrew: He was really cute and would just suddenly stop in his steps and watch the train go by. The train uncle was really friendly and kept waving at him every time the train went by (all four times).

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Oops, that’s me slacking off guarding the belongings in the background

Jasmine: I don’t think he’s ever had this much space to roam about! He was very pleased, but Andrew was doing the chasing and it was quite nerve-wracking because we were afraid Dyl would run into the river or something.

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This picture made me feel both proud of him and sad- don’t grow up too fast, Dilly!

Andrew: I felt so conflicted as a parent – on the one hand, I really wanted to just let him run as he was so happy! He kept squealing and laughing to himself as he ran about. Yet, as a protective parent, I just kept wanting to put my arms around him to prevent him from falling or to prevent people from walking into him. He did fall quite a few times, but I was so proud of him that he always fell stably and never once cried. He’s doing really well, but yes, growing so fast.

Jasmine: The 2nd floor open-air playground has been voted Best Free Playground, and we could see why. The undulating surfaces were popular as gigantic slides.

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Dylan tried quite a few bouncing/ gliding rides…

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Jasmine: As well as this cocoon swing, which was big enough to accommodate  one of us too!

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Jasmine: There were also colorful animal sculptures which doubled up as seating or additional climbing structures too.

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As expected, there were throngs of kids, but as many of the rides only fit one to three pax, we managed to keep Dyl safely away from the more boisterous older kids. Plenty of chairs and shade thoughtfully provided for parents to lounge on, too.

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Andrew: Best part of this playground was that it was so cooling, perhaps cos of the altitude. There was a very nice breeze and there were chairs and tables around, for parents to just sit down while their kids ran amok in the play area. Someday that’ll be us! Actually probably just me sitting there while Jas shops. I foresee we might be coming back to Vivo quite frequently when Dillie grows older.

2. Large selection of baby boutiques

Jasmine: As mentioned, we needed to buy some baby stuff, and one of our priorities was to get Dylan some proper footwear now that he can toddle about (we’ve been bringing him out pretty much barefoot since he was born). After doing some research and realising that good baby shoes –the ones with proper soles and not just cutesy cloth ones– would cost anywhere between $60-90. Yikes!

Thankfully, we found these Craig sandals by See Kai Run.

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It checked off all the right boxes:

  • grippable flexible sole with enough support for growing feet
  • large toe box for more wriggle room
  • Velcro closures for easy fastening
  • sandals for ventilation

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Matching Daddy and Dilly shoes?

Just nice too that it was $49.90 before our member discount!

I later read a review that said See Kai Run shoes, being made of leather and suede, were generally intended for urban wear e.g. going to classes, and not so much active sporty use e.g. hiking, trampling in rain and mud. However, Dylan wore it out of the store and put it to the test immediately, walking on wet ground and climbing around in the playground. Oops.

3. Family rooms

Jasmine: Reasonably-equipped with the usual amenities: change station, hot and cold water dispensers, tap, dustbin. However, the doors were made of glass, so I’m not sure how any mum could breastfeed in there. (Andrew: If I’m not wrong, I saw nursing rooms in addition to these regular parents’ rooms. I love malls with nursing rooms, because it means bringing much less stuff out, like two bottles of water. )

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4. Family-friendly eateries at low and mid-range price points

IMG_5648Jasmine: This was purely a whim on Dear’s part, but we managed to get a reservation at Jamie’s Italian for an early dinner! Although we had heard from our family members that the food was mediocre, we also realised that most of our friends had ordered pasta dishes a la carte. Thus we went with something different, the plank menu ($138 for 2) [Andrew: Not sure this classifies as a mid-range price point….], which consisted of 3 courses of platters laid out on planks for starters, mains and desserts.

Andrew: When the waiter first came with 4 cans of tomato sauce for our table, I was like, Huh? We didn’t order that?? Dearie also almost asked them to take it back after the appetizer. Little did I realise that these 4 cans were actually stands for the plank! It must take quite a lot of skill to serve customers at this restaurant because I saw some rather skilful maneuvering of the ‘plank’, with several plates on food on it, throughout! Here are some of our favourite dishes on the various planks!

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Deep fried fish with their very own yuzu mayo – batter was light, fish was tasty and went perfectly with the lemon and mayo

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To us, the meat dishes were the star of the main course plank. The chicken was so moist, juicy and tender!  The pastas are supposed to be freshly made, but we didn’t think much of the bolognaise.

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Andrew: Dearie will know that I usually don’t eat cooked salmon and only love sashimi, but I finished almost half of this!

Jasmine: Oh I wanna replicate this at home now! Beetroot, baked salmon, fresh greens and sour cream with lemon can’t be beet, I mean, beat!

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The greens were so-so, but the polenta chips at the back are a signature Jamie’s Italian item. I loved them – crispy on the outside, light and airy on the inside, with a nice hint of saltiness from the cheese

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Panna cotta – loved the creamy texture!

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Brownie with popcorn and amaretto ice-cream

Jasmine: We were also impressed that instead of the usual Ikea high chairs, Jamie’s Italian had invested in Stokke baby chairs, which were really good! Not only were they adjustable, the baby chair held Dyl in for a good hour plus (usually he clambers out of high chairs several times, even when buckled) yet gave him enough wiggle room. Of course, the bread and EVOO kept him futher occupied while we were eating.

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Sidetrack: If you own a stroller, pls buy stroller hooks. They double your storage capacity. Look how much stuff we managed to hook on them!

IMG_5652Andrew: Our little boy is such a bread monster and ate almost 2 whole slices of bread plus his usual porridge portion. Man, he can really eat! There were quite a lot of families there and I think there was a decent selection of food for children there too. There are many other great restaurants in Vivo which I want to try, in particular Madam Kwan’s (supposedly best Nasi Lemak store from KL, for almost 2-3 times the price)! We also realised there were two nice playgyms – Polliwogs and Singkids – there, but didn’t have enough time (or energy) to bring Dillie there.

Jasmine: Overall, a good mall for a family day out, but perhaps a weekday would be better!