Category Archives: Dylan

‘Big Brother’ Training

Andrew: We’ve taken another long break from blogging – well, because we’ve been busy managing both kids. We’re homebound currently as Dylan is recovering from HFMD and Emmy’s sort of mid-way through, hence what better time to start blogging again!

We’d like to share more about how we’ve been helping Dylan grow into his role as an elder brother and take care of little Emmy. I’ve never thought that there was much that could be done, given that he’s still so young and largely dependent on us for most of his needs. However, I’m surprised at how he has stepped up and impressed us on many occasions with his sweet, brotherly behavior! Here are some ways which we have involved him more as a big brother…

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“Is this the ‘off’ button for her crying?” (Obviously things don’t always work out well from the start…)

1. Small care-giving tasks

Andrew: while he might not be able to do things like carry Meimei or change her diapers, we’ve involved him in as many ways as he can.

One simple way is in getting his help to get tissue paper for us to wipe Meimei’s spit-up or drool. We did this not only by giving him instructions on what to do, but also sharing with him the context and the effect of what he did. For example, we would say, “Oh, Dilly, Meimei is crying now and she’s spit up her milk. What should you do?” Initially, he’d look a little lost, so we’ll tell him to take tissue paper to pass it to us, which we would use to clean Meimei. He gradually realises what’s going on and now, he will not only pass the tissue to us, but even take the tissue to clean Meimei’s spit-up on his own.

There was once he didn’t even need any prompting from us. I recall I was carrying Emmy and then Dilly came by and looked at her. He then walked towards the tissue box and started pulling out pieces of tissue, which I didn’t think much of as he usually does that as part of his play. He then walked towards me and cleaned up Emmy’s spit-up! It surprised me because I hadn’t even noticed it myself. Little kids really impress you with the things they learn.

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There are other small tasks we involve him in to varying degrees of success, like helping to rock Meimei in the bouncer (which sometimes ends up making her cry even more when he gets too excited), carrying Meimei when she cries (yes, we do put her in his arms occasionally and he does try to rock her), hugging/kissing Meimei when she cries and even feeding milk!

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Jasmine: Don’t be fooled by the pictures. Emmy is still as determined as ever to refuse the bottle, spoon, teat etc. Haha.

2. Prayer time!

Andrew: We’ve shared previously about our family devotional time and how we put Dylan to bed. Well, he’s progressed leaps and bounds since then and now is able to lay his hands on people as we pray (thanks to Grandma for teaching him that!). It’s quite cute to see him as he closes his eyes very earnestly and has now even learnt to say ‘Amen’ (sounds more like ‘Amah’ for now) whenever we close the prayer in Jesus’s name.

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We let him be the ‘big brother’ to lead, by letting him do the laying on of hands while we pray and we also let him decide who’s next in line for prayer. If Emmy is not in the room, he’ll always stand up and stretch his hand towards the door to pray for her. It’s really quite sweet!

3. Taking turns

Jasmine: Sometimes we have to attend to Emmy or hey, even our own selves, so we ask Dylan to wait. For toys, instead of sharing, which is abit abstract (and to the child, “sharing” is equivalent to losing the toy) and applies more in the context of food, we ask him to wait for his turn.

4. Care-giving through play

Andrew: Well, trust Jasmine to find toys on Amazon that will help older siblings learn care-giving. (Jasmine: Actually I just bought them coz they were cute.) I believe these toys are actually more to cultivate the heart of care-giving, rather than actually teaching them practically how to care for the kids, given that it’s not quite possible for Dylan to actually do these things for Emmy yet.

Jasmine: There has been much research about the importance of doll play in helping children make sense of their world in a miniature way, so we bought him a Manhattan Toy Sweetpea Snuggle Pod (aka his beloved “baebee”). I also have a spare Snuggle Pod (with bunny ears) for Emmy but am hiding that from Dylan for now.

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Jasmine: Dylan actually showed zero interest in Sweetpea for months, so she went on vacation at Grandma’s house, when one day Dylan re-discovered her in a box and has played/ napped with “baebee” everyday since.

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Jasmine: I also bought a doll sling and matching cloth diapers from Etsy to extend the doll play.

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Only one problem… Sweetpea doesn’t have legs.

Of course, any shawl will do, but this sling has special plastic rings that snap off for safety reasons.

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And here is a pic of the original ring sling, the one I used to carry both Emmy and Dylan from birth- and still do now for quick errands!

 

photo(37) Slinging Emmy at four days old

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Andrew: Dilly really enjoys slinging Sweetea… just this morning he asked to sling her again, then walked around patting it/her(?).

Jasmine: And nobody taught Dylan, but he will rock, pat and shush the baby when he slings her! I think he learnt that by watching us carry Emmy!

Andrew: Lately, Ee Ee also bought him a little baby doll bathing set, which is his current favourite toy! (Jasmine: I let Dylan choose an old face towel to serve as rubber baby’s bath towel.)

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Jasmine: Dylan likes to soap up rubber baby…

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Then towel her dry…

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But he’s found a new use for the shower hose…

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As a nasal aspirator! Yes, Dylan still remembers those traumatic times of flu when we had to aspirate his and Emmy’s nose. When he saw the shower hose, he immmediately said “suck nose” and put the purple tube to rubber baby’s nose. Oh dear, why does he look so gleeful…

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Jasmine: Just to end off by assuring mums of boys that doll play will not make boys effeminate, but rather let them experience what it’s like to be caring and nurturing- traits which mass media ironically seems to stamp out of boys. We did not force Dylan to play with dolls but waited for him to be interested. On the other hand, he is still like any other little boy who loves cranes and trucks and running around.

Andrew: It’s our hope that both Dylan and Emmy will grow up to be close siblings and best friends in future.

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Maternity Shoot for Emmeline

Andrew: We’ve done a ‘behind the scenes’ post for this second maternity shoot, where we wrote that we weren’t sure how the pictures would turn out as most of the shoot was unposed (mainly the PasarBella and the Playground segment). We got the pics back and they turned out really great  – lots of laughter and fun and as usual, Dylan was the star! I love the PasarBella shots especially as the backgrounds are so varied and shots are so colourful and vibrant. Let the pictures do the talking!

PasarBella

Jasmine: We chose PasarBella as it was a place that we liked to frequent plus there was a variety of settings that we thought photograph beautifully. Unlike the previous maternity shoot, where we’ve gone mainly outdoors and featured lots of greenery, we wanted something more urban and eclectic. I like that every corner of PasarBella had a different feel and that Thomas was able to capture a range of atmospheres in just one location alone. All the visual clutter of PasarBella made for a very rich backdrop.

Andrew: Dylan took a while to warm up and was quite straight-faced in the beginning, but he gradually got more lively and started being more smiley and fun. I liked this portion as we were able to go back to our favourite store – the Russian cake shop and enjoy the cake while taking pictures.

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Along the way to the Stables

(Some shots here resemble a pre-wedding shoot!)

Jasmine: Given our outfits, our photographer suggested that we would stand out better against greenery, so we hopped in the car and drove to the stables which was just five minutes away. We literally pulled up by the side of the road for some outdoor shots, which took 15 minutes max. These did turn out very nicely against the evening light – I just wish that I had asked Thomas to highlight my baby bump and maternity gown more.

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Clock Playground @ Bishan

Jasmine: We had one last pit-stop at the clock playground at the Bishan bus interchange. I walk pass it everyday on my way to school and have always found it rather whimsical. A word which pretty much sums up the feel we were going for for this shoot.

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Dylan’s Baby Dior Shoot

Jasmine: So we blogged about the wonderful pampering experience of being invited to Baby Dior’s opening at MBS. As always, the impeccable Dior team mailed us two prints upon hearing that I had given birth (instead of us going down to the store to get it), and emailed us more softcopies in the same day that I requested them. Here they are!

A shot of the handsome little boy and his new friend, Gabriel the Bear. This little white shirt is amazingly cut- I’m still thinking of it but if I had that kind of money, I’d sooner spend it on home reno than a shirt that Dylan will outgrow by next year.

Andrew: This whole outfit that Dylan is wearing probably costs close too $1000, more than any of Daddy or Mummy’s outfits. What a privileged boy he is – his Mum and Dad never got a photo-shoot in branded clothes ever. He looks so proud in this photo and his classic ‘soft-touch’ on the nose of the bear is perfectly captured! The shirt is so smartly folded up too. It was this shot that was developed for us.

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Jasmine: We also got in some nice family shots in the store. This first one most obviously shows my tummy.

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And one with Mona, the Grande Vendoir who secured our invite. The photographer asked me to move my bag but I told him I precisely wanted a photo with it. Heh.

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Jasmine: A couple more shots of happy, cute Dilly! These are totally going up on our family gallery wall!

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Emmeline’s Birth Story

Andrew: We wanted to combine this entry with the post on Gleneagles Staycation, but the post became too long and difficult to write coherently, hence we separated it. This was logical too, given that the birth story deserves a post on its own!

The labour process took a while as we waited gradually for Dear to enter into active labour. Gynea checked in a few times and we both had time to slip in a few naps here and there and watch some TV too. I will never forget that we were watching Wheel of Fortune before Emmy arrived, commenting how the puzzles were so ‘Americanized’ and also on how Pat Sajak and Vanna White never seemed to age. LOL. Soon enough, Dear entered active labour and the ‘pushing’ process began. With 4 hard and long pushes, Emmy arrived! It was surreal how fast the whole process was. Must have been all the naps that helped Dear gain all the strength to push – or perhaps the motivation that the nurses gave that she will get a diamond after pushing. *shudder*

Jasmine: I don’t ask for much, just the Dior Bagatelle ring:D

Personally, comparing Dylan’s birth and Emmeline’s birth, I no doubt prefer the experience of birthing Dylan. I felt very much more in control as I was able to stay at home and eat, shower and rest during the early stage of labour, going into hospital only when my contractions were five minutes apart and ready to enter active labour, which was why our whole experience in the birthing suite for Dylan took two hours from the point of entry to the delivery.

However, with Emmeline, we checked in and spent almost nine hours in early and active labour. The experience was quite immobilising as I was on epidural and could not walk but had to remain on my back- this is actually quite contrary to the natural rhythms of labour, where you can walk to relieve labour pains and rest when you need to. However, the good thing was that it was a natural birth that didn’t need further assistance- when the contractions started coming hard and fast (like every minute), the pushing only took twenty minutes and four pushes and our little Russian doll was out!

Andrew: The moment she arrived, our little girl was wrapped up completely, which has thus earned her the nickname of ‘Russian Doll’ or Dolly. She’s so cute!

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Mummy: My first thought was, she’s beautiful! My second thought was, she’s got Andrew’s lips but they look good on her! Pouty. Heh.

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Daddy comforting little girl – trying to examine if she has any moles, like Dilly!

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Emmy taking her first peek at the world, looking even more like a Russian doll!

Emmy @ NICU

Andrew: Emmy had to be put in the NICU for a while, because her breathing was a little ‘grunty’ and there were concerns about whether there was still water in her lungs.

However, it was really nothing to be worried about as our ped told us later that it was more that Emmy couldn’t be kept any longer in the delivery suite, but also couldn’t be moved to the nursery as her breathing hadn’t stabilised, so they put her in the NICU as a ‘lodger’.  Wow, this little girl is really getting the best treatment from birth eh!

Jasmine: With Dylan, we were able to initiate breastfeeding minutes after birth, which was a wonderful experience, as he was quiet and alert, and it made for a lovely hour of family bonding time before he had to be taken away and washed.

With Emmy, due to her breathing issues, we weren’t able to initiate breastfeeding for several hours, and she unfortunately had to be put in the NICU. Of course, I was pretty worried when I heard “NICU” and “lung problems”, especially since I was having severe afterbirth pains and couldn’t do much apart from intermittently whatsapp family/ friends to update them on Emmy’s condition, based on whatever I heard from Andrew, who went down to NICU to check on her, or so he said…

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Andrew: I couldn’t stop taking pictures of her and must have spent about 20 – 30 minutes at the NICU, taking photos of her. The nurses must have thought I was a little crazy, especially when I set the timer, so that I could take this shot:

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Well, it was more for Jasmine’s peace of mind as she had asked me to go to NICU to let her know how baby was doing…. so, my photo-craze is perfectly understandable!

Jasmine: I never expected Andrew to take a NICU selfie?! I really have unleashed a trigger-happy man.

Emmy arrives in our room!

Andrew: After her short stay in the NICU, Emmy finally arrived in our room all wrapped up and peaceful.

What a beautiful head of hair and such red, chubby cheeks!

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I had forgotten how delicate and light (!) a newborn was after carrying Dylan for the past few months. This little girl is light as a feather – I can carry her in one hand and she’ll just lie there peacefully and fall asleep, without squirming. Lovely!

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Jasmine: Do not be fooled by these serene little newborn expressions.

It’s only been one week in, but based on her crying alone, we can already tell that her personality is different from Dylan’s. Dylan’s hunger cries were very sad and he could be coaxed to wait for his milk, whereas Emmy is a feisty little thing, who cries so loudly when she is hungry that her double chin just quivers tremulously, making you feel amused and sorry for her at the same time. In that sense we think that Dylan takes after his father’s personality while Emmeline takes after mine. Which is a good thing for a girl… I think. Heh.

Visiting

Andrew: As it was a rather short stay (plus the time spent in the NICU meant Emmy could not have visitors the first day), our visitors were our immediate family members. Of course, we wanted Dylan to visit so we could spend time together as a family and not want him to feel left out. We heard he was really cranky the first day after he came to visit, so we’ll be spending more time with him, so that he won’t feel left out.

Jasmine: What helped was that we prepared a present from his baby sister to him, plus we and my family played with Dylan when they brought him, instead of cooing over Emmeline straightaway, so that Dylan wouldn’t feel neglected. In fact, Andrew and I also tried to fuss over Dilly first whenever he came to visit, instead of holding Emmeline, so that he would get his fair share of attention.

Andrew: Back to the hospital visit, he had lots of fun running around and eating my bread bun!

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Family Photos

Jasmine: Of course, this entry would not be complete without some family pictures!

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Our first full family portrait!

Jasmine: We’ve been teaching Dylan to use “soft touch” on his penguin and Chong Chong bear, in preparation for his meeting his sister for the first time. Here’s Dylan stroking his mei mei! He also loves to dig her ear and peer at her when I’m breastfeeding her. Of course, sometimes he still gets a bit excited and pokes her but I’m sure it’s not intentional. Heh.

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What a loving brother

Shots of our families:

Andrew’s side

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Jasmine’s side

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Andrew: To end off, we’d like to say a big thank you to Jasmine’s mum and siblings for taking care of Dylan while we were in the hospital. We could see that he was well taken care of and had a great time at Skang-rila, once again. Heh. In fact, if we have time, we might do another post of his staycation there.

Jasmine: One last thing, it really is easier the second time around. Though both were natural births, my recovery from Dylan’s birth was much longer and more painful, whereas with Emmeline, I was able to get up and potter around that same night after the epidural wore off (she was born at noon). I can’t say I’d wanna go through childbirth again but I am grateful that baby Emmeline was born safe, sound and healthy!

Gleneagles Staycation

Andrew: ‘Staycations’ seem to be the running theme lately, so we thought we’d use that theme for our time at Gleneagles, combining it as part of our birth story post! It’s easiest to organise this post chronologically.

Birthing Suite

Andrew: So our first “destination” was the birthing suite, where baby’s vital signs were monitored for a while. This was the bed that Dearie had, with unlimited supply of pillows to make her cosy and comfortable!

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Jasmine: The L-shaped pillow was a lifesaver. After giving birth, I asked if I could bring it with me to our room, but was declined. Heh.

Andrew: I got a very comfy recliner arm chair, which could be stretched out fully. I was so cosy in that blanket. Dearie insisted to take a shot of me in the blanket – yes, even just moments before giving birth, she was thinking about capturing key moments of the staycation.

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Nice bathrobe

And this was Emmy’s little ‘bed’ with a warmer to receive her when she first comes into the world!

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Andrew: So, to cut a long story short, it took 9 hours for Jasmine to reach active labour, but once she did, things accelerated quickly and ready to push. Once she started pushing, everything just happened so quickly and within 4 pushes, baby Emmy was out! It was like twenty minutes ago, we were watching Pat Sajack and Vanna White on ‘Wheel of Fortune’, trying to solve the puzzles before the participants, and the next minute, we are holding our daughter in our arms. 

Unlike Dylan’s birth where I was just kind of taken aback by what had happened, I was more in the moment this time and could really feel the joy of seeing my cute little girl and seized the chance to snap many shots of her first few minutes in this world.

[We’ll write more about this in our ‘birth story’ post. This post was getting way too long and Dearie heavily cut down my initial post, because she said I was trying to do too much in it and it needed heavy editing. ]

Our room

Jasmine: Ok, so this is the “staycation” part of the entry.

Andrew: After waiting for about 2 hours, Dear was transferred to the room where we would be staying for the next 2 nights. We kind of lucked out last year where they didn’t have any single-bedded rooms available, so they gave us a double-bedded room in place of that. Because of that, I had my own bed, but this time, I had to sleep on a sofa which was quite narrow and hard. Nonetheless, I made myself quite comfortable there in my little cosy corner, which had a good view of the balcony outside.

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The sides can be removed and bedlinen was put down to convert it into a bed every night. Also doubles as Daddy’s cosy corner for snuggling with Emmy.

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And the mandatory picture of the bed!

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Jasmine: Usually on staycation we take pictures when we first enter the room and everything is still neat. Obviously, I was too exhausted and bedridden and in afterbirth pain upon being wheeled to the ward, such that my first thought was: “Huh, I still have to climb off the trolley and onto the bed?” So we anyhow snapped a shot before we left.

Plus bonus shot of our newest addition to the family- Emmeline!

The bathroom

Andrew: Check out the full range of toiletries, including soap, shampoo and conditioner from Crabtree & Evelyn! Not too shabby for a hospital!

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Jasmine: Oh yes, and since no post of mine is complete without some “fashion” comments, I just wanted to say that the hospital gowns were actually quite comfortable and breastfeeding-friendly, with concealed slits as well as button-down shoulders. Here are the two, erm, styles, they have:

photo(35)Andrew: If you’re wondering what that ‘watch’ is that Jasmine is wearing, it’s actually a device that helps match the baby to the mum. Emmy had a tag too and when both tags came in close proximity, music came out of the tags. This was something they didn’t have last year – quite an advancement, I must say. However, the ironic thing was that half way through our stay, the nurses lost Emmy’s tag, so it was back to using Mum’s NRIC and name to match. So much for technology, huh! 

All day bites

Andrew: We were indeed treated to all-day bites as we had 5 meals a day with tea time and supper everyday. Here was our first tea-time snack – chicken pies with milo or…

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Vegetarian sandwiches (yuck!). I didn’t know that the sandwiches were vegetarian, if not I wouldn’t have chosen them. To their credit, they tasted incredibly healthy!

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Jasmine: Of course, we brought in some snacks of our own, including my then-craving, unfulfilled from the day before I went into labour, hotdogs (Charlene brought in at least 11 hotdogs for me!) and a must-have-  Lay’s chips! 

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And something I really looked forward to: eight treasures tea with a honey swizzle stick, served in pretty clear glass crockery!

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Extensive menus for our choosing, including Western, Asian, deli (mostly sandwiches). There was also a separate confinement menu which we could choose from. We had some dishes from the confinement menu the last time, which were decent:

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Some of our dinners:

Kenna cheated by the impressive-sounding “deli” menu. I thought I would get good quality bread with large servings of roast chicken. Didn’t expect little finger sandwiches made of Gardenia.

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This was what Andrew had:

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  Baked chicken with mozzarella cheese, potato, vegetable and spicy tomato sauce

This was infinitely better than my deli menu. Chicken was juicy and tender and the sauce was delicious!

For lunch the next day, we tried to mix it up with both their Chinese and Western menu. Andrew had:

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 Double boiled fish with ginger and soya beans soup; Steamed chicken with sesame, wolfberries, spinach and lotus root and steamed jasmine rice

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Braised beef cheek with wild mushroom, mashed potatoes and balsamic jus

The beef cheeks were quite tender as well. They came with mashed potato and French onion soup with bread and gruyere cheese. The Chinese menu was light and healthy!

And for dinner, we both had the same dish:

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French Onion soup; Steamed white fish, potatoes and steamed seasonal vegetables and marble cake

This was a light and healthy option; not filling enough for most guys, but sufficient for me!

And some samples of our breakfast choices!

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Chicken sausage, hash brown, grilled tomatoes and sunny-side up egg

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Soon Kueh
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French toast with peach compote

Welcome gift

Andrew: To prevent Dylan from feeling any sibling rivalry, we got him a welcome gift when he arrived, from his sister. It was a Melissa and Doug airport set.

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Granny and Ee Ee also bought him a gift – this new bag from Cotton On!

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Jasmine: Oh yeah, and for our welcome gift, we got a diaper bag with a nursing shawl, a receiving blanket, some Kodomo and Johnson’s baby toiletries (downgraded from Cherub Rubs last year eh).

Other amenities

Jasmine: Probably similar to other hospitals, there were free ParentCraft classes (newborn care), free consultations with lactation consultants, in-room discharge and billing procedures (for single wards). We attended the ParentCraft class the last round with Dilly, so we didn’t bother going this time, but it was quite useful and comprehensive, with a lot of useful info and tips packed into 1h15min, including bathing and dressing newborns. For those who’d rather not attend, you can access the Parent Craft channel on hospital TV.

Our room also came with balcony and a “garden view”:

The glass was extremely dark so we could see Dilly from the inside but he could not quite make us out. Ah well, I think he still had fun scooting around on the ledge!

Best of all, free limo service to transport us from hospital back home upon discharge! The last time we got a SUV. This time, this was our ride:

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A Birthday Spent with Loved Ones

Andrew: Okay, I promise this is the last birthday post – given that there have been 3 posts on my birthday within the last week. Heh. Anyway, we intended for my birthday itself to be a more quiet day in case Jas gave birth. In fact, I was hoping little baby girl would be born on my birthday so we can celebrate two birthdays together in future and Jas would have to pay for it – since you can’t possibly make the birthday boy pay for his celebration right? 🙂

Jasmine: Moot point. I’m still around, as pregnant as ever.

Andrew: Anyway, in spite of it being a more quiet day, it was still a very meaningful day spent with those dear to me – my 3 ‘families’ – Jas and Dylan; my church family and my family (mum, brother and relatives)! This post will be divided, as such.

1. Jas and Dylan (actually, mostly Dylan)

Sunday mornings are usually time with my son, as it is my helper’s off-day and Jas is well, resting. Sometimes I bring him to the playground, or to NEX for Toastbox while he has his raisin bread.

Well, since it was my birthday, decided to treat myself to a dim sum breakfast at the Fortunate Restaurant outlet at the Food Republic food court. Honestly, it was my first time trying it, but I had always noticed the queue being very long.

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Shark fin dumping, siu mai, chee cheong fun with char siew and bo luo bao (From top left, to bottom right)

It was surprisingly quite good – especially the bo luo bao, which was so soft and pillowy with tasty, char siew filling! One of the best I’ve tried in a while. Chee cheong fun was good too – very light with melt-in-your mouth texture.

After breakfast, it was back to the usual Sunday routine with putting Dylan down for his nap, buying back lunch, then doing a bit of cleaning up after lunch before heading down to church. Thankfully, I had a little helper for the cleaning up:

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Jas was resting most of the time, preparing for little girl’s arrival. 🙂

Jasmine: Have been seriously wiped out by enduring three months of contractions. Even changing positions or stretching my legs can trigger a contraction. We managed to work in a staycation for D’s birthday last week, so on his actual birthday, I tried to accompany him to things he would like doing, like going to cell and his family’s for dinner. I know it wasn’t a big deal but I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the night. Sorry D.

2. Church Family

Andrew: As we headed down to church, I didn’t know my boys had planned a little celebration for me with a cake and an ‘e-candle’! We always struggle with lighting candles at our cell venue, because it’s so windy, so one of my cell-boys found an interesting phone app which had a blow-able candle – the candle would go ‘off’ when you blew into the speaker! Genius!

We didn’t have a knife, so we improvised and used Dylan’s baby fork:

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Dilly sees these people regularly enough that they have also become like ‘family’ to him. He usually takes a while to warm up, but after about 10- 15 minutes, he’ll be running all around and playing with everyone. Here, he’s being entertained endlessly by Yihan’s water-bottle cap .

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Cute, glum face

The boys also got us two piggy-banks – which they had won at the Touch Young Arrows funfair last week using the coupons I had bought – supposedly to help Dylan and little girl with financial planning. How thoughtful and long-sighted of them. Heh.

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3. With my family

After church, we headed to my mum’s place for dinner, where my sister-in-law had prepared a sumptuous Western spread, with some ingredients all the way from Melbourne!

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Baked Portobello Mushrooms

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Roast Chicken with potatoes, carrots and herbs

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Baked fish with garlic

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Pasta with pesto (pesto was freshly made!)

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Pizza with ham and rocket

It was a meal of my favourites, so besides all the above, there was lotus root soup and kou rou bao (fatty pork with mantou)!

Dylan also had a feast. Besides his porridge, he had lots of spaghetti and a fruit platter –

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Little boy amused everyone with all his cute antics, like banging his feet non-stop on the sink as I washed him up after his dinner, and learning how to kick a ball around.

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It was great to see him so comfortable in my mum’s place, just roaming around and exploring the cabinets, wall decals, the mirrors and the other rooms!

Ended off the celebration with a small black forest cake!

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What a happy, meaningful birthday spent with my loved ones!

Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden

Mummy: I was really inspired after reading this article to bring Dylan to experience nature more after reading this article about the benefits it has on children. Dylan can get abit restless being cooped up at home all day, especially when the adults are doing their own thing, so it’s quite a change to see how quiet, engaged and independent he was at Jacob Ballas. Being outdoors provided different sensory experiences for Dylan that can never be replicated in an indoor playgym- although some of the built play structures were more suitable for older kids, I could see how the natural environment encouraged him to hone his vestibular sense (sense of balance). Dylan walked gingerly to hear the crunch of gravel underfoot, smelt pandan leaves and touched mini-banana plants, and even tried balancing on a fallen tree trunk with Daddy’s help. Who knows, I may even try some nature-related extension activities with him at home when I go on maternity leave!

Andrew: I must say we are really quite blessed in Singapore to have so many places to bring children too, especially outdoor spaces! I’m a big fan of outdoor spaces and activities, whereas Dearie enjoys more indoor spaces (malls!). However, for the sake of Dylan, she’s been more willing to go outdoors!

So, we took a little trip down to the Children’s Garden. Granted, most of the areas there are more suited for kids 3 and above, but Dylan had fun nonetheless, just being out in the open! We put him down and he just kept running around and exploring on his own. We’ll let him relate his experience.

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Dylan: I remember Mummy and Daddy had wanted to bring me here when I was still in Mummy’s womb, but the people there didn’t allow them in because I wasn’t seen as being a ‘kid’ then…. Hmph, so strict! Technically I was still a kid, though stuck in Mummy. I could sense Mummy’s boiling anger then beneath her deep blue evening gown… Must have made her ‘glow’ more during the photo-shoot later though! Heh.

Anyway, we finally made our way here after Mummy pestered Daddy to go. Our first stop was the treehouse! Faster, mummy!

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This treehouse was obviously for older kids and there were many of them running up and down, sliding down non-stop. Mummy and Daddy just love to stretch me, exposing me to activities that are above my ‘level’ – in more ways than one…   

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Mummy, I want to go to the slide… 

There were these little cute tree stumps at the base of the tree-house, which were just the right height for me! Daddy, can I have one of this chairs in our home? After all, we already have a bar-counter that looks like it was taken from here too, made of rotten wood?

(Andrew: Actually Dylan, that bar-counter is extremely expensive and the wood had to be varnished specially to preserve it in that ‘rotten’ state.

Jasmine: Don’t exaggerate Daddy! That table was a real steel and it’s ‘mango wood’ from Indonesia, which is sustainable.)

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Okay Daddy, I have made my selection. I like the design of THAT chair… Take it for me!

Daddy was too weak to lift those chairs up and bring them home. Boo! Instead, we went to these huge, scary mushrooms behind the tree-house! Are these the truffles that Mummy loves so much in her pasta? 

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We went to the potting garden, but it was closed…. Daddy wanted to take a picture, but I didn’t want to, so I just ran off to the gravel pit in front!

Which was my favourite place in the whole park 🙂

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Mummy and Daddy were bewildered that of all the cool treehouses and play areas, my favourite was this bare, empty gravel pit. I guess I’m just a simple little man 🙂

Stomp stomp stomp… Love the feel of these rocks under my feet. Let’s have some of these at home! In fact, I heard Mummy telling Daddy she wants to convert our balcony to a ‘gravel pit’, since we still haven’t found a use for it. There was quite a long silence after that…. 

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Loved playing with these dye-ing plants too…. There was a nice fragrance of pandan all around.  I spent such a long time there. Mummy and Daddy kept trying to get me to move on, but I refused.

They brought me to the log nearby to use as a balancing beam, but again, that was too high level for me….

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I want to go back to the gravel pit… Let me go!

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There were many planes flying over that day. Granny told me to cover my ears whenever I heard those sounds.

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Mummy wanted to take a short break in this hut (she wanted to take breaks everywhere, actually), but I just wanted to run out! This was a better balancing beam for me. After this hut, I ran all the way to the swinging suspension bridge….

Daddy kept rocking the bridge cos he was so heavy… I wanted to run away from him!

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Stop holding me back Daddy!

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Go ahead of me Daddy. I want the bridge all to myself!

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After the bridge, we went over to the cave and waterfall! Daddy tried to relive his teacher days by telling me that it was a waterfall – DUH?… it’s water that’s falling? No wonder Daddy’s an English teacher. 

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Bored by Daddy’s ‘lesson’, I ventured into the cave on my own to explore, which was way more fun! 

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And Mummy was totally off-topic. She was going on about how the flooring would make nice toilet tiles. No wonder Daddy had to go into his man-cave as u will see later..

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I was so attracted to the water… Why can’t we have a shower like this in our home?

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Below’s a pic of Daddy again, sitting down trying to teach me about the ‘man cave’… Something about how every man needs to have his own space from time to time.

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Well I could relate. I needed my own space too, away from my parents and their camera, so on to the highlight of my trip – baby bananas!

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I could easily eat 10 of these!

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Oh… the plane sound again!

Next up, we went to the maze! Honestly, this was the one area I could have really played in, but Daddy was too warm, so all we did was…

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… Take a photo there. Didn’t Daddy read all those articles Mummy sent him about the importance of free play? (Psst.. scroll all the way up, the article up there is Mummy’s favourite)

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SO, we didn’t get to play in the maze, but went on to the sand pit with a see-saw that was way too big for me (and too small for Daddy). 

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And this musical play area with various percussion-like objects…

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I heard Mummy mumbling about the objective of the trip being nature exploration.. But really, what I liked most was being able to walk by myself…

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And run!

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Had to take the chance to run ‘coz I’ve been overhearing whispering about getting me a baby leash for shopping malls as I run too fast now *doe eyes* that’s baby cruelty!

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Dylan: That ends my first trip to the Jacob Ballas Garden. When my baby sister is born, I’m gonna bring her here and introduce her to the awesome gravel pit.

Dylan’s Staycation at Skang-rila

Andrew: While Mummy and Daddy were away staycationing at the Quincy, Dilly was also having his own little staycation at Skang-rila Resorts. Shall let him relate his experience 🙂

Dilly: Mummy and Daddy always try out different hotels for their staycation, but I have only been to one place and it’s my top choice – Skang-rila Resorts, SK for Sengkang, and named after its giant mascot, the Rila-kumma, which I love so much!

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My Daddy is freaked out by this huge monster of a soft toy, but I love it so much… The soft toys in my home can’t compare – there’s only one pathetic little teddy bear which is so hard and uncuddly, even after I’ve thrown it on the floor endless times.

Skang-rila is my top choice because of its location (5 minutes walk from the shopping mall or playground), food (yes, just like my Daddy) and the range of activities over the weekend:

  • Full range of play activities from outdoor playgym, pull-toy extravaganza and other sensory activities;
  • All day drinks and snacks from Four Leaves (best bakery ever – even better than Dean and Deluca snacks that Daddy and Mummy had which were hard and dry – or so I heard);
  • Spacious rooms with lots of running space
  • All meals fully provided for, complete with personalised feeding and cleaning up services;
  • Full day photo shoot (provided by Ee2 Mobile-Photography Services) from start till end
  • Welcome gift, of my own selection!

With all these activities, what’s there not to be happy about! I’m a happy baby, especially when I get to try out spa treatments like my Mummy!

Hmm, isn’t it a bit inappropriate to be photographing me without my clothes! This is a family friendly blog here.

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After lunch, it was playground time! Even had my personal escorts – 3 of them!

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Doe eyes

Granny and Ee Ee patiently escorted me over…. Hey Ee2, isn’t this just below your house, I mean, hotel? Why you dress so nice?

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My body-guards, side by side 🙂

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This playground beats the one at my place! Nobody else is around…

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This whole playground is mine!

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Ooh… let me make my way to the other side to the slide – on my own! Daddy always never lets me go on my own, because he’s so worried for me…

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Yes yes yes… I’m getting closer to the slide… I can’t wait to go down!

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Yay I got there! Oh noooo Uncle YZ… Why are you holding me back? I wanna go down on my own! Let me go again!

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Bring me back to the slide again! Stop taking photos!

So after playground time, I went back to have the all day bites (just milk and raisin bread) and take a nap. This is the life!

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Wow – this photographer is really committed. Even photographing me in my sleep! Oh, by the way, don’t I look like an angel here?

After waking up, it was time to go exploring again! This time to the mall to buy a welcome gift!

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Met another friend at the mall, a fellow baby… but she was rather quiet, and didn’t move much. Her eyes were so big, she was kinda scary…

Granny ended up buying for me a truck, which was converted into a pull-toy! Now, why can’t I get an actual pull-toy instead of all these improvised pull devices… First, Mummy used Daddy’s belt on my truck which kept collapsing. Then we used our tape measure at home and now, raffia string… Wow, things just keep going down, don’t they? (Andrew: Dilly, please be appreciate of what you have!) Oh okay…. of course I am Daddy (you cheapo – by the way, I heard Melissa & Doug pull-toys are really good, I have them on my Amazon wish-list. Thanks!).

Anyway, in case anyone accuses me of being picky, I LOVED my new toy! Kept pulling it all around Granny’s place, which was so spacious and baby-friendly…

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And as you know, we brought almost half of my house over with me, so along with me came my favourite book – which Uncle YZ read with me. By the way, that little Panda you see there is kinda freaky but intelligent…. it copies exactly what I say, but in a higher pitch that sounds like Mummy!

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After a very eventful Day 1, I was all tired out and went to bed after a sumptuous supper of my favourite milk…. Life is good!

Just to add that I not only got porridge for dinner, but my favourite corn too, which was actually from Ee Ee’s dinner! I get away anything because I am so cute 🙂

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Day 2

Had a good sleep and woke up well-rested the next day…

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This is not a good just out-of-bed look of mine then started off with some quiet time….

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So Daddy woke up at 6 a.m. to sit by the pool to have some quiet time during his staycation. Here am I, having a pensive moment at 11 a.m. – holding my pull-toy and staring out at the grass patch below. Hmmm, fascinating….

After my lunch, there was a whole line up of activities for me!

1. Sensory Play with Paper Stars

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2. Make-Believe Play – bottle becoming chew-toy and telephone!

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Hello Mummy and Daddy, when are you all coming over? (Don’t come back too soon, I’m having too much fun.)

3. Musical Dinosaur!

This dinosaur, which used to be with me at home, but has since moved over to Skang-rila, much like many of my other toys, by request of Granny…

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4. Random photo-taking of my handsome face 

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5. And back to my pull-toy!

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Trying to transfer the ‘smell’ of my smelly penguin over to another penguin…

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Here’s even a collage of all my activities!

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After the 5 exciting activities above, I heard that Mummy and Daddy were arriving soon…. so I thought I’d be on my best behaviour and help with the housework before they arrive!

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Went down for my nap before they arrived and Daddy rudely awakened me from my nap… so I was very moody until they brought me out for dinner!

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Daddy walked so fast I had to chase after him….

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Wait for me, Daddy!

It was hands-down one of the best staycations ever! I love Skang-rila! A big huge for my favourite Rila before I go!

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[Afternote: Dilly really enjoyed this ‘staycation’ of his. As I was doing up this blog-entry, he kept staring at the computer, looking at the photographs and smiling or laughing. We are really thankful for family members who enjoy playing with him so much, so that Jas and I can go have a relaxing break too!]

Baby Dior!

Andrew: Because of Dear’s frequent visits to (and purchases from) the Dior outlet in Ion, we got invited to the opening of Baby Dior in Marina Bay Sands!

Jasmine: Nonsense, actually I only own the oui ring which Dear bought for me, and the Diorling handbag which I use daily… or for now, whenever I’m allowed out of the house, that is. I like to think it’s more because I struck up a friendship with Mona, the grande vendoir at Dior Ion, over our admiration for the fantastical designs of Dior jewelry. Her (and Dior salespeople’s) service has been exceptional, inviting us to movie premieres, giving me coffee-table books and now this! In fact, our invitation to the Baby Dior store preview, a French-inspired card, was delivered to our doorstep- how charming and wonderfully old-fashioned!

Andrew: We were really excited because we were informed that Dylan will get to try on some of the clothes and there will be a (free) photoshoot for him. Seriously, how many photo-shoots has this little boy been on? This would be his 5th – and he’s less than 2!

We were greeted with this very pretty display when we arrived – which we later realised wasn’t just for display, but was for us to feast on! More on that later.

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Andrew: I have to say that the service was really top-notch at Baby Dior. They had scheduled us such that there were at most 2 customers during each 2 hour slot and there were at least 10 staff around, giving you your fullest attention – from giving you a tour of the shop, talking about the merchandise, playing with your baby, serving you drinks and food, taking photos. It was a surreal experience, almost dream-like – it was like we had entered a little joy-filled bubble of luxury and pampering!

We were guided through the collection upon arrival and I immediately pointed out this cardigan, which I thought looked really nice. (Jasmine; Was really surprised that Andrew asserted himself so quickly in the area of baby high fashion!) Soon after, the sales associates went to pick out a selection of BabyDior clothes for Dylan to wear, incorporating that cardigan.

Dylan really got royal treatment! He had two sales associates helping him change up, though of course Daddy needed to be around since he was rather afraid… (Mummy was too caught up perusing the girls and newborn clothes with the boutique manager– that she only came in 10 minutes after)

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Poor Dilly!

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Finally all dressed and handsome, silenced by the Woody figurine!

Andrew: This changing room was actually very well-equipped with a full range of toys from Toy Story figurines to a miniature version of Crocodile Dentist – so old-school! I remember playing that when I was young.

They even had a make-up artiste for him – we didn’t want to put any blush on his face, because of his eczema, so what she did was just help style his hair. He looks rather apprehensive here… I have to say though that the staff were extremely patient, bubbly and evidently loved kids. They knew how to handle him well and were all over him, as you will see later when he warmed up. This little boy’s a real charmer!

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The final look! Hope there would be nicer shots taken by the professional photographers…

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Of course, the parents’ father’s needs were not neglected too as there was free flow of drinks – champagne for the dad and juices for mummy. There was also non-stop flow of little sweet treats like lemon meringue tarts, opera cake and dark chocolate tarts.

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Andrew: We initially thought the macarons were just for display, but were later informed that we could consume them and that they were from Laduree! Oh – I didn’t hold back and ate at least 5 of them… the flavours were Liquorices (black), Rose (red with white centre), Raspberry (red with red centre) and Vanilla (white). My favourite was Vanilla, followed by Rose. Dear was still chomping on these macarons, even as we left the store.

Jasmine: The sales associates, as Andrew has said, were exceptional. Not only did they create a lifestyle experience for their adult customers, charming us with little stories about the brand’s heritage and inspiration/ workmanship for the decor and apparel, they managed to entertain Dilly for a full half an hour. Free babysitting by Dior staff leh! We should just go every weekend haha. And us? We just lounged around eating macarons and cakes and for Andrew, drinking champagne. Closet alcoholic!

A picture with just some of the wonderful staff!

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After taking quite a few photos, Dilly started to warm up and became very smiley and happy around the store!

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Rubbing nose with ‘Emilie’ the bunny rabbit

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Stylishly posing next to Gabriel the Bear (apparently Gabriel travels all around the world whenever a new Baby Dior outlet opens!)

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Lovingly patting the dog…

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Jasmine: As you can see, it’s total photo overload but we just couldn’t decide which photos to choose, coz he looked so cute! The outfit is all Baby Dior from head to toe, down to the high-top sneakers- the lovely sales associates offered him costume changes but we declined as he seemed so miserable being stripped. Well, not only did Dilly get his hair volumised and styled by the makeup artist, he also had a photographer following him around, taking photos of him (and us) in different corners of the store.

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Running around the store like it’s his little playground and getting very comfortable with the sales associates! The classical furniture, scaled down to kid size, and oversized stuffed toys, made the store more welcoming for its little customers!

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This sales associate, Ashini, was his favourite! He kept pointing to her and even let her carry him a few times!

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Andrew: Now, I shall leave Dear to give her extensive description of the decor and merchandise. She even wants to adapt certain elements for our home *shudder*.

Jasmine: As with the Taka and Ion flagships, the Baby Dior boutique at Sands is modelled after Christian Dior’s own apartment, and done up in the brand’s sgnature dove gray. However, the Baby Dior boutique is a touch more whimsical and homely. Check out the faux fireplace below:

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And Dior-related mementos on the fireplace panel:

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The store is divided into three main zones, the changing area, which you’ve seen previously, the children’s boutique, and the baby boutique. This is the children’s boutique.

The girls’ clothes feature stunning craftsmanship and (of course) high-quality materials. As Junita, the store manager, was bringing me through the store (or actually, was she following while I excitedly ruffled through the racks? haha), she mentioned that Dior’s philosophy was not to create “mini-mes”, but to adapt Dior designs for little children, that are stylish but still comfortable to move about it. Many of the dresses have alot of swing, which little girls love to twirl in.

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Girls’ couture dresses on display:

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And the baby boutique for younger tots (tip: ask for newborn clothes and blankets, which are nestled in the drawers). I spent a good amount of time admiring the newborn mittens, made of linen and embellished with the most delicate gold lacework I’ve ever seen. Apparently, this century-old lace company used to manufacture lace for European royalty before Dior took ownership.

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The baby boutique area was even cozier and looked like a personal walk-in wardrobe. The faux window supposedly has a view of Granville, where Christian Dior used to stay during summer vacations.

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I fell in love with this little swing dress with a rosebud print, which is Dior’s favourite flower… (But fortunately or unfortunately, sizes only start from 6 months up so I couldn’t buy anything for baby girl!)

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As well as this pink dress with woven silver Lurex thread – the glam version of the rosebud print above! I also really liked the way the pieces were framed, like keepsakes—methinks I can do that with Dilly and baby girl’s special outfits in future, and put them up in Ikea shadowboxes!

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This being Dior, they sweat even the small stuff. The detail on the confetti knob and handcrafted beaded wire hanger are so quaint!

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One more look at my future walk-in wardrobe!

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And a picture with Mona, the lady who made it all possible!

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All baby visitors were given a souvenir (which I’m holding)- a colouring pad of Dior figurines and fashions that you can cut out, colour pencils and organic cookies!

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We were invited to the store’s preview for existing Dior customers. I believe that it has since officially opened its doors to the public. We didn’t buy anything, of course, but it was such an escapist way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

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Light Play at Blue House

Jasmine: We brought Dylan to a class at Blue House! The description seemed really interesting- about playing with light to investigate properties of objects. Of course, Andrew had to come coz it’s almost impossible to bring Dylan out on my own now, what with the tummy and contractions. Thankfully, I didn’t have to do much for the hour that we were there- just sit down and be with Dylan while Andrew did all the chasing!

The class proceeded at a very relaxed pace- there was welcome and singing of nursery rhymes, followed by two light-related activities, and closure with bubble-blowing and farewell. We’ll let Dylan take over this post, since the activities were planned for him!

Dylan: I was just sleeping soundly in the car-seat, which had finally been turned front-facing after my whining for a few months, when Mummy and Daddy rudely awakened me to bring me to a ‘blue house’ – hmm, didn’t know houses were described by colours! Ours can be called the ‘White House’ then, since our door is white!

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Dylan: As usual, Mummy demands a shot with me, when I’ve just been woken up and have my bedhead. I bet it’s just to hide her tummy! No Mummy, I’m not looking at the camera or giving you a smile – of course though, any look I give at this point of time is still considered cute!

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Activity 1: Baby Introductions

The first activity required all parents (actually, only mummies! – Daddy felt kinda left out- hence you see him only behind the camera throughout) to sit round in a circle while this lady in the middle sang songs to introduce us to each other! I was the first she mentioned… Yay! Mummy and Daddy desperately tried to get me to wave my hands, but I just wanted to chew on my maracas… Nom nom nom!

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We sang some familiar songs after that, like incy-wincy spider, which Granny and  Mummy had taught me before – so I had an edge over everyone else, even though they were older! Yay!

Activity 2: Projector Light Show

Dylan: After that, we moved into a corner of the room, where… I’ll let Mummy do the describing of activities. [Mummy: It was the  projecting of a video in a darkened area.] Erm Mummy, that’s it?? I could have said that myself.

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Mummy: actually Dylan, do you remember that the teacher encouraged you children to interact with and name these high-contrast images?

Dylan: Oh ok.. a wall full of pancakes!

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That’s a nice boat – but my submarine at home is way better!

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I’m seeing stars!

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Ooh… what is this… black with two pointers…

Oh no, it’s a bug! Do something Daddy instead of just clicking away on yr phone… Oh no, there’s a bee too!

Activity 3: Light Table

Dylan: So, after being terrorised by the insects, we went on to the light table area, which I previously loved! This time, it was made even more fun with all these little balls of water! There were even juice bottles around, much like Mummy’s sensory bottles, which I haven’t seen in ages – think Daddy asked Mummy to keep them after I kept biting on them.

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Here’s me – practising what Mummy calls my ‘pincer grasp’…. They were fun to bounce and smash too!

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But what really zapped my brain cells was doing some transferring! Don’t be fooled by all these tender mother-son pictures, yo, I was doing all the hard work and Mummy was just sitting back most of the time, hoping this activity would last all day.

The beads looked so glowy and yummy I had to try some of them – after all, the cup they came from said ‘Food Republic’.

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Oh man, they look just like the pearls in Daddy’s bubble tea – Daddy, can you add these into my milk later? That’ll be 1 Similac Total Comfort with pearls, sugar level 100% – thanks!

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Hmm, one container of pearls might not be enough for my milk. Let me transfer some over from the other.

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I’ll just take the whole tray anyway – perhaps we can save these pearls for my night feed later!

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Ah, since nobody wants, I’ll do everyone a favour and take both trays then!

Final Activity – Bubble Gun

Dylan: Anyway, turns out those ‘pearls’ were not edible. They were waterbeads from the gardening section at Daiso. Found out when I tried to stuff some in my mouth and everyone started screaming for me to stop. Chill everyone – I’m just a baby, putting things in my mouth is what I do! Anyway, so much for the excitement about my milk with pearls.

We went on to the final activity, which was the bubble gun! Now granny had played this with me before, but the bubbles were nowhere as big – excuse me teacher, may I have this instead of the pearls?

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I couldn’t hit any of the bubbles and ended up having only one ‘pop’ on my head!

After the final activity, all the other kids left as the atelier was closing, but as Mummy and Daddy had to settle some payment – actually mainly, Daddy… I got to play a bit more! There was fogging outside too, which meant… UNLIMITED PLAY!

There were some of my old favourites, like the mirrored tent. This beats my Ikea mirror at home, now I can check my appearance in three directions at once! Bet Daddy would like one of this in his toilet, eh?

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Wonder where my own Yakult pit went to. I just can’t understand Mummy’s concept of storage…

IMG-20140620-WA0026Dylan: Enjoyed myself so much that I didn’t want to go off in the end… kept running back to see the play area and the lovely teachers there. Daddy had to drag me away. Mummy and Daddy, bring me back again some day!

Oh, Mummy is itching to say something, so I’ll let her end off this post!

Jasmine: Since we last came last year, Blue House has also switched out quite a few of its learning areas. I guess this is easier and cheaper to do so at Blue House since many of its learning materials are upcycled, such as repurposing cardboard boxes and egg cartons as shape sorters! Apparently, the founders had been inspired by a study trip to Reggio Emilia province in Italy to revamp some of its learning spaces as well as design new classes, such as this one on light.

There is now a nature/ wilderness corner, complete with tent and natural materials, quintessentially Reggio…

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And a basket of fabric scraps with a clothesline nearby. Not sure how this is meant to be used- probably as make-believe and also for exploring textures and “weaving” with fabric, perhaps? A nice open-ended play area with so many possibilities!

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And lastly, a cool wooden board with hooks, for hanging or lacing activities, which is great for toddlers’ fine motor development.

photo(28) Dylan was really quiet and engaged, especially with the light table activity. He was the last one to leave the area and had to be carried away. This may seem trite but it’s such a joy seeing him grow and overcome his stranger anxiety: he was so helpful and helped the teachers pack the books and plastic containers away. Then after we left the atelier, he ran back to the door and stared in longingly while the teachers looked up and waved byebye to him again.

Blue House has this Infant and Toddler Atelier, but they also have kindergarten programmes based on Reggio Emilia, with emphasis on creative expression, outdoor play and community. No flashcards or worksheets in this preschool- exactly what I’m looking for! If it weren’t so out of the way and expensive, I’d totally put him in preschool there 🙂