First time to the movies: Preparing Little Foot for a great experience

During the long Hari Raya weekend, almost on a whim, we brought Little Foot to the cinema for the first time in her life.

Little Foot is 3.5 years young now, and I did begin to wonder if she would be considered rather suaku to not have gone to the cinemas before. After all, she has become quite acquainted with the watching Disney movies on your home TV, and her deft fingers find the spots to touch, swipe and press when she’s having a dose of PJ Masks on her tablet phone.

It was not entirely a whim, as I have seeded the idea to her some days before, and mentally prepared her for what a cinema experience was like. The last thing we needed to her to freak out when the lights all went out!
So here’s how we got it to work out:

P.S. you may not agree with all that’s on this list, but hey, sometimes we should just loosen up really.

a) Choose the right movie

At her age, children in her class are carrying all kinds of cartoon characters on their bags and water bottles. She has a classmate who is a fan of The Incredibles, and so she has heard of it and recently watched the first version and told us she liked Violet (oh well, because she’s a girl with long hair). So this June, it was a no brainer that we went with The Incredibles II, considering that there weren’t other Disney options.

b) Choose the right day

Toddlers have moods, and boy oh boy, does mine have a temper to reckon with. There are just some of those days when they wake up incredibly grouchy remain disagreeable for the better part of the day. Well, those are not the good days that’s for sure. Hence I said we went on a whim, because I assessed that it was definitely a good mood day for her and we thus have a higher chance of having a good time, so let’s just go now, now, now!

c) Helping the little one visualize and imagine what is a cinema

Days before, when I first seeded the idea of going to the cinema, Little Foot asked “What’s a cinema?” and so I pulled a photo from Google images, showed her this is how it looks like, and what people do. We go through questions like “Can you talk loudly in a cinema?”, “Can you cry and say you want to leave halfway through the show of want to change to other cartoons?” and I explained that only the best behaved children get to go watch the cartoons on the giant screen. She was all excited and fascinated at the idea of going to the cinema filled with other people.

d) Getting the right ammo

Yes, indeed, I call that giant popcorn and large iced lemon tea my ammunition. Little Foot loves iced lemon tea, so much so that Pokka Green Tea has been relegated to 2nd string on her choice of drinks whenever she has a chance to choose (Don’t worry, she still drinks a good dose of her Nan Pro 3 daily). The best part about the drink? There was an Incredibles II collectible cup and she got to choose one with a Violet figurine on top. Yeap, you can call me a carrot head, but it’s an outing and when you wanna have fun, just go all out for it! And she did in fact behave well throughout the show while sipping on the lemon tea which we shared.

e) Holding hands

In the dark, it is easy for us to get absorbed in the show, but we are also mindful that Little Foot may get anxious. And she does get scared whenever there is a villain or monster, or some fights going on in the shows she watches, so we held hands through the show. In fact, she hugged Papa’s arm throughout most of the movies (I’ve said many times, she’s just like his little lover!)

f) Preempting toilet emergencies

So proud that our little girl has started her toilet training this June, and she has more or less gotten the hang of it, but to prevent any mishaps, we got her to wear a pull-up pants anyway, so that we do not end up having an “accident” which will surely spark her cries. Anyhow, this brave little one sat throughout 95% of the movie and only towards the end kept telling us she’s gotta go, and dead firmly refused to do it in her diaper. So after the villain was defeated, Papa whizzed her off to the toilet.

All in all, we really had a good time. And I think this means that there will be more to come, when the stars align again 🙂

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Closer to Mother Nature

11 to 13 Aug 2017

Post-National Day (and my birthday), I wanted to make the most of our time together this long weekend. I feel a sense of urgency because this baby is growing so fast. And also because of the dreadful feeling knowing that next week, work duty calls again.

So, for three days in a row, we went close to nature. I am hardly a nature lover, because mozzies just love me too much, but since I had decided on a whim to sign myself up for a school field trip with her, I bit the bullet and just went.

Of course I made sure I overpacked my Ju-Ju-Be Be Right Back with every cream and ointment we would need plus other toddler essentials.

Loading up my Ju-Ju-Be Be Right Back for the trip

(This mama really one kiasu mama!)

The field trip to Gardenasia was rather fun. Little Foot had been anticipating the visit to the “plants farm!” since I started mentally preparing her for it a few days ahead.

And so here we are, accomplished plant potters!

❤Little Foot’s first plant! ❤

To many parents, a day out alone with the Little One is nothing. For me, it is still a leap of faith… taking baby steps to overcome my anxieties and irrational fears. I am hardly out alone with her since that near-fainting on the MRT episode when she was 8 months young.

As I consciously worked towards overcoming my anxieties, every little achievement seems like I’ve conquered a mountain.

And so it was that I successfully did this field trip with Little Foot without Papa Long in tow. Celebrate with me!

Then on Saturday, by chance, a trip to Little Foot’s BFF’s place brought us to Seng Kang Riverside Park. A little piece of mangrove and a floating platform…. the two toddlers had fun holding hands and walking around, and then chasing some bubbles.

After her flirt with nature, we had a situation in McDonald’s… sighhh… someone tell me why she always misbehaves when she is with me and Aunty Lily… but that shall be another story for another day.

At night before bedtime, Little Foot talked about feeding fishes. So it was that she went to bed holding that thought. I went to bed wondering if I shouldn’t have threatened to put her in the dustbin for her atrocious behaviour.

On Sunday we woke up and I tried to get us all ready to go somewhere as painlessly as possible. There were of course the usual procrastinations when it came to taking a bath and brushing teeth.

And then we asked ourselves, “Where shall we go?”

Papa Long suggested the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden before we went to feed the fishes at another part of Botanical Gardens.

Our first visit to the place, which would have rivalled all the nature walks we did in Perth, if not for our tropical weather which also meant the place is a home for all kinds od insects including mosquitoes!

Little Foot was distracted by her packet of Jagabee which she has been demanding to rip open while in the car. So Papa made it a game — every house you reached is a checkpoint, and you get one chip when you get there. And so began the exploration of the little garden.

Some of the areas were undergoing construction/upgrading, but there was definitely enough for a kid to be entertained.

1st checkpoint!

Conquering her dislike for sand for awhile because she likes going down the slides more!

Let’s cross some bridges

And find some fishes

And look for some herbs too!

Finally we fed the fishes and had lunch at Food For Thought (incidentally, it was their last day of operation)

And so as the sun starts to set on this week, I do think a little bit more of nature will be good for Little Foot. Even if my legs are now peppered with mozzie bites.

The Little Person has the largest luggage

Packing for a trip (and creating a spectacular mess of the house in the process) got me
musing to myself  – “it used to be a 1 hour affair the night before, this packing thing”.

So amid the exciting of a imminent trip, here’s the crazy packing process.

Packing for a kid is like packing your house for war. You plan for ALL CONTINGENCIES.

 

Diapers:

I start off packing maybe 10 diapers, then you go “what if there’s not enough?” then the entire pack of diapers goes in. Ok, add a giant pack of wet wipes.

Medical Survival Box:

I know I have to bring Paracetamol for fever… then ok, how about Zyrtec for flu… then what about neurofen in case fever persists… what about rashes, cuts etc. So I end up with 1 big bag of meds, plus a medipouch filled with essential oils.

Clothes:

it’s gonna be freezing and rainy. Ok, boots, lots of long sleeves, some short sleeves to layer on, hats, socks, leg warmers, more socks… raincoat, puffy coat. Actually this still doesn’t take up much compared to Papa’s winter clothes.

Entertainment:

Scared she’s bored on the plane. So we pre-loaded the tablet with videos. Gotta bring Barney (all three of them), and Elsa and Anna. Oh dear… what about lego bricks? Birthday Cake toys? Ahhhh… ok we will leave the Legos behind. we can buy those there. Maybe I will lose the Papa and Mama Barneys. Still undecided about the birthday cake toy.

Sustenance: 

Ok this is always the crazy tricky thing. You bring milk bottles, you need something to wash and sterilize them. The box and brush takes up a lot of space.

For food, I packed the food scissors, food jar (useful for packing leftovers for a later meal), bibs, fork and spoon. Also stuffed in 2 packs of UHT and 6 feeds of milk powder to survive till we get there. We intend to buy a can of milk when we reach.

Toiletries & grooming: 
Oh yes, almost forgot this. Gotta bring her Silly Shampoo, her Aquafresh kids toothpaste and pink toothbrush. Have to pack her hairbrush, washcloths and a bath towel. And creams.

Diaper bag for the flight: 

Diapers, spare clothes, milk and bottles, blanket and pillow. and then pray hard she knocks out on the plane. Oh yes, and our Kinderpack Carrier.

Somehow we managed to squeeze our things into 1 big 1 small luggage and 2 handcarry ones.

P.S. Little Foot is very specific in the things she uses, and she is a creature of habit. As much as possible, we have to keep to the same things she is used to. Like the pink toothbrush, and her Dog print milk bottles, otherwise, woe betide us!

Ok, ready or not, we have to go!

Pray for a safe flight tonight!

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Our carry on-luggage, mostly all Little Foot’s essentials and toys! 

Mothers’ Day… dilemma dilemma

Mothers’ Day weekend was a flurry of activities for us, and from the floods of postings on my Facebook wall, everyone too, was busy showing some family love. 

So what exactly is the dilemma I want to talk about?  For a mother of a toddler, me to be exact,it is this: 

Actually on Mothers’ Day, the inner voice is asking to be let off from being a Mother with all the duties and responsibilities for one day. 

Really how odd, that on a day that celebrates me being a mother, I just want a chance to siam!(the word means escape in Hokkien, but so much better expression-wise). 
Motherhood can be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. Especially when, unlike work, there is no “I quit!”. I think SAHMs get it worse. There is no leave to take, no calling in sick, 365 Days a year, except for those few precious getaway moments. 

SATURDAY 

So on the morning of Saturday, I woke up wondering if I would get to sit back, put my feet up on a chair and relax with a book and coffee. 

One can always dream… and I got that one proper “me time” slot. While baby went for her class. I sat at Yakun with kaya toast and coffee using a $10 note Papa Long passed to me. I left my purse in the car accidentally (#truestory).
And then the day found a momentum of its own.

Mothers’ day lunch for me at Yacht Club –  Little Foot continued with her usual demanding self and she thought the complimentary  cake was for one of her countless “birthdays”. Cute. 

Papa spent the entire evening fixing the new bunk bed that arrived. That left me and Aunty Lily to entertain Little Foot and keep her away from the “site”. I couldn’t resist trolling Papa Long with the popcorn shot. 

I spent midnight to 3am working on slides for work after Little Foot finally went to bed. 
SUNDAY

No helper day. 

Woke up and end up bathing the princess. Papa Long has blisters on his hands from fixing the bunk bed, I decided to relief him of the duty. He slept for awhile more.

Went to music class, and we were informed that class size was big for this day (quite a few kids came for trial), so we could only have 1 parent accompanying. Again I looked at him and said you go la kopi. I knew he was aching all over. 

Lunch and shopping at United Square.. after Udon and animal rides, I end up carrying Little Foot in carrier while she snoozed. Backbreaking nowadays. 

Went to my parents’ place to chill… Little Foot woke up and there goes my chance for a nap. Papa again snoozed. The bunk bed fixing really no joke! Luckily, he bathed her before we left. 

Dinner with Papa Long’s family for celebrations. Papa was very good – he fed Little Foot, sharing the seabass, mushroom soup and she got a milkshake too. Then a lot of running around by the Little toddler at the open space outside the restaurant and several rounds up and down a set of escalators until we had to conduct “Ops Extraction” and carried a meltdown toddler crying all the way to the car. 

Throughout the day,  I was so exhausted at some points that I simply dozed off while we were on the roads. We arrived at our carpark… me with my head leaning back, mouth hanging open..about to drool in my snooze when I was woken up by the sound of the engine turning off. 

I need my bed…

MONDAY

Celebrations in Little Foot’s school. A Kawaii sandwich-making session which was mainly us mothers trying  to make something decent while the kids kept trying to eat everything up. I loved the singing performance by our toddlers and the tear-jerking photo montage they played to kick off the celebrations. 

Unable to convince Little Foot to stay  on in school for the rest of the day, I walked her back to my parents’ place… and tried to interest her with nature. She loved it and we had a happy walk together. I showed her dandelions and mimosas, the little plants which my mum showed me when I was a child. 

And so she followed me to Hai Di Lao for lunch with my mother. Luckily Aunty Lily also came along. We all could eat decently when we took turns to look after her. I think I actually enjoyed it more than if she didn’t come along.

Went home and I finally cannot take it anymore.. knocked out cold for a late afternoon nap. 

There you have it… this was Mothers’ Day weekend for me. I wanted to rest but I am also aware of my roles and responsibilities… and in the end, at so many junctures of decision-making, I chose to give love, rather than insist that I am queen for the weekend. 

On reflection, it was probably a more fulfilling weekend than if I had been left to veg out alone at home while Papa brought Little Foot out. 

Next year, I will still ask for time to rest. And hopefully there won’t be unexpected events like the delivery of the bunk bed to thwart any best laid plans, but I really do enjoy the company of family and I would still want to spend time with them. 

The book and coffee can wait. Ok maybe give me the coffee hehheh. 

For my third Mothers’ Day, I was presented with this flower made by Little Foot. A gift that money can’t quite buy is the best gift of all 🙂

In Little Foot’s words…

 “THE END!”