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.

4 things to try on the mummy bandwagon

Now that I’ve been a mummy for nearly 18 months, I thought it’d be useful to list down the must-do, must-try “IN” things for new mummies. These are things that fellow mummies seem to get rather enthusiastic about, and others don’t quite understand why (daddies included).

1. Get a fancy baby carrier or wrap!

Definitely, on the top of the list is babywearing. Afterall, I recently counted nearly 20 carriers in my possession (yep, this mummy went overboard during my stay at home days), 3 wraps and 2 ring slings.

If you want to be a fashionista mama, get a Wrap Conversion (WC) Tula, or get one of those fancy clothes for babywearing (we call them wraps). Only available on their US site.

Not so long ago, mummies were using carriers like the Baby Bjorn and Ergo…then people started to complain that the Ergo wasn’t good enough for heavier older babies, the designs were boring etc etc. And along came a whole new breed of carriers – Tulas, LennyLambs, Kinderpacks, Bamberoo, Madame Googoo. These boasted better cut, deeper seat, more comfortable babywearing, and yes, they came in toddler sizes too. Most sought after here is the Tula. It is relatively easy to find a canvas one. Just go to one of the local retailers, they will have them. The one that will make you feel like you’re carrying a Prada /Hermes bag (even though you are haven’t really combed your hair or you are again wearing that same old Uniqlo airism bra top) is a wrap conversion (WC) Tula. These are made of the special (read branded) woven cloths that are good for wrapping, and very limited in production. In other words, they don’t come cheap. Thankfully for the newbies, the resale market is coming down to sane prices now, although just this morning, I saw a used one going for a jaw-dropping US$4K.

Here’s us in a wrap, and here’s Papa Long  in a WC Tula. You can also read about my early day reviews of carriers here.

Find the Tula too mainstream? check out the hard to find Kinderpacks or the sooooo soft and fluffy LennyLambs. For me, it’s a tie between the Tula and the Kinderpack.

If you want to walk the path less travelled, go for the wraps. I personally find it too complicated and Little Foot is not a wrappable baby. P.S those cloths don’t come cheap, but they guarantee that they won’t rip under the weight of your baby!

Once you babywear, be prepared to attract the curious people’s attention. In our earlier days when I used to venture out with Little Foot on the MRT alone, I have had strangers coming to try to peep into my carrier, curious to see what’s under the hood (hello-oh, of cos is a baby lah!). Occasionally, I have had some strangers come up and ask me, if it’s ok for the baby to be inside the pouch. 

2. Not any diaper bag. Get a Ju-ju-be Bag!

Our first diaper bag was a plain grey bag sling with fuchsia trimmings from MAM. It worked for us well, until I noticed how some mummies in my group would go absolutely mad over a certain brand called Ju-Ju-Be. Curious, I went to kaypoh a little… and then I got hooked (Papa Long wanted to knock his head against the wall) buying the various shapes and sizes. Being a Tokidoki lover in my younger days, I’m a like “WOW! Tokidoki diaper bags!” Like the WC Tulas, the supply seemed to be way short of the demand, so there is also a resale market. A bag at resale could double the retail price (don’t ask me how that works. That’s how the “buy sell trade” market is!).

I’m not going to say how many JJB bags I have. Too many. Period. I even bought the Minibes (Mini backpack), just in case Little Foot wants to carry one to school in the near future.
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Jjb mummies love taking pictures of their bag(s) of the day. Diaper bags are no longer uncool!

3. Make a breastmilk jewellery for heirloom or keepsake

Don’t say “Eeeee!!” ya? I know it sounds strange to want to make jewellery with your breastmilk as contents, but for some who are a little morbid like myself, I did think it was a good idea. A momento for my Little Foot, just in case, you know, I’m gone one day.

I’ve written on our Facebook about how I’ve been cheated by one of the largest and forerunners in the breastmilk jewellery scene, but that’s water under the bridge. I’m now eagerly awaiting the ones I ordered from a local maker. Very simple. You provide them a certain amount of breastmilk, they somehow many it into jewellery. Most however do it in silver or stainless steel. these may not last till Little Foot is 21, so I may try the new series that one local maker launched, using gold. [will update with photos when I ever do receive my breastmilk keepsake]

4. Make breastmilk soaps 

Again, don’t say “Eeeee!!!!” Breastmilk is one of the best “lotions” for baby. When Little Foot was a few days old, she had some red rashes appear on her eyelids and face. The oldies told me to dab breastmilk on the rashes, so I did. Lo and Behold! The rashes were gone! So I would always pour whatever leftover milk into her bathtub for her baths. I find it helps with dry skin.
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At one point when (I thought) I was running low on supply, I hurriedly got a local maker, Soapshifu, to do a set of breastmilk soaps for me. 330ml were made into about 1kg of soap, cut and packed nicely into individual packaging. The milk is processed together with essential oils and good stuff like shea butter. All natural. No weird fishy smell from the soap. Smells just like a regular lavender bar soap that is moisturing and gentle enough for baby’s skin.

I like that the maker at Soapshifu took a lot of time to answer my questions and was not hard-sell at all.After the sad saga over the breastmilk jewellery, I have become very careful to do my homework before I engage any makers for customisation. One bad experience was enough. In fact, I only knew about this maker through a fellow mummy friend who was raving about it. For mummies, every drop of our milk is precious (especially when you are low supply like me), the last thing you want to have is someone taking your milk and then giving you something that is completely disappointing (or worse, run off with your milk and money!).So it is good to know that Soapshifu and its products are registered under the Health Sciences Authority. 

Little Foot has been using the soap daily (together with her usual Mustela/California Babies because that is her signature baby smell that we are so nostalgic about) since Oct last year, and we only just start using the 2nd bar! I find it most useful whenever she breaks into some rash. I know some other mummies may use the breastmilk soaps themselves too, or use for their older kids as well, but nahhhh…. not us. Saving the best for my Little Foot!

(Note that Little Foot does not have sensitive skin or any known skin allergies/reactions, so please do your necessary skin tests / err on the side of caution if your baby has sensitive skin).

So that’s the List. 

Of course, there were other things I indulged in over the last 18 months, such as:

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  • Making Taimaobi 胎毛笔 keepsake calligraphy brush using hair from Little Foot’s first shave, and an umbilical cord seal from Huatsing
  • Customising a book for Little Foot from Lost My Name
  • Customising jewellery with Little Foot’s photos from Jules Jewels.
  • Buying S’well bottles for a more chic look to go with the JJB bags.
  • Getting Matchy-match clothes for Little Foot and myself, and also Family matching outfits.

 

Motherhood is serious work, but amidst the craziness and tiredness, we know that the baby phase will pass in the blink of an eye.

Doing some of the momentos, and living the moment (albeit a seemingly frivolous one at times) makes it a more interesting and memorable ride.

Our breastfeeding journey doesn’t last long too, so if you can afford to spare a few drops, why not make the soaps so the Little One can benefit for a while more even after the supply is cut.

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Enjoy the journey…Just make sure not to break the bank in the process!

P.S. No sponsorship was received, although Papa Long’s had generously contributed to the book,  the Taimaobi and 1 Tula.  Mummy Joyc is a full-time working mummy, who runs home each day after work, and spends almost all her free time with Little Foot, so she gets her retail therapy online when Little Foot is in dreamland.  

 

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