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8 Positive Things to SHOW to Our Children

20 November 2014 – 1:13 pm | 2 Comments

 
I don’t know about you, but as I go about my day to day busyness, sometimes I do need parenting reminders.
Because amidst everything that I need to do everyday, I can unconsciously forget even the …

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Preparing Siblings for the New Baby!

8 December 2010 | Posted in: Daily, Inspirational, Parenting, Pregnancy & Babyhood | 4 Comments

When our friends first found out that we’re having baby no. 3, some immediately asked if our two kids already knew about it too.

And I told them, ‘Yep. They’re in fact amongst the first five people we shared the big news with. We shared the news when the four of us had our family dinner together.’

Then afterwards, I usually get asked, ‘And how did you guys tell them?’

Well, you see, BEFORE we shared the ‘baby news’, I did subtly introduce to kids the topic of having baby no. 3 in the family (ie. when we ‘planned’ to have baby no.3).

I casually (and randomly) talked about the kids’ friends whose families have 3 kids.

We chatted about how in such families, kid no.1 and kid no. 2 play an important role in helping the family, esp. the mom. How the older siblings get to do ‘bigger’ kids’ activities around the house to help out. How if THAT happened to OUR FAMILY, Anya would then be the BIG BIG sister, and Vai would be the BIG BROTHER. How I would really APPRECIATE it whenever they support me and help around the house, etc.

So, when we actually broke THE baby news, it wasn’t a ‘total shock’ to the kids.

And I guess it’s because they have sort of been … gradually ‘prepared’ for it.

[And I noticed how such 'preparations' HELP a lot in creating a more positive reaction amongst the kids!]

I did similar ‘preparations’ when we planned for baby no. 2 (ie. when Anya was about 20 months old and I was pregnant with Vai).

We did, said and introduced certain things BEFORE and AFTER the ‘new baby’ was born.

Because, really, I believe that the relationship between siblings is one that needs to be continually nurtured. From the very, VERY start.

Anyway, here’re some of the things that we did BEFORE the birth of the ‘new’ baby in the family:

- Bring the kids to prenatal visits

- Let them actually see the  ’monitor’ (ie. the baby!) when the doctor does the scan

- Re-tell the stories of how THEY were born and how they were like when they were babies themselves

- Show videos / pictures (on DVDs, websites or pregnancy books) on how the baby is growing in the womb (note: We carefully avoid ‘gory’ and ‘inappropriate’ images)

- Read children books / watch children DVDs where there’s a new baby in the family

[When I was pregnant with Vai, Anya asked to watch Dora the Explorer DVD every day, the episode where Dora just had a little baby brother and sister!]

- Let the kids imagine how things will be when the new baby is home (eg. Anya told me how she’d want to carry the baby while sitting on the sofa or on our bed, and Vai told me how he’d want to help and get diapers for baby). Often, I’ll be the one who create the scenario and guide the conversation so it’ll remain positive.

- Introduce ideas / positive values / advantages of being the big sister / the big brother (eg. the one who’ll be able to protect and look out for the baby, etc)

- Let kids gently touch / kiss the tummy, talk and sing to baby, ask questions, etc.


And here’s one thing that we do NOT say to the older sibling(s) during pregnancy:

I can’t carry you anymore because of the baby in my tummy

Personally I believe that saying such things unconsciously introduces the older sibling to unnecessary bitterness / resentment. The older child may feel ‘displaced’ because of the new baby.

So instead, I’d say something like,
Daddy will carry you when you really are tired and need to be carried, and I’ll hug and cuddle up with you when we’re sitting down and when I’m in bed because I’m easily tired now.’

Or, ‘My tummy is much bigger now and if I carry you, my tummy hurts. Come, let’s walk and I’ll hold your hand, okay …

Or, ‘Oh, wow, you walked all by yourself just now! You’re such a helpful big brother!



As best as I can, I try to put the emphasis on ME (when I can’t do certain things because of my pregnancy), and NOT on the baby. I avoid saying things that will make the older sibling feel he/she is ‘disadvantaged’ (or losing out) BECAUSE OF the baby.

[With older siblings above 4yo, I feel it's somewhat easier to explain the facts that I can't do certain things with them because I am pregnant]

All the above of course does not mean the older siblings will immediately bond and fall in love with the baby, as such a relationship and bond is something that we parents need to continually nurture and encourage.

There will still be quarrels, disagreements and complaints between siblings.

BUT one thing I can say for sure is, when we do our best in preparing the older siblings for the baby, it DOES make a difference.

A positive difference.

m4s0n501

Checking Out : Hong Kong Disneyland! (Part 1)

6 December 2010 | Posted in: Advertorial, Daily, Places to Visit | 16 Comments


[Whoopee! We're going to Hong Kong! A huge surprise coz Mommy and Daddy told us about where we're going only when we reached Changi airport at 4.30am!]


Finally.

Managed to sort our photos and blog about our recent Hong Kong Disneyland experience!

[I think I'll need to write more than one blog post on this! TOO many things to share in just one post!]

Okay. It all started with us waking up really early, and reaching the airport at about 4.30am! (The earlier I’ve ever been at any airport in my life!)

Anya and Vai were super excited about going to Hong Kong!

Thankfully they managed to sleep for another hour or so on the plane (it took us a little more than 3 hours to fly there from Singapore).

I mean, really, no one wants to bring along two cranky and sleep-deprived kids to Hong Kong Disneyland!

And this is us finally reaching Hong Kong International Airport! It’s HUGE!

It’s been 16 years since I last went to Hong Kong. And it’s Wilson’s and the kids’ first trip there. So we’re all practically new to Hong Kong and were all ready for a great adventure!

We decided to just take a taxi from the airport to our hotel (Disney’s Hollywood Hotel).

[Note: There are 3 different coloured taxis that operate at different areas in Hong Kong. The airport and HK Disneyland is on the same Lantau Island, so you can take the green coloured taxi there. Click HERE to read more about Hong Kong Taxis]

In no time, we reached Disney’s Hollywood Hotel!

We checked in and had our yummy lunch at Disneyland Hotel’s Crystal Lotus! Then off we went to HK Disneyland!!

YAY!!

(I’ll write about our dining experience in another post!)

Btw, here’s the free shuttle bus that comes every 10 minutes or so, and it basically goes to three places : Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, HK Disneyland and Disneyland Hotel.

Very convenient.

And, this is US at Disneyland’s main entrance!!

We really were SO blessed with great weather during our 4-days-3-nights stay in Hong Kong! I was told that it’s been raining for a few days before we arrived. And when we were there, the weather was fantastic!

Cool breeze, clear blue sky, sunny days!

[Tips: Grab these two information leaflets when you're in HK Disneyland! You definitely need them when you are there! Show times and Park attractions details are all there!]

Oh btw, I’d personally recommend exploring HK Disneyland over two days, because you won’t be able to cover all areas thoroughly in a day. I mean, since we’re already there, we’d want to enjoy everything, go on certain rides again and again, and casually walk around the Park, right?

Now, one of the first things that we all need to know about HK Disneyland is that it’s divided into FOUR main areas:

- Main Street, USA
- Adventureland
- Tomorrowland
- Fantasyland

 

 


[Main Street, USA, is the first area that you'll see when you entered HK Disneyland]

 


[And this is what you'll see when you enter 'Tomorrowland', THE place to meet Buzz Lightyear, etc!]

 


And oh, before I forget, when we were there (11-14 November), they’re still getting their Christmas decorations ready (like the Gingerbread House above!). But if you visit HK Disneyland NOW, they’re all there!

(Read more about their Christmas theme HERE)

 

Anyway, in this post, I’ll cover some of the rides / shows that I’d strongly recommend! (read: we did go for the others too, but we think you really should NOT miss these ones!)

 

I’ll start with the shows!

[Tips: Check the show times, be there about 30 minutes before the show starts!]

THE GOLDEN MICKEYS
A musical celebration of Disney’s Films and Characters!
(In Fantasyland)

This is where you’ll see MANY Disney characters you know!

Woody and Jessie from Toy Story, Mulan, Ariel from the Little Mermaid, Lilo and Stitch, Beauty and the Beast, and many more. And oh, of course the main Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie, Goofy and Donald Duck!

MICKEY’S PHILHARMAGIC
It’s where you’ll enjoy some nice 3-D experience!
(In Fantasyland)

Not quite just 3D, actually. Because you get to experience splashes, scents and all.  Okay, okay. I’ll say no more *smile* You just have to go for it yourself!

I tried to take a shot of the screen (placed my camera behind my 3D glasses), and it’s obviously not quite possible! Hehe.

FESTIVAL OF THE LION KING
Colourful pageant of music and dance
(In Adventureland)

I personally love this show the most! A visual treat. And I love the singing, costumes and all!

It’s REALLY, really good! A MUST SEE show!

As for the rides, there are (of course) lots of them there in HK Disneyland.

Here are some of the highlights:

BUZZ LIGHTYEAR ASTRO BLASTERS
(In Tomorrowland)

We really love this ride! I won’t be surprised if everyone who’s been to HK DIsneyland tells me that they check out Astro Blasters more than twice!

Basically, you sit on a ‘star cruiser’ that you can manually turn 360 degrees. And with a hand-held ‘laser cannon’, you fire towards different enemy targets and get points. Once is really not enough, I tell you! Hehe.

And while we’re there, we saw Buzz Lightyear!! So of course we lined up to take a photo with him! It’s simply impossible not to! Heh.

SPACE MOUNTAIN
(In Tomorrowland)

Okay, this one apparently is not for the faint-hearted *smile*

Pregnant mommies (like me!) obviously can’t get on this ride. So I waited on a bench nearby as I watched them zoom out and return back.

Anya and Vai went on this ride too, btw. Vai said he’s cool about it and he didn’t scream, while Anya thought it was SUPER scary throughout and she didn’t like it, haha.

JUNGLE RIVER CRUISE
(In Adventureland)

This is more of a relaxing ride for the adults and a visually fun one for the little ones because there are different things to see (and experience) throughout the cruise!

[Btw, we learned that you can engage Disneyland's Tour Services too. Click HERE to read more about it!]

When we’re there, unfortunately their Daily Parade was not ‘in operation’ because they’re preparing for their Christmas events. BUT, the Fireworks show was on, and the weather was great!

You MUST not miss the Fireworks show!

It all happened just above the Sleeping Beauty castle at 8pm! Go towards the Castle at least 30 minutes earlier, find a seat facing the Castle, have some snacks while you wait for the Fireworks to start, and enjoy the show!

FASTPASS

I was told about ‘FASTPASS’ before we left for Hong Kong. And at the time I had no idea what it was.

Now I can share with you what it is.

Basically, there are only three attractions where you can use FASTPASS:

- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Space Mountain

Because the queues for these attractions are generally longer, you can insert your admission ticket into Disney’s FASTPASS stations, get your FASTPASS ticket, go elsewhere, return to that particular attraction during your given time and join the much shorter FASTPASS queue!

Other Tips to Share:

- If you’re still thinking about ‘how long’ your Hong Kong stay should be in order to enjoy Disneyland and some other attractions in Hong Kong, I’d say staying there for 4 days and 3 nights would be great.

- Buy your HK Disneyland tickets online and in advance! If you plan to visit HK Disneyland during the school holidays, they usually have great offers that come with Park admission tickets and a hotel stay in Disneyland too. Do check the available offers!

- Check HK DIsneyland’s Daily Calendar before you visit the Park, just in case there are some updates and other info that you can find out in advance before your trip there

- The weather can be a little unpredictable, especially if you plan to visit HK Disneyland during Christmas. I’d personally recommend wearing your clothes in ‘layers’, so you can always wear your shirt when the day is sunny and the breeze is cool, and put on your jacket / sweater when it gets chilly at night!

- If you’re bringing along your own stroller, you may want to consider bringing along your raincoats as well and water bottles (since you don’t have to carry all these things yourself!). Because if it rains while you’re at the Park, having those raincoats with you will surely be handy!

- The Park accommodates guests with special needs. Click to read how you can rent wheelchairs, strollers, etc.

(My mom was on a wheelchair when she visited HK Disneyland with my Dad and sister, and she said that her trip around Disneyland was very convenient!)

Phew. Finally I managed to put it all together and share my HK Disneyland experience with you all!

*smile*

I shared more photos of our HK Trip on Facebook. Click HERE to view my Photo Album on Facebook!

Will write more posts soon!

If you have other tips to share about HK Disneyland, please do share with us all! I’m sure they’ll be really useful to those who’re planning their trip there!

Thanks everyone!

[added]

Click the link below to see my other post on Hong Kong Disneyland :

Checking Out : Hong Kong Disneyland (Part 2) - Hotel & Dining

Making : Sharp-toothed Creature

3 December 2010 | Posted in: Crafts & Activity Ideas for Kids | No Comment

Uh oh.

I just found an old post that I forgot to publish!

This activity was done some TWO years ago!

[Yes, Vai was just a little over 2yo, and Anya was 4.5yo!]

Ah well.

Since it’s the school holiday (ie. when kids spend MORE time with us at home and have MORE time for activities), I thought I should still share the photos and this activity idea with you anyway.

Here’s what we used:

- Egg cartons as the teeth and tail

- A rectangular box as the body (I used our cod liver oil box!)

- Crepe paper to cover the head and body

- Styrofoam for the eyes (I used the one we got when we bought some meat from the supermarket)

- Glue, markers and masking tape to put everything together

And of course you can always make different variations and create your very own creatures using recycled materials!

Have fun making stuff with the kids!

Tips: Keeping Kids Occupied while on the Plane

2 December 2010 | Posted in: Crafts & Activity Ideas for Kids, Daily | 5 Comments

It’s December (already!) and to most of us, it means traveling out with loved ones!

If you’re like us, a family with two young children, and you’re planning for a trip where it’ll take more than an hour to reach another city or country on a plane, you may want to take a look at some of these ideas below.

You know, activities or other simple things that can help in keeping little ones occupied while on the plane!

Have fun spending time with your loved one this month!

1. Coloring books and Crayons

If the kids get to choose which colouring books they’d like to bring, it’ll work out better.

Another option is to print out some of the kids’ favourite cartoon characters off the internet for them to colour.

2. Favourite Books

If there’s any that your kid particularly like, bring it along. Or, you may want to buy a ‘surprise book’ in advance, and let your child read it on the plane.

Get books with lots of pictures and short stories!

For older preschoolers who like books like ‘where’s wally?’ (where they’ll need to find certain characters or objects), they’ll be kept entertained for a LONG time!

3. Puzzles

Look for puzzles with large pieces so they’re not lost around the cabin. There are magnetic ones too (very useful for smaller children)

[We bought a 100-piece puzzle for Vai and Anya when we're in Hong Kong. Vai chose his favourite Lightning McQueen puzzle, and he actually completed his puzzle, piece by piece, all 100 of them on his own, on our plane trip back to Singapore!]

4. Favourite toys

Pack your kids’ favourite toys/dolls (smaller ones are best). Let them decide which ones they’d like to bring along (but we need to tell them how many is TOO many).

If you have younger children, you may even want to ‘wrap’ some of these little toys, and let them ‘unwrap’ their little surprise every 30 minutes or so!

5. Games

Games such as ‘I spy with my little eye’, or the Animal Game (where you take turns in naming an animal, but each said animal cannot be repeated) always work! (at least I know it does in our family). There are of course heaps of other game ideas that you can play quietly while on the plane.

6. Snacks

Snacks may keep a child entertained for a bit. Go for healthier snacks where you can, of course.

7. Little Journals

If your (older) child likes to write, draw or scribble, encourage him or her to draw or write about their upcoming journey. What they see, what they experience, any foreign words or phrases that they’ll hear during the holiday.

[Anya did this last year. I let her choose and bring along a little journal when we went to Perth. She just turned 5yo at the time, and couldn't write much. So she drew all sorts of stuff on the pages. Things that she encountered and saw. I still kept that journal!]

8. Digital camera

Have some fun photos and video clips in your digital camera, and let them check them out one by one (and again and again!). You may even want to put some pictures of the people and places you’ll be visiting to familiarise and excite them.

You can then relive those fun moments in the past or tell stories about where and who you’ll be visiting.

9. Games on mobile phones or laptops (or a portable DVD player)

As much as I personally am not into exposing my kids to such gadgets too much, I must say they really do help the kids enjoy the flight better, especially when the plane trip lasts for a few good hours!

I’d personally leave this option as my last resort though (ie. I’d keep them entertained with others first and NOT take these gadgets out until all other things fail)

Of course, it’s best if they can get some sleep time while on the plane!

Not only will they wake up all fresh and happy, it allows us parents to rest and enjoy our plane journey too.

[When we left for Hong Kong recently, the flight was so early (6.45am) and they both slept for 1.5 hours on the plane!]

I’m sure you have your own tips based on your experience too.

Do add them to the list yeah!

Loving My Siblings : Not an Easy Task

5 March 2014 | Posted in: Inspirational, Parenting | 2 Comments
anya Brie_feb2014

 
People say that if you have a girl as your eldest, it’s better, because she will help you take care of her younger siblings.
While in some ways it is true, in many other ways I’d …

Things Money can’t buy …

30 August 2010 | Posted in: Inspirational, Parenting | 23 Comments
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In a world where ‘having lots of money’ is often perceived by many as ‘necessary’ in order to ‘enjoy life better’, it is undeniable that the search for money and material comfort has somehow (consciously …

Upcoming Parenting Tips and Thoughts

14 June 2008 | Posted in: Parenting | No Comment
Upcoming Parenting Tips and Thoughts

As parents, I feel we all are in need of good and positive parenting-related reminders.
Well at least I know I do.
There’s still so much that I need to learn and I’m always happy to read …

The Reality of Marriage

10 July 2008 | Posted in: Marriage & Relationships | 5 Comments
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We had our seventh wedding anniversary three days ago. Right on the seventh of the seventh month!
To some, seven years of marriage may seem like a long time. To some others on the other hand, …

A little ‘Me-Time’ for Mom

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leo_wil_wedding

I was reading some articles the other day on today’s busy Moms and how everyone needs some ‘Me-time’ to recharge.
One article says:
“When we are stressed, overwhelmed and tired, we have a shorter fuse. We …

Coming up : Marriage Tips and Thoughts

17 November 2008 | Posted in: Marriage & Relationships | No Comment
Coming up : Marriage Tips and Thoughts

To many of us, we’re often so caught up with our roles as parents that we unconsciously ‘forget’ about our roles as husbands and wives, which are equally important.
Do we make a good team together? …