Earlier this year, we brought the boys to check out the Avengers STATION exhibition at the Singapore Science Centre. While we weren’t particularly enamored by the exhibition itself, the boys did fall in love with the virtual reality exhibition within the Science Centre. They put on the glasses and were immediately transported to a fascinating world of roller coaster. And we had so much fun that I decided to purchase a pair of Discovery VR glasses – which completely sucked because the mechanism that allowed us to adjust the width of the lenses was spoilt!
When the opportunity to try out the two-hour “Little Artists for Virtual Reality” workshop, conducted by Presence Pictures in PIXEL Labs@NLB, came, I jumped. I figured that it was a great way to combine two of Aidan’s interests: art and VR.
Essentially, this programme is targeted at kids aged four to seven. The kids are first taught about perspective – foreground, background etc. – and then encouraged to design and decorate in a VR template on paper. They get to draw and colour, and think about where and how to meaningfully place their objects/characters. This hand-drawn artwork will eventually form their very own virtual world.
Once they are done with their handiwork, the facilitators from Presence Pictures will then use their proprietary VR software to publish it into the VR form.
Okay look, I am not somebody who excelled in Physics so that’s as best an explanation as it gets.
Aidan was thoroughly excited by the process because he already had an idea of what VR is all about. He started showing an interest in art recently and when I explained that he would be able to design his own VR world, he was even more thrilled.
We spent some time with the creative process: first, he had to think about what characters or objects he wanted to inhabit this VR world of his. Then, he was encouraged to sketch them out. Once that was done, he incorporated his characters onto the template provided. Subsequently, he had to fill his world with colours using the pencils provided and embellish it with the stickers provided.
When he completed designing his world, Edmund, one of the facilitators (and the company’s CEO!), took a photo of it using the app on the iPhone and it was immediately projected onto the screen. Aidan was super chuffed to see his work up on display. And then finally, he strapped on the oculus lens and saw his own world in VR form. He could not stop smiling!
What I loved about the workshop was that the facilitators Edmund and Eunice were extremely patient with him. My son can be easily distracted but they managed to coax him through the process, step by step, until it was completed. Eunice also allowed him imagination in portraying his virtual world, telling him to go with whatever colours he had in mind and not be limited to the norm (ie. His sky could be purple, if he liked).
Also, as someone who lacks basic spatial sense (my husband will testify to it), I was impressed that this workshop allowed my five-year-old to think in 3D space. He was given free rein to design his world and the immediate outcome of seeing his work come to life in front of his eyes was most impressive.
Eunice also explained to me that the company runs a longer bootcamp version of the workshop, which I am highly tempted to sign Aidan up for. I think it’s a great, experiential way for kids to learn about virtual reality and spatiality. He’s already an avid Lego builder and this would definitely enhance his ability to see things in 3D.
If you are keen to check out the “Little Artists for Virtual Reality” workshop, it is part of Tech Saturday (Upsized!) 2017, the tech carnival organised by IMDA. Admission is free and so are the workshops! There are many techie workshops (or what Tech Saturday calls “worksheds”) available, ranging from coding to robotics Lego, that cater to different age groups from 7 to 50 and above. There are also Tinker Spaces, which allow you a hands-on experience with 3D printing, VR and robotics, as well as purchase your own electronics project home and DIY a mood lamp, Interactive Showcases which demonstrate the convergence of technology and media projects, as well as activities that you can enjoy with your family like flying a drone or have a first person view on the buggy car.
(I would love to sign Aidan up for the coding one, except he is too young for it. And I would love to attend the transmedia disruptive storytelling techniques one myself.)
So if you have nothing on that weekend, why not check out Tech Saturday? Do note that you have to sign up for the workshops in advance though.
What: Tech Saturday (Upsized!) 2017
When: April 29 to 30
Where: Hall C, Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Level 1
We were invited to participate in the “Little Artists for Virtual Reality” workshop but all opinions are my own! Kiddo really liked it – I am definitely considering signing him up for the longer programme.
I had a really rough day at work yesterday. The day was mostly spent trying to contain the wildfire that spread with a mistake that I had made, as well as cleaning up the mess made by others. On top of that, the unpredictable weather caused my allergic rhinitis to flare up and I was having problems breathing.
Hah. So much for taking a deep breath and calming down when you can’t even breathe. *snort*
Anyway, by the time I picked up my littles, I was in a terrible mood. I was ready to be a Monster Mum and yell terrible things at them if they hadn’t cooperated. When Zac refused to leave the school because he wanted to watch his friends dance (!!!), I was all ready to blow my top. I grabbed him, swiped his bag and shoes from the floor (while holding on to that little bugger, yes!) and was all ready to Y.E.L.L.
But, I didn’t. Because I was too exhausted and also because I thought, I have missed them so much and is this how I want to start my evening with them?
Instead, I talked. I am very good at talking. So I did. I said, look guys, I had a really bad day at work and I am very tired. Mummy has been working very hard today because I made a mistake, can you please help me?
Immediately, Aidan hugged me and said he would go home and draw a present for me. Zac leaned his head on my shoulder and said, “Sorry mummy. Don’t be sad, okay? I kiss you!” And then he proceeded to give me a huge kiss on my lips. And then he did it again.
When we got home, I had to make several phone calls for work. As I was talking, Aidan ran in and gestured to a piece of paper in his hand. The boy had really drawn me a picture! He produced it with a flourish, wordlessly, and ran out when I smiled. And when Zac came into the room, he shushed his little brother and told him to be quiet because mummy was on the phone.
And that’s when I knew that being honest with my boys, as little as they are, is a good thing. I have always wanted to shield them from my weary adult world, wanted them to steer clear from the problems that I face. I don’t usually talk about work to them.
In reality, I have been doing it all wrong. I should be sharing more about my day with them, telling them about my joys and my lows. They may not necessarily understand the context but it helps to build their sense of empathy. It also helps them to see that life isn’t pretty all the time, and that we face problems all the time. Hopefully, if I involve them in the process, I am showing them that the most important thing about problems is in how we approach and solve them (this is honestly a WIP for me even at 36! I react so quickly and so emotionally, it takes a while before I start seeing the logical steps to reaching a (re)solution).
Thank you, my littles. Thank you for teaching mama a lesson and for making me feel so much better about myself.
I don’t know about you but the arrival of my first child was a huge shock to my system.
After that long struggle with infertility, after the many treatments and procedures, we were all ready for our baby boy to join us. Well, we were as ready as one could be – afterall, I don’t really think that anyone can say that they are well and truly prepared to be parents.
And so, the shock. There was resentment, sadness, stress, frustration. There were many, many moments when I burst into tears and sank to the floor of my baby’s room.
Part of it was the lack of sleep, for sure. Exclusively breastfeeding my child meant that I had to sleep in three-hourly chunks. My entire life was broken down into three-hourly chunks. Add to the fact that anxiety over being a first-time mother – am I producing milk? Is he latching properly? Did he drink enough? Are there enough wet diapers? – made me sleep poorly. Nap when baby naps? Hah! (He didn’t nap much.)
Then, there was the sudden realisation that this mewling, helpless, tiny being was entirely dependent on me for survival. What if I didn’t know what I was doing? If he wasn’t sleeping (my first-born hated sleep with a vengeance – even as a newborn!), was his development ruined? Why was he crying? How can I make him stop?
In the days and the months of his life early on, it was just me and him alone in the house. I had no help, my mother was preoccupied with my nephew and we hadn’t had a helper yet. And so, I had to take on the roles of mother and wife and housekeeper all by myself.
That made me miserable. I was struggling to get used to caring for an infant and trying to get everything else done at the same time. Perhaps it was postpartum depression, I wouldn’t know. I had no idea, nobody ever told me that I would feel this way. I had assumed that once the baby was here, I would be glowing with maternal love and motherhood would come naturally to me.
It took me more than 10 weeks before I emerged from the cobwebs.
Thankfully, that gave me enough time to enjoy my newborn before I went back to work. And in that respect, I was really grateful that I had 16 weeks of maternity leave. Those 16 weeks were not only to help me recover from the physical aspect of the birth, they were necessary for my mental and emotional health. I simply cannot fathom how I would have been like if I had to go back to work a month or two or even three after the birth. My anxiety levels would have been through the roof, and don’t even get me started on the mum guilt.
Is 16 weeks enough? To be perfectly honest, I think six months would have been ideal. At four months, my babies were still itty bitty and dependent solely on my breast milk for sustenance so I felt so stressed at work, trying to find time (and space) to express. But then again, even the USA does not even mandate paid maternity leave – 16 weeks is great compared to that.
When I went back to work, I was lucky enough to have both sides of the family pitch in to help with caregiving. And when my son turned 28 months – and had a baby brother by then – we enrolled him in the childcare centre at my workplace. We chose to do so because, honestly, we decided that it was better than having our littles stay home with grandma and do nothing. They can pick up social, verbal and academic skills by being in school – and we have not had an ounce of regret since then.
It was a no-brainer: the school’s proximity ensured convenience in dropping him off and picking him up, and the costs were really reasonable. In addition to the basic $300 childcare subsidy that we receive from the government, we were also eligible for an employee subsidy.
This meant that we weren’t working just to earn enough to pay childcare fees! Plus – and that is a big PLUS – we were able to top up our boys’ Child Development Accounts after we had received the Baby Bonus ($6,000 during our time, it’s apparently $8,000 these days!) so the government matched it dollar for dollar. That sum of money has been used to pay off their childcare centre fees.
I know that when the Baby Bonus was first launched, many Singaporeans complained that the government was trying to bribe us to have children. There were grumbles of how $6,000 is not enough to bring up a child. I was probably one of them, heh.
But I will eat my words here and say that as a sandwiched middle-income group, the $6,000 and subsequent dollar-for-dollar matching programme has come in very useful. Will I have kids just for that $6,000? Nope. But as somebody who’s always wanted to have kids? Yes, that money helps, more than I could possibly have imagined.
Looking back on our five-year parenting journey, I sometimes wonder aloud to my husband if we would have kids all over again, given what we know now. Honestly? I would. It’s tough, exhausting, humbling, frustrating. But it is also amazing and joyful.
I wouldn’t change a single minute of it.
The boys and I had a real treat last night when we caught The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice!
We hardly get out of the house during weekday nights so it was definitely a special one to remember. Plus, I have loved Disney all my life. I grew up at the cinema and the Disney animated films have always been a great source of entertainment and comfort to me as a kid. While my kids don’t really get to watch TV much, they know all about Mickey and Minnie and they loved our last trip to Disneyland in Hong Kong.
We got in right before the show started so it was perfect timing. Now, to be honest, I have no clue if there was some sort of storyline going on there – I think it was about Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy recollecting the different stories – but it doesn’t really matter. We were swiftly brought through tales such as The Lion King, Snow White & the Seven Dwarves, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story, Finding Dory – a mix of the classics (which I, uhhmm, grew up with) and contemporary favourites.
And I loved it! It was really cool remembering these favourites of mine and singing loudly along with the music without fear of being judged (HAHA) and the ice-skating, backdrop, props and pyrotechnics were incredible.
Throughout the show, Aidan was quiet and did not show much expression. I was wondering he wasn’t enjoying the performance. Zac, on the other hand, wouldn’t sit still on his seat. It was a good thing, then, that there was ample legroom for him to roam around. Luckily, everytime he started to get restless, something else would come along to distract him.
I needn’t have worried. Aidan LOVED the show, except he was a wee bit scared at two different parts of the night: when the witch appeared in the Snow White segment, and when Prince Hans was attacking Elsa and Anna in Frozen.
Speaking of Frozen, the second half was mostly dedicated to it. Not surprising, seeing how it is the crowd favourite. There were so many little girls dressed in Elsa and Anna outfits! This segment also had the most effects, which was absolutely enchanting. Zac adored Olaf – he couldn’t get enough of Olaf’s singing and dancing.
In short: a truly magical experience for both adults (especially Disney lovers) and kids. I do think that it was probably more suited for kids aged four and above. And please bring along plenty of cash because you will be suckered into buying overpriced popcorn, slushies, hot dogs and merchandise, heh.
Oh, and the great thing was that the show started promptly at 630pm and ended on time at 830pm. It meant that bedtime wasn’t terribly disrupted – I had showered the littles before we left and packed along their jammies.
The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice runs from now till March 19 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. You can purchase your tickets here.
Disclaimer: I received four complimentary tickets to catch the performance. No other monetary compensation was received and all opinions are my own. But seriously, dude, you can’t fake the magic that is Disney. It is AWESOME. All photos provided by Feld Entertainment. Video is my own.
Hello! Yes it’s me. I am still alive, evidently. The blog, on the other hand, isn’t looking too great.
Well, it’s been a while and what can I say, life gets in the way. There’s always work to be done, littles to be cuddled, wine to be drunk and life to be lived. I used to think that writing was cathartic but these days, it sure doesn’t feel that way. So I took a break. Didn’t pressure myself to write.
The husband is off on one of his trips again and I have been playing the roles of both papa and mummy. It’s hard, but really not that hard because I am so used to it by now. There are days when the boys are absolute assholes and I have to channel my inner OHM to keep from exploding. Some days, I am successful. Other days, well.
Today was one of those days when I was not quite as good at keeping it together. Mr 5 was building a house using the PicassoTiles that we got him for his birthday (PS they are awesome and if you want a review, let me know!), and the house was filled with Duplo people. Inexplicably, Mr 2 (and Impossibly Cute) decided to do a Godzilla on him and stomped all over the house.
Poor Mr 5. He burst into tears and I had to wrestle the little Godzilla away. Gave him a pep talk, cuddled him a bit (just in case it was due to his love tank being empty) but it didn’t take him more than 60 seconds before he was at it again.
In short: Mr 2 was being a total asshat and destroying his big brother. Yes, that happens.
The third time they clashed, I lost it. Completely. Hauled the littlest into my bedroom and gave him a very stern talking to, accentuated with some finger wagging. I warned, I threatened, and then I forced him into his high chair to eat his dinner. He whined about not wanting dinner until I decided to let him have his fruit and main meal at the same time.
By then, Mr 5 was done with his meal and we sat at the piano together to practise, leaving Mr 2 at the table by himself. What do you know, that did the trick. The littlest calmed down and fed himself dinner while A and I tinkered at the piano. After the practice, we all sat down at the dining table to have our usual after-dinner yogurt.
“Hey Zac,” I said casually. “Is there something you need to say to gor gor?”
He nodded. “Sorry Aidan.”
“What are you sorry for?”
Without a break, he said: “Sorry for breaking your toy.”
“Aidan, didi has apologised.”
Aidan didn’t bat an eyelid as he replied, “It’s okay.”
In one evening, my little people taught me two things. Never be afraid to apologise for something you did wrong and never hold on to grudges.
I am getting better at saying sorry as the years go by (getting older and mellower and all that haha) but I have a hard time letting go. Not deliberately but sometimes I have a tendency to relive certain moments and conversations. I replay them over and over again, wondering if I could have done or said things differently.
But look at my five-year-old. He forgives so easily. In the next moment, they are the best of playmates again. He doesn’t forget – he sometimes stuns us with his memory – but he doesn’t hold it against people. He moves on with his life and he continues loving with his heart.
So yes, my kids teach me about life and living every day. While there are days that are harder than others, I still thank my lucky stars that I have them.
This is going to sound really gross but back when we were driving our first car – an old Honda Civic 1.8 whose horsepower I miss every other day! – we’d find cockroaches on a regular basis.
I know. We had itty bitty ones, mostly, and they were usually scuttling along the windows of our car. It was really disgusting and it was totally our fault. We ate and drank in the car, thinking that we were careful not to leave crumbs behind, and we allowed the kids to do so too. HAH!
When that car’s COE expired and we decided to purchase a new children-ferrying-machine, I made it a rule that there was to be NO FOOD ALLOWED in the new car. I refused to be taking cockroaches on a daily joyride. I just KANNOT.
So when Felix from EA Detailer contacted me late last year about trying out their car grooming services, I was supremely confident that they were not going to find anything as gross as cockroaches in our car. NO FOOD WHAT.
Erm, as it turns out, I was WRONG. Let me explain.
EA Detailer, unlike most car grooming companies that have the usual vacuuming, cleaning and conditioning, offers Cabin Interior Sanitization and Interior Anti Pest Fumigation. When you send your car in for grooming, be prepared to leave it there for at least half a day because the entire process could include:
- Anti-Pest Biofumigation: a 30-minute procedure that wipes out bugs and their eggs (eeeeeeek)
- In-depth Jet Vacuum
- Wonderkleen Sanitization (Physical Sanitization): a wipe-and-spray procedure that kills bacteria
- Koch Chemie Leather Star Protection
- Koch Chemie Top Star: this is done to protect your dashboard
- Carpet Jet Vacuum
- ProMed Ozonic Treament: to sanitise the entire cabin, including the AC, to remove bacteria, any chemical residue, odour smell.
Doesn’t it sound like there’s a bunch of harmful, scary-sounding chemicals being used? No worries, I checked with Felix and he assured me, before I accepted the offer of a review, that the cleaners that they use are organic and child-friendly. They were also ISO-certified and medically certified by Singapore General Hospital to be effective. In addition, the Ozonic treatment will remove bacteria, chemical residue and odour, ensuring that your ride in the car cabin is clean and refreshing.
And it truly works! The husband sent the car in (and sent me photo text updates!) while I went to work and when he picked me up after, the car smelt rather lovely. And it lingered for a good one week or so, which made my daily ride pretty pleasant. The leather seats were also conditioned and were buttery soft.
What I was most impressed was that EA Detailer also took care to clean our boys’ car seats. As mentioned, they (used to) snack in their car seats and OH MY GOD IT WAS DISGUSTING. We’d find weeks-old cracker bits in the, well, crack of Zac’s car seat. So they removed the seats, flipped everything out, and helped us to steam vaporise and sanitise them. I was so pleased with that!
Oh, and the cockroaches? They actually found some baby ones! Urghs! They explained that sometimes, the cockroaches could have entered the car at dodgy cockroach-infested carparks. The presence of the critters meant that there were cockroach eggs SOMEWHERE. Yucks. Thank goodness for the bio-fumigation!
In addition to the interior cleaning, the guys at EA Detailer also spruced up the exterior of the car. The Glow process included:
- Foam wash
- Claying: this removes impurities that is on your car’s paintwork
- Compound polish: putting in protection against minor scratches, water stains, and paint oxidisation using nano sealant
- Tyres and rim shine
- Engine bay cleaning
When the car rolled into my office compound, I was rather impressed. Our car was shiny and pretty, haha. The husband was really pleased with how his precious car was all spiffy again. He thought that the guys at EA Detailer were very thorough and meticulous, and he was happy that the disgusting car seats were fresh again.
Price wise, here is the breakdown of charges:
- Normal sanitising of interior (one session): $209nett
Trial session: $128nett
Additional surcharge of $50 applies for MPV/SUV/Large Flagship Luxury Sedans.
- Cleaning of car seats: $69 per seat
- Glow Process: $209
ESPECIALLY FOR BUBSICLES READERS
We were very pleased with the service provided by EA Detailer and asked if they would be happy to let our readers try it at a discount. They said yes! Just mention that you heard about their services here to get the discount. Contact them via their web form or call them at 6100 0323.
1. 40% Off 3-Stage Interior at $108 (Usual Price $209)
-> Anti Pest Biofumigation
-> Anti Viral Sanitization (Covers Physical and Air environment including aircon system)
-> Leather Treatment
-> Dashboard Treatment
-> Indepth Vacuum
-> Anti Mold/Odour Smell Ozonic Treatment
(Duration: 4 hours)
40% Off 3-Stage Exterior at $128 (Usual Price $209)
-> 3 Steps Compounding
-> Machine Buffing
-> Engine bay detailing
-> Detailing area on door shuts, boot shuts, bonnet edges and fuel cap
-> Rims polishing
-> Exhaust polishing
(Duration: 4 hours)
Take both Exterior and Interior Detailing at ONLY $198
(Duration : 4 to 6 hours)
(Additional surcharge of $50 applies for MPV/SUV/Large & Flagship Luxury Sedans)
Wow, what a way to begin the new year, right? With a post that says “hospital surface disinfectant”. That’s because we are all about having a clean start around here. Heh heh!
But really, when Our Lifestyle Shop sent me a canister of this, I was all, WHUT IS THIS and hid it in the back of the storeroom. Because it sounded oh so serious! And I was very happy with the B.Sanitised and the Total Solutions Foaming Lemon Scented Cleaner. I didn’t know what to do with this until Sulin from Our Lifestyle Shop nudged me a little and asked me to try it.
What is this good for? As its name suggests, it is a hospital-grade disinfectant that zaps nasty bacteria, viruses, mould, and mildew. The good thing is, it is registered with the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA), which means that it does exactly as it claims to – no fear of misleading consumers. Some of the nasties that it gets rid of includes the common Influenza A2/Hong Kong virus and the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.
Now. I have not-too-fond memories of the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. When Zac was not yet three months old, he was warded for a double infection, one of which was due to that particular bacteria. It was honestly one of the most scary moments of my life, and the most heart-breaking one too. And I know exactly how dire the situation can be when the bacteria was battling my little man’s body (he was in the high-dependency ward for a couple of nights).
So disinfecting? Better safe than sorry.
This disinfectant can be used on gross grimy things such as toilet seats, urinals, light switches, door handles and rubbish bins. Just shake well and spray. That’s it! Leave it to air dry on its own, there is no additional step if wiping or cleaning.
This can also eliminate odour and Sulin’s advice to me was to spray this into the boys’ bedroom about an hour or so before their bedtime. It helps to get rid of bugs and smells, which is particularly useful when they are suffering from one of those long-lasting coughs and colds.
Between this, B.Sanitised (which I use to spray in the air for disinfecting purposes), and the Foaming Lemon Scented Cleaner (which I use on surfaces like table tops and shelves), I reckon we are ready to take on 2017!
SPECIAL OFFER FOR BUBSICLES READERS!
You can now enjoy a 5% discount on the Hospital Surface Disinfectant (Usual Price: $43.90) when you use the promo code: iwanthisnow to place your order on Our Lifestyle Shop. Promo ends on 7 February 2017.
(Disclaimer: I was given a bottle of Total Solutions Hospital Surface Disinfectant as part of the ambassador programme for Our Lifestyle Shop but all opinions are my own. No additional monetary compensation was given.)
Before the kids came along, we went out at night. A lot. Weekends were usually spent hanging with our friends: choir practices, arcade gaming (yes!), movies, pub-crawling. One of the places we used to go to was Timbre @ The Substation – how could we say no to awesome live music, good grub (ROAST DUCK PIZZA YUM YUM) and ice cold beer?
Me and the girlfriend at Timbre @ Substation waaaaaay back in…2007
Then we had kids. Overnight (HUR HUR PUN), our nightlife disappeared. We were either putting the babies to bed or nursing (okay, I was nursing) or sitting zonked on the sofa or snoring in our beds. We were, and still are, exhausted. We stopped heading out to nightspots.
And then Timbre contacted me and told me about their Super Social BBQ. Huh, what’s that? you might ask. Well, GOOD NEWS FORMER NIGHT CRAWLERS, you can now have your cake and eat it too.
Essentially, Super Social BBQ is a weekend event at Timbre @ Gillman which is family-friendly. That’s right, you heard me. Kids-friendly. Child-friendly. Toddler-friendly. Everybody-friendly. Every month, Timbre @ Gillman runs a themed event on all Saturdays and Sundays that is especially catered to families, starting from 4pm.
Have you been to the Gillman outlet? Well, I hadn’t, until I received the invitation and I was super impressed. The restaurant retained its rustic, super chill vibe, which is cool, but what was even cooler was that gigantic backyard behind the eatery. During the weekends, the backyard turns into a play area for the kids – you can expect bouncy castles, wading pools and live BBQ.
When I was there, it was storming outside so we didn’t spend much time outdoors. Timbre had thoughtfully set up an activity station indoors, where kids could colour or get their faces painted or do some crafting. There was even a balloon sculptor onsite. My boys ended up putting together a carousel – in line with the Carnival theme for November – out of paper plate, paper cup, pipe cleaners and paper cutouts.
Other than providing fun activities, Timbre @ Gillman also put together a menu just for the kids. There are items such as bolognaise, chicken and pancakes, minute steak and cheese frites and fish & chips, all affordably priced below $15. We ordered the bolognaise with heart shape pasta ($10) for the littles to share and the portion was more than enough for them.
As for the adults? I was honestly pretty darned happy to be there. I could indulge in my roast duck pizza once again and wash it down with an chilled alcoholic ginger beer. There was a live band playing. It really made me nostalgic for those days when we could stay out till the wee hours without a care, swigging our beers and making merry.
In fact, I was feeling so sentimental, I decided to order me an earl grey martini (my first martini since FOREVER). It was so surprisingly good that I cheered up immediately.
The mark of a true family-friendly restaurant is in the happiness level of all members of the family. Did Timbre @ Gillman’s Super Social BBQ hit the mark? I will say YASSSSSS. My boisterous boys had fun participating in the activities and they especially loved the live band. They were gleefully dancing after shoving the pasta and pizza into their mouths. The man and I were thrilled to be out at a nightspot once again, eating the grub that we had loved.
We had so much fun that I started making plans with our friends and their kids to check it out again!
The Carnival edition of the Super Social BBQ will run till this weekend! For more information, check out their Facebook page.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Timbre @ Gillman for dinner and given dining credits. However, all opinions are solely mine (and totally honest!) and no other monetary compensation was received.
Dear parents at my kids’ daycare,
There is a very nasty and extremely contagious gastroenteritis virus making its rounds in the school. I’m sure you have heard about it. The school has consistently and diligently kept us updated on the situation.
Did your kids get the bug?
Mine did. And you know what? I KEPT MY KIDS HOME.
The equation is very simple. A very sick child is a contagious child (I’m not talking about the common colds and coughs). It means that my child should stay away from other children in case he spreads the illness to the other kids (and teachers) in the centre. Some of whom have parents who work and therefore will be extremely inconvenienced if their kids fall sick.
And that’s just the logistics part. Let’s talk about the comfort of the poor sick child. Have you had gastroenteritis before? It’s awful. My kid was vomiting every 60 to 90 minutes. Without fail, like clockwork. He was extremely miserable and rightly so too.
He was MISERABLE. And being home with mummy, in the comforts of his bed and surrounded by his favourite things, made him feel better. He was better off at home, not in school.
So my question to you is: Why would you refuse to pick your child up from the centre when the teachers call, telling you that she isn’t well? Why in the world would you say, “well she was fine at home so just monitor her condition please”?
WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.
Look, I get it. It is extremely tedious when you have a sick kid. Believe me when I say that my heart stops every time I received a call from the daycare when I’m working, in the middle of a class etc. It means having to rearrange all your plans and schedules. And I freely admit that I am lucky to have the support of our parents.
But even if we don’t, between the two of us, my husband and I would have worked things out. Because our kid is sick. And we would not want this illness to pass to his unwitting classmates. And we would want our little boy to be home and snuggled up in his bed. Not in the cold cold environment of the daycare where he has to share the attention of his teachers with 20 other kids.
To abscond responsibility of your sick child and palm off her care to her daycare is despicable. Inconsiderate. And an act that’s probably on the scale of Agent Orange Muppet running for US President right now.
And in case you didn’t get the message earlier, here it is again: Stop being a selfish douchebag.
If your job is time-sensitive and requires you to be physically present, I get it. If your boss is an unforgiving piece of crap who frowns at your absence, I get it. It’s tough and I salute you. I do. And I hope your children stay healthy and strong.
If you are someone who has the resources but refuses to take your kid home because “she was well at home”, then hey, I hope your kid wasn’t the one who threw up all over mine in school.
Because YOU are an asshole. And you need to learn to be a little more considerate: to your kid, to the daycare and to the other parents.
I was eating my dinner after work when my two-year-old flopped down at my feet, all of a sudden. I didn’t pay much attention to it, he was bouncing around just mere moments ago. Perhaps he was resting.
Until he continued rolling there and whimpering, mummy, mummy. That was all he said. Mummy, mummy. I knew something was wrong.
I jumped down from my seat and cradled him. He laid in my arms, limp and listless, his lips turning purplish. To make matters worse, he was cold and clammy to the touch. I called to my helper to bring me the thermometer, its caustic beep telling me that Zac’s temperature was 35.4 degrees.
“Zac, are you okay? Any pain?” I asked as I hugged him. He didn’t move. Mummy, mummy, he whispered. That was all he could say.
Should I rush him to the hospital? Is it pneumonia from his cough and cold? Or is it the same bacterial infection that caused him to be hospitalised when he was an infant? Who could I call to help look after Aidan? What do I do?
I had no answers. I was alone, my husband on a business trip 13,000 miles and 15 hours away.
I changed both the boys and rushed all three of us to the GP near our flat. Along the way, Zac seemed to recover a little. Once at the clinic, he seemed almost back to normal, except his temperature still hovered around 35.5 degrees. The doctor examined him and said his stomach was churning badly, which had led to his body temperature dipping suddenly.
In short, it was nothing serious. Stomach bug.
As I walked slowly back home with the littles, I suddenly felt heavy. It’s been one plus week of solo parenting and I have dealt with gastroenteritis and lingering coughs and a viral infection. Plus, the boys have been taking turns to wake up and call for mummy every single night. I was tired. I wanted to cry, at the sheer weight of it all, but I realised that I was way past tears. I couldn’t cry. I was probably too exhausted to cry.
Once home, I tried to finish up my already-cold dinner. The boys were playing when Aidan discovered a pack of snacks – goodie bag from a birthday celebration in school – in Zac’s bag. With them being ill, I took the snacks away from him and told him they were not allowed to have any of these until they were well again.
The four-year-old went into complete meltdown mode. The screaming and crying went on and on, and as I hugged him to me, my mind started detaching from the scene in front of me.
If patience was a cliff, I thought, then I was just one tiptoe away from throwing myself off the edge.
But I couldn’t. Not with two small children hanging trustingly on to me and the security and love I offer. I had to rein myself in.
And so I held the screaming child in my arms and talked to him. Explained again and again why he couldn’t have the snacks. Told him I understood why he was sad and disappointed. But the screaming didn’t stop. And finally, I told him I would leave him to let it all out while I went for a shower, and he could talk to me when he was ready.
I carried him to his room and went out to settle the other little. By the time I went back to the room, Aidan was calm and reading his books.
Could we go and have a shower? I asked. He nodded. I picked him up, hugged him close and went to the bathroom. As we bathed, I explained to him again why I wasn’t letting him have the snacks. His eyes welled with tears, and he was on the verge of starting his meltdown again, and I found myself wanting to let go and dive down that cliff again.
Once again, I stopped. I simply couldn’t.
So I talked. I talked and I talked and he listened. I told him that mummy was tired because papa was away. I told him that I knew he really wanted to eat the biscuits and the sweets but he couldn’t because he was ill. I told him that it was the only way to get well. I told him that it made mummy sad to hear him cough. I told him that I understood his frustration but I had to get him well again.
And he calmed down again.
I put the boys to bed, hugging them close as I did. I breathed in their scents, and kissed their cheeks again and again.
Maybe I am writing this to talk about the importance of empathy, blah blah blah. Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel. Or what I should feel. Thankful? Certainly.
Maybe what I really want to tell you, and myself, is that there will be times so, so, so bad that you feel you cannot breathe. That you will feel so stretched in all directions that you cannot think. That the exhaustion will weigh down on your shoulders heavily. That thinking about all the work that is still undone will cause your heart to palpitate. That the need your children have for you can be so overwhelming at times.
It’s so hard.
But you have the strength and the will. You have the mental power to push past this hurdle. You will conquer and the bad times will pass.
You just have to believe.
I just have to believe.