Thursday, 27 April 2017

The littlest turned ONE

The littlest in our family turned ONE!

A look back on blog, I know there is barely any chronicle on Juboy. Not that he is portioned less love, or that his milestones are insignificant, just that, my hands are full!

Milestones are memorable and worth celebrating over, but after having three, it becomes a swift growing phase. We stop chasing milestones, because we know they will eventually come to past. A healthy and happy little one is all we ask for.

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Much fun with the kids in making fruit birthday 'cake'

Juboy is slightly underweight, I stopped breastfeeding when his weight was stagnant between his 6th and 7th month. I felt like I was dying of guilt when advised to switch to formula to up his calories intake. Though drinking and eating well, he didn't seem to get any much chubby since. I self comforted that it's probably Daddy's genes he took after.

This boy is the most fortunate of three. I took him, and is still taking him into the hands of my full time care. While I was out working before older Js turned one. So yes, there is a vast difference in terms of sanity. When you are out of home working, you get that break and breather from home and kids, but a stay home Mum is stuck to her job duties regardless.

Being a full time Mum to a baby is a whole load of chaos physically and mentally, and in my role, with greater time and tasks distribution among the three.

I've to say it has been a tough year juggling three. I had the baby almost everywhere I went with older Js, but I'm glad it did not deter us from venturing places.

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New Mothers need more of that love and encouragement. We get the harshest treatment of incessant crying, most disgusted poop, worst regurgitation and endless mind games to a bub who can barely sign or verbalize. Some days, it takes a toil on us. 
We cry with the baby too.

We cook on some days with a leech to our legs or arms, but still, we need to cook. There are older kids to feed. 
The dinner schedule is often delayed.

We try to catch up on our meals, but largely depends on the baby's schedule. Most times, we skip or if not, eat with a baby in our arms.
Meal time gets quicker.

We slot in time for catch up with friends who do not birth around the same time as us, we ended up running in and out the restaurant with an impatient baby. Gracious friends we need!
We can't do quality catch up. 

We upkeep the house in midst of a sticky baby, and some days we just can't get any chores done. 
The house is in a mess. 

We plan our toilet visits, or if not, we bring a little companion along. There's no hideout even if it means toilet break.  
We have a constant toilet companion.

You can tell, there's no time for hobbies. Only time we have is when the baby is sleeping, with hopefully an easy and sound bedtime.  
We sacrifice a big part on time and sleep.

We are often in the mad rush of packing and bringing everyone out to be on time for appointments.
We battle with punctuality. 

We don't know if the guilt is skewed towards the older kids or the youngest baby, but they have all given up certain needs and wants during varying situations. 
We struggle in the game of guilt.

We forgot or rather, we can't find time to care for ourselves. It's all about baby first, then Mama 
We struggle to love ourselves.  
The list goes on without an end. If you know of a new Mum, send her some love!!! It's not easy tying through the crying days of a baby. Though I felt I could cope better after gloriously raising 2 independent ones, I won't lie that there are bleak days for me. 

The good news, seasoned Mothers will say is, it will all be over in a flash! A year flew over this quick for me. There's so much of a mixed feeling within. A part of me feeling emotional that I have not savour enough of that babyhood and adorable moments, and a part of me is looking forward to witness him acquire independence. 

Raising a baby is interestingly contradicting. 

Hang in there, Mummies of new babies! Growing takes time and time seems like the only recovery for us. The long, tired and hectic days will be over, the crying will get lesser, feeding time gets stretched, the baby bag gets lighter and the routine gets better. It will all be over before we welcome a new set of change. For the better.

There's always light at the end of a tunnel.

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Stay smiley, always!

To my third born who is ONE, "Happy Birthday! Thank you for completing the family and sprinkling our lives with more laughter! We love you and may you continue to grow in good health and wisdom!" 

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Empowering the Daughter

Earlier this month, the daughter turned gracefully eight. Being the eldest, she is the constant reminder of my celebration in Motherhood years. The journey that once embarked, never seems to end. The journey that requires deep commitment and willingness to keep going even during tough circumstances. The journey with thrown in the towel umpteen times, but still got back to serve. All these in the name of LOVE.

I am Thankful for my kids, the gifts that were bestowed to me, regardless of how and what they were. I don't really understand how the gender of my children were arranged by God, but I am grateful that I am gifted a daughter. Where we can braid with each other's hair and squeal over princesses together.

Most Thankful that she is a simple girl with no complicated requests. I asked what she would like to do on her birthday, she said a playdate with her favourite friends! That wasn't difficult at all, I thought. We did park with her friends in the morning and dinner with more favourite friends in the evening. These got her really contented.

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I gifted a 12 points note to our son, Jare, and to play fair, here are my words gifted to the daughter, to empower her:

1. You are beautiful! Always. Beautiful like we often define is, on the inside and outside. 

2. White lies and over flattery words are not my forte. I believe there's always truth in love! You have to believe in Mama.

3. Between Envy and Jealously. Always choose to envy. With envy there is togetherness, joy and celebration. Jealously often leads to dire consequences.

4. It's alright to fail. It matters how we learn from it and persevere on getting it right. 

5. Always deal people with Sincerity. It melts anyone's heart. 

6. We accept and love you for who you are. We may not agree with your temperament at difficult moments, but we accept the fact that you have a mind of her own. We give space and build respect.

7. Humility. Often, most often, there is a trend of over bragging girls. Sometimes, it's not what we share, but how we share. Sometimes, we can choose to contain achievements within the family. Stay humble. Always. 

8. Remember the animations we watched on Nemo and Dory? They are perfect examples of forgiveness and forgetfulness when it comes to hurt relationships. It helps us move on.

9. There will always be some others who will choose to be jealous or say mean things at us. We can't choose their acts, but we can control our response. Do what feels right to the conscience.

10. Between courage and fear, always choose courage. Speaking up and doing the right thing often involve a mountain of debate between fear and courage. While it may not be easy choosing the latter, it helps in taking the first step out of that comfort zone.

11. No matter how strain or upset our Mother and daughter relationship can be on some days, we will always commit to bridge and smooth whatever frictions we had. Only if we have an open and close relationship, we can have access to the inner thoughts of our hearts and minds.

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12. Choose right friends. Friends that encourages and appreciates you for who you are! Nice to always have 1 or 2 confidantes than a whole lot of them. Better to have a quality of wonderful friends than a quantity of them. Be a valuable friend too!

Simplicity and kindness sums you up. May you continue to grow in love, wisdom and gratitude. Happy 8th birthday, Darling!

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What are your ways of empowering a daughter?

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Poultry Tales by itheatre [GIVEAWAY]

Weave in a couple of domestic fowls to make a story, what do you get? 
Poultry Tales! 

From 27 April to 14 May, we can meet three famous feathered friends, the stars of three classic tales:
  • The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs and her greedy owner
  • The Little Red Hen with bread to bake, but lazy friends; and
  • Chicken-Licken with that scary acorn!

This talkative trio of feathered friends will sing, dance, show and tell you their tales. Don’t be surprised if they share some valuable wisdom and backstage secrets on the way.

This brand new, interactive and fun musical production is presented in quite an unusual way, as we look at the world of the Theatre Stage from the inside out. The wild and wacky characters and well-known folk tales are presented in fun ways that help us to understand both the themes and morals, along the way they may also reveal valuable secrets of how a Musical is made!

It will be one interesting story line with valuable lessons for learn!

This musical is recommended for every young and old audience of 3 years old and above. It will be engaging with specially designed excitement, humour and learning points! 

Musical play is written and directed by Brian Seward. Music by Bang Wenfu.

Poultry Tales
Date: 29 Apr to 14 May 2017
Timing: 10.30am and 2pm
Venue: Drama Centre Theatre
100 Victoria Street
National Library Building
Singapore 188064

We have 2 family sets of tickets (4 tickets each) for giveaway to 2 lucky families. The winning tickets show will be on 30 April (Sunday), 10.30am. To take part, all you had need to do is: 

Facebook Giveaway (1 winner)
1. Like Mum's calling on Facebook
2. Like itheatre on Facebook
3. Like this Facebook post
4. Tag 3 or more friends in the comment section, whom you think will be keen on this giveaway.

Instagram Giveaway (1 winner)
1. Follow @mumscalling on Instagram
2. Follow @itheatresg on Instagram
3. Like the giveaway photo
3. Tag 3 or more friends in the comment section, whom you think will be keen in this giveaway. All tags in a single comment please.

You don't have to, but sharing is caring! And yes, you may try your luck with both handlers. Giveaway closes on 07 Apr 2017, 2359hrs. Best of luck!

This giveaway has closed. Congrats Matilda L (Facebook) and Jill Mo-Ler (Instagram).

Terms and Conditions:

  • Winners will be picked by
  • Winners will be announced on Facebook and this blog post
  • Winners will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn
  • Date and Time of show is firm
  • All incomplete entries will be disqualified. 
  • All entries will be verified before the winners are announced 
  • To be fair to our sponsors, social media accounts set up purely to take part in contests will be deemed ineligible to win.
  • Giveaway is no way sponsored, endorsed, administered or associated with Facebook

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

10 reasons why we allow screen time

The man and I are big users of our handheld phones, anyone else is. Largely because we work with it! Emails, messages, social media, apps, directory, photo editing etc. falls conveniently into one common device today. I'm wowed and in awed of how fast we have progress, and how human's lives get smarter each day.

In short, I am spurred to spill my thoughts on this article I read (10 reasons why handheld devices should be banned for children under 12). While we are always taught to discern the writing of an article, this doesn't quite make sense to me. In sum, the writer is all against children below 12 using handheld devices.

Why am I concern? Because my older kids, 6 and 8 are allowed on my handheld devices! The key point is, limited screen time. While some parents are TOTALLY against it, I give my take on why we do have screen time on our laptop and devices. CONTROLLED.

1. Digital news. News is now presented in digital technology. We do not subscribe to the physical copy of newspaper anymore. We moved to getting the digital copy and read it off the tablet or laptop. I show the kids relevant and interesting articles from whatever device I'm using.

2. Apps. We have apps that read stories, create fun photos/videos, directories, dictionaries and many others. Choosing a valuable app is yet another story. Games, yes, we have. And our kids are allowed to game with us, with controlled usage. I have to mention, playing certain games are actually good for that reaction time and finger motor skill. I don't think we are the only family who plays Pokemon with our kids.

3. e-learning. Having the daughter hopped into primary school last year, my mind grew even more open with her handling our laptop and tablet. There are IT lessons in school that teaches much on IT and internet safety, as well as homework that requires the use of software and online research.

4. We teach them to research using online search engines. We've come to a point where Dad and Mum are beyond their convenient encyclopedia. And Yes, we do have a concern of Internet safety. We rely much on Kiddle and the purchase of Norton family to keep them safe. The latter shows us what the kids did online if we happen to not be around. Though I highly avoid leaving them alone with the devices.

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5. I often show articles of what I, as a Mum is unable to convince, but the Internet is. Which means, it's another opportunity for us to learn how to discern fake and genuine news, facts and opinions, sources and credibility. Along the years, kids may trust us, family for news, but they will still prefer scooping it from social media or other online sources. Teach them to discern.

6. Learning. Js very much love to draw. We use videos for tutorials. The World of YouTube videos is endless! From tutorials to a bunch of trashy stuff, you can find them all. A better platform for them to surf and give parents that peace of mind would be YouTube Kids. Launched in Singapore last November, this apps throws out only family friendly videos and is almost safe for child's usage.

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You have no idea how frustrated I have been with YouTube and their load of crappy suggested videos one after another. Explicit, inappropriate and trashy I would say. Glad YouTube kids was introduced!

7. All genre of content and media can be played on any device, TV, phone, tablet or laptop. Sometimes, it seems more acceptable for kids to be on the TV or laptop, but not handheld devices. Yes, in that sense the former has larger fonts and images, which are less taxing on those eyes. If not, it boils down to how each device is used and what content they are ingesting.

8. I am very assured that screening will never replace my role of active parenting. We would always choose to play and communicate the human way.

9. Demonstrate good habits as adults. There are various ways to adopt, we avoid using and walking with our handheld devices, we try to remember putting screens away when communicating, we prioritise tasks and we don't get addicted to gaming.

10. Reality. The thing about parenting today with digital technology is that we don't have our own experience to go back to and look at. We have progressed. Rapidly.

The critical question is not how to totally ban or avoid, but what to screen, how much to screen and how to interpret media. For as long as we can guide them. 

Internet is a Big World out there, media and online safety begins at home and in school. Always:
1. Be present to know what they are doing
2. Limit time

The only time we are unable to limit now, is e-learning from school. School's expectations, no? Sometimes, the assignments can be so time consuming that all you need to remember is resting that mind and eyes.

When do you start?
Introduction of devices is a gradual process. Some may start real young (recommended age is above 2 years old) and some would delay it as much as possible. I think if kids are already making good sense of the surroundings, getting inquisitive and reading almost well, why not use devices and technology to explore the bigger world?

We know it's highly damaging when a child games all day long, or watch a meaningless cartoon or drama for hours. Develop good screening habits from young. Let them know that there is a limit to it, and they can't abscond with it.

While there are meaningless videos, there are also educational videos like documentaries.

Screen time can be of quality and should be limited. The full liberty should only be given when a child knows exactly how to priortise work, rest and play appropriately. And importantly, deal with Internet and social media safely.

Common sense screening is for everyone. It has not made my children abandon reading physical books, throw extreme tantrums for taking the screen away, feel lost without an alternative to screening or result in lesser family bonding moments.

It helps widen their perspectives and not suppress their curiosity.

Open mindedness
While we do not use these devices to pacify or induce our kids to stay seated or finish their meals, I am not adverse with parents doing so. We do not fight the same battle. I use it desperately on shopping trips during vacations, when the kids get restless. When Mum shops, anything that works, is in.

Perhaps, the next time we see a family with their kid's eyes fixed on that screen, we should be slow to react, clam to process and avoid judgement. It does not instantly interpret as a less loving parent. There's always a story to every behind the scene.

The world is evolving, quoting Jazz, "Humans may extinct when robots take over!" Children of today will have to be comfortable and smart with technology of various forms. Board games may get digital, textbooks may all fall into a single device (Yay to lighter school bags!), as well as many other smart possibilities out there! It really is almost impossible to go back to the simple days of playing 5 stones or catching longkang fish. Children are our future, so is technology.

The debate never ends, but this is the digital story of our family. 

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Wonderful World of Disney 2017 [Review]

We had a dazzling and magical night with The Wonderful World of Disney on Ice! It was their opening night yesterday.

Last year (read for tips and reasons to watch), it was more skewed towards the little fans of Disney princesses. This year, with some same same and different characters, we are seeing more boys! Together with an audience of squealing and joyful kids, we travelled on an exciting adventure with various characters.

The opening drew its curtains for Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy! Who were the show hosts, and brought us through the stories of that night.

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First off, we roared with Simba and his pals on the Prideland, swaying and singing to the songs, Hakuna Matata and Can you feel the love tonight. Oh yes! we felt the love that night.

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Then, we cringed on the sight of apples when we met Snow white and her seven dwarf friends. Gave only a sigh of relieved upon a kissed that awakened her from her spell.

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More than just one princess, we twirled along and met princess Jasmine from Aladdin. Allowed our imagination to soar as we saw how an old lamp can be a treasure in disguise. If we had that lamp, we will wish for food! So says our boy. And nah, I don't starve him. I was just unwilling to get him popcorn and cotton candy.

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We made a splash and went underwater to catch Ariel and Sebastian from Little Mermaid dancing up a storm. For that moment, we thought we had our hands replaced with fins as we clapped along.

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We let our hair down together with Rapunzel from Tangled, sang along to I see the light as we admired floating lanterns gleaming over our heads. Somehow, frying pan from my kitchen doesn't feel the same to me anymore.

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And Wow! We had a quick preview of all the princesses before the interval. Cinderella, Belle and Mulan and Tiana (as many as I can remember) joined in!

After an interval, we moved on to grab our hats, stomped our boots as Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie sang and danced to their Yeee-Hah! The kids were swept off their seats to join in a great time of singing and dancing that was led by the stars.

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The captivation didn't end, we continued to glide, dived deep into the ocean and went swimming to help find Dory's long lost parents. It was such a bliss swimming with our favourite fishes, Dory and Nemo. All we did was to just keep swimming!

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Finale is often referred as the best for the last. It has to be Elsa and Anna from Frozen! Witnessed once again their sisterly love, and how it thawed a frozen heart which melted us all!

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So these were the dreams we followed in sequence. Compared to last year, there is the inclusion of Lion King, Toy story and Finding Dory characters. And of course, some other princesses have to make way for them. It seems like a better lined up this way, just so non-princess fans have a big share of joy too.

It was a dreamy and beautiful night for us. We sang to the tunes of our favourite songs and watched with amazement how the performers brought so much life to the characters. Did you know each cast member wears 4 to 5 costumes for the show?!! That's so much of a changing parade behind the curtains.

Every piece of costume is classy and every move with it sparkles!

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Every scene, story, and character resonated so much with the kids and us, the parents. Bringing these on ice looked like a complex process with much coordination. From costumes to choreography, it's more than just ordinary to bring this on stage with skates. Figure skating, we call it, brings on a whole new definition.

While kids may look much on the costumes and the brought out character, they probably do not know the perseverance and hard work behind each cast. It isn't like in a musical where walking on feet is much easier than on skates. So yes, it deserves awesome applause, and even more generous applause when we see performers fall and recover again. Not all the time, but it does happens. 

Just last month, Jare and I had the privilege to get on an Ice skating Materclass with their casts (who played Simba, Elsa, Jasmine and Aladdin), picked up some skating tips and were extremely wow-ed by their swift and precised stunts. Most of the skaters picked up skating before the age of 12. There's hope in every child!

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That's Michael Helgren, who played Simba, imparting some tiny bit of skating skill to Jare. Michael picked up skating when he was 12.

So yeap, there is a high possibility that your kids will ask for a trip to the skating rink after the show. It made skating looked all simple and effortless. Oh well, wait till we put on those skates on the rink and we will go, "How did these people do it?!!" 

It's better off by sitting back, relax and enjoy the show.

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We are so Thankful to be at the show. My favourite character of the night will have to be Elsa. I must be insane to not get sick of Let it go. Most memorably, the role was very well played - graceful, elegant and polished! 

The Wonderful World of Disney on Ice will skate on from now till 19 March 2017, for 10 performances. Get your tickets soon, if you have not. It is a World Class show that is bound to create family memories of a lifetime!

While exiting the stadium, I overheard some adult conversations that went, "I enjoyed it more than my kids!" I can testify that.

Tickets can be purchased here

Child below 2 enters free. Just remember to bring baby's milk. Juboy enjoyed the first part of the show very well, after which he decided to fuss a little on us. 

Nonetheless, we survived throughout, with milk.

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Other tips:
  • No re-entry once you entered
  • Show starts On Time
  • Show is about 2 hours with 15 minutes interval
  • Front seats are definitely the better seats. If budget fits.
Disney On Ice, Social Media:
Twitter: @DisneyOnIce
Instagram: @DisneyOnIce

Have a magical time!

Disclaimer: We were given a set of tickets of the purpose of this review. All photos and opinions are solely ours.