Home Sweet Home


It is the crazy relaxing weekend, which means family night for us! OK, now with a little imagination, let’s just say that one tiny master bedroom is crammed with Cheeky Koko sleeping on the recliner, Daddy Joe and Baby B on the spare mattress spread over the floor and usually, the queen mother and her princess sharing the king-sized bed for the night. It’s a family tradition that we have always had even though the kids have their own bedrooms. It saves the electricity bill, and we get to chit chat a little into the night sharing with each other our ups and downs over the past week, and most importantly, because we get to pray as a family just before the sleepy fairy ushers us into the snooze land which is really special for us.

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As we shushed the kids to quiet them down after their noisy sibling chatters and kiddie jokes, Baby B suddenly asked to join his big brother at the recliner sofa and as he climbed next to Cheeky Koko asking his brother to cuddle him to sleep, he also asked Cheeky Koko to sing some bedtime songs for him. Being the ever unconventional and creative brother that he is, Cheeky Koko sang the Old Macdonald Had A Farm song with a twist – good ol’ cow’s “moo moo here and moo moo there” was replaced with a cold-blooded iguana as the farm animal which “lick lick here and lick lick there”, and as Pumpkin Mei-Mei laughed uncontrollably over her brother’s creativity, Daddy Joe who was half asleep already remarked sternly, “it’s bad singing, Koko, so bad… I can’t even sleep anymore. And any of you boys and girl who continues to talk will just have to go back to your own bedroom!” and the room fell silence at once, not before Pumpkin Mei-Mei laughed even more hysterically over the bad choice of her brother’s bedtime lullaby.

Good night, OH!” and so, with a gentle tug, Baby B hugged his new soft toy OH to sleep and ever so quickly, like an angel. And I am quite certain, somehow his dream tonight will be filled with an adventure with OH from the latest DreamWorks Animation movie, HOME, which we were simply privileged to catch just before the school holiday is over, all thanks to Paradigm Mall at Kelana Jaya, as part of its on-going commitment to contribute positively to the community it operates in.home2

As a busy working mother, attending events are a rare luxury when normally I’d rather be spending my weekend with the three happiest little people of mine. But we love movies! This movie is all about finding one’s home and perhaps, even a sense of belonging and optimism even when things do not pen out the way we want in life which makes it a great story for family with kids of any age, and even for the 15 underprivileged children from the Nalini Rumah Kasih Home in Kelana Jaya who were invited to attend the preview screening of the blockbuster at GSC.home5

I have invited my two boys to watch this movie together (since I have just had a mother-daughter date with Pumpkin Mei-Mei just over a week ago for the Cinderella movie). Along with the children, we were treated to a deliciously crunchy yet moist and tender fish and chips brunch from Fish & Co. Paradigm Mall before we were ushered to an instant photo booth that was decorated with adorable characters from HOME. As an icing to the cake, Baby B was overjoyed to have received the very-lovable, misfit alien OH character soft toy from the organiser as a souvenir too.home3

As the movie title suggests, it is all about discovering that home is where the heart is, and where one finds love and acceptance – which drives home the point that Paradigm Mall endeavours to be the mall where everyone feels at home and welcome and that the mall’s continual commitment towards the society at large extends beyond its physical building into the heart of its surrounding community.

Yummy brunch courtesy of Fish & Co.!

Yummy brunch courtesy of Fish & Co.!

If you are an animation fan, HOME, starring big name stars like Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons will be released in Malaysia on 26th March 2015. It is about the adventure of a girl named Tip and her new-found alien friend OH as they embark on a journey to discover the meaning of home.

As everyone finally snoozed away in their respective dreamland, I looked around our tiny room squeezed every corner with one of the five of us either on the floor, on the bed or on the recliner sofa, I thank God for this tiny home of mine, where love is shared everyday many times over, especially when a classic nursery rhyme is sung imperfectly and peppered with an iguana from a brother for his toddler brother.

That’s HOME, in every sense of the word for me.

The Cheerleader Mom


One of my blog followers who is also a friend asked me out of the blue, why I haven’t been blogging for almost 2 months. I looked at her and said, “I have been crazy busy, babe!”

“Oh like you haven’t been!” she teased.

“No, serious, I am standing right smack in the middle of the circle of life…”

“Like Elton John’s song huh?”

“Yes, like I am in a jungle. I have a busy job, a high-schooler, a primary kid and a pre-schooler. Imagine the number of school activities, homework coaching, ferrying to-and-from and parent-teacher interactions that I am trying to juggle now together with Daddy Joe. May be Sir Elton John was dedicating this song to ME.”

“Really? Cheeky Koko is in high school now and Baby B… already in a kindergarten?”

“Yes I know, right? Time flies in supersonic speed! I don’t know what I fed my kids but somehow they have started growing up! Cheeky Koko is now 13, have a wee bit of facial hair and much as I am quite tall, he is growing as tall as me NOW and it’s suddenly about me scolding him looking upward which is just AWKWARD!”

Uh-huh. Sounds like you are not ready to deal with parenting a teenager.”

“Absolutely NOT. He was just a baby yesterday! Oh and few months back when I heard the first crack in his voice out of a sudden, and I mean, like overnight… I thought alien invaded my house!”

As my friend laughed at my dramatic but completely honest sharing, my mind travelled to the tensed moments I felt just over a few months ago when Cheeky Koko was preparing for his UPSR exam, which is the compulsory Standard Six exam all 12 years olds in Malaysian government / public schools must sit for that will determine the kind of high school they get to go to for the following year.medium_2974216341

Despite having told myself countless times that my decision to send him to a Chinese primary school was purely to instil the good old moral and piety-driven family value in him and not at all about the stringent learning process and the pursuit of excellent academic performance that which underlie our education system, I turned into a tensed mom doing just what I didn’t want to do in the few months leading to the exam.

That tension of realising he would not be able to do as well as I thought as I observed that more and more, he was not slogging at his study desk as I have expected him to was met with angry words from me, and his streak of rebellion of turning to tablet games whenever he was stressed with his studies created a red sea that divided my boy and me.

In fact, I lost count on the number of nights on ends when silent frustrations made both of us walked back into our own bedrooms without the usual mommy-son embrace and goodnight exchanges. If I did press for it, I would get a cold goodnight, ma in a Zombie dead tone from my first child who is usually the funny bones in the house.

I don’t think I ever grew up and grow old wanting to be competitive in my spirit. I always feel that every child has his or her own potential and gifting that would one day be a calling for greater things in his chosen path but somehow in those moments I lost sight over how small this exam was as compared to the many tests we will eventually face in life.

It was more like I was frustrated with my own inability to instil in him to be an independent learner. I was frustrated that he wasn’t studying the whole day when he was facing such a major exam. I lost sight over the simplicity of what it means to be a child, that being carefree was his God-given entitlement.

It didn’t take long for his day care teacher, an elderly lady in her 60s, to notice that Cheeky Koko was losing his smile and confidence over his studies and advised me to find a way to walk to him, fast. Finding the right words to mend our relationship was tough when I couldn’t even think straight how I should encourage him when I could not find the peace within myself to be the encouraging mom he needed the most at that time. I sat down that night and wrote him a 5-page letter that reaffirmed my love and confidence over him and explained to him that I wasn’t seeking straight As from him. I was merely trying to find my way back to being the best cheerleader mom who wanted him to believe that he could reach the sky if he gave his best in everything he does in his life.

A month later, my Cheeky Koko sat for his UPSR with a lot of cheers from us, his papa and mama. And the week that he sat for his exam? We ate pizza and cycled together because we knew he has put in his best in that one month. He scored quite a number of As in the end and some Bs. Not that it mattered anyway, because it mattered that much more that he regained his sunshine smile and joy as he now ventures into teenage-hood and settling down in his high school life.

Mothering is tough work. Don’t be surprised that I am soaking up books on parenting a teenager. After all, I am standing right smack in the circle of life where every day does feel like a jungle of crazy joy, except that I now learn to cherish and embrace it that much more.

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Photo Credit:

photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/awyatt/2974216341/”>awyatt</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Family Trip to Bangkok in December 2013


Bangkok Trip in December 2013, truly asian, truly fun.

Bangkok Trip in December 2013, truly asian, truly fun.

Some airlines are throwing promotions online and offline for parents to book a dream holiday with their kids come this school holidays. And if you need some ideas on what to do with your adorable small set, Bangkok offers the perfect setting for a fun and affordable family vacation which combines delicious Thai food (oh, Tom Yam Kung, how I love thee!) , cheap shopping, friendly people and a host of charming family attractions that will make a family vacation truly memorable.

We went to Bangkok in December 2013 (yes I should have posted this long time ago!) on Air Asia Free Seat Promotion early of the year and ended up paying RM1600 for 5 of us, which was quite a steal. Throw in a cheap hotel deal from those online sales group for our amazing hotel stay at the Royal President Bangkok Hotel for less than RM900 for 5D4N, our family vacation for five pax was all in RM2500, which was really not a bad deal at all.lion king

Roar like a lion or lioness!

Roar like a lion or lioness!

I am not kidding when I say my kids have visited just about every zoo locally in Malaysia as well as in the South East Asia. But the one that really stood out as our favourite-est favourite is the Safari Park of Bangkok. I cannot praise it enough for the sheer awesome learning opportunity for the kids to learn how animal live and behave in the natural habitat of their own. So, to satisfy the animals-lover of our little people, we headed straight to the safari on day 2 with a driver guide recommended by the hotel.

Do not mess with me, says the tiger. Yes we know, sir!

Do not mess with me, says the tiger. Yes we know, sir!

Safari World is divided into two zones: There is the open space, 500-acre Safari Park that comes with a bird park where one can drive through in their own car or in the park bus, and a Marine Park which is the traditional zoo that showcases many shows, lots of food stalls and souvenir shops.

Even as a grown up, my imaginations went wild as soon as we reached the open air Safari Park! The definitive keyword here is Herds. Whereas the other zoos in this part of Asia house animals that look like they are undernourished, bored and lonely because they are confined to such small, sad space within their cages, Safari Park Bangkok is a very impressive eight kilometers wide land where animals wander freely in groups and herds exactly like one of the Madagascar movies!

rhinoFeast your eyes on the wilderness as you drive past tigers, lions, deer, zebras, antelopes, black bears, horses, camels, rhinos, pelicans, ostriches, cranes, storks and more, all roaming so healthily, looking handsome and well-fed and so wild in a really well-maintained free space of their own that are filled with trees and preserved naturally like a safari jungle. Wind down your windows at your own risk but I wouldn’t do that with 3 active kids in tow. 🙂 There is a separate drive-through safari area that houses the carnivores with massive metal grill gates complete with a security lookout tower as if you are entering the Jurassic Park. My three happiest little people were all oohs and aahs during the whole tour— it couldn’t get any better!

Cheeky Koko fed banana to the giraffe

Cheeky Koko fed banana to the giraffe

We also watched an animal shows at the zoo’s amphitheatre but the kids loved the spectacular dolphin show the most. At this point Baby B grew so tired (he was barely two years old) he slept through the entire show but Cheeky Koko and Pumpkin Mei-Mei were awe-struck with the whole performance.

After that we also watched a western cowboy stunt show that was a little cheesy but it did showcase the performers’ horse-riding ability and with its good old western humorous acts, was a nice way to wrap up the whole visit with a smile on the kids.

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The lion king upclose and personal right next to our car!

My personal favourite was the giraffe feeding platform where at a very low fees, the kids could buy some banana to feed these graceful giants which was a nice way to inculcate love for the animals in children. The gentle giraffes came in large herds. There must be at least more than 100 head counts there that make it such a sight to behold. Did I mention Herds?

We spent our day 3 on our own to do some retail therapy at the Platinum Fashion Mall and spent half of our day there. Because Bangkok is home to so many treasure troves of shopping malls and wholesale market, really, if you are into haggling prices in the wholesale market such as the Chatuchak Market or Night Markets, you should really travel there with an empty large luggage to lug back all the goods and satisfaction from Bangkok. Things that can be found there are largely imported from China which means you can get very good bargains for such things as home decorations, kitchen wares, kids clothing, tees, arts pieces and a gazillion of knick-knacks.

Tranquil ride down Bangkok canal called klong.

Tranquil ride down Bangkok canal called klong.

With the 3 kids, it was not feasible to walk through the many alleys of wholesale markets or the open-air stalls of the Chatuchak under the scorching hot sun to get our shopping done, so we opted for Platinum Fashion Mall instead, which is a 6-storey wholesale mall at the Pratunam area to get our shopping completed in the comfort of an enclosed, air-conditioned mall environment with the same satisfaction that came from putting our best bargaining power to full test. For less than RM300, we managed to get basic clothing such as tees, hats and short pants for Daddy Joe, trendy work tops, denim jeans for Cheeky Koko, Thai designer tops for Pumpkin Mei-Mei, jumper for Baby B, fashion belts and accessories that filled our small empty luggage to the brim. It was truly a fun experience to get some retail therapy.fruits

No trips in Bangkok is complete for the kids without a visit to their Khlong (Bangkok canals beautifully nicknamed as the Venice of the East) on a long-tail boat. So on day 4, we engaged the same driver again to bring us to where we hopped onto a small fast boat to visit this famous waterway along the Chao Phraya River.

Thai souvenirs sold at the floating market.

Thai souvenirs sold at the floating market.

The kids were thrilled to be riding the narrow but fast boats that cut through the waterway, which was quite a delightful and tranquil experience as we zipped past the many wooden local houses along the long canal only to reach a floating market at the end where there were many Thai traders crisscrossing and trading on their small boats packed with our favourite dessert — Khao Neow Ma Muang (sweet mangoes served with glutinous rice and sweet coconut milk), local arts and crafts, fruit and drinks and even roast pork rice which made the whole experience made even more enjoyable.

Sweet mango served with glutinous rice was a real treat. I must have bought 3 plates of this dessert to reverse my working mama stress. :)

Sweet mango served with glutinous rice was a real treat. I must have bought 3 plates of this dessert to reverse my working mama stress. 🙂

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Kids enjoyed the elephant ride so much!

We learned that for many villagers, the waterway is still used as a main transport mode (in the form of a water taxi) to get around. It made you appreciate the simple conveniences and joy back home where one is able to get around in your own bike, car or any of the public transportations. After that, our driver also brought us to an elephant sanctuary where they offered elephant rides for the kids at around RM30/pax for a full 30 minutes ride around a small forest. Elephants are much revered in Thailand, and it’s not hard to see why — the kind, intelligent, gentle mammal made not just Baby B but all three kids came back with a beaming smile that lasted for days on end!

Good family vacations do not have to be extravagant nor does it have to be extremely sophisticated for the average family. All in, we feel Bangkok truly has its rich, charming Asian flavour offered in an affordable package for families that seek a good bargain and enriching fun memories that last a lifetime. Happy holidays to all!

Elephant show was both entertaining and educational at the same time.

Elephant show was both entertaining and educational at the same time.

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If you love food, Bangkok is a foodie haven for delicious Thai food to savour all year round.

Our Best Days… Ever!


Last month my domestic helper who is from Indonesia went back to her hometown to celebrate Eid with her family for 30 days.

When this happens, a stay home mom would just go on life managing the family routine, kids and her home with much grace, flair and poise that make her home completely functional as it has always been.

Forget about grace and flair with her counterpart who happens to be a working mama! The operative word was PANIC at this Seven2SevenMom planet! Short of clinging on to my helper’s leg even before she stepped off my front door, I was lost. I was petrified. I thought I’d crumble. First, I thought of my work – how do I cope with washing all the 3 bathrooms and 4 bedrooms in our apartment AND iron all the kids’ school uniforms after working 10 hours at the office? Then I thought of the crazy-beyond-description school routines of my kids and their mountain-high homework piles, which meant I would be coaching homework with my kids sitting on the kitchen floor while I (try to) wash all of the pots and pans and numerous little plastic cups and utensils after dinner. Multitasking will surely take on a whole new meaning in my life!

Maid-less day: The home was in a crazy mess but baby B found room for simple joy and laughter.

Maid-less day: The home was in a crazy mess but baby B found room for simple joy and laughter.

But when I thought of how my family-work balance will be temporarily thrown off its balance and yet I could have a chance of living my childhood dream of being an all-present, all-loving stay-home mom… I was elated!
After I succeeded at applying for a one-month special work arrangement with my extremely understanding bosses to work only half day at the office and the other half day to take care of what mattered most to me – my kids, I pictured myself launching into a supermom mode for the next 30 days doing the following loving things for the family:

1) Laundry at 5am – Oh ya. I will rise early and sort out my laundry into different colours and making sure that the stubborn sweat stains of Daddy Joe and Cheeky Koko’s shirts are rid of like they are new shirts. I even bought stubborn stain removal to get this job done that I thought was super-easy! (What really happened was: Laundry at 2pm because I only got to go to bed at 1.30am the night before after I finish ironing the gazillion of school uniforms and toddler clothings! In fact I closed one eye to the stubborn sweat stains after a capful of bleach was poured over the laundry load over a few days and it just didn’t work! Curse I had over the bleach solutions because they don’t get the job done!)

All rules broke loose! Pumpkin Mei-Mei was happy to have traditional chinese delicacy tang yuen in weird colours combo as supper!

All rules broke loose! Pumpkin Mei-Mei was happy to have traditional chinese delicacy tang yuen in weird colours combo as supper!

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Bake-happy days: One of my whimsical favourite comfort food: Ji Dan Gao (Chinese Steamed Cake). I was really one fearless chef who would just bake and cook to my heart’s content.

2) Making home cooked breakfast for the family by 6am which included preparing cute bento lunch sets for the three happiest little people — oh I would prep those rice meals into cute bear shapes, served with motivational love notes to spark up their days. (What really happened was: Kids made their own cereals and milks at 6am and bought food from the school canteen instead because mama was so exhausted from housework the night before she was still snoring away at 6am! I even rationalised to myself that my kids needed calcium to grow strong bones. So, have your milk today? )
3) Make up and change into my working attires by 7am (What really happened was: It took place at 8am. Blame those mountain-high pile of laundry!)
4) Send Baby B to nursery at 8am – and I won’t even forget about packing along Baby B’s favourite snacks and child vitamin into his lunch bag that our helper often overlooked. (What really happened was: Checked. Everything was lovingly done the way I would have it done!)
5) Reach office at 9am and conduct efficient meeting with staff because work load is still the same, half day or not, I just have to continue to optimise my productivity in half the amount of time. (What really happened was: The staff queued up to update and seek opinions over everything because I only had few hours for them everyday. On the hindsight, I was happy that I was deeply missed by them. Hehe…)
6) Get off work by 1pm, drive to pick up baby B from his day care at 1.30pm. (What really happened was: There was always pesty, long-winded meetings and discussions with staff for urgent matters that spanned a little longer than expected and I got fine just about everyday for five to ten Ringgit because I was so ridiculously busy!)
7) Get Baby B to nap at 3pm so that I can free myself for the next 2 hours to prepare and cook dinner as well as get some house chores done. (What really happened was: In between singing the Barney’s I love you song to get Baby B to nap, often we cuddled up and slept together!)
8) 5pm is my allocated one-hour clean up time when I would set a small amount of time, like 15 mins each room to clean up the apartment, room by room. (What really happened was: I was chopping the veg, some poultry meat and soup ingredients away like a mad woman because the older kids were coming home in an hour and I had not even washed the anchovies and potatoes yet!)

The kids were on dysfunctional mode. Hey mom, someone is using those tang yuen's flour mixture to press into his toy car! OMG.... Whatever!

The kids were on dysfunctional mode on some days. Like here, someone was using those tang yuen’s flour mixture to press into his toy car! OMG…. Whatever!

9) Cheeky Koko and Pumpkin Mei Mei, my two older little people would come home from tuition day care at 6pm into the warm embrace of their mama and the entire apartment would smell like a rockin’ celebrity chef has just made the best gourmet meals cooked with the freshest ingredients in the whole world. (What really happened was: The kids came home hungry, waited for another hour before mom is finally ready and before that, they still had to help to clear the dining table from the mess they left over from their school projects last night!)
10) 8pm is homework time – normally this is the hour when everyone would either complete their homework or have some quiet reading time. (What really happened was: Older kids helped clean up the house, and mom is still cleaning up the kitchen and everyone get a little dizzy over the mom barking restrictions about the number of clothing one wears in a day (just so that she would not have to wash two loads of laundry per day). Her idea is the kids should just wear the school uniforms as home lounge wear and pyjamas, one set per day, that’s ALL!)

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Clean, cook, vacuum and laundry were synonymous with my existence.

Time flies and our helper finally flew back into our home which survived a super busy working mom commando in chief’s lacklustre management for 30 days. Did any good come out of it? Yes, plenty.

In that one month we have had many good times just enjoying each other’s presence as a functional family, albeit a home that always had unfinished chores and a mom who always seemed to be slaving away at the laundry and at the kitchen. It was great to see that for once, I was licensed and given the blessing to prioritise my children and my family, instead of work.

Yes I was stressed still juggling half-day work at the office and nothing went according to The Mom’s plan. But I love every moment of it and I mourned for the loss of this precious time when it finally ended. In that one month, I have also cooked and baked like there was no tomorrow – it was how I envision a family should smell like. I could spend an hour watching Barney sing and dance with Baby B and yet not feel hurried to rush because I have to go for a business conference. I was not pursuing anything related to career. I was simply a mom spending time with my kids and doing the whole Barney dance with them and loving it every moment even if I had danced it the fifth time that afternoon.

I am back to work now but in my heart, there’s always the tender spot that cherishes those Barney days that I simply would not trade with anything else.

The Cold Never Bothered Them Anyway


“Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway”

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I sang along when my ray of sunshine Pumpkin Mei-Mei belted out her favourite song from “Frozen” the movie as we drove to our favourite park. The kids hopped out of the car and it turned into a scenario of a papa and mama geese chasing their wild goslings that were headed towards their favourite destination of choice — the playground. Never mind that the kids were running so fast that we almost couldn’t catch up with all of them, except for Baby B who got so excited over all the running around that we managed to scoop him up in a jiff, the rest of the park goers pretty much smiled at our family’s silly antics on the jogging track.

Beaming with pride as he watched Cheeky Koko and Pumpkin Mei-Mei outran the other kids on the jogging tracks, Daddy Joe said, “I think my kids inherited my sporty genes. Look at their calves muscles, their strides, forms, the pace they pick up and the way they run, those are the stuff good runners are made of!”

“Goodness, they are just running the way other kids run, all over the place, laughing and having fun, darling! If you think they are athletes in the making, I would be a celebrity chef just by knowing how to add a fried egg over my instant noodles!” I said with a smile and continued, “But yes sure, you can get credit for whatever little sporty genes and DNA that are surely from your side of the family because I have never outrun anyone in my lifetime.”

Cold bugs be gone, let my kids grow strong and healthy!

Cold bugs be gone, let my kids grow strong and healthy!

“I am taking Cheeky Koko to his first 30km road biking next Wednesday anyway,” he said as we both watched baby B climbed up the stairs towards the slide.

“What? Are you crazy? He is only 12! Not that I think he is still a child therefore he cannot cycle for 30km but he hasn’t even done any shorter distance cycling before. May be you can start him off at 10km or 15km first?” Like a mother hen, I am over-protective, as always.

“Hey, he is good, darling, really, we went cycling around the block the other day and he was going very steady with his speed and followed through my instruction on staying close to the curbs,” Daddy Joe assured me, “and Pumpkin Mei-Mei could pick up badminton skills in just one session. These are confirmed my kids, man.”

“Right, your genes no doubt but I breastfed them for two years each, so that their good genes especially the sporty ones could be unleashed to run like a pro, hahaha…” the woman had to have her final say and the man laughed, because we always got into silly debates over whose legacy it was between the two of us that the kids inherited. The good legacy, that is.

“Darling, they are 12 and 10 now and even with all the wonderful benefit from the nursing years, they are to continue with good nutrition and suitable exercises to fully unleash my sporty genes.”

“Right. Your genes again!” I laughed, “But I am the one who buys them supplements!” The man was speechless. I really should have studied law. bike

Both Daddy Joe and I believe in extra nutritional boost for children from supplement because kids tend to pick up lots of germs and viruses from school and nursery. In a year they get some sick bugs here and there which are fairly nasty. Prevention is better than cure so every morning we repeat like a broken record to remind them to take their glass of juices that we blend right out of our kitchen’s juice machine before their breakfast. After a quick breakfast, we also give them a treat of Seven Seas Kids Fruit Gummies that they won’t resist at all, due to its yummy strawberry, blackcurrant and orange flavours, to start off their day in school.

Beyond its chewiness and yummy taste, the gummies boost Vitamin A, B6 and C for a healthy growth and development of children and is free from artificial colourings, flavourings, sweeteners and preservatives.

While I believe in getting all of our vital nutrition from good eating habit of a balanced diet, on school days 50% of my kids’ diets come from their own choice of food when they are in school and at their day care and I doubt there are much nutrition they get from the limited food choice they have from the canteen. The fact that the kids go to public schools and have contact with at least a thousand kids every day and often come back with sick bugs from time to is enough to send a working mom into a hyper-panic zone.

Seven Seas Kids Fruit Gummies come in 3 fruitilicious flavours

Seven Seas Kids Fruit Gummies come in 3 fruitilicious flavours

There are also only so much whole food one can eat and digest in order to get certain essential vitamins that hopefully do not get destroyed from food preparation and overheating from cooking.

According to Seven Seas Malaysia, a few vitamins are vital for healthy development of a child, such as:

Vitamin A — helps to maintain healthy eyes and skin. As an antioxidant, it also helps prevent damage to the cells, making it good for the overall well-being of the body.

Vitamin B6 — is good for the brain and is essential for blood to carry oxygen to the cells, tissues and organs of the body. It also helps to keep the immune system and nervous system healthy.

Vitamin C — is known to enhance the immune system to minimize incidences of children falling sick.  At the same time, it is also vital for ensuring health bones, teeth and gums in the growing years. 

Just then, Cheeky Koko climbed onto the top of the slide and jumped off it like a Tarzan.

“Haha, like a monkey, Hun, absolutely your genes!” I laughed it off.

Seven Seas Kids Fruit Gummies is available at all leading pharmacies nationwide. To make things even sweeter, Seven Seas Kids Fruit Gummies is also running a nationwide ‘Colour & Win’ contest now until 31st July 2014. You could let your child participate by colouring the Seven Seas Gummy Fruity Heroes on the contest form and stand a chance to win a Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Lite/Kids or other goodies.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.sevenseas.com.my/index.php/promotion/

 

 

22 Dinosaurs Roaming in Kuala Lumpur


Apart from being a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, a worker, a sister and a positive thinker, I recently realize that I too, am the official Social Director of our happiest little family. But of course, I suck at it compared to my friend Cheng.

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I got to know Cheng through work few years back. She was born a Malaysian but migrated to New York since she was nine and is now as American as the American Pie. Being a working mom of four married to an ABC, she is the epitome of a modern day mom who has it all – she is the happy breadwinner who excels at work (some years back due to the recession her husband lost his job and they figured since she had a more promising job, and since both also wanted one of them to care for the kids and be there for them through their growing up years that it was a better arrangement that her husband became the stay-home dad instead) and at home life.

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Every weekend her family would be doing something fun together, such as a cook-out with grandparents, canning their own jams, cycling together, visiting a farmer’s market, taking a metro to visit arts museum, picnic at the park, attending outdoor concerts or just taking a stroll to some interesting places which made me wonder why I could not find just as many interesting places around KL that can so much as stimulating my happiest little people to want to know about life and things beyond their boring textbooks.
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Every school holidays, I scour through google to find places of interest locally that can make our interactions and time spent together a fulfilling and memorable journey.

Never quite a Jurassic Park fan myself (uh-uh. Ain’t messing with those ferocious carnivores or prehistoric reptiles who consistently thought humans were food in the movie!), I was initially a little hesitant to step into the Malaysian Jurassic Park (yep, you heard me right and do enter at your own risk because you are dealing with not just one but 22 dinosaurs of all shapes, sizes and appetites too!)

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Unlike the world’s favourite dinosaur Barney, these dinosaurs do not look like they need a hug t all but thankfully they do not bite either! They are life-like, can really roar and even move if you wake them accidentally but they are pretty much tamed and now viewable at the Dinoscovery by Dinosaurs Live! which is Asia Pacific’s first-of-its-kind interactive, edutainment dinosaurs exhibition located at Discoveria, Avenue K.

Now, to visit these dinosaurs, one is expected to dress in style like a Paleontologist (Bermudas, safari hats and matching trail boots are not necessary, of course), which is easy considering that each visitor is first decked in tan-coloured Dinoscovery vest before the trail to track down the dinosaurs begins.
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After a fun and short briefing, visitors are to complete the Dino Quest in search of specific dinosaur specimens amidst the roars of many larger-than-life animatronic dinosaurs in their habitats which make it a rather unique and fun learning experience for children of all ages.

There were more than a dozen family-friendly activities such as Climbing an artificial rock wall to glimpse a Pteranodon’s eggs, Race A Theropod where visitors are given the chance to challenge the swift-footed Gallimimus in a 10-metre interactive race (losers won’t be eaten I guarantee, seeing that Cheeky Koko has had to race it twice to win the race but didn’t get swallowed alive when he lost the race to the Gallimimus at first), the Dinoshooting Range where visitors can partake in a mission to save sleeping Diplodocuses from pesky mozzies with paintball rifles and also watch a 3D Dinosaurs Movie.

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Pumpkin Mei-Mei and Baby B loved the final game the best which was all about excavating for fossils in a sand pit. They also enjoyed learning about the different kind of food dinosaurs ate. It was a good thing that all of the facts about these prehistoric animals were presented in fun, humorous and interactive language and manners that the kids could relate to.
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As for Seven2SevenMom, all that was proof of her worth as the best Social Director to her kids were happy smiles captured in the photo souvenirs she bought which speaks a thousand words – that Dinosaurs hunting could turn out to be the best school holiday fun sometimes, especially the kinds that will make you want to go back for more. J

Dinoscovery by Dinosaurs Live!will run from 21 March 2014 to 28 February 2015. Tickets for children aged 17 years and below are priced at RM35 for Malaysians and RM50 for non-Malaysians while tickets for adults are priced at RM25 for Malaysians and RM40 for non-Malaysians. Senior citizens (aged above 60) and persons with disabilities are given a special concession rate of RM19. Opening hours are 10am to 10pm daily including school and public holidays with last admission at 9pm.

Just as we came to the end of our visit, Cheeky Koko mumbled, “Ahhh… perfect for lunch!” as he stood up on the sand pit. Curious, I asked him what he meant to which my super-cheeky 12 years old pointed with a smile towards the T-Rex ribs he dug out from the fossils sand pit. Truly entertaining!

The Dinoscovery by Dinosaurs Live! Exhibition is exclusively brought by EMS Entertainment and supported by Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture, making it the first-of-its-kind edutainment exhibition to be hosted here at Level 4 of Avenue K, Kuala Lumpur.

Raising Generation Why


Baby B who has just bombed in his diaper caught my attention with his intensive facial expression. Just to test the two older kids’ reactions, I said, “Oh dear, Baby B has just poo-poo! Now go ask your Koko and Che-Che to wash your bottoms for you!”

Hearing that, the two older siblings scrambled into their room like a flash of thunder but before they could even shut their door, I held their bedroom door with one hand and gently guided Baby B into their room and patiently commanded, “You are helping your baby brother wash his bum or we are not going to go cycle in the park later.”

Cheeky Koko has always been my funny boy that I truly think he is made entirely of laughing genes

Cheeky Koko has always been my funny boy that I truly think he is made entirely of laughing genes

“Okay, Houston, we have a problem here,” Cheeky Koko said, “We need a disposal unit for a 7.8 grade home-made bomb by a baby!”

“Cut the drama, Koko!” I said laughingly.

“Mama… Oh… it’s soooo smelly I am going to pengsan (faint)!” Pumpkin Mei-Mei protested. “Such is my life as a sister! Gosh… Ok, OK I will help him wash but Koko, you are so going to take the diaper off his bum and throw it into the rubbish bin, k?”

“You said you wanted to be a doctor for little kids when you grow up, so you have to first learn to accept the whole package of a kid, darling!” I tried to encourage my little doctor in residence.

As they gagged as if it was the most horrific task to remove their toddler brother’s soiled diaper in the bathroom and lifted him into the shower area and made him stand at one corner of the shower in order to jet-spray and wash up his bum, I came to Baby B’s rescue and scooped him up onto the toilet seat instead and did the rest effortlessly.

Pumpkin Mei-Mei aspires to be a future Paediatrician, which I think she could potentially be a really good one, like Dr. Adam “Patch” Hunter

Pumpkin Mei-Mei aspires to be a future Paediatrician, which I think she could potentially be a really good one, like Dr. Adam “Patch” Hunter

“Baby B smells good now, Mama, let me help you dress him up!” Pumpkin Mei-Mei said enthusiastically.

“I am intoxicated, Ma, I think my nose has lost its permanent function to smell, like forever!” My drama king Cheeky Koko added. Baby B who was smiling at his siblings’ antics suddenly turned to face his sister and gave Pumpkin Mei-Mei an affectionate hug, saying “Baby luff (love) Che-Che!” Just like a politician, he is always smiling, always promising.

Every day in the Seven2SevenMom planet feels like one big happy circus and a comedy show. However, if I should be so blessed, I am seeing a Comedian, a Paediatrician and possibly a Politician in our happy little family.

Each of them is so uniquely gifted in their own way. While the Asian mom in me tells me that I should constantly reinforce the importance of academic excellence as a strong foundation in life for them, the Western mom in me wants them to be happy as they pursue their own path growing up and be driven as well as responsible in the pursuit of their own dream nonetheless.

Baby B is definitely a future politician in the making!

Baby B is definitely a future politician in the making!

Recognising that each child can be an accomplished individual according to their own talents and intelligence are important aspects of child development according to Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligence.

According to Dr. Howard Gardner, children have different kinds of intelligences related to musical–rhythmic, visual–spatial, verbal–linguistic, logical–mathematical, bodily–kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. He also says children possess a unique blend of all the intelligences, and that as parents, we should let our children explore and empower them to discover their own blend of intelligences so they can grow into wholesome people.

Child developmental experts say that up to 70% of a child’s brain cell connection occurs when they interact with their environment and that children ask questions because they are curious about the world around them. They say an inquisitive mind is an indication of a child’s positive developmental process. (The Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Combine to Shape Brain Architecture, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University.)

Growing up, my own mom always said that I was so inquisitive that I would have made a good career out of legal or investigative journalism. Turned out that I really pursued Journalism in University, no thanks to a loving mom who welcomed my questions with patient replies after replies.

Now that my life is inundated with questions from my own Gen Why? kids, every day is filled with an impossibly long list of questions that I do not take it lightly, because who knows, the next funny man Jerry Seinfeld, brilliant Paed, Dr. Pumpkin, and well-loved Member of the Parliament could just be very well come out of this household.
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Challenged by questions such as, “Mama, how did you and papa put me in your stomach before I was born?” Or, even better, “Papa, why is the ocean blue in colour?” Get on to the Anmum Essential Gen Why? Workshop held this weekend for first-hand information from parenting experts such as professional child psychologists and nutritionists on how to raise up wholesome kids with multiple intelligence. Details are as follows:

Anmum Essential Gen Why? Workshop

Date: 31 May (Saturday) and 1 June (Sunday)

Venue: The Oval, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Bandar Utama

Time: 10am – 10pm

See you there, peeps!

Grocery Shopping


Grocery shopping is so not for the faint-hearted (man of the house).
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As we wind our way past rows after rows of fresh produce and meat stalls at our local wet market, Daddy Joe who was carrying a big heavy bag filled to the brim with our family’s one week supply of vegetables and fruits and another bag filled with chicken meats, meat balls, tofu and small pomfret fish, turned back and said to me, “Seriously, I always buy all these food for our kids but hardly get to eat them! I am starting to wonder if our food just vanished by itself while sitting inside the fridge!”

I laughed and tried to comfort my man, “Chill man, just chill, there are six of us in the house including our kakak (helper), and we eat at home every day except some weekends. OK, you sometimes eat out due to work but with three kids ranging from toddler to preteens, THESE could hardly justify the nutrition and energy they need to fuel their growth, k?”

Daddy Joe shook his head and said with great disbelief, “We must be living in an age of serious price hikes — RM60- RM80 every week, incredible! Or I must be buying food every week that can disappear from our fridge! And those chocolates I got for you during my last trip to Thailand, did you ever get to eat it? Or they too, can just disintegrate itself in the fridge?” he asked while shovelling Cheeky Koko’s favourite green beans that were dangling out of the plastic bag handles into the other bag and loaded everything into his boot.

“Yes I had some, but really darling, you should install a CCTV in the kitchen when we have some savings so that you can see it with your own eyes that Pumpkin Mei-Mei has been visiting the chocolate compartment quite regularly. Even Baby B knows how to open the fridge and grab the chocolate bars by standing tiptoe,” I explained.

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Barely three days later, I came home in the evening victoriously while dragging a grocery bag full of energy-giving malt drinks, breakfast cereals, milk drinks, biscuits, wafer snacks, dried fruits and the longest bread loaf I could find from a sundry shop. As I chucked the bag onto the dining table, the kids gave me such affectionate hugs and fanfare welcome that one would have thought that it was the coronation of the Homecoming Queen in our happy land.

But the man of the house looked pale in silence. “I see we are going through some kind of severe food scarcity in this house,” he said. “Relax, dear, it’s the school holidays season! The kids will go famished very fast, so I bought a little snacks for them to munch on anytime of the day!” I said while happily stocking up my half-empty kitchen cabinets.

“I don’t think they ever feel hungry before, really, at the rate they clean up our shelves. If the wooden shelves or fridge can be eaten, they will eat them too, like termites!” Daddy Joe whispered into my ear, “…and may be this is why I am near poverty with these grocery bills!”

I laughed, thinking how wise God is to have decided that woman should always rule the heart of the home, which is the kitchen. Clearly a man’s place is in hunting or working, and NOT in grocery shopping!

Photo Credit:
photo credit: BC Gov Photos via photopin cc

The Answer To The Questions


You know your children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from and refuse to tell you where they’re going.

 ~ P. J. O’Rourke

The day finally arrived when I got to meet this long lost girlfriend, Yen, from almost 20 years ago whom I adore greatly. We were really good friends during college years, sharing good camaraderie, life’s joy and sorrow and as we went separate ways to pursue our own dreams, we somehow just lost contact completely. We have tried to find each other over the years as we got married and had kids but it just didn’t happen until we found each other over social media. It was a reunion too long in the making and too short for two kindred spirits trying to connect the dots of the past decades. One thing led to another and soon our happiest little family got invited to her lovely home to meet with hers.

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Unfortunately kids just do NOT come with an operating manual!

As our children went out to play in her lawn fascinated with Yen’s pet ducks under the warm sun, Yen sat next to me in her sofa, looked deep into my eyes and said, “Hey, I don’t know how you do it but you have got soooo much patience for your children!” Surprised, I asked her back, “What do you mean? They are my own!”

“You answered EVERY SINGLE question your kids ask. It’s like one second you were eating, passing the salt and pepper, carrying on conversation with us, laughing, and next when one of them asked, Mama, why does Aunty’s house have ducks for pets? and you went, oh yah, ducks are the next best thing for farm education and cultivation of love for animals, and then you came back into the conversation with me about your job! Amazing, did you know you were doing ALL THAT?”

I chuckled, “well, we are mommies; we can multitask! But don’t you answer your kids’ questions, no matter how amusing they are?”

“Yes and no. Yes when I know the answer and when I have the energy for it, but No when I feel like I have just been run over by a truck after a tough day at work!” Yen said it with the same intelligent sparkle in her eyes for which I have seen so many years ago.
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Just then, Pumpkin Mei-Mei popped her head through the window and asked, “Ma, are these two ducks husband and wife?” “I think they are, I don’t know, you would have to see if they are very loving like husband and wife!” I replied thoughtfully.

“See? See? You did just that! Gosh, you answered EVERY question!” Yen said comically and I couldn’t help but laugh along.

Before I could even say anything, Cheeky Koko ran into Yen’s living hall with Yen’s son Julien and asked, “Ma, do these ducks lay salted eggs or ducklings?” This time, Yen replied on my behalf, “I think they would lay eggs which would then hatch into ducklings but sweetie, salted eggs are different eggs that have been processed.”

I nudged Yen’s arm lightly and said with a smile, “Oh wow, you learned fast! Now you are like me, you have an answer for everything,” and we both chuckled along.

Child developmental experts say that up to 70% of a child’s brain cell connection occurs when they interact with their environment and that children ask questions because they are curious about the world around them. They say that an inquisitive mind is an indication of a child’s positive mental developmental process. (The Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Combine to Shape Brain Architecture, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University.)

Parenting could be a daunting task and one cannot possibly get every solution from every parenting book that has been published!

That’s just how it looks like when us parents try to outsmart our kids by reading up on every subject under the sky!

I am a firm believer in the whole notion that smart question produces smart answers and no questions produces nothing. Ever since the kids learned how to asked, I have made it a point to literally stop whatever I was doing and give some thoughts to their questions before I give my reply to them. I feel that it is important to feed my child’s curiosity and influence her attitude to learning with what I know rather than letting her find the answers from the wrong source of information.

I may not know every answer to all that they ask, but in those situation when I really do not have an answer, I would admit to them that I do not know but that I would find that out for them and get back to them. I mean, we are raising the street smart Gen Y now or what they call, Generation Why, who define young children with a string of Who, What, How, Why, When and Where to help them learn and explore the world around them through the questions that they ask.

As I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, what was focused on was the IQ (Intelligence Quotient) development of a child and in the 90s, the buzz word was EQ (Emotional Quotient). As a modern mom, there is an additional intelligence factor that is often overlooked or misunderstood called the Multiple Intelligence which is needed as part of the right ingredients to bring up an all-rounded and wholesome kid.

Now I am learning that all three aspects – IQ, EQ and  Multiple Intelligence are equally important in the moulding of a child’s holistic character and outlook for life so that one day he will grow up to become a well-rounded adult.

Fret not if this is completely alien to you.

The Anmum Essential Gen Why Workshop on 31 May (Sat) & 1 June (Sun) held at The Oval, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, from 10am to 10pm will let you hear first-hand from professional child psychologists and nutritionists who will share their knowledge and expert advice in raising up wholesome kids. Just register here!

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It’s really is a duck and egg question… 🙂

Of course, the right nutrition ensures wholesome development of a child. *Anmum Essential™ formulated milk powder for children contains important nutrients such as GA (Gangliosides) and DHA for children’s brain development.

Some parents find their children’s endless questioning annoying. On the other hand, I find that the window of time in which we could positively influence their character-building, minds, spiritual and social development are very small and thus we should never give up in giving our best to them, including our time, our knowledge and most importantly our love.

Yes, we don’t really know if two ducks are husbands or wife but we sure know a thing or two about the origin of salted egg that will never come straight from a duck mama.

 

*GA (Gangliosides) is a type of special complex lipid which plays an important role in brain development and function. GA helps with brain cells connections and play a role in the transmission of signals between brain cells. The more brain cells connect, the faster children learn. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid and a building block of brain cells. DHA helps support the period of rapid brain development especially during the first five years.

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Photo credit:

Child:

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/leecullivan/2581128432/”>shoothead</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Reading:

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/susivinh/7019888809/”>susivinh</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Mama duck and ducklings:

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/bahketni/3462886218/”>bahketni</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

 

Baby B Self-Weaned (Yes, just like that!)


My breastfeeding-addict boy, Baby B, just weaned himself from nursing just few days short of turning 27 months old about 15 days ago!

Sigh. I wish he could breastfeed longer as much and as long as he wants to, and I wish the event leading to his self-weaning was more heart-warming and tender but somehow he just stopped breastfeeding completely overnight without any warning nor reason and I am left standing cold turkey, drenched in guilt of a busy working mama.

The whole event started around two Saturdays ago when I woke up very early in the morning trying to tiptoe to the bathroom to get ready to work. I wanted to hurry to the office to complete a humongous project at work and knew I was going to clock in at least a half-day work because the deadline for the project was looming close.

We have always been co-sleeping because he is the type of wakeful nursing baby who wakes up every 2 to 3 hours to nurse for comfort. Co-sIeeping made it easy for me to just wake up lightly enough to hold him up on the crook of my arms for those endless breastfeeding sessions through the night without ever leaving my bed. And if I nursed him lying down sometimes, we’d both fall deep into the sweet slumber land shared blissfully between a nursing mom and her baby.

That Saturday, as I turned on the bathroom light, Baby B found me standing in front of my bathroom staring back at him. He sat up on the bed gently rubbing his eyes and called me back saying, “Mommy, baby wants Nan-Nan” (his baby lingo for breastfeeding). Ridden with guilt that I was going to work on a weekend off day, I quickly climbed back into my bed and happily obliged by giving him a quick nursing session while my mind went through a quick breakdown of all the details of the project like a super computer processing all the tasks that I was going to do that Saturday.

His body felt a little warm that morning so I checked his temperature with our digital scan but he was actually not having any fever. Still, I covered him with his soft baby blanket and informed Daddy Joe to make sure to check on his temperature again when he woke up later. I then sped off to work and soon got so caught up with all the work that by the time I reached home, it was already 8pm.

As I put down my non-woven bag filled with all the heavy working files, our family helper informed me that Baby B cried in pain when he was having his food and water throughout the day and that she suspected that Baby B could either be having some teething pain or mouth ulcer.

When Baby B saw me, he walked up to me happily stretching out his arms and asked me to carry him for a “Nan-Nan”. I sat on our nursing sofa in the living room and held him up as usual but just as I pulled up my t-shirt to breastfeed him, he quickly turned his head away and gently pushed me away saying, “Baby pain pain…” Baffled, I asked him if he was having any pain inside his mouth to which he nodded and repeated “pain… pain.”

I checked his mouth and saw a little ulcer on his right cheek but it was nothing major. We checked his temperature again and noticed that he was having a mild fever. After being fed a low dosage of fever medicine, he cuddled next to me and instead of asking for “Nan-Nan,” he asked me to give him a baby massage on his back. I felt that he really wanted to breastfeed but somehow the discomfort of the ulcer prevented his usual appetite for his favourite drink – his “Nan-Nan”. “Baby don’t want Nan-Nan”, he said repeatedly. And he has repeated that the next day too and thereafter. Just like that, my baby has self-weaned himself completely and started sleeping through the night!

I don’t really know what caused him to wean himself off completely and I guess I would never know. I feel a little sad because deep down I wonder if he had stopped breastfeeding that day because when he was feeling the discomfort from the pain and the mild fever during the day time, I just wasn’t there for him. In fact I was buried deep beneath my working files and a heavy work load.

All I know is that had I known that that very morning was going to be our last nursing moment surely I would not have rushed it through but instead made sure it was the sweetest memory we both could cherish.

To all the breastfeeding moms out there who wonder if all those sleepless nights and constant waking up for night feeding would ever end, well I just want to encourage you to hang in there and cherish it as it lasts because one day your baby will grow into a mini person ready to take on the world as it comes and the one who is not ready is often us, the cow mama.

On the other hand, thanks Baby B, for weaning yourself at 26 months old, which makes your sis, Pumpkin Mei-Mei the longest nursling champion in the family as she clocked in 27.5 months of breastfeeding and the shortest being your eldest brother, Cheeky Koko who clocked in 22 months of breastfeeding. You are not too bad, anyway, having at it for at least 4 months longer than your Koko. That’s equivalent to the time it takes spring to turn into summer and about half of the time it takes for you to stay inside mama’s womb as God slowly moulds you into the little darling that you are to our family.

Mama’s not ready as you are, Baby B, but I will try to get used to the idea that anyway one day you will grow out of it and it seems that you have fast forwarded your own weaning and made it so smooth and easy for yourself and for all of us.

On the plus side, now I do sleep through the night and finally I can wear nice dresses to shopping mall and dinners with you little fellas without having to worry about you pulling up my dress in the middle of the concourse in front of twenty random strangers staring at my old, awful panty while you make a demanding call for ‘Nan-Nan’.

Yah, not a bad idea, really. 🙂

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