So My Daughter Sleeps Much More In Childcare Than At Home… and other tales

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I have a nocturnal daughter. Like, seriously.

She takes a catnap at around 6 p.m., after we pick Xavier and her from childcare, when her brothers are busy devouring their dinners, she prefers to take a small nip of the food, drinks milk and collapses, for 45 to 60 minutes.

And then she is awake. Bright-eyed and bushy tailed. And stays awake till past midnight. Every night.

Which I am fine.

Until I read the childcare report of her sleeping patterns for the week. I usually take a glance, and usually it’s a normal 2-hour nap in the day. But not THAT day. That day, she slept from 11.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.

FOUR HOURS.

I pay a freakish amount for her to go to a pretty good childcare, with great teachers, and a very well-rounded program.

And she naps for HALF THE TIME.

The next day, she napped for 3.5 hours. The day after, also about there.

She should be up and about and traumatizing the teachers! Erm, I mean, learning stuff, and you know, playing. Haha! Anything but sleeping!

So which begs the question… maybe we should get her out of childcare? We’d save money. And if she sleeps this much in the house, I can still get some work done!

It’s something to think of, for sure, but not a decision we can make easily. It is easy to stop her childcare or even reduce the number of days, but the fact is, with the high demand for childcare spaces in the suburb I am in, there is not a very high chance I can get a placement back in the same childcare!

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

(Oh, and my little Miss 2 has just learnt to wink! Haha! I am glad I caught it on my handphone camera – in the montage above, fuzzy though it may be).

8 Aussie Slang Words Every Visitor Should Know

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Coming to Australia? Well, here are 8 Aussie slangs you should know first! I consulted a few people who’ve lived in Australia for a while, coming from Singapore and these are the few head-scratchers the very first time we heard them!

ARVO
Or “afternoon”. As in: “I’ll talk to you this arvo.”

SHOUT
Nope, not talking loudly. It means to treat, or in Singlish, it means to “belanjah”. As in: “Have a drink, my shout.”

TA
This stumped me the first time I heard it. Ta? Short for ta-ta (as in goodbye)? Then I realised it’s short form for thanks. Oh, and until I heard Zoie’s childcare teacher, when Zoie was picking up some toy, the teacher went “Taaaa, Zoie, Mark was playing with that toy first” Which made me think it’s some code for “no”. Or so you won’t be saying “Oiii!” or “Stop it!”

HOON
There’s bee hoon, tang hoon… and then, in Australia, there’s the bad kind of hoon. The kind who goes around creating trouble, especially when driving a car or a boat. While colloquial Singlish seldom (if ever!) makes it to the news stations, I just heard the news caster using this term.

BARBIE
Not the doll. Oh the travesty. The barbeque.

In fact, Aussies love to “cute-ify” so many words. Why call it a tracksuit when you can say trackie? Running shoes are a waste of breath, so you should just say runners. Even Ian Thorpe is nicknamed “Thorpey” (and when he was on television doing some coverage of some sports events last year, I got distracted by other newscasters calling him that.” I mean we call Fandi Ahmad… Fandi. Ang Peng Siong is…. Ang Peng Siong. McDonald’s in Australia has resigned to being called Macca’s (and psst, you won’t find Burger King here, but Hungry Jack’s looks an awful lot like the BK we know and love).

SERVO
Driving a car? Then you’ll need to check where’s the nearest servo to get petrol.

AS
Normally, we’d say, “Oh you’re as lazy as a pig.” The Aussies have got it cut down to just… “Lazy as.” Yup, so you have “easy as”, “sweet as”, “slow as” and whatever adjective you can think of (but can’t remember the exact idiom to). Easy as.

WHINGE
Which means whine. And as a noun, you can be a “whinger” or you can be “whinging”.

 

So so much more – but this will do for now! How about you? Any Aussie slang words to add to the list?

Dry Nights are the Best Nights

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Any parent would agree – this is the best sight, especially after a long day!

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I think my kids are really pretty cool. But they look especially angelic – when they are sleeping. This photo of Zoie? She’s not really sleeping (pffft!) but she responded to my call to ask for a sleeping pic so well, I couldn’t resist getting a shot in.

My nocturnally-inclined baby girl can think of a million and one reasons to NOT go to bed. From wanting to drink chocolate milk for the fourth time, to wanting another cracker, or a grape, or an apple, or a yogurt (you get the idea), it can sometimes be pretty tiring and sometimes pretty tiresome getting her to bed.

So you can imagine. Once I finally manage to get her to sleep, the LAST thing I absolutely want is for her to wake up. Especially from a leaky diaper! This has happened a few times, and it is so not fun!

Having had three kids, one financial lesson I have learnt is that there are things that are unnecessary expenses, and there are things that are well worth spending on. And nappies fall into the second category. There are just too many cons in a bad diaper, and so many pros to getting a good one – it’s an easy decision for me. There are two main considerations for me when choosing a diaper, namely: Comfort & Durability. Especially for the precious night’s sleep – this is even more important, as the last thing you would want is to crawl out of bed to change a leaky diaper, and stained pyjamas and bedsheets!

Introducing the all-new Drypers Drynights, which assures us sleep-deprived parents up to 12 hours of dry comfort for our little ones!

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We were given 2 packs of the Drypers Drynights (9-14kg), which fits Zoie perfectly. Now, when I first received this product, I must admit that the first thought that ran through my mind was: “Is it REALLY necessary to have a separate diaper JUST for bedtime?” I was pretty happy with her current diaper brand, which we use all the time – in the day, at childcare, and yes, even at night.

But there is more than meets the eye. The reason why Drypers Drynights can offer up to 12 hours of dryness for the baby is because it has the Longest Absorption Core (compared to its competitors) – which simply means baby stays dryer for longer. It prevent any “backflow” that might happen when the baby pees too much, and the diaper can hold more, both of which is important. During the day, we probably have a diaper change once every three to four hours. But the very last diaper before bed often has to last a good eight to twelve hours, and the Drypers Drynights caters to this, ensuring baby sleeps with a dry, comfortable diaper.

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And after a month of using this product, with zero accidents, I am a convert for using separate day and night diapers! A good day diaper offers comfort and durability – for the hours when your child is active and moving and toddling around. A good night diaper offers dryness and comfort for a prolonged period, so your child can have a good and restful night’s sleep (and us parents too!)

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My little “model” showing off her chops – while I was trying to do a nappy change for her.

Thanks to Drypers Singapore for sending me this product to review, and you can pop over to their Facebook Page to keep up to date with the latest news and promotions. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

The Perfect / Imperfect Child

PerfectI have three perfect children.

They are healthy, funny, smart, witty kids. They have a great sense of humour, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to where their imagination can take them.

Jayvon is creative and artistic. His mind speeds at 300km per hour, as he imagines what his next art work will be, or his next building in Minecraft will look like. He loves his siblings fiercely, giving them hugs and kisses freely and is always ready to make a funny face or say something funny and cause them to buckle over in laughter. He is brilliant with Maths, and while it might seem a strange thing to do, he absolutely loves it when we go through Maths questions on the go. I can imagine how it might be like to someone passing us by, and hearing me ask Jay, “What is 3,000 + 6,000?”  or “What is 40,000 + 50,000?” What a typical Asian Tiger Mom I must seem! But nah, he enjoys it more than I enjoy giving it! Haha!

Xavier is adorable. Charming. He has a way to get people (*coughcoughthefather*) to do what he wants, and really, it’s hard to resist his big puppy dog eyes, and he’s (mostly) understood the “soft” approach works way, way better than the whining and tantrum-throwing. He loves his siblings fiercely, insists on crawling up to the upper bunk of their bed to sleep in the same bed as Jayvon every night, holds on to Zoie’s hands in childcare when we drop them off to give her reassurance. He is a sweet-natured boy, and often finds himself having to give in to his older and younger sibling, but he is easily placated.

Zoie is coming to her own. She has found her voice – very literally. She gave me a earache when she let out a piercing shout just the day before. For no particular reason, cos she was screeching and smiling at our reactions. She is musical, and sings songs and dances, and is particularly pleased when I can make out the song she is singing. The alphabet song, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Rain Rain Go Away… she has about 10 songs in her repertoire, and growing. When left to her own devices, she loves to go and raid Jayvon’s art supplies, to pour out the crayons and markers and start drawing on the paper. Jayvon loves it, and draws with her and is happy to share.

30 April 2015

I have three imperfect children.

They whinge, whine, quarrel, argue, fight, spit, nudge, elbow, poke, annoy, frustrate, irritate and they do this to each other, to us and to other people.

They play together, and after five minutes, start screaming at each other.

They sleep on the same bed and after an hour, we can still hear them talking and discussing about Minecraft.

They share some art supplies, and then argue when they both want the same one.

They kick a ball in the field, and whine when one kicks it too far off.

No one wants to bathe first. And no one wants to bathe second. And everyone wants to be the third to bathe, except when it’s time for the third kid to bathe.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. :)

Engage your child with “Ariel and Her Honesty Pig” by MandarinaKids (Plus Giveaway & a 25% Discount Code)

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This post is the 5th of a 5-part blog train on 5 ways to engage our children using Bilingual English/Mandarin book, “Ariel and Her Honesty Pig” book. Other contributors to this train include The Wacky Duo, BubbaMama, The Chill Mom and Beverly’s Net.

Life in Australia can be pretty interesting, as we immerse ourselves in a different country, culture, and take on new lingo and slangs. Each time we FaceTime family back in Singapore, or we send short video clips of their antics over Whatsapp, the inadvertent remark seems to be “What are they talking about?” or “Gosh, such an Aussie accent!” and I guess this is part and parcel of living overseas for the last two years. McDonald’s used to be “Macs” back in Singapore… and we call it “Maccas” now. “Sports shoes” are called “runners”, “trackpants” (which we seldom wear in humid Singapore) is de rigueur here in Australia, especially with the onset of the colder weather – and fondly renamed as “trackies”.

The kids’ level of conversational English has always been pretty good, cos I am usually anal, and when they pronounce a word wrongly, I cannot help myself but to correct them – and the conversation comes to a standstill till they repeat the word correctly. Xavier has recently taken to using the past tense and he uses it well too, which I am glad – except for the fact he overemphasizes on the “-ed” ending, which irks me no end. Haha! Well, at least he recognizes that it is the right usage.

Jayvon enjoys writing long, long mini essays, and almost every day in class, the teacher gets them to write on a variety of topics, and he has improved by leaps and bounds – from someone who could hardly read 3-letter words, his reading and spelling and writing has improved greatly in the last 2 years.

And so, the only thorn in my flesh…

Is Chinese.

And the fact that since we ARE Chinese, we should have at least a basic understanding of the language. Plus the fact that when we go back to Singapore, the kids would be thrust into the very unforgiving world of the Singapore education system where Chinese is compulsory, and it is TOUGH.

And so we do our best, to instill into our kids as much bilingualism as we possibly can. And it is an uphill struggle. U-P-H-I-L-L. But we keep at it, and there are several things we do to help introduce Chinese into our everyday life.

And so, when I was approached to do a review of a bilingual (Chinese/English) book by MandarinaKids, you can imagine my hestitation! But nothing like giving it a go, and while I tried Chinese story books, I have not tried bilingual ones, and didn’t know what to expect.

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When the book came, the first person who was most keen, cos of the colours and bright pictures, was my little Miss, Zoie, all of 2 years old!

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I tried reading it to her, but she was more keen in lifting up flaps and pointing at objects.

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What I liked: It was an easy to read story, one with good values (talking about honesty and friendship!). The hanyu pinyin on the Chinese part helped someone like me who’s more than a little rusty to be able to read to them smoothly. Jayvon also relied heavily on the pinyin to read – though his pronunciation wasn’t spot on.

I also liked the way they incorporated the bilingual portion, by placing the English words under a “flap” under each Chinese section – as opposed to printing both on the same page. I liked it this way, so the focus when reading would be on the language, without the distraction of being able to read the English part.

There were little phrases and flaps, and the graphic of the “hair” was a nice touch, and my 2 year old could enjoy that part.

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What I would have preferred: A more stylized English translation, as in written with a better flair so that it would be enjoyable as a standalone English story book as well.

However, this book and its storyline came at a perfect time – as we were thinking of the kind of party we wanted to throw for Zoie’s second birthday party! It was enjoyable pointing through and as we read through the story, I threw her some questions about her own party:

“Do you want balloons, Zoie?”
“No.”

“How about a cake? Would you like a cake?”
“Hmm… yes.”

“Oh! And presents! Do you want to go shopping at Target?”
“Yes.”

She sure knows her mind, this little one!

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In the end, due to the horrendously rainy weather we’d been experiencing, we decided to scale down this year’s celebration, didn’t organize a party with her friends. But the childcare centre has its own in-house chef (who prepares yummy meals for the kids), and she especially prepared cupcakes for the kids, and we were invited to come down to have a mini-celebration, which we were more than happy to!

I really enjoyed reading this book, as did my guinea pigs, I mean, kids!

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Special discount for our readers

MandarinaKids is giving our readers a 25% discount off their products. The promotional discount code is MK505WU. This code expires end June 2015, so be sure to pick up your copy of Ariel and her Honesty Pig here!

Giveaway Time!

Stand a chance to win this book, by simply following these simple steps on the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway closes on 22 May 2015, and this is only open to residents living in Singapore only.

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