Am I the only one who finds this ad condescending?

  

The “No chilli; no eat” tag line was clearly targeted at identifying with Singaporeans. However, with my profound *ahem* knowledge of Singlish, I declare it improper Singlish in that nobody in Singapore actually speaks like that. It smacks of the arrogant air or the foreigners who hop on a taxi and say “Bukit Timah lar”. Totally wrong use of lar which, contrary to popular belief, is not meant to be added to every Singlish sentence.

For the avoidance of doubt, I am not anti foreigners. There are arrogant foreigners just as there are snotty Singaporeans, both are equally deplorable. I’m just saying the creator of this ad falls on the arrogant side, which I am finding more amusing than anything.

How best to support breastfeeding mothers

A friend posted an article about IBM shipping breastmilk home for employees.

I’m undecided as to whether this is good news or not. For sure, if it is a choice between pump and dump or the opportunity to ship breastmilk back to baby, then yes of course shipping it back is better. But this reminds me of an article I read recently about exclusively pumping being almost (but actually not quite) as good as latching. The article says that with breastpumps getting better and better these days, mothers feel it is ok to pump and feed even though with a bit more effort they could have latched more, and that results in the child missing out on intimacy with mum and other small benefits like lower risk of ear infection (I am probably misquoting, but my takeaway after reading the article was this). Again, here if the choice is between going over to formula because the mum has to work or just cannot latch, then of course we want great pumps that make EPing possible. The concern, however, is whether all these technology and services are actually making it easy (“enabling”) mothers to spend less time with their children and/or provide them with the other benefits of direct breastfeeding. Should companies, instead of thinking along the lines of “how can we allow women to work in as similar a way as possible as men have all along without having to feel guilty” instead really think along the lines of “how can we help the mother provide the best for their children while working”. I’m thinking allowing them to take a break from travel the first year or two of their children’s lives without penalising them. I’m thinking having creche at work and allowing mothers to go and breastfeed children at feeding times. I’m thinking allowing mothers the option of unpaid maternity leave. And there are many other things I have not thought of. Ultimately, all these initiatives and technology are good in that they provide a better option than the worst case scenario. But the alternative that they provide is not the ideal one from the child’s perspective. I am grateful for pumps and nursing rooms and breastmilk shipping service but I do hope that more employers can think along the lines of facilitating breastfeeding in as natural a way as possible.

What do you think? Am I asking too much?

My Little Pony Costume – simple homemade design

The husband’s friends are organizing a farewell party with a costume party theme, so we asked Sophia what does she want to go as. Apparently the flavor of the day is My Little Pony so she asked for princess twilight. I was stumped for a while. Why can’t she be like normal little girls and ask for something like Elsa from Frozen, where I’ll be able to easily procure a store bought costume?? Sophia says My Little Pony is easy, “you just take some hair into a tail and tie it to your hair and make a horn and put it on your head and wear some wings and it’s done!” Err.. Ok… After failing to find viable options of ready made costumes, I decided to google some tutorials for making your own and found this very comprehensive sew-along. I’m thinking she’ll melt in a fleece hoodie in Singapore, so I simplified it into something that can be make in about 2-3 hours. Probably less if you are experienced in sewing and don’t have a child disturbing you throughout the process.

Sorry I didn’t take pictures along the way but basically here’s what I did:

  1. Made just the hood part of the costume with the mane, and sewed 2 ribbons at the corner near the chin to that the hood can be tied on like a bonnet. I was not even as precise as the tutorial. I just estimated the width of each strand of hair using felt and left a space at the top of the head for the horn.
  2. Made the ears and horn according to the tutorial using felt. Instead of attaching these to hair clips and elastic bands, I sewed them directly on the “hood”.
  3. Made the tail in almost exactly the same way as the tutorial, except that I can’t be bothered with Velcro so I substituted the strap with a ribbon so that it can be tied around the waist.
  4. Traced the wing pattern on to 2 pieces of fleece then, instead of filling them up such that they become plush wings. I sewed casings along the top and the middle on the wrong side of one of the pieces and inserted wires to hold up the wings. I then sewed two elastic loops to the middle of the right side of the same piece. Now I see the 2 pieces right side together leaving a rather big hole. A bigger hole than you would usually leave would be good as you need to fit the wires through. Now flip it over via the hole and top stitch all round.

That’s it! You’re done. Here’s the end result, not very professional but good enough for present purposes.

  
  

    Haidilao steamboat

    Most lists of kids friendly places are filled with western choices, perhaps because kids like the fish and chips option. Also, the criteria for making these lists may be quite lax. Any one of providing colouring pencils, kids menu or even high chair could be sufficient for a restaurant to meet these lists. 

    I am happy to report that I found an Asian (to be specific, Chinese) restaurant that I have not seen on any of the kids friendly restaurant in Singapore list yet blows all of those restaurant out of the water. The restaurant I am talking about is Haidilao. The steamboat restaurant from China famous for providing manicure and other services for customers waiting for a table. I always think of it as a young person’s place although the price range is actually way beyond what regular teenagers should be spending on a regular basis, probably because of the manicure and board games image. However, it is definitely a family restaurant.

    First up, the food. To be honest none of the kids friendly recommendations I have been to have good food. I’m usually happy with halfway decent options. Haidilao’s food is good. It is first and foremost a good restaurant with fresh and well executed food offerings, unlike other restaurants targeting young families by serving refried/reheated frozen food. Food here is quality and even if I didn’t use any of its kid friendly services I would still eat here.

    For my child the food offering is also ideal. Sophia’s staple is rice with green leafy vegetables, so an order of spinach which we boil and add a dash of oyster sauce from the extensive condiments bar, together with rice makes her very happy. What makes her even happier is the free flow of popcorn and watermelon. Kids may also enjoy the banana chips, oranges, rock melon, and peanuts, all available on a free flow basis.

    For kids there is also a playground. Small of course, but in my experience a very small playground can keep a child happy for very long.

    The service at this place is amazing. Once you arrive, you are greeted warmly with a smile and very efficiently led to your table if you made a reservation or sat down with free flow snacks if you have not. A wait staff offers hot towel to freshen up and takes your drinks and soup base order. While waiting for the ingredients to arrive, a wait staff serves you soup with condiments and throughout the meal they are efficiently topping up drinks, changing dirty plates and offering whatever help you need, including helping my dad crack the particularly hard shell of a crab. However the ultimate is this. When they noticed that I had put my sleeping baby down on an empty chair, they offered (I still cannot believe this) a cot!!!

     
    They also drew the curtains next to the cot and did all sorts of nice things. I am suitably impressed. 

    Da Little School Review

    This holiday, Sophia attended Chengzhu and Da Little School holiday camps. I may deal with Chengzhu in a later post but Da Little School I’m surprisingly happy with. 

    It’s an art n craft camp, which gives it an unfair advantage in Sophia’s books since she loves art and craft. It is, nevertheless, objectively very well run. Rather than rush through a simple artwork each day, the camp works over 5 days on what turns out to be a rather impressive piece:

     
    The seashell colouring was a separate piece and not, as I originally thought, a shortcut way of filling the space. The children worked with a variety of media: shaping clay, painting on clay, painting on canvas, paper mâché, glueing on notions etc. The lesson flow also made a lot of sense in that on the first day they started with telling the children about the tidal wave pool and starting on the parts that need time to dry. Then on day 2 they had an outing to se toss underwater world. On the next 3 days they recreated what they saw at the tidal wave pool. 

    Sophia was eager to go for class everyday and the teachers seem dynamic and fun loving. The class size was also small, starting with 5 students and towards the end 2 dropped out leaving 3. The dropping out sounds like bad news but I seriously have no idea why because Sophia loved the class. I really hope the school will continue to run holiday classes!

    Frantically sewing

    its the last week of my maternity leave and in a desperate attempt to make full use of the “free” time, I’ve been frantically sewing.

       
               

    The drool pads, burp cloths and bibs are made from a combination of unbleached organic cotton flannel and fat quarters of designer fabrics, making them both safe for baby (use with the flannel side turned out) but yet whimsical. 

    The dresses are of course added to the girls’ collection of too many clothes! I should start giving away some of the more presentable ones as gifts.

     
    I also made myself a pouch to hold Sandra’s diapering materials so they don’t need to be in a clumsy old apple plastic bag anymore.

    The next item will be another pouch because Sophia has requested for one after seeing the one I made for myself. Maybe I’ll make a zippered one this time.

    Feeling proud of myself

    Sandra received many compliments for her dress today, which, for a mum who dresses her baby in charters rompers day in day out, is quite an unusual occurrence. Here’s what she was wearing today. I know it doesn’t look like much but remember it was after a whole day of rolling and tumbling and falling asleep in the baby carrier and the like. It was much nicer before it got so crumpled.  


    A mum even asked me whether it was from Gap. No big deal what, you would say. Not as if it were a luxury brand considering everyone seems to be dressing their kids in at least Ralph Lauren when they feel like dressing up. But it is a big deal if you consider the fact that I MADE THIS DRESS! 

    Ok, so now apart from opening a kindergarten, I have a second fallback career if I ever get sick of law or (more likely in today’s world) get retrenched. Sell handmade dresses on etsy!