Saturday, November 18, 2017

My Life Didn't Go as Planned, and that's OK

I don't know if some of you would have had a hunch, or if some friends guessed this already.... but David and I have gotten divorced.

We tried to make things work, but this divorce has been a long time coming. Things haven't been good for years - and it was a struggle for me that kept building. Although daunting, going our separate ways is inevitable, it was just a matter of when, not if.

Over time, the volatile home atmosphere had gotten truly unbearable. For years, I was able to put up with it and make it seem to others that it was a loving and nurturing relationship... perhaps it was a way I tried to cope with things, or kept whatever optimism going that it would get better. Only my closest friends knew the truth, and their support kept me sane.

However, my mindset really changed after Myla came along. I started to consider how it would affect her. And as she got older, saw more and took in more, I reflected deeply about how these influences would be unfair to her.

Divorce is not a tragedy or failure, but raising a child in a bad environment would be - that choice was clear. I will not go into too much detail regarding what happened out of respect for David's privacy, so let's leave it at that. 

I genuinely wish David well in his future choices. We have put in effort to ensure that Myla will receive the best from the both of us, and discussed the most suitable arrangements. To give abit of detail: she will be in my care and David has visitation access. She also has a tight family network here in Singapore, all of whom have been pitching in so much over the last few months to make this transition easy for her. 

My dearest Myla is a happy child and I'm determined to give her the best opportunities and do all it takes to raise her well. I am certain that she will be more than OK. And that this change is for the best for Myla and myself.

I have not told this news to many friends or relatives in person (so most of you would be finding this out for the first time here). To those who were in the know, and stuck by me through those times of turmoil and uncertainty, your support has been one of the most precious gifts I could receive. For that I'm very grateful.

Moving forward, I just want to assure those who may be worried, that I am ready for the journey ahead. I've been refocusing my time on things that matter and ensuring Myla will be raised well. After my prayers and reflection, I am confident this is something I can deal with. 

All will be well. xx

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Teaching Toddlers to Share



There are 2 opposite camps when it comes to getting kids to share. I've come across a number of posts on my Facebook feed about how it's good to teach kids that they don't have to share (their toys, food etc) with other adults or peers. I'm not here to discredit that camp. But I do feel that it's important to teach and encourage my child to share from a young age. I feel it would make her less possesive over material objects, less selfish and not overly entitled.

 
The other day Myla Rae held out her toy to another toddler who curiously came by to look at what she was playing with. I remember when she was much younger and learning to walk, at that same park, Myla Rae toddled unsteadily to a 2 year old girl who was holding a pink ball. She then reached out to touch the ball, and the 2 year old pulled the ball away and to my surprise, she smacked Myla on the face. :( Her helper was quite a distance away, and I didn't feel it was my position to tell the child off etc. I just carried Myla off the lawn and told her it's ok, let's go play something else. Even though Myla didn't cry, it sucked to see my child get hit by a toddler twice her age. OMG it's just a ball, and a 1 year old, half your size, touched it, why do you have to feel so threatened and hit her?! So from then on, I knew I didn't want to raise her to be selfish, I want her to be kind and giving, especially to those who are smaller/ weaker.


The willingness to share is not a character flaw or a sign of weakness. It's not a bad thing in my books. But because Myla Rae is an only child, she doesn't go to any child care, and she has no similar aged cousins to play with in Singapore, she doesn't get much time interacting with other toddlers. So I have been trying to inculcate the habit of sharing, taking turns and not feeling threatened or throw a tantrum when something (like a toy) is taken away from her. It's going very well so far.

Here's what I've been doing.

 
Make Taking Turns Fun
You stack a block, then she stacks another on top of yours. You turn one page of her story book and she turns the other. For older toddlerss, you could also take turns putting puzzle pieces together. Try give-and-take games, too: you hug her teddy, then give it to her to hug and return to you. You kiss her teddy, then give it to her to kiss, and so on. Play pass the ball with other people in the family. She'll begin to learn that taking turns and sharing can be fun and that giving up her things doesn't mean she'll never get them back. 


Use Praise
Myla doesn't understand everything I say yet, but she does understand tone. So when she makes an effort to share, I praise her, and my voice sounds encouraging, happy, joyful. And that lifts her up too, she knows she has done something good.
 
Emulate
The best way to teach your child is to be what you want them to be, and they will observe and follow. You are their best role model. The best way for your child to learn generosity is to witness it. Show them that there's no need to get overly possessive.  So share your ice cream with her. Offer her your sunglasses to wear, and ask if you can try on her hat. Have a laugh about it. Use the word share to describe what you're doing, and don't forget to teach her that intangibles (like feelings, ideas and stories) can be shared too. Most important, let her see you give and take, compromise and share with others. 


Use a timer
This is a tip I picked up from a mummy friend who has been through it all. She used a timer (the cute kind people use in the kitchen which buzzes after 5 or 10 minutes). To get her children to share toys and play fair and learn to wait for their turn, she used this device. When it rings, it's one child’s turn to give a toy to her friend/sibling, then she gets it back once the timer rings again, and so on. They start learning that sharing their toy doesn't mean it's forever, and also if someone shares with them, they have to give it back after some time.

So yes, although I'm a bit apprehensive because the terrible twos are in the horizon (in 3 months!), I do feel that you can nurture their character from a young age, even from birth. You can teach your baby valuable emotional and social skills even before they start walking. And that will hopefully help you and your child navigate through life and its very new and trying experiences. For more info on how you can shape your child's learning and experiences, click here.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

How to Pick Flowers for Your Girl

Flowers make a great gift because they are very versatile. They're appropriate for almost any occasion... birthdays, anniversaries, when someone is ill, when you want to congratulate someone, or just to say I'm thinking of you. It's super easy to just go online to florists like Little Flower Hut to get a beautiful flower arrangement picked out, paid for and then delivered to your girl.
They are versatile because the options are limitless, they can say exactly what you want, you can make it as informal or grand as you want. If you're clueless about how to pick the right flowers for your girl, here are a few simple no fail tips.

What's her favourite colour?
Surely you know this! But if you don't, then you should be able to tell by looking at her belongings and clothes, what colour are they usually? If it's pink then go for a hand bouquet of pink tulips.


What's her character like?
If she's girly, sweet and demure, then consider a bouquet of soft pink roses with baby's breath. If she's the edgy kind, then add a huge gold foil balloon floating above her bouquet. There are options to add stuff like these on to your bouquet order. If's she's quirky, she might appreciate a delicate orchid in a pot.

What is your budget?
If you have a realistic budget, it's easy to stick to it and find something well within your price range. Prices of bouquets at Little Flower Hut start from $59.90. They also have this thing called the $50 weekly pick which are flowers freshly picked by their florist, beautifully wrapped just for your girl. And there's free same day delivery in Singapore.  :)

Tip: If you're picking her up from her house for a date, then get the flowers delivered to yourself beforehand. That way you can turn up with them. A classic move is to stand there at her door with the flowers hidden behind your back. Watch her face light u when you present them. Bonus points all around, my friend, all around!  

Monday, October 09, 2017

Wellness Trufood, Tropiclean Life supplements and more Doggy Stuff!

 
 

Lola's haul from Kohepet's online has arrived :). Only a 2 day wait for delivery (free delivery), that's super fast, and so convenient. I want to show you some new pet food products, and and promotion prices at Kohepets that I had for this haul.


Oh by the way, apart from really good promo and sale prices, they also give out free samples for your pet to try (not just dog food, but there's stuff like cat litter, etc. Go have a look). I picked out a couple Sample packs of Addiction Dehydrated Food for Dogs. In 2 flavours for Lola to try; New Zealand Forest Delicacies (which is NZ bushnell and Venison with honey) and Perfect Summer Brushtail (which is brushtail with postatoes, papaya and sunflower seeds).
I can rehydrate it with warm water or just give it to Lola dry. She enjoys it both ways. It must be packed with so much flavour. I love it because its high in premium protein which is great for dogs, plus there's added vitamins and minerals.
She's also trying for the first time- Life by Tropiclean ultra concentrated supplements for dogs. She's getting older now, and it's important to provide her with added vitamins for immunity and health. I should have started this earlier, but I guess it's not too late now. Love this range because it's so convenient and easy to use. Each bottle of Tropiclean has roughly a 45 day supply. Just pump it into your pet's food bowl to support optimal nutrition. It has an oily texture (coconut oil and omega oils!), doesn't affect the taste of the food.
Wellness Trufood Tasty Pairings in Broth is new and on promo at Kohepets now (buy 3, get 1 free. ). Each bowl contains 2 layers of goodness - Shredded protein and diced fruit.

They are grain free, pure protein and contains nothing artificial. I chose Pumpkin, Lamb & Duck, and Chicken, Pumpkin & Beef for Lola. She is equally enthusiatic about both flavours.
In smaller pouches, there is Wellness Trufood Meal Complements. This is a delicious, juicy, flavourful broth with shredded meat and vegetables in it. Also 100% natural, grain free, no fillers. I add these meal complement pouches over Lola's kibbles, the broth helps soften them (especially good since Lola is a senior dog now, and finds chewing through hard kibbles less enticing then when she was younger). I also sometimes offer a ouch to her as a yummy snack treat.

I am really a big fan of Wellness's Trufood range now. Very good quality ingredients, Lola loves the taste, and not extravagant price for such a premium product. Especially while it's on promotion price now at Kohepets. Will order the other flavours next.

Kohepets now has a shelter donation program (Kohepets Cares), where anyone can help shelters like OSCAS & Lily Low Cat Shelter by buying for them essentials like food & shampoo at exclusive subsidised prices. Do check that out too.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Taking your Toddler to the Singapore Zoo

Flash cards and books are great learning and development tools for babies and toddlers. But nothing beats the real deal, real life experiences which they can take in. There's lots to do around Singapore that will make an excellent learning journey and create plenty of great memories for your little one. If you're looking for something easy to start with, take your toddler to the Singapore Zoo (it's Free if they are under 3 years old!). 
A trip to the zoo is quite easy and convenient. Some essential things you to pack: Insect repellent for mosquitos, snacks for your kid, water bottle (there are water points at the zoo where you can refill your bottles with cool water), an umbrella or raincoat in case it rains (there is not much sheltered area there). Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. That's it really!
Don't forget to grab a free Map on your way in. The grounds are vast, and while it's perfectly manageable for an adult to cover the entire zoo on foot, it would be too much for a young child or toddler to walk the entire zoo. Bring Your Stroller, or rent one there for $9. Or you can rent a small plastic red wagon instead for $15 and you can cart 2 kids in the wagon (it only has a waist strap to hold them in).
Tram Rides are optional, unlimited rides cost $5 for adults and $3 for kids (3-12yrs). We've gone to the zoo twice with Myla Rae, the first time we didn't ride the tram at all because we were happy to just explore the park on foot (and stroller), the second time we were there, we rode the tram just for a fun experience.
 

Most people get on and off the tram repeatedly to explore each section of the park. I found it a hassle having to queue for it, and then fold up the stroller, and squeeze on board... only to get off the next stop which was like a 5 minute walk away. So I prefer to just walk the grounds and see everything at our own pace. If you do want the tram experience for yourself and your child, I suggest getting on the tram as soon as you arrive. Then you just sit on it from start to finish, so you can get a good feel of where the different sections of the zoo are. Then when you get off the tram, you can start exploring the park on foot.
Take note of show timings. There's usually a morning and afternoon session for each show (there are 4 different shows around the park). If you have a very young toddler (esp under 2yrs), don't expect them to be engaged and sit still for the entire show. That's why we chose to sit by the aisles and towards the back, so we can exit the show arena easily halfway through when Myla Rae got too fidgety and restless. We haven't managed to see any show in it's entirety. Lol. But still a lot of fun. Just roll with it! 
 Overall, she had an awesome time looking at the animals in their enclosures. It was a very engaging experience for her. I loved how her eyes would open wide with wonder as she looked at the animals move around, eat, or interact.
 
 For lunch break, there are a few restaurant/café/food court options. You will see it in the park map.  There's Ah Meng Kitchen, the Chawang Bistro, and the Wild Deli. Prices are higher than what you would typically find in malls and neighbourhood eateries... but I found it still ok. Like $3 for a small bottle of coke, $10 for a plate of food there abouts. If you prefer, pack your own food, there are lots of benches and rest areas to eat at while watching the animals.
Oh and don't don't miss the Rainforest Kidzworld section of the zoo. It's a great place for kids. It is like a petting zoo (rabbits, guinea pigs, ponies, etc), has a carousel ride and a water play area. Bring a change of clothes for your child and yourself if you're planning to let your little one play in the water play area. Sure to get wet. If you forget to bring your child's swimsuit or towel, they do sell swimwear and swim accessories at the kiosk there. Oh there's also a KFC in this section, incase you prefer fast food.
The zoo is stimulating, thrilling and educational to children of all ages. They get a chance to learn about animals and their behavior. It's a great way to bond with your child, and get some sunshine, fresh air and exercise.

Kids learn from experiences whether big or small, good or bad. That’s why Friso provides the right nutrition for your child to be strong inside to take on challenges. You can find out more about how you can give your child more learning experiences as they grow, here.


What other places of interest have you taken your toddler to? Do share with me :)


 

Sunday, October 01, 2017

I WANT TO GO HOME (Novel Giveaway)

On the 11th of March, 2011, Yasuo Takamatsu lost his wife to the tsunami during the Great East Japan earthquake. Since that fateful day, he has been diving in the sea every week in search for her.
Compelled and inspired to share his story, I Want To Go Home is a journey from Singapore to Onagawa through the lens of the intrigued to meet him. Of unlikely friendships across borders and languages; to share a man’s loss, recovery and determination to reunite with his wife.
The novel's feature film (also titled I Want To Go Home) has also been selected for the 2017 부산국제영화제 Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). This book also includes a Japanese translation by Miki Hawkinson.

Available at  Books Actually. You can also buy it online at - https://www.booksactuallyshop.com/products/i-want-to-go-home
Local shipping is free.


About the Author my Brother   
Wesley Leon Aroozoo lectures at Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore. He graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from New York University Tisch Asia. Wesley is a filmmaker from 13 Little Pictures. His films have premiered in festivals such as the Busan International Film Festival and the International Film Festival Rotterdam. He has programmed films for the VIDEOvoiddeck series at The Substation and various art organisations.
On the literary front, Wesley is a published author of I Want To Go Home (Math Paper Press, 2017) and Bedok Reservoir (Math Paper Press, 2012).

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GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

An autographed copy of  I Want To Go Home.

Click here to join the giveaway.

I'm having a giveaway on Facebook from Sunday 1st October to Tuesday 3rd October. Random winner picked via Facebook live draw on the 3rd of October. Giveaway open to everyone, I can mail the book to you :)