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Mosquito Bites March 14, 2017 10:12

Hi mamas!!

Today, I wanted to share with you guys some natural remedies to relief the itch from mosquito bites.

Living in Singapore, it's one of the few places in the world that's summer 24/7. We are a tropical country with loads of sunshine and plenty of rain. Unfortunately, that also means mosquitoes.

Fortunately, I usually am well-prepared and armed with mosquito patches, repellent spray, oils, lotions and all sorts of potions (if you've read my last post on mosquitoes, you'll know that I am crazy about preventing mosquito bites).

But if you do get bitten, fret not. Here's some pointers to stop it from itchy.

Whilst I am no authority/scientist/doctor, this is all from personal experience. I ALWAYS GET BITTEN. Without fail. Put me in an outdoor area with 100 other people and NO ONE will get bitten except for me. 

Not only do mosquitoes love me, but I also react quite badly to mosquito bites and end up with hot, red, angry welts.

So here it is!

1) CELLOTAPE

Yes, whatever you call it, scotchtape, magic tape... whatever it is, just slap some tape over the mosquito bite. 

There's something about the oxygen interaction that causes a bite to itch like crazy. Once you cut off the oxygen supply, it will no longer itch and in fact, subside much quicker. 

I always have tape or plasters handy during outdoor trips.

Pediatricians also recommend this for babies because it's 100% chemical-free.

2) ESSENTIAL OILS

I find that essential oils work a similar manner and starves the bite of oxygen because the film of oil stops oxygen from interacting with the bite. 

My favourite to use on a bite is Lavender oil, because it doesn't require any dilution. Just pick it up straight from the bottle and you're good to go, and dab sparingly.

I am a Young Living junkie so if you don't know where to pick up some good quality oils, do google them.

I've been told that Tea tree oil is really good as it is anti-bacterial too, but because it's  a lot stronger of an oil, it might require dilution, making it less portable (in my opinion anyway).

With all oils, please do a test patch as skin sensitivity varies.

Hope this helps! Enjoy!!! Let me know what works best!


Popcorn for toddlers January 09, 2017 18:11

My husband and I went to the supermarket the other day, and we saw a pack of organic popcorn kernels. And we thought to ourselves, woah our son would love it. It would pop, make noise... fill the house with a wonderful smell and tastes delicious. Amazing. We would win brownie points with our baby boy!

We actually bought it, brought it home... but Christmas came and went. We were travelling in and out of Singapore, had visitors... threw us out of our routine really. 

That pack of popcorn kernel stayed in the kitchen pantry.

I'm kind of grateful for that, because I didn't know that the American Academy of Pediatrics actually don't recommend popcorn till 4 years old, because the unpopped kernels can be a choking hazard.

Other high-risk foods include hard candy, peanuts/nuts, seeds, whole grapes, raw carrots, apples, popcorn, chunks of peanut butter, marshmallows, chewing gum, and sausages.

Children sometimes forget to chew thoroughly and swallow without giving much thought. Sometimes they choke, especially when they get excited with their favourite food. 

The only reason I chanced upon this piece of information was because a fellow parent shared this information on Facebook, in light of the recent tragedy of Mirranda Grace Lawson. 

As a mother, it was really hard for me to read and stomach.

The best thing for me to do is to share this piece of information to prevent it from happening to others.

Rest in peace Mirranda.

Parents, please stay vigilant.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead.

XO

 

 


Homemade Yoghurt Pops October 25, 2016 10:32

I know parents have varying opinions on whether their children should/could/would consume sugar. 

(Note:  Every parent knows what is best for their kid(s). I just wanted to share my experience and what's been working for us.)

Before I had Baobao, I was convinced to keep him sugar-free and salt-free for as long as possible. And for the first 18 months I was pretty good at it.

However, once he got a little older, attended birthday parties, family festivities, I realized it was impossible to avoid. 

The more I kept him away from it, the more he would go crazy and his eyes would light up everytime he was in the vicinity of sugar. 

So my husband and I decided to try something else - instead of forbidding him from having sugar, we decided to give it to him, in moderation.

It worked really well for us - instead of going crazy whenever he was allowed to have it (because he was so deprived from it usually), he actually became LESS interested in sugar - because it was like "hey, no big deal". 

He was offered a donut at school and he didn't give it his time of day.

Here's a great option for healthy dessert that we have been giving to Bao.

There's no exact recipe, just go with the flow and whatever you feel like having that day!

Easy homemade yoghurt pops

Base: Greek yoghurt (we use whole fat, unsweetened, organic greek yoghurt)

To sweeten: We have been using either raw coconut nectar or good old honey. Start with a tablespoon, mix, and taste. Add as much (or as little) as you prefer.

I usually then throw it all into a blender with fruits. Bao prefers strawberry, but we have also thrown in mangoes, blueberries... you get the idea.

Blend well and spoon into popsicle molds, freeze, and enjoy. 

Let me know if you guys try it out! 

It's healthy, full of priobiotics and calcium. Kids get their sugar fix/sweet cravings satisfied with a more nutrient-dense option.

 


What I am coveting at the moment: October 21, 2016 17:21

Tiger Balm Mosquito Repellent Patches.

Truly mean it, this is NOT a sponsored or affiliated post.

Ever since the rise of Zika cases in Singapore, I am sure everyone has been extra vigilant and taking precautions.

Bao is a boy, so naturally very sweaty as he likes to run about. Hence, lotions and creams are not a great option for him. He will sweat them off very quickly.

I tried to explore using mosquito repellent bracelets and devices but Bao does not like having things strapped on to him, and he'd simply remove and throw them on the ground or pass them to me.

So, I have found these patches very effective and they give me a peace of mind.

With no harsh chemicals, the active ingredient is Citronella, a plant that mosquitoes naturally detest.

Of course, whilst they are not 100% foolproof, I am confident that Bao's school is taking every preventative measure to stop mosquitoes breeding on school compound, and also actively eliminating all mosquitoes on campus.

So paired together, I have found them very effective.

I have used them on my entire family, especially when we go for walks in the Botanical Garden. So far, so good. I am extra cautious and use one on the upper body and one on the lower half.

Not going to lie, they smell pretty strong - you probably want to put them off after you get out of your car.

Have a good weekend, my green warriors.


I promise to blog more often October 19, 2016 16:55

No going to lie: I have been kept really busy by an array of things. My last post was almost 6 months ago.

During that time, we took Baobao to the US and he recently started school.

But I promise, to be more of an active blogger starting today.

Speaking of which, Baobao has been crying every morning at school, when it's time to say goodbye. He's been going to school for about 2 months. 

Every morning, during drop off, he will start getting very clinging, despite being very excited to be there. I think he genuinely loves school and enjoys spending time with his teachers and friends.

Eventually, when it's time for me to stay goodbye, he will cry uncontrollably. The teachers tell me that he does stop after 1 min or so, but as a mother I feel very guilty every morning.

Suddenly, this morning, he didn't cry. He waved goodbye and kept himself entertained. I felt so proud. Felt a little sad because it's the end of an era, the boy is all grown up.

Let's hope it was not a one-off fluke, and that there will be no tears tomorrow. 

I shall keep you all posted.

Any parents out there? Care to share with me, how long did your child(ren) cry for when they first started school? My parents said I cried daily for 3 months, and that this is Karma.... :)


Restaurants with a play area in Singapore May 03, 2016 17:23

Hi Everyone!

Trust that you guys had a great Labour Day weekend!

During this long weekend, my husband and I wanted to bring our son to a restaurant with a play area. Ok, so we did some googling, and found that there are quite a few of them, but we had a few requirements of our own.

1) Outdoor/indoor are both fine - but because Bao is under 2 years old, we would prefer that the play area is within the line of vision from the table.

2) Great kid's menu options

3) Accessible - we can park nearby and it won't be too much of a walk/hike for us, in case of rain. I heard Fabulous Baker Boy is great, but I was also told the hike from the car park to the restaurant is a little long... Nonetheless, I am intending to check that place out soon!

So far, the only place that remotely fits our requirements are PS Cafe at Dempsey. We love going there as the food is delicious and Bao loves going to the outdoor area with his favourite basketball.

Please parents, share your secret spots with me! It'll be much appreciated!

Stay safe!


I can't fit into my jeans - 19 months on... March 24, 2016 16:24

So I decided to do a spring clean today - I've outgrown, both literally and figuratively, most of my clothes.

Gone are the days of mid-riff bearing crop-tops, which I used to wear whilst visiting multiple alcohol-driven establishments. 

Gone are also the days of silk/dry-clean only tops, because my son has quite the knack for soiling my clothes.

Oh and also anything that has a V-neck that's 2 inches below the collarbone, because my son will somehow pull my top down and I will inadvertently flash the world.

And of course, how can I forget, my super skinny jeans. My faithful super skinny Topshop jeans - they have seen me at my best, and my worst. Our love affair spans over a decade, across several continents, and outlasted some of my relationships.

But I can't fit into them anymore. I have to get rid of them.

So this blog post will be dedicated to my navy Topshop Leigh jeans, which I bought in the UK during my first year there at University.

Of course, in the years that have past, my weight has fluctuated. I used to be scale-obsessed so whenever my jeans got tight and the numbers went up, I would diligently diet and make sure I dropped the weight and lose the muffin top.

Getting older (and hopefully wiser), I gave up on the number game (on the scale) and focused on trying to eat better and healthier. Of course, here and there, my jeans would get more snug than usual, but I would amp up my exercise routine and basically lived by the rule of "moderation" - that everything in moderation was okay. For a long period, I didn't even bother to look at the scale.

I want to say that my journey with fitness over the years, has been a very positive one. Not just exercise, but understanding how certain foods can affect my body, impact my work out... It has evolved to become a lifestyle. It's no longer about chasing the next fad diet or meal plan, or trying the new trendy workout. I try to be consistent whilst having fun - basically, "moderation".

I promise I will get to the point real soon, hang in there.

I felt like I had finally found a great balance and was in tune and understood my body. 

Then, I GOT PREGNANT.

You literally lose control of your body, and there is nothing you can do. I remember, feeling sick the entire first 14 weeks, wanting to sleep 23 out of 24 hours of the day... It was crazy. And of course, gaining weight is a part of it. I remember getting really worried towards the end because I had gained more weight than I had anticipated.

Suddenly, after my son was born, I became obsessed with the scale again, for the first time in years. I gave myself 9 months to lose the weight, because lets get real - I took 9 months to gain it. 

After about 11 months of exercising and eating in moderation, I got back down to pre-baby weight. But I can tell you, my body has changed, totally.

My "fats" have gone into hiding at different parts of my body - they now reside at an area that was totally lean and tone before pregnancy. Of course, with specific work outs I can, in time, eradicate this issue. But my point is that it's so crazy how your body changes and stores fat and muscles at different places.

Also, my hip bones have shifted and they are now wider. No matter what I do, that is something I cannot change. And I have come to accept it.

So, what am I trying to say, having written all of this?

Being a mother has changed my life, on so many different levels. Mentally, emotionally... my lifestyle, my mindset, and my body. 

My jeans serve as a reminder of the person that I used to be. I loved who I was before, but, I love who I am now, even more. 

I am many different roles, and my life has evolved - a daughter, a wife, a student, a leader... but first and foremost, I am a mother.

To all the other mothers out there - give yourself some time, some teething period, to get used to it. I remember how hard the early days were when my son was born. My body might have taken 19 months to "normalize", but I think my mind honestly took a little more. That being said, over time, I am definitely "in the groove", and loving it.

So goodbye, my beloved jeans. I hope you find a better home.


Brushing my toddler's teeth March 10, 2016 18:09

As all the books will tell you, you need to brush your toddler's teeth as soon as they erupt - that you need them to form a habit, and understand the importance of brushing their teeth.

I honestly tried very hard. I've tried offering him the toothbrush at all hours of the day, be it first thing in the morning, 5pm, or bedtime... He simply refuses it. 

He used to be better and would entertain me for a bit, and brush maybe his front teeth. As he has gotten older, he would simply lick the toothbrush, or chew on it, and then it ends up on the floor.

I have tried demonstrating and brushing together with them, but to no avail.

Usually I am here sharing my experiences and triumph, but I am admitting defeat. 

Any parents out there having the same issues? Please share your success stories with me, I'm so desperate I will try anything.

I am trying to find a product that can help me out in this area, wish me luck...

Till the day I get my son to brush his teeth, I guess I will have to deal with his smelly breath...


Coming out of hibernation February 17, 2016 17:18

I am not going to lie, my son and I have been hibernating, and down with the post-holiday blues. Well, post-Chinese New Year blues.

So now that we are home, we are settling back into our usual routine again.

I decided during the holidays that upon our return, I am going to sleep-train him.

Some background - he has always been a not-so-great sleeper. He only slept through the night at around 16 weeks. I have been told by many people (and literature) that average babies sleep through the night around 10-13 weeks. Of course, every baby is different. 

After that, he was sleeping through the night for quite a few months, until he started the dreaded T - teething. His sleep was a mayhem. He would go from sleeping through the night to waking up every hour or so. It was a killer. Personally, I have always found interrupted sleep to be worse than a short, uninterrupted sleep. Give me 5 hours over 8 intermittent hours everyday.

Eventually he kind of found his groove again, and he would sleep through the night maybe 5 out of 7 nights a week. And it has stayed this way.

This is all on top of the fact that every night, he needs someone there to feel secure enough to sleep. He prefers to be hugged and carried to sleep, sometimes snuggled and carried. When he's asleep, I will move him into his own bed, in his own room. But throughout the night, he will wake up and cry and I will go over to his room.

My pediatrician says that this is the real reason he wakes up at night - he associates being hugged, sung to, patted, coddled etc as the only way to sleep. So when he wakes up at night, all alone, he can't go back to sleep. He is unable to self-sooth.

Thus, he suggests I embark on a sleep-training programme to encourage him to self-sooth. In the long run, he will still wake up at night, but he will be able to sooth himself back to sleep.

So how have I been doing this? Since a couple of nights ago (and his daytime naps), I have simply placed him in his bed. I will kiss him and tell him it's sleep time, and I will sit in the corner of his room. I will stay there till he falls asleep.

Some literature will tell you to leave the room, and let him cry it out - but I really can't. I have nothing but respect for parents who can do that, and I know it is efficient, but I cannot do it. It breaks my heart to hear him cry.

He's been doing this with the company of his beloved bunny. The pediatrician recommended we give him a soft toy, something that will keep him company and make him feel a little more secure. So, I gave him an organic bunny and he has been doing great. I really highly recommend this organic soft toy, both it's filling and outer shell are organic! Take a look here - http://www.thelittlebao.com/collections/wooly-organic/products/wooly-organic-cuddly-bunny-soft-toy

It's been pretty successful. The first night, it took 75mins. By naptime the next day, it was down to 60mins. Last night, it took him 30mins to fall asleep. I am hoping it will get shorter and shorter.

Eventually I will leave the room before he falls asleep. But I will do it slowly, baby steps, one day at a time. 

Will keep you guys posted!

 


Flying with my toddler. February 01, 2016 16:17

Before we start, I wanted to thank everyone who came and supported us over the weekend at the UWC fair. It was so much fun and I had a great time meeting everybody. I really hope you enjoy your products as much as I enjoy them!

Chinese New Year will be upon us in just a few days! As usual, I travel with Baobao and my husband. Home, where we originally moved from, is a 4 hours flight from Singapore. We have been making this journey numerous times since Baobao's birth. The first time we did this flight with him, he was 2 months old. 

I remember how frantic I was, packing for that maiden journey with him. I was worried, nervous, and definitely overpacked. Actually, I look back now, and I realize how silly I was. He barely needed anything. At that age, all he needed was me (for nursing reasons, haha). He didn't need toys, or entertainment. Maybe an extra set of clothes and some blankets. But that really was it.

The older he got, the crazier it got too. I remember the first time I travelled with him after he started crawling - that was a whole new level of crazy. He was trying to wriggle everywhere, wanted to crawl, wanted to touch everything. Of course, I let him, within reason. But it was dangerous with all the food services, hot drinks, trolleys whizzing past threatening to take out his little fingers (well the paranoid mom in me felt that way....). I remember the wave of relief I felt when we stepped off the plane. I felt the world's best mother for surviving that flight. I was so proud of myself, and thought, well, the worst is over.

The next time we got on a plane, Baobao had learnt how to walk. When I say walk, it was really more of a "running like a drunk man". That was crazier than the last. He was also getting physically stronger. Baobao is 13kg and 90cm - my husband and I always say that he's pretty strong, pound for pound. When he is really determined to go somewhere, he will fight me and pull and push with all his might - unfortunately sometimes, he does win. I don't know if that's a reflection on my lack of physical strength. Haha. I like to tell myself he's just exceptionally strong.

So, I switched up the tactics. Instead of trying to contain him, I was constantly trying to distract him. Colouring books, story books, cartoons, snacks....everything, you name it, I got it. All packed into that duffle bag that we use as his diaper bag. 

I think every parent will agree with me that, the best time is when your child falls asleep on the plane. The minute I notice he's starting to rub his eyes, I will cradle him like he's still the baby he was months ago. I usually get him to sleep for around 2 hours, which gives me some time to recharge, eat, watch half a movie (I get to finish the other half on the flight back), so I still look decent when we land.

If you guys have any great travel tips for me, please do share!!!!

XO


DRUM ROLLS PLEASE!!! UWCSEA COMMUNITY FAIR! January 28, 2016 18:37

We are so stoked to be participating in the UWCSEA Dover Community Fair 2016

Come and join us, the community fair features international food stalls, shopping, face painting... lots of fun and games. 

We will be at the Main Hall, Stall 8.

Hop on down, come say hello, and we have special surprises prepared for our Little Bao customers!

More information can be found at https://www.uwcsea.edu.sg/community-fair

Date: 30th Jan 2016, Saturday
Time: 10am-4pm
Address: UWCSEA Main Hall. 1207 Dover Road. Singapore 139654. STALL #8.


Mama is down with a nasty cold.... January 25, 2016 17:18

So I was thinking over the weekend, what should I write about on Monday? 

You know how they say, things have a way of finding you when you stop looking? 

I am down with a cold - runny and congested nose, very very sore throat, pounding headache... the works. I have it all.

The hardest part about being sick isn't the "feeling-under-the-weather" part. It's that I have to quarantine myself away from my 17 month old boy. (From this point on, let's refer to him as Baobao) 

I know there's many school of thoughts - to all the other mothers out there, we all know that we have different beliefs and different ways of doing things. I am not here to tell you what's wrong, or right, or superior... I am just here to share my experience.

I don't want to pass my cold to my son, because it makes it very hard for me to look after him. I don't have the energy to tend to him at night (he gets very fussy at night when he's unwell), especially with the cocktail of drowsy medication that I am on.  I am all for "letting the kids get sick and build up their immune systems".  Like any average child his age, Bao is exposed to all sorts of germs and bacteria on a daily basis. He runs around, picks up stuff, puts it in his mouth, comes into close proximity with other children and adults... There is no running away from all the nasties. 

But I try very hard not to spread my illness to my family, particularly my son, because I am the main caregiver of the entire household - I keep this household running. If I am down, the others will have a very miserable time because I am not at my 100% to tend to them. 

So what have I been doing to prevent this from happening?

1) Wearing a mask

 

OK obviously that is not me, haha. 

I have been wearing a surgical mask since I started feeling "off", even out in public. I think it's only right for me to be considerate and not spread to it to the rest of the general population too. 

I make my family wear a mask if they're ill around me - they hate it but they know its necessary. 

It helps stems the spreading because it holds in all the droplets from my nose and mouth, which contains the virus. Think of all the saliva and excretions when you talk, sneeze or cough. 

2) Frequent handwashing

 

People very often touch their face and body parts and not realize it. Afterwards they go on to do a multitude of things, such as preparing food, touching someone else, and touching shared public objects such as doorknobs, handlebars, buttons on a lift etc. The bacteria and germs can multiply very quickly - think about how many people will push the buttons on a lift, or the doorknob to a public toilet? 

Proper handwashing eliminates germs and bacterias and decreases the speed of the nasties multiplying. 

I am in the midst of sourcing for a natural, anti-bacterial soap for you mama's out there, so stay tuned!

When I am in a pinch, I just spray AQ Bio handsprays (http://www.thelittlebao.com/collections/home-and-laundry-cleaners/products/sanitizing-spray-general-purpose). They are amazing and natural, with no additives or fragrance. It is water-based and sanitizes 99.9% of the germs on your hands and whatever item you spray it on. It's so gentle, you can even spray it in your mouth (I am being serious). Gentle on you and your kids, but tough on the nasties. 

I hope these 2 tips can help you mamas out there.

Going to crawl back into bed now.

XO