Monthly Archives

December 2012

(Self) Examination Family life as we know it

Last post for the year

December 30, 2012

I entered the year 2012 with an additional 26 kilos and waddling like a penguin in the last trimester of my third pregnancy. I was worn out and beyond exhausted, and worst of all, extremely apprehensive as I tried hard to imagine what life would be like as a mother of three very young kids.

Fast forward 12 months.

Two words would aptly sum out how I feel now. I survived. No, make that three words. Yay, I survived!

2012 has been an eventful year indeed. I had my third child. I started a blog and that in itself has been an enriching journey. I made new friends with mom bloggers and found comfort in the fact that I am not alone in this journey and that there are mothers like me whose favourite time of the day is when their children are all asleep, and whose lives have also been turned upside down by adrenaline-charged children, never ending to-do lists and frequent bouts of mommy guilt. I also made the biggest decision of my life, sometime this year, to leave my job and homeschool my children (that’s going to happen in 2013). In sum, I laughed, cried, made mistakes and climbed the steep learning curve called motherhood every day of 2012.

In 2013, I know for a fact that I would continue to laugh, cry and make mistakes. I would also continue my ascent up the steep mountain of learning how to be a better mother every day. It’s gonna be same, same but different. There’ll be new challenges, more frustration and perhaps even more feelings of exasperation and anguish. But I know it will be a journey that will also bring immeasurable joy, and a tremendous sense of fulfilment that is for myself to savour alone.

I will also be watching the three of them grow up together. This coming year, I’ll have the opportunity to teach them, shape them and spend more time loving them. And that is getting me all excited.

 Happy New Year, everyone! See you in 2013!

Homelearning fun Product Reviews Reviews The Kao Kids

Learning about moving air – Blow Wind Blow Lollibox product review

December 28, 2012

December has been such a busy month. There was shopping to do, errands to run, a road trip to prepare for, and the lethargy that followed to unwind from.

I’ve been meaning to try the activities in the LolliBox which was couriered over to us earlier this month but we were just too busy to do so. Finally, we had a chance to unwind from all the festivity and merry-making today. We checked out what’s in our “Blow Wind Blow” box  and learned something about moving air.

The Blow Wind Blow Lollibox

Inside the box: materials for a hands-on project to create a sailboat and a theme-based project to measure and record the wind with a windsock, additional selected activities to enrich the kids in line with the theme, and a reward badge for the kids to boost their sense of achievement. The Lollibox was created with 3-7 years old children in mind, and I’m sure by the age of 4, a kid can pretty much take the box, ask Mama what the instructions in each pack are, and go to work on his own. Seeing that I have a 2 year-old and a 3.5 year-old who can only be meaningfully engaged for at most 15 minutes, I’d thought I try out the hands-on project with them.

I introduced the word “wind” to Ben and the letter “w” to Becks. “Wind” is defined as moving air, and something we can’t see but can feel. We stood still for 30 seconds to enjoy the wind coming through our window. Thank God it was a windy day today!

Learning how to spell wind

We then used the paint provided in the pack and painted the sailboat together. Becks didn’t want to move on and wished to continue painting, so I brought out more paper to indulge her, while I moved on to decorate the sail with Ben.

Painting a sailboat together

Decorating the sail

Sailboat completed! And that was a good 15 minutes of meaningful engagement.

Sailboat completed

We tested the sailboat when the paint dried up but unfortunately, the sailboat couldn’t sail! The wooden base was too heavy and it kept sinking. Ben was blowing his face silly but it refused to move in the direction he wanted it too.

Blowing the sail

The box came with theme-related questions for the children and another theme-based project, which I felt was more suitable for ages 5 and up. To make a windsock and to record and measure wind would require more than fifteen minutes on my end which I couldn’t afford because the baby was waking and Becks was almost flooding the bathroom playing with water and paint. Shall leave it for another time. Perhaps next year when Ben is ready to skip a nap.

More details:
  • Lollibox is a subscription service that delivers hands-on fun to your doorstep. In every LolliBox you’ll receive all the materials and inspiration for projects related to a theme such as animals, plants, colors and many more. Projects may include art and craft, science activities, imaginative play and others. The activities are carefully selected and encourage curiosity, exploration and creativity.
  • You can also purchase individual theme boxes. Check out their product page here.

Milestones and growing up Parenting 101 Re: learning and child training The Kao Kids What to Expect... As a Mother

Fighting sleep at naptime: Kids 1, Mama 0

December 27, 2012

All three kids got to skip school after the Christmas holiday, just so I can have a taste of what my life would be like come next year March.

Actually, it’s because Nat has conjunctivitis (again!) and I had grand plans to read and do craft with the older two kids.

But I also managed to get a glimpse of what my life would be like next year. *Gulp*

Every day, I do the impossible. It’s just impossible to make them eat their breakfast, lunch and dinner without me yelling, threatening and tearing my hair out. It’s impossible to get them to the bath to be clean without having to count to three.

But that’s not the worst. The worst, and the one I dread most, is nap time.

In daycare, the two older kids (and now even Baby Nat) follow a routine. By 1pm, I hear, they would’ve had their lunch, shower and milk and would be fast asleep. The teachers tell me Ben and Becks have no problems at all falling asleep together with their friends. It’s peer pressure, they say.

It’s a different thing altogether at home. There’s no sign of sleepiness at 12, 1, 2, 3, no, not even 4pm. Even if they were up at 7am.  I don’t give them sugary treats and so I am always wondering why it would take them so long to finally settle and take their afternoon nap. I’ll get them to start winding down by about 2.30pm, put them to bed by 3pm and they would be tossing, turning, chortling and saying the most random things to each other.

Ben: You’re so poot poot la la. Hahahaha.

Becks: You’re so di dom dar doo. Hee ha ha ha. La la la.

Ben: I’m not la. You silly pom pom pee.

Becks: YES! You sullee ballee tom tee.

Ben: NO! Poot poot doo doo.

Becks: YES! Ba baa yooooo….

Ben: NO!

Ben & Becks: (together) Hahahahahahaha!

This happens every day without fail. All this while the baby is whining outside, calling out in his babbling, “I need milk. I need my mother. I don’t want to be carried around by the maid. Oh please, would you let me join in the fun with my kor kor and jie jie”. All this while I’m asking them to stop the laughing and to close their eyes. All this while I’m holed up in the room for one and a half (precious) hours patting them till my hands are sore and numb.

Just now, I had to smack Becks five times on her diapered bum for doing the freestyle and breaststroke on her bed while pretending to close her eyes. I had to use the cane three times on her thighs for jumping in and out of bed despite my instructions to get in bed and prepare for nap. I also lost my cool at Ben who fidgeted and squirmed for two hours, to be exact (his sister finally fell asleep before him), picking his nose, scratching his ears, and pretending to be asleep. He was winking and blinking and secretly laughing at his sister while she was being disciplined.

Meanwhile my helpless helper outside the room was rocking my baby silly till he finally fell asleep, tired from all the whining for Mama.

People say in order to get as much rest as possible, I should sleep when my children do. I say, after getting all worked up, I’d rather put up this post than to lie in bed. And go eat some chocolates and think about how I’m gonna do things differently at tomorrow’s naptime.


Finally asleep! At last!


Christmas happiness Going Out! The Kao Kids

What fun it is to laugh and sing

December 26, 2012

We took a road trip up north this long weekend.

Days before leaving for Desaru, the kids were like, “Are we going? Are we going yet? Are we?”; on the two hour car trip there, they were quizzing every waking minute, “Are we there yet? Are we at Desaru already? Are we?”; and when we got there, they were going, “What shall we do next? What can we do now? Can we…?”.

I felt like I was living life out of a Baby Blues comic strip.

So while the kids jumped around like monkeys, shot water from their Super Soaker Nerf guns (at their mother, baby brother, grandpa and aunt), played with light sticks, screamed Jingle Bells all the way through Christmas Eve and watched the fireworks display leading to Christmas Day, the adults were totally tired out and couldn’t wait to get home to laze in bed to enjoy the nice, cool, rainy weather.

Super Soaker ready

We don’t get no silent nights no more since the kids came along. But hey, we ain’t complaining.

Merry Christmas from the Kao pirates!

Hope you had a great Christmas too.

Ben Kao Getting all sentimental now Love language Milestones and growing up

“Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you”

December 21, 2012

Maybe because he’s been to a couple of weddings and is beginning to understand the concept of a family. He’s seen and heard a few of our close friends exchange vows and knows a wedding takes place with someone you love and want to be with forever.

At bedtime tonight…

Ben: Mama, next time I’m going to marry you.

Me: You can’t, my dear. I’m married.

Ben: (tears welling up his eyes) But I want to be with you. I want to marry you.

Me: I’m married to Dada. That’s how you, Becks and Nat came about! So I’m so sorry, son, I can’t marry you.

Ben: (starting to cry) *sob*

Me: Someday, you’ll find someone whom you love, and who loves God and loves you. And you will marry her.

Ben: Then I’m not getting married.

He said that with such a tone of finality. Well, if he ever remembers this conversation thirty years later.

Today, I saw a little more through the eyes of my firstborn, the one who came and changed my world forever. He’s thinking ahead of himself, and wondering if we can still be as close and as tight as he grows older. And he’s made me the centre of his universe.

Ben at two years old

Ben at two years old

Christmas happiness The Kao Kids

An enchanted early Christmas

December 20, 2012

When the kids were younger, they clung on to me like koala babies whenever we’re at parties. They were shy, extremely wary of people who said hi to them and terrified of those in funny costumes twisting and shaping balloons. Now that they are a little older, they’re beginning to really enjoy being at one. So now, every time I announce, “We’re going to a party!”, Ben and Becks go “Yay! Party!” and don’t stop jumping around the house like kangaroos for the next thirty seconds.

Last Sunday, we received a very kind invitation from the Forest Friends to attend their exclusive pop-up party at the White Studio at Fort Canning Centre to celebrate Christmas, and I must say, it was an enjoyable, enchanted evening indeed.

The Enchanted Christmas Party

The party was a cosy affair and planned meticulously for younger kids. There were festive fun stations all around the studio and friendly “Christmas buddies” to assist the little ones at each station. After grabbing some yummy mini cupcakes and cookies from the buffet table filled with little treats, Ben and Becks had a great time decorating their Christmas trees and colouring Christmas bookmarks and pictures of Santa. They also loved Captain Dazzle’s magic show and were very tickled by his juggling, teasing and the missing Santa trick.

Ben decorating his tree

Kids colouring

Becks colouring

Best of all, they sunk their first bite into Christmasy goodies and candies, just cos’ it’s Christmas.

Ben and his Christmas candy

Becks and her Christmas candy

The kids were also sketched by a really talented artist at the party at one of the stations. These caricatures of them were the highlight of my day. In those few minutes they tried to sit still, the artist was able to give attention to the details (like Becks’ rabbit-head shoes!) and capture their personality in his sketches. Way too cool!


The weather was also lovely for lots of outdoor play in snow suds. It may not be real and a tad soapy for their shoes and clothes but the little ones had fun running around the “snow machine” and looking like every moment’s a picture perfect moment. This was as close to snow we could get, for now.

Ben in Christmas snow

Snow fun

Mama & Becks

The kids enjoyed themselves tremendously and had an exhilarating time. So much so they wanted to blow soap suds in the bathroom for the next few days just so they could recreate being in “snow”.  A trip to see the real stuff is in order, I know; but till then, thank you for inviting us, Forest Friends!

Becks Kao Ben Kao Bento Attempts Food, glorious food! Parenting 101 Re: learning and child training The Kao Kids

Mealtime woes: an update

December 19, 2012

Bentos for December

So far, I’ve made some crabs, two snowmen and even a frazzled mother (that is me, yelling “PLEASE EAT!”). I’ve even attempted to make a stegosaurus with macaroni to join my son in his dino craze this month.

Have we made any progress? Ben is appreciative and eating better, and I’m really happy my efforts paid off. As for Becks, she’s still picking the bits she likes and refusing to eat most of the mains in her bento.

My conclusion? My kids don’t like chinese food; or rather, they’d much prefer soba, seaweed, pasta, cheese and ham anytime. Rice is always the tricky one to get them to eat. And oh yes, they absolutely dislike bread. The good thing is, they love fruits of every sorts and cherry tomatoes, and these will have to be the mainstay of all their bento meals for a long while.


Milestones and growing up Nat Kao Parenting 101 Product Reviews Reviews

iChew [Product review + a discount code]

December 18, 2012

The vast majority of babies sprout their first teeth between 4 and 7 months of age. Baby Nat had his first bottom middle at 6 months. Now, at 9 months, he has 6 teeth – the bottom two middle teeth, top two middle ones and two more at the sides. Good thing is, he doesn’t have the same fussiness and irritability his sister had when she was teething (my goodness, she was a screamer, alright) nor the sleep problems his brother had when he teeth broke through.

This happy little honey bun just dribbles all day long. Oh, and he also loves to bite. This is the little teether gnawing away:

This is him finding out how juicy my left thigh is:

Somebody give this boy a teether, please!

When the folks at Maternity Exchange asked me to pick a gift for my baby from their wide range of fun and quirky gift and accessories, I picked the Sophie the Giraffe Ice Bite Telephone Teether which I felt would be perfect for Nat to grasp and handle. This teether provides just the kind of relief a teething baby with sore gums needs. Upon refrigeration, the cold anaesthetises the pain caused by teething, and the hard parts protect baby’s hands from the cold. I had to get this for Nat because I haven’t found much success getting him to use the hand-me-down teethers from his siblings; they are so cold to hold he usually can’t last more than three seconds.

So with this Ice Bite Telephone Teether, the little boy got to say “hello” to Sophie the Giraffe

And had his sore gums soothed with a new toy to nom nom nom away

It was great that he could hold on to it for a while and changed the sides to chew and explore. That kept him busy for some time.

With a teether so cleverly designed like this, I’m sure we’ll be able to tide through the dribbling, drooling and biting. At least I know my thighs will be safe for now.

More details:
  • Sophie Ice Bite Telephone Teether and other Sophie Baby Teethers are available in-store at #03-108 Marina Square and online at
  • Just for Motherkao’s readers, shop online and receive 10% off regular-priced gift and accessories! To enjoy the discount, enter the promo code “motherkao” when you check-out. Applicable for online store purchases only and valid till 31 January 2013. Free shipping is available for any orders of $100 and above.
  • Maternity Exchange offers a wide range of gift and accessories for mummies, babies and also daddies alike. Indulge your expectant friends and loved ones, or even yourself with some wacky, practical or simply delightful gifts! Check out their range of gifts & accessories here.
  • This Christmas, Maternity Exchange has new gift bundles that combine practical, fun and witty gifts that are sure to bring joy and laughter this festive season! All bundles come prettily packaged, from $80 for a basic one to $220 for a luxurious gift set.

*Discount applies to most gifts & accessories storewide except promotional & clearance items, MX Gift Vouchers, Hem Gems, Hollywood Fashion Tape, the Sophie range and other selected products. Maternity and nursing wear, lingerie and swimwear not included.*

**Disclosure: Baby Nat received the Ice Bite Telephone Teether for the purpose of this review. All text and opinions are Motherkao’s own.**

Becks Kao Milestones and growing up Parenting 101 Re: learning and child training What to Expect... As a Mother

Mama’s not ready for toilet training even if you are

December 17, 2012

When you have one kid that constantly needs to be engaged, one kid that is always engrossed and one kid that’s perpetually putting things in the mouth ranging from dirt to plastic bottle caps (and more recently fir leaves from our Christmas tree), you can forget about toilet training.

It’s time to toilet train the middle child but it’s been nothing more than a daunting feat.

Picture this: the girl’s at the stage where she’s fully aware of her need to go, finds the diaper cumbersome and wishes to do her business swiftly and confidently, just like her kor kor. She takes off her diaper (or refuses to wear it) and goes about the house, doing her own things. Mom occasionally remembers she has diapers off so she asks her for the first ten minutes of her diaper-off time, “Do you need to pass urine?” and reminds her to go to the toilet if she needs to. Then Mom goes about the house, doing the things she needs to do to keep everyone out of mischief, such as reading to the eldest brother, role-playing with no-diaper-little-miss herself, and stopping the baby from chewing the house down, which includes running up and down the hallway, into rooms, toilets and kitchen 459 times. Very soon, half an hour passes and everyone forgets that little-miss is not wearing her diaper, including little-miss herself.

Little-miss has so far peed on the playmats, the coffee table, while sitting on the sofa and halfway through pretend play, craft lessons and just walking around the house. After every “accident”, we’d remind her to go to the toilet when she needs to pee and she’d say “ok!”. Have I ever mentioned I have a daughter who plays with a great deal of abandonment?

It was much easier with Ben, partly because he’s the first kid and partly due to the fact that he’s a boy. Boys have it easy. Especially with the trainer urinal. All I needed to do was to put the urinal at an accesible height in the toilet and the novelty of pee-ing soon caught on. That boy just couldn’t wait to pass urine and watch what comes out. When he needed to poo, he’d would yell for an adult to fix the child toilet seat, sit there, entertain himself while doing his business, and ask for reward stickers after he was done. It was such a breeze, and so much fun.

With Becks, we have to keep reminding her of her need to go and even physically drag her there because she tends to lose herself in play and can get so engrossed she wouldn’t move an inch. There have been successes, to her credit. Sometimes she’ll walk to the toilet and sit on her potty. But of late, she seems to realise it’s no fun squatting, so she imitates her brother. And instead of wiping her, I end up having to bathe her after every time she tries to pee like him because she’ll be wet waist down. I also end up saying “I’m busy as it is already so stop pretending you have a penis, please”.

The worst is when she wants to pee but doesn’t hurry to the toilet and is next to the baby. Have I also mentioned besides enjoying putting things in his mouth, the baby also enjoys splashing in puddles?

I’m insisting that Becks wear her pull-up pants for now. She might be ready, but I’m certainly not.

Ben Kao Food, glorious food! The darndest kid quotes and antics

Things you didn’t know about a dragon fruit

December 16, 2012

Ben: Mama, how do we get dragon fruit?

Me: Erm, I think I bought it from the supermarket?

Ben: No, how does it grow and grow?

Me: From a tree?

Ben: No, I tell you, they kill those dragonflies and make them into dragon fruit!


A while later…

Ben: Mama, I finished my breakfast and all the dragon fruit, bread and cheese.

Me: That’s good.

Ben: But I didn’t eat those black black things.

Me: You mean the dragon fruit seeds?

Ben: Yes. I’m scared that if I bite them, they will burst out baby dragonflies.



What the kids had for breakfast today!

What the kids had for breakfast today!