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MotherKao

Going Out! Happy days Holidays! The Kao Kids

UK dreamin’

May 28, 2017

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There’s dirt on my shirt
And leaves in my hair
There’s mud on my boots
But I don’t really care

Playing outside is so much fun
To breathe the clean air
And feel the warm sun

To stomp in a puddle
Or climb a big tree
Makes me quite happy
Just look and you’ll see

Dirt on My Shirt by Jeff Foxworthy

 

(Self) Examination Becks Kao Milestones and growing up The Kao Kids

It’s dark.

May 19, 2017

If there’s a Dark Ages to my history of motherhood, this should be it.

It’s now looking like the darkest ever. The toddler and preschooling years were pretty manageable. Exhausting but manageable. There were poopy diapers to change, dirty mouths to clean and lots of bedtime stories to tell but looking back, except the fact that you hit the sack every night bone tired, those years with 3 kids at those milestones were pretty much OK to navigate through.

Now that the kids are older, the challenges that I am facing are mentally and emotionally exhausting. Besides schedules, learning needs, progress follow-ups in between sassy retorts and juvenile arguments, there’s also the middle child and her difficulty to cope with changes and transitions smacking me right in the face.

I wished I could document in detail the pain and heartache and challenges and horrible days I go through managing her but I have decided against that and am learning to emphathise from a child’s perspective – that it can be both embarrassing and difficult, and I should park the details at some recesses of my memory somewhere where it wouldn’t hurt her. Suffice to say, there’s a lot of stuff going on from January till now, from learning needs and anxiety to lack of confidence and disastrous meltdowns. They are all now rolled up into one giant mess ball, coupled with my initial inability to handle her at her point of need (I was harsh, firm, upset, hysterical, critical, judgmental and having my own meltdown with every meltdown she had) and we pretty much have a bad situation right now, bad enough for me to call it the Dark Ages of my gig in motherhood.

I told myself I wouldn’t write.

I would deal. I would learn. I would press on.

And until I have found that little success, that aha-I’ve-overcome! moment, I would not write or rant for fear that it would cause more damage. Because you know, people would tell you ‘It’s ok, you’ll be alright’ and ‘Don’t worry, you’re doing a good job‘, and I know for a fact that IT’S NOT OK and I AM NOT DOING A GOOD JOB.

Because if I truly have any ability to reflect, I really can be better.

I can be better at…

…being consistent – and not swing from extreme to extreme, one moment encouraging and the other moment turning into a monster and screaming at the kid

…empathising – hey look, Mama, she is having a hard time too, and I shouldn’t be the only thinking that I am having it hard

…riding the tantrum /meltdown out – because a tantrum is technically not a tantrum but a “a good, deep work on fear” which can be deep-rooted and needs lots of emotional work.

I’ve been reading a lot and finding comfort in the advice and articles on this website, Hand in Hand Parenting, and taking heart that I am not alone going through this; that probably a thousand has gone before me.

I’ve also learned to ask God boldly for patience, wisdom and peace, every single day, every single moment of having to go through this.

And most of all, I’ve learned that motherhood is about change. Because the person that you’re mothering will never stay the same.

Tis’ true, the saying: that the days are long but the years are short. I so miss those bubbly, happy tods in my brood and wish so much I could baby them over.

But hey, change is needed now, and onward I go – to soldier through the Dark Ages.

One step

Ben Kao Milestones and growing up Reviews

Going the Ortho-K way (Part 2)

May 6, 2017

It’s been two weeks since Ben started putting on his Ortho-k lenses. I shared in Part 1 why we decided to make that his choice of visual aid, and how we got him started by first taking him to Aero-V for a check up and subsequently getting his lenses customised.

So when we were informed that his custom made lenses arrived from the States, we headed down for a one-hour session at Aero-V with Brian to get Ben acquainted with his new visual aid to wear to sleep at night.

Now, for a noob to contact lenses, this may all be extremely overwhelming. Sticking something into your eye, and sticking hard lens (RGP lens, or rigid gas permeable, to be precise) that would make your eye feel uncomfortable for a few days till your eyes get used to it, would certainly be something that any child would feel jittery about.

But Ben’s mom was NO stranger at all to these things, having worn all possible kinds of contact lenses from soft to toric and RGP, and so I guess my familiarity – and that it wasn’t really THAT big a deal or anything to be afraid of – was something that my son could latch on quickly to to find comfort. I guess it helps that I had been a confident contact lens wearer for a good 14 years, and my don’t-worry-you’ll-be-fine attitude helped calm Ben significantly.

But of course, he was still a little apprehensive. Who wouldn’t?

Learning a new habit isn’t always easy. Ben still had to learn to put his Ortho-k on and take them out himself.

 

Getting acquainted with his lens - learning that the most important thing is CLEAN HANDS

Getting acquainted with his lens – learning that the most important thing is CLEAN HANDS

Putting it on -right side first always - with the help of a mirror and looking down, keeping eyes wide open at ALL TIMES

Putting it on -right side first always – with the help of a mirror and looking down, keeping eyes wide open at ALL TIMES

The technique of keeing one's eye wide open is to use the left hand to keep upper eye lid open wide up to the bone of the eye brow, and pulling the lower eye lid down with the right middle finger. Lens to be put on the right index.

The technique of keeing one’s eye wide open is to use the left hand to keep upper eye lid open wide up to the bone of the eye brow, and pulling the lower eye lid down with the right middle finger. Lens to be put on the right index.

DONE!

DONE!

And now the left. Never forget putting a drop of eye drops before wearing it to keep eyes lubricated while asleep

And now the left. Never forget putting a drop of eye drops before wearing it to keep eyes lubricated while asleep

Learning how keep the left eye open to put the left lens in quickly

Learning how keep the left eye open to put the left lens in quickly

After taking them off, and trying on his full degree spectacles for fit and comfort. This pair of spectacles is to stand by for days he wouldn't be able to put on his Ortho-k, like if he falls ill or goes for camps

After taking them off, and trying on his full degree spectacles for fit and comfort. This pair of spectacles is to stand by for days he wouldn’t be able to put on his Ortho-k, like if he falls ill or goes for camps

And of course, for a 8-year-old, it was daunting. Especially taking them out.

To ease his fear of squeezing his eye lids, we opted to use the little suction pump for removal, and vowed to have enough of these little pumps so we would never be found in a situation where can’t take the lens out (true story that happened to me when I wore RGP in my teen years).

The fitting and training session went well, and Ben got a little gift box – which Brian thoughtfully prepared – to bring home. The entire package with Aero-V to make his Ortho-k lense included the following:

Service at its best!

Service at its best!

  1. Ortho-k lens, custom-made
  2. a starter kit for lens cleaning
  3. a bottle of saline
  4. suction pump to remove the lens and Blink eye drops
  5. a mirror with back light
  6. a box and white cloth (more on that later, on the brilliance of simple things)
  7. two pairs of spectacles – one made to Ben’s full degree, and one with his power halved
  8. one year warranty for lens
  9. one year follow-up
  10. 24/7 access to the optometrist by email or whatsapp (how awesome, if we had any questions!)

How brilliant is the idea to do all the saline rinse over the transparent container box, and putting on the lens over a piece of white cloth. Why didn’t I think of that, in the past? Many a lens could have been saved from digging them out of the sink hole and bending on all fours to locate a missing lens with the feel of a finger.

Could.have.been.more.innovative.last.time.

I am happy to report that for two weeks now, the Ortho-k wearing has been a great success. Ben’s mother has been helping him put on and take off his Ortho-k for him religiously every night, and on two occasions where I came home late and he had no confidence to wear them on his own, he only needed to put on his half degree spectacles in the later part of the day.

But if he was on his Ortho-k in the night, he always managed to sleep well with zero discomfort and absolutely no eye-rubbing (he wears an eye mask to sleep) and woke up to perfect vision every morning after the lenses were taken off.

This has been the best thing for him so far, and I know my boy is loving the freedom of not having to wear his spectacles. I know he relishes in this freedom because I watched his grump level increase tremendously when I forced him to wear his half degree spectacles on those two occasions I didn’t manage to help him put his Ortho-k on to sleep.

Just compare this face…

Ben in his half degree

Ben in his half degree

With this contented one…

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Ben_OrthoKPart2 (3) - Copy - Copy

Mom’s definitely the more tired one, no thanks to needing to wake up when he wakes, and putting them on for him before he sleeps, and doing all the lens cleaning in between on his behalf. But thankfully, the boy has promised to step up his game next year to try to do this by himself! His freedom to swim, read, play and do sports with perfect vision every day (ever since that dreadful eye test result) without the need for any visual aid makes this mother’s efforts all worth it.

YAY TO NO-SPECKY BOY!

Disclosure: I didn’t get engaged by Aero-V to share this, but I am definitely recommending Brian and his impeccable service and professionalism if you’re seeking for an Ortho-K expert to advice you. All opinions here are my own.

All this blog's PR Stuff Product Reviews The Kao Kids

Solution to tracking after-school routines: the 3M Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface [Review]

April 15, 2017

I need a way to keep track.

Of my kids, and what they need to do at home, that is. 

Every day, while I am busy at work, my kids would call me on my mobile (and sometimes they sound so like one another) and ask if they could watch tv / go to the playground / go downstairs to scoot / play catch at the stairwell and I have no way of checking if they have followed the routine I set for them – which includes completing their school work, doing at least 30 minutes of homelearning and packing their room and study area.

And when one says (and sometimes I need to ask: Who am I speaking to? because they sound so alike!) “I’ve done my homework!” and I say, “Ok, you can head to the playground for an hour”, it usually means that ALL THREE of them ascend into the playground madness WHETHER or not ALL THREE of them have actually finished their homework.

And because I am not physically home to ensure the home routine is followed and my helper is usually busy with other more important things like laundry and dinner prep, the Kao kids have found a way to circumvent the after-school routine which I have set by just getting the one that’s done what he/she is supposed to do to call Mama to ask for tv time or play time.

Which also leaves me with a huge headache when I come home because I would check school bags (for Ben and Becks) and find worksheets undone, spelling not learned and revision of tests/quizzes totally not part of their after-school discipline.

I’m trying to get some things automatic here – like checking school bag for homework and completing it before play. It’s a good discipline to have and keeps the school-going ones doing at least the bare minimum for consistent academic work.

All this long-windedness to say one thing: HALLELUJAH for this timely delivery!

My favourite brand sent me this lately and it was in such appropriate timing to solve my present woes. The 3M Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface was a simple yet effective tool to help me keep track of the after-school routine.

This was how we did it:

Find an empty surface for an instant, flexible whiteboard solution - in our case, we have a wall space

Find an empty surface for an instant, flexible whiteboard solution – in our case, we have a wall space

Slowly and gently remove the backing so that the self-stick film can stick onto the wall - Nat (the shortest in the brood) needs to be the gauge for the height limit

Slowly and gently remove the backing so that the self-stick film can stick onto the wall – Nat (the shortest in the brood) needs to be the gauge for the height limit

Smoothen out bubbles with the 3M cloth provided

Smoothen out any bubbles with the 3M cloth provided

Line the borders with tape so that writing does not go beyond

Line the borders with tape so that writing does not go beyond

Remind children where the writing can start and where it must stop

Remind children where the writing can start and where it must stop

Allocate and task-check corner (I used black tape to create a table); and give instructions - every day after school check for (1) school work to be done (2) home learning revision to be done AND then put a smilely face in the box once completed

Allocate a task-check corner (I used black tape to create a table); and give instructions – every day after school check for (1) school work to be done (2) home learning revision to be done AND then put a smilely face in the box once completed

Declare the rest of the surface a doddle and practice corner. Becks immediately practises ting-xie words!

Declare the rest of the surface a doddle and practice corner. Becks immediately practises ting-xie words!

And this was how I solved my tracking problem by making it somewhat self-regulated; every school day there must be accountability for these two areas – school work and homelearning. And all by using a flexible whiteboard on an available wall space in the house.

So far, it’s been proving to be quite effective. Except I must say I am beginning to hate the marker dust bits settling everywhere and the kids have to be nagged all the time to wash their hands after every session  of scribbling on the wall.

Oh well, hopefully someday, someone invents a dust-less marker.

For now, some parts of the wall is also stained with marker stains, which is a little annoying. Although they aren’t writing on the wall, their enthusiasm when erasing things with a duster (think using broad arm strokes) sometimes cause some staining here and there at the edges.

Other than that, I am quite happy that such a sight is found daily in the evenings when the kids are winding down before going to bed:

Playing tic-tac-toe

Playing tic-tac-toe

Doodling and self-expression - notice how each kid has associated his/her favourite things by drawing them under their names

Doodling and self-expression – notice how each kid has associated his/her favourite things by drawing them under their names

…And I am happy to put up with some marker dust and a stained-markered wall in exchange for sibling moments like these.

Hopefully the self-regulated tracking doesn’t lose its momentum too!

~~~

More details:

3M introduces its first flexible whiteboard solution, the Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface, designed to transform ordinary surfaces into instant work and collaborative spaces. Utilising a proprietary dry erase coating, the Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface is a rolled, self-stick film product that easily adheres to horizontal or vertical surfaces, converting them into a pristine, dry erase board. It is light-weight and able to be stuck on painted dry/steel walls, finished wood, glass or existing dry erase/chalk boards. It also features a stain-proof writing surface that provides smooth writability and erasibility, and is less susceptible to scratching.

Utilising the Post-it® Super Sticky adhesive, the Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface does not require tools for installation or wall repair after removal.

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The Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface (60.9cm x 91.4cm) retails at $55.95 (w/ GST) and is available in selected Popular bookstores. The Post-it® Super Sticky Dry Erase Surface will retail at a special price of $39.90 (w/ GST) at the Popular Book Fest that will be happening from 2-11 Dec at Suntec City.

Disclosure: The Kao kids received this flexible whiteboard last month for the purpose of this review; no monetary compensation was received and all opinions here are our own. 

Ben Kao Milestones and growing up Reviews

Going the Ortho-K way (Part I)

April 5, 2017

So I last posted in January that I was super bummed that myopia and astigmatism had finally hit my firstborn (ugh, sneaky thing), which started me on my quest to gather research about childhood myopia and how to control it.

There’s tons of literature out there about myopia being acquired and/or inherited and most research shows that it’s a combination of both genes and environmental factors that lead to bad eyesight. And if genes has a part to blame, then I am indeed worried. Because growing up, I had severe myopia and astigmatism. The type that inconveniences your life. Like not being able to even see your toes when you shower. And the last thing I want to witness in my kid is him going through the anguish I did: my myopia and astigmatism rose rapidly every half a year starting from age 7 and there was nothing I could do to stop it from deteriorating. And with every passing year, I would be in spectacles half an inch thicker than before, and this was the narrative of my sad story of the long drawn battle against myopia from age 7 all the way to age 23.

Which sucked. Big time.

Anyway. With this excruciatingly crappy experience with poor eyesight (until the beautiful five-letter word made my world), I was determined NOT to let it hinder the joys of growing up for Ben. Imagine being knock out of your glasses in a ball game, losing your spectacles when your canoe overturns, and having someone step on your glasses, breaking it so bad you got to tape your specs and wear them to school to the amusement of all your classmates, AND the worst of all, being chosen as a flower girl and having to put on those horrible looking speckys and having the photographs of you looking like NERD stick in your head for forever – those were terrible growing up years having to live and depend on spectacles.

Which then led me to my research on Ortho-K.

Which also made me scream at my mom (I am, unfortunately, 29 years late) when I found out that this could have and would have been my way to seeing better as a child.

Mom, if you had taken a stab with this then, I would really have been much better off and not be as blind as a bat. Even my dreams were blurry growing up. Just sayin’.

Orthokeratology, or Ortho-k, is the fitting of specially designed gas permeable contact lenses that one wears to sleep overnight. While you are asleep, the lenses gently reshape the front surface of your eye (cornea) so you can see clearly the following day after you remove the lenses when you wake up.

This article calls it ‘braces for the eyes‘.

I wasn’t sure if it was an option for Ben who loves to rub his eyes and if it would be a huge hassle at waking time for a child who gets ready for the school bus with his eyes closed all in 5 minutes. Until I spoke with three of my cousins who were on it for close to 20 years now, and found out how it has liberated them, made life convenient for them and kept their myopia under control all these years. Nothing deteriorated since the day they put on their first pair of Ortho-K lenses to sleep, and in fact they could now (as young adults) go for 4-5 days without it before power came back.

Sounds like something I want Ben to go through.

I was recommended to both Issacs-Optom (one of the pioneers in Ortho-K, here in Singapore – this is also where my cousins go) and AeroV, the latter being highly recommended by Mumseword whose kid is also on Ortho-K lenses. I was assured that Brian from AeroV would really make sure everything – from custom fitting to checking and following up – would be done smoothly, and so we’ve been there for two appointments already.

 

Eye examination to assess for clarity of sight

Eye examination to assess for clarity of sight

Getting his power determined

Getting his power determined

His eye was a little swollen due to rubbing, so we had to go back again. That's the reason why we had two checks.

His eye was a little swollen due to rubbing that day, so we had to go back again. That’s the reason why we had two checks.

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Measuring his cornea

Checking the health of his cornea

Checking the health of his cornea

Ben’s Ortho-K lenses has been ordered last night, and it was like a stone off my chest.

I can breathe now, because the checks have been done twice and custom fitting for the lenses was checked and double checked, and all that’s left to do is to introduce a new sleep time and wake time routine when the lenses arrive and he is pretty much set to get his myopia corrected AND controlled at the same time.

Of course, the hole in the pocket is bigger than if he were just to make glasses but we’re certain that this is really what we want for him: a spectacle-free childhood, and the freedom to see without hassle.

(Self) Examination Happy days

Counting my blessings

April 4, 2017

Dear Lord,

What was on your mind when you gave me these?

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These very beautiful little people. And this wonderful person who chose to marry me.

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You must be thinking of how blessed, how loved, and how happy I would be.

With these people in my life.

For 36 years of life. For having these people in it. And for everything You have given.

Birthday Cake_MotherkaoApr2017 - Copy

My heart is full.

And filled with gratitude.

All this blog's PR Stuff Becks Kao Ben Kao Product Reviews

Getting good light wherever – Review of 3M’s LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light

March 11, 2017

Do you have this problem? You get the kids a study table and then they draw and do their work everywhere else EXCEPT at their study table.

And then you go on and custom make a pretty study area with some personalisation here and there for each kid and they continue do their everything – drawing, reading, writing – everywhere EXCEPT there.

And the study area you’ve painstakingly designed and built, with all the good lighting and proper seating, becomes just another place to dump all kinds of things.

True story.

I’ve given up on asking my kids to sit at their desks to do their work. Over the years it has been just too daunting to nag them to go there – sit down – do work. 

So I stopped, and I invited them to consider different parts of the home to do their work or to read a book. It could be at the dining table, on the floor, on the beanbag and even on the master bed, which they love to hang out at.

But I always had one serious problem: lighting.

Whenever they are everywhere, it always feels like they are casting shadows over what they are looking at.

I need a solution and I am so glad to have found it.

Enter 3M’s latest colour-change polarizing lamp, the LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light.

LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light - Copy

It’s everything I need for my kids to make everywhere a work and reading space – it’s cord is long enough to bring from where it’s plugged to where they are and it’s fully adjustable and rotational.

Best of all, the LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light is adaptable enough to function in any space at any time of the day (not just at a desk, but when the kid is on the floor, seated on the sofa, wherever!) and allows you to customize the light colour via a touch control. Offering 5 colour selections – cool white to warm white – users can adjust the colour of the lamp according to the time of day, or their mood levels.

Which means you can switch the colour of the lamp to a ‘Cool White’ in the mornings for increased alertness and change it to a ‘Warm White’ when winding down for the day.

In addition, the LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light is also an extremely versatile lighting solution. Using the same touch control, you can perform a myriad of tasks under sufficient light intensity.

More intense or detailed activities such as studying or knitting often require higher lux levels, while activities like watching the television require lower light levels. The LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light has 5 levels to choose from, with the highest providing focused illumination at 1000 lux and the lowest providing a softer glow of 200 lux.

Guide to the the LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light explained - all it takes is experimenting with two touch control buttons and one ON/OFF button to find your comfort level

Guide to the the LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light explained – all it takes is experimenting with two touch control buttons and one ON/OFF button to find your comfort level

Ben reading with warm white at 400 lux in the evening, with no room lights on - bright and comfortable enough!

Ben reading with warm white at 400 lux in the evening, with no room lights on – bright and comfortable enough!

To top off it’s versatility, the LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light is also fitted with 3M’s Polarizing Filter Technology, which consists of a 3M proprietary optical film to reduce glare by up to 80%. Such rays occur when harmful light bounces off surfaces and creates reflective light (glare), a by-product when light bounces off a glossy surface material which actually is a main cause of strain on the eyes. While most other lamps allow normal light rays comprising both comfortable and harmful light to enter, the 3M polarizing optical film – which is what 3M is really great for! – only filters comfortable light through; at the same time, it converts the harmful rays into optimal lighting which means that only optimal light reaches the eyes.

Which is great for the kids as there is minimal immediate eye strain for them and they can work more productively and safely when the light is used, improving their psychological health as well.

Becks doing her homework at night - it's great that the light cuts out the glare and there's no shadow cast on her paper

Becks doing her homework at night – it’s great that the light cuts out the glare and there’s no shadow cast on her paper

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The LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light eliminates multiple shadow with its 3M Air-Guide Technology as well

The LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light also gives free angle control. I use it to clean the kids' ears at night too!

The LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light also gives free angle control. I use it to clean the kids’ ears at night too!

By providing effective illumination, constant task work is made more comfortable and better in the long run for protecting their eyes.

It’s amazing that 3M constantly upgrades its products to allow users to achieve optimal experience, and taps on its patented technology to enhance the well-being of its users. We’re certainly beneficiaries of good technology, and it’s great that as a mom, I’ve finally found the lighting solution for my kids who love to do their constant work and reading everywhere except their study table.

It’s now ‘Go there – sit down – do work – WITH the Polarizing Light, kids!’ and when that instruction is followed, it really doesn’t matter if they are found at the study table or not.

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~~~

More details: 

The LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light retails at SGD289 (w GST), and is available in two colors – Pure White and Solid Black, at all Popular bookstores and selected Best Denki and Challenger outlets.

A good investment that goes a long way, in my opinion!

Disclosure: The Kao Kids received the LED P1610 Polarizing Task Light from 3M for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are our own. If you’re hard and fast about kids sitting right at a table, this light has a diameter of 16 cm and uses only 7.5W. Make space for it, and it will be a worthwhile investment! 

All this blog's PR Stuff Ben Kao Going Out! Nat Kao

For learning and the love for wildlife – Safari Zoo Run 2017

February 27, 2017

This has got to be the most meaningful Zoo Run yet.

To run for wildlife conservation, and to be educated along the way (literally) – what a new twist this adds to participating in a run.

Last Saturday, the boys and I, together with their father, participated in the annual Safari Zoo Run 2017. We took part in the fun and non-competitive race – the 2.5km Family Dash – and rooted for Team Canola, with a beautiful manatee named Canola as our team leader. Hurhurhur.

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SafariZooRun_KaoKids_01 - Copy

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But what was amazing was the fact that this year’s race took on a larger than life conservation effort that involved education about 4 endangered / threatened species.

Imagine being encouraged by cute animals – aka various “team leaders” – along your race route to stop for a photo and spread their message.

SafariZooRun_KaoKids_04 - Copy

And because I had inquisitive kids, I had to educate them along the way. With help from Google of course. Explaining to them why manatees are a threatened species, why elephants are endangered, why orang utans are facing extinction, and why even the hornbills have now made it to the list.

Here were my shoutouts for Team Chawang, Team Ah Meng and Team Sunny:

And of course, for our team leader – yipeety, Ms Manatee!

Now that is how we kill two birds with one stone – join a race and get that movement fix, and participate in conservation efforts while at that.

Thank you, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, and Safari Zoo Run 2017, for having us, and educating us. Looking forward to your continued conservation efforts in the next zoo run, for sure!

SafariZooRun_KaoKids_05 - Copy

 

Nat Kao Thunderstorm days

Not so fab five

February 25, 2017

As if things can get any worse.

Becks was on the mend after the episode of the stomach flu and being in the hospital and life was pretty much back to normal again, or so I thought. This week we set out and about our usual business, and had grand plans of celebrating the boys’ birthdays.

Oh, yes before I forget… sidetrack.

I need to say a huge thank you to all of you who shared your suggestions with me on what we can do to help Becks with gaining some weight. I love the power of crowdsourcing and it’s amazing how things I never thought of trying are now officially on my list! From Pediasure (which we’ve tried to no effect, actually) and eggs (which the PD tells us to give) to ice cream, smoothies, durians and junk food (time to bring on the fries, burgers and nuggets??) on top of vegetable enzymes to help with nutrient absorption and multivitamins, I am so grateful I have more ideas now to feed the skinny one!

So, big THANK YOU, friends!

So back to (thinking that) life goes on as usual.

Nat’s 5th birthday fell on Monday and we were all up and about trying to nurse a sick Becks back to health and getting into the celebratory mood for birthdays. Birthdays are the legit excuse to skip school for any child, in my opinion, and so Nat was off school on Monday and both Fatherkao and I took time off work to spend the special day with him.

The baby that I last held in the delivery suite is now FIVE and that’s as big a number as any number is big to me on any of my child’s birthday.

And that’s worth a celebration.

Nat’s wish was simple. ‘I want to stay at home and play with my Pokemon figurines and eat cake with Mama, Dada, Becks, Ben and Aunty A.’

Which was what we did.

Blessed birthday, Nat!

Blessed birthday, Nat!

And then we headed to T3 to look at more Pokemons (we were super bummed Pokemon Cafe closed on the 19th of Feb!!!) and had the complimentary Firehouse (birthday) ice cream from Swensen’s along with dinner while we were there.

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My baby boy turns 5!

And then it happened.

BOO.

I started feeling the chills after a shower on Nat’s birthday night and thought the wind was being harsh on my bones these days. I told the husband I would need to be curling up my old bones in bed early and went to sleep.

We all went to bed when Nat threw up in his sleep that night and I had both the runs and the throwing up simultaneously in the middle of the night, and that was the beginning of Murphy and his goddamn law doing its run in the house.

The rest, would be too slimy, greasy, watery and smelly to describe.

Suffice to say, the husband had to take leave to rush both Nat and me to the A&E by the next morning, and before I knew it, I was wheeled in and hooked up in the emergency with an IV drip and separated from Nat who had to wait a long wait at the paeds side before we reunited again 5 hours later in a B1 Ward at NUH.

At the triage, all I did was to not be able to give a urine specimen and I was wheeled and hooked up IMMEDIATELY. That bad.

At the triage, all I did was to not be able to give a urine specimen and I was wheeled and hooked up IMMEDIATELY. It was. that. bad.

The hospital had been so accommodating in going the extra mile to make sure that if we were both warded, we wouldn’t be apart, and I am so grateful for that.

And so for the next 3 days, the IV drip was all I had for breakfast, lunch, dinner. And Nat next to me for company. We were warded as a GE case – gastroenteritis, that is – and were instructed to report every single bowel and urinal movement and intake of water.

Worst birthday ever, for Nat, who was looking all sunken, glum and bones on his supposedly fabulous five.

Many hours ago, the peace sign and blowing out his candles. Now, a tired wreck needing rest.

Many hours ago, the peace sign and blowing out his candles. Now, a tired wreck needing rest.

Nonetheless, we were well taken care of by a team of wonderful nurses and doctors from Ward 9B; and in an otherwise not-so-fab situation, it could have been worse.

For this we are grateful.

And even more grateful for my awesome sister and mom, who despite knowing that both of had the stomach flu bug, hung around with TLC, homecooked porridge, and lots of good cheer.

We are back now and on the mend, and although it was a not-fabulous-at-all way to remember Nat turning five, it can only get better from here.

Well, at least he had his fill of TV, and 1oo Plus, in COPIOUS amounts.

Becks Kao Thunderstorm days

The mysterious case of losing weight

February 20, 2017

It’s been a really tough week on the home front.

I’m running on a full, almost 24/7 schedule of running the business – and just returned from Co-working Unconference Asia in Chiang Mai, when I received a few calls from unknown numbers on a Tuesday afternoon.

It was the primary school calling, telling me Becks threw up in class.

Ate something wrong, maybe. The girl’s been snacking like it’s the new diet as she discovers the awesome selections of the vending machine in school.

But to my horror after 14 hours from 12pm to 2am on that very day, she was still throwing up and not keeping anything down, and we knew we had to make that dreaded trip to the A&E at NUH.

Only to be discharged 4 hours later because she could at last keep a drink electrolytes down, and then – BUMMER! – to be admitted 7 hours after because she started complaining of stomach pains.

I missed my chatty, noisy, bossy girl: all quiet staring at the TV while the IV dripped on

I missed my chatty, noisy, bossy girl: all quiet staring at the TV while the IV dripped on

Nothing’s rougher than rough this week with the day she was warded being the roughest because — who gets any rest in the hospital?!

The toughest bit, actually, was being told by two doctors on two separate occasions  – one our PD, and the other her attending doc at the Children’s Ward – that her lack of weight gain was worrying them A LOT. She apparently only gained 1.5 kg over the last 3 years, or is it 1 kg over the last 2 years; but whatever it is, she is now skinny as bones, eating poorly and officially not growing well for the doctors to wave a red flag at our face.

And this puts us all in panic mode wondering what we could do.

I texted mom friends to ask for recommendations on supplements.

The husband started planning lunch box menus and *importantly* running the selections by the little girl. She brings the lunchbox for recess, but often has meltdowns when she sees what the helper has packed.

So far the buns, pasta and rice were hardly touched and even the helper is at a loss. So I found out she’s been only liking the muffins, grapes, tomatoes and Hello Panda.

We also started to like Tasty, Tasty Junior and Delish on Facebook to get ideas on what to make, so she puts in more in her mouth. Of course, we would need to wait for her to recover from the severe dehydration and low sugar count due to the horrible bout of stomach flu that gave the entire family zero rest this entire week, before we start our meal plans for her.

And I am now officially crowdsourcing for ideas, suggestions and recommendations. Please feel free to throw them my way.

Big thank you to all who saw my IG post and sent prayers our way. Of all things I covet most, I covet believers in Christ covering my children in prayer.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.