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

Worry-free luxury for a holiday – Review of Original Sprout (again)

July 6, 2017

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When you tell me that a brand believes in an ethical philosophy of promoting an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, I am definitely one happy user. I love sustainable brands and products.

And I want my children to love them and make supporting them part of their lifestyle when they start making consumer decisions as they get older.

Which is why while on our UK holiday last month, the kids got to enjoy their baths and the best skincare with Original Sprout. We were acquainted with the brand when the Kao kids were younger (we fell in love with the Miracle Detangler, and have been using it ever since) and now it was only befitting that I would lug the Original Sprout Natural Shampoo, Deep Conditioner, Miracle Detangler, Scrumptious Baby Cream and Hair & Body Babywash all the way to London and Scotland where the weather was colder, the air was drier and worry-free luxury in baths (and post bath, for skincare) was what the entire family could benefit greatly from while away from home.

Enjoying daily bubble baths with the Babywash in the tubs in our AirBnB apartment

Enjoying daily bubble baths with the Babywash in the tub in our AirBnB apartment

Becks using the Miracle Detangler religiously every morning and after every bath

Becks using the Miracle Detangler religiously every morning and after every bath

For effortless combing

For effortless combing

Applying to dry skin - our skin wasn't too used to the harsher water and colder weather, especially when we were in Scotland

Applying to dry skin – our skin wasn’t too used to the harsher water and colder weather, especially when we were in Scotland

I love it that Original Sprout was the brainchild of a mom who loved her daughter so much she had to create a product that could effortlessly detangle her daughter’s hair, and that it’s a brand that believes in utilising ingredients that are free from synthetic hormone disruptor, oestrogen disrupting ingredients, sulphate and parabens.

I have to say if you have a daughter with long hair or thick hair or tough curls, this Detangler (definitely Original Sprout’s bestseller) works instant magic. I never needed to go through another day where I have to hear Becks scream ‘ouch’ whenever I comb her hair, or when she tries to work through the hair on her own, even though she already has pretty fine hair to begin with since this Miracle Detangler came into our lives.

Happy to share that Original Sprout is back, and is now available at Watsons, Guardian, Kiddy Palace, Motherswork and 1010 Mothers & Child Essentials. Alternatively, you can purchase Original Sprout online on at www.originalsprout.com.sg.

Happy to have lugged them all in our luggage last holiday and pampered ourselves with worry-free luxury.

~~~

Disclosure: We are users of Original Sprout since we did a review for the brand when it first launched in SG back in March 2014. Original Sprout sponsored the products we packed in our luggage and all opinions here are our own. Unless we love it, we won’t share it. We’ve loved it since the day we used their products!

(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

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.

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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! 

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.

Becks Kao Holidays! I can't categorise such entries Nat Kao

What to do, where to go, what to get: when your children fall ill in BKK

December 1, 2016

Guess I’ve earned some creds to do this post now, now that I’ve survived two days with very sick children in Bangkok.

So it happened that on the morning of our very early flight to Bangkok, Becks woke up radiating heat like an overworked, cranked up truck engine. She was feeling hot to the touch and queasy the whole plane ride. Apart from giving her pain relief and oiling her like crazy with essential oils and then with ru yi oil I grabbed from Eu Yan Sang at Departure, there was really nothing we could do to make her feel better. The stewardess onboard the plane tried to do her best, cheering her up with the kid’s pack and putting up the DND sign so she could get uninterrupted sleep, but still, Becks was feeling as awful as awful can feel.

By the time we reached our rented apartment at Ramkhamhaeng, she was hitting 39 deg C already (yep, we brought our thermometer – a must when you travel with young children); and so did Nat, who began to look unwell, ran a temperature as high as Becks and knocked out the moment he hit the sack.

In a time like this where homecooked teochewmuay was out of reach and simple clear broth was almost impossible to find, I was glad for 7-11.

And so I fed my children few spoonfuls of porridge (grabbed from the quick bites section which the staff helped microwave), topping it up with warm water (congee in Thailand is more sticky than watery), and started sponging them like crazy after they filled their tummies.

It was a good thing we lugged several packs of fever patches along so they could keep a cool head while they slept. Having said that, BKK is never short of over-the-counter meds supplies at 7-11 or Boots Pharmacy and fever patches, Paracetamol, cough drops are never out of reach anywhere you go.

Kids took a nap shortly after, but they woke up feeling worse.

And then it was time to make the call: ride the fever out or get medical attention.

So I’ve been told by my friend that in Bangkok, the top three hospitals are Bumrungrad International Hospital, Bangkok Hospital and Samitivej Hospital. He kindly drove us to the Samitivej Hospital with a Children’s Centre located at 488 Srinakarin Rd Khwaeng Suan Luang, Khet Suan Luang, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10250. It was about 7pm and the wait was not excruciating (an hour or slightly more), considering we’ve all waited for more than 4 hours at KKH back at home. The staff there could converse in the English Language fairly well, but you need to speak slowly and clearly. In the interest of time, I had my friend translate when we saw the doctor, because I really felt more comfortable with some translation rather than speaking slowly when my anxiety got better of me.

Forms there are also a bit tedious to fill  – they ask you for soooo much info – so always check with the nurse if filling in the birth weight or AGPAR score is even necessary. In my case, it wasn’t.

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Getting examined

Getting examined

Anyway, service, hygiene, standards and quality of care at Samitivej were excellent and we had an absolutely pleasant experience there. The meds were similar to the ones my PD would give the kids, and the pharmacist was able to explain perfectly how to consume and when to consume the meds.

The bill, well, that’s another story.

Nonetheless, given the circumstances of having two kids running very high temperatures, I would highly recommend going there, should you ever encounter an emergency in Bangkok with kids.

The kids were given antibiotics for a bad throat infection, and a cocktail of many other meds in case they threw up / had runny nose / needed rehydration / had diarrhea from the antibiotics. Syringes were provided generously and so were child-sized face masks. There was drinking water available everywhere we turn in the hospital so you can consume the meds straightaway.

On our way home, we headed to a pharmacy (most close at 11pm, yay) to stock up on Vitamin C and other forms of supplements like milk tablets, DHA gummies and multivitamins. We’ll be needing them daily for the duration of our stay there, and so it was good to get it on Day One. The MaxValue supermarket chains are also 24 hours, and so we stocked up water by the 6-litre tubs (we buy the Aeon brand) and then headed back so the kids can get some rest quickly.

On hindsight, I think we did pretty well and were well-prepped to hold out for the interim with what we packed, which included:

  1. Probiotics – Neobiotics is the brand we buy
  2. Fever meds – Ibuprofen and Paracetamol
  3. Antihistamines – Fedac
  4. Regurgitation & gastric meds- Zantac
  5. Cooling fever patches
  6. Essential oils – peppermint, lavender, lemongrass
  7. Hand sanitisers from Dettol
  8.  Our trusty Braun ear thermometer
  9. Pull-up diapers (lots of them) – kids are toilet trained but with the amount of water they are made to sip so ever frequently to cool and hydrate, diapers are absolutely needed when they are ill and too lethargic to make toilet runs
  10. Betadine throat spray quick relief of painful throat infections

And so with the meds, the hourly sponging last night, the troopers are finally on the mend.

All this blog's PR Stuff Becks Kao Getting all sentimental now Milestones and growing up Motherkao loves...

The birthday party that was for My (not so) Little Pony – Celebrating Becks’ 6th

September 10, 2016

When I had to check myself into the hospital 6 years ago to deliver this 3.3kg baby, I was screaming my way all the way from the triage to the delivery suite. This girl, my gosh, is going to be a feisty one, I know. Gawd‘. The pain she was giving me kicking and shoving all my innards away and the contractions I was getting that made me scream ‘LEVEL 10!!!!!’ whenever someone asked me to rate my pain was just how I knew this girl was going to be one tough cookie.

Fast forward 6 years and look at this beautiful thing right before our eyes.

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She’s given me my fair share of heartaches with her fits and tantrums and her night terrors in her toddler years but has more than made up for it by growing up so gorgeously.

So for the princess of the house, we have granted her royal highness her wish to have a party to celebrate turning 6 with her friends.

Becks decided that for her 6th birthday, she wants My Little Pony (MLP) for the party theme. I was not ready to vest too much money with getting a crazily elaborate one to add to the many things I had to do day-to-day, so I decided to focus on her having fun and resolved to keep the party simple and fuss-free.

So here’s how I did her simple MLP 6th Birthday Party with a few phone calls and emails after deciding on the theme:

1. Venue

Where else would it be but at Trehaus, where our beautiful sun-drenched Atelier lets in the most gorgeous natural lighting and its glass windows and high ceiling make it such a simple, uncluttered space to be with family and friends on a weekend. I booked the Studio + Atelier from 3-6pm on a Sunday a month in advance, and that’s basically how fuss-free securing the venue was.

Here's the venue we chose for my little girl's 6th. A shot here while everyone is prepping!

Here’s the venue we chose for my little girl’s 6th. A shot here while everyone is prepping!

2. Decor

We had a simple one done up by Floral Garage SG who recently expanded to go beyond floral artistry to providing party decor services. I briefed the coordinator about the theme choice and colours, and she promptly turned up to put up pom poms, buntings, some tassels on the dessert table and letter balloons on the wall spelling ‘Becks’.

Simple, clean decor by Floral Garage SG

Simple, fuss-free decor by Floral Garage SG

Putting the rainbow tassels

Putting the rainbow tassels

They threw in a unicorn piñata for good fun, and I was reminded to purchase confectionery to fill it. Which I did, easily. A supermarket run to get some marshmellows, nougat bites and chocolates did the trick!

3. Dessert table

I DIY-ed this so I didn’t need to burn a hole in my pocket. I had @qiannybakes (follow her on Instagram) to do the two tier cake in rainbow and in rosettes; and had her also make the rainbow cupcakes, lemon meringue tarts and macarons (which were super delish and snapped up within an hour of the party) for the dessert table (she’s a homebaker, so she’s really affordable for a budget-conscious mom like me).

And that really was it. The table was also supplemented by me with fruit servings of blueberries, grapes and strawberries, and mini marshmallows in pretty cups (get them all from Phoon Huat).

The birthday cake! Too pretty!

The birthday cake! Too pretty!

The cake with the whole jing gang of My Little Ponies

The cake with the whole jing gang of My Little Ponies

Macarons in Rarity colours

Macarons in Rarity colours

Lemon meringue tartlets

Lemon meringue tartlets

Rainbow cupcakes with Speculoos toppings

Rainbow cupcakes with Speculoos toppings

Super nice of @qiannybakes to lend me her cake stands and pretty plates

Super nice of @qiannybakes to lend me her cake stands and pretty plates

4. Canapes

I got a coworker turned friend who owns @WhollyVida (Instagram follow tag) to take charge of prepping canapés for the guests. Since the party was going to be at 3pm, I figured most would be in the mood for light bites instead of something heavy. My friend, who’s also a raw food chef, nutritionist and a vegan-food enthusiast prepped us devil’s eggs, mushroom tahini crostini and cherry tomatoes polenta. They were simple pop-in-the-mouth wholesome goodness, and balanced out the sweet stuff from the dessert table.

Prepping the canapes at the pantry area

Prepping the canapes at the pantry area

Pretty polenta bites

Pretty polenta bites

Crotini bites for the taking

Crotini bites for the taking

5. Party activities

Ah. This was the one I scratched my head a little. How would I keep a group of 6-year-olds plus the other accompaniments ranging from toddler to much older siblings occupied?

I could get a magician – but that’s so not fitting for a party for Becks. She’s super reserved and if she gets singled out as the birthday girl all the time, she might really just hide in the toilet till the party’s over.

I could organise some painting activities; but she’ll be in white and purple and I wouldn’t want anyone well-dressed to have paint on them. (I’m considerate and practical that way, hurhur. For my helper, at least!)

So I made a call to my friends who own and run Tickle Your Senses, and asked what they could propose to do for a group of 6-year-olds and potentially some toddlers and 8 to 10-year-olds at a party. Playdough and waterbeads was the answer, and they agreed to do it as close to MLP theme as possible, with MLP colours and cookie cutters. I later found out they also threw in jewels for playdough play and the jewels kept Becks and her friends really really happy.

Water beads in Rarity colours

Water beads in Rarity colours

Home made, taste-safe playdough

Home made, taste-safe playdough

Ready for little hands to play

Ready for little hands to play

Rarity - Becks' favourite pony

Rarity – Becks’ favourite pony

Pretty in play

Pretty in play

Tickle Your Senses make the best taste-safe, non-toxic playdough in the history of DIY playdough making. I assure you, you’ll never find playdough anywhere else that’s wonderful-smelling, therapeutic to mould and keeps children (and adults too) engaged for a such a long time!

Announcement: Tickle Your Senses tell me you can check out with “motherkao10off” for 10% off ALL products from now till 30 Nov 2016. Go try their playdough – you will change your mind about all other playdough!

6. Party favours

And because they were so, so kind – I’m referring to the ladies behind Tickle Your Senses – they sponsored mini playdough tubs with a Rarity ‘Thank you for coming to Becks’ 6th birthday’ sticker as the party favours, complete with moulds and cutters all nicely wrapped.

I also went online to MTRADE – The Novelty Wholesale Store to order some old school (water) games and some MLP trinkets to put in brown bags I bought from Daiso to make into little carrier bags the little guests could take away with thank-you printables from Etsy. While shopping at Mtrade, I also bought some purple disposable table cloths and an MLP themed disposable table cover.

Party favours, loving prepared by yours truly and Tickle Your Senses

Party favours, loving prepared by yours truly and Tickle Your Senses

7. Photography

This was a godsend because Fatherkao is usually the assigned photographer for any family event (which means he won’t be in the pictures and can’t really catch up with friends) but it turned out, through some new connections I’ve made at Trehaus this year, the photographer behind Tabledreamer Photography (follow Immanuel on IG @tabledreamerphotography), who absolutely loves photographing children in action, was available to be our photographer for the day.

I must add that our photographer for the day took on a rather challenging feat though – Becks is very used to being photographed only by her dad, and so Immanuel had to get her to warm up to him before being able to snap away. She’s terribly reserved around men, and it was very, very difficult to get her to even look at the camera.

Did he succeed, you think?

I’ll let his pictures do the talking.

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And while I left the experts to handle all the above 7 items that make a birthday party, I focused on getting to know who’s who in my daughter’s class pre-party and during the party.

I’ve been pretty much disengaged with Becks’ school life, except the occasional bed time whining about friendship woes (they start early!) with some girls in her class whom I never had a face to put the name to. And so finally, sitting down with Becks to finalise the guest list (we invited everyone in the class even though she was adamant about not having boys at the party, haha) and updating the birthday girl herself on the RSVP list helped me understand my little girl, her take on friendships and how school life was for her.

And actually spending time during the party to get to know her friends and their mums and dads during the party.

Which was really precious.

On the day itself, all we did was to show up and have a good time. And so did Becks’ friends, our close friends and family.

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And it was MOST important my birthday pony had the best time of her life.

Looking at the pictures, I think she did.

~~~

Thank you, everyone – family, friends, sponsors and partners – for all your love and for making this so very amazing for a 6-year-old who would be growing up beautifully in the year ahead and the years to come!

~~~

NOW FOR THE CREDITS *drumroll please*

Thank you, Chef Bibi and Chef CP, for prepping the food. And Fatherkao for prepping awesome pork ribs to share with everyone.

Thank you, Floral Garage SG, for putting up the decor at such short notice!

Thanks, @qiannybakes, for rushing down after baking and helping me plate those yummy desserts! And for loaning me all those pretty cake tiers and plates!

Thank you, Immanuel, for your patience in capturing many of these treasured moments which we will cherish for a long time.

Thank you, Chiao Chyi, for your patience with the girls at the playdough table, and for meticulously planning the activities for the party. I really appreciate you taking pains to prep each party favour!

Thank you, to all friends and family, who came to bless Becky with your presents and presence. Your love means a lot to us.

To Becky’s friends – you may all be parting ways after this year, but your paths may cross someday some way. She has wonderful memories with so many of you, and so thank you, for being her friend!

And lastly, THANK YOU, JESUS. I survived 6 years of that feisty baby since Day Zero at the delivery suite.

All this blog's PR Stuff Becks Kao Going Out!

Becks’ princess dream come true – ft. Singtel & Disney’s Dream Big Princess Academy

July 22, 2016

I have a little girl.

I did not start her life by reading her fairy tales.

She did not complete watching most of the Disney princess classics. She couldn’t sit through Snow White because the witch asking the magic mirror who the fairest was sent shivers down her spine. She was terrified of the stepmother in Cinderella. She feared Ursula in Little Mermaid. The only ones she ever sat through were the later Disney movies, namely Tangled, Brave and Frozen.

But nothing stopped her from knowing who Rapunzel, Tiana, Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, Ariel and Snow White were, and liking every one of them.

Being with girls and hanging out with them in kindergarten educated Becks about the world of princess although each of their fairy tale – how they overcame adversity and found their prince charming plus the happily ever after – was something she was unfamiliar with.

You mean, Cinderella lost her shoe? Snow White’s dwarves have names like Happy, Dopey, Sneezy and Doc? Rapunzel’s hair was cut? Belle danced with a beast? I don’t know the story, I only like their hair, shoes and dress!

Can you sense my frustration? No matter how hard I kept her away from these, she was a girl enthralled in the world of princesses. Because?

“They are so pretty.”

~~~

So you can imagine she probably had the bestestestestestest ever day in her whole entire life when we were invited to this:

She dressed as Anna from Frozen

She dressed as Anna from Frozen

Whoa. The event came complete with personal aides doing up your hair and makeup, personal butlers serving you tea and food that’s fit for princesses. The only thing that’s missing is the talking animals.

Braiding her hair and putting on clips and a tiara

Braiding her hair and putting on clips and a tiara

Bit of blush and lip gloss fit for a little princess

Bit of blush and lip gloss fit for a little princess

There were all things pink and purple, dainty and pretty, glittery and shimmery available for eating.

DreamBigPrincessAcademy2016_BecksKao (22)

Sugar and spice and everything nice

Oh my, look at that dainty satiny shimmery shoe!

Oh my, look at that satiny, shimmery shoe!

Becks was all smiles that day. She was told that she was a princess in training and by the end of the day she would be a real princess.

All ready to go for training!

All ready to go for training!

She learned from Sophia the First to be gracious and how to curtsy.

DreamBigPrincessAcademy2016_BecksKao (2)

She learned from Cinderella that it’s important to perform acts of kindness. So she decorated a cookie for her dad.

Decorating a cookie to show someone an act of kindness

Decorating a cookie to show someone an act of kindness

Every bit the daddy's girl

Every bit the daddy’s girl

She learned from Rapunzel it’s important to be creative. She was tasked to make a lantern.

Putting glittery stickers on

Putting glittery stickers on

Actually she decorated it only. I MADE IT.

Little girls would need help to secure the slots in the paper and fasten the tealight battery candle inside it, for sure...

Little girls would need help to secure the slots in the paper and fasten the tealight battery candle inside it, for sure…

She also got to meet the princesses face to face and had courage enough to go alone to talk to Rapunzel.

'Mama, let's take a picture with Cinderella,' she said. 'Come with me.'

‘Mama, let’s take a picture with Cinderella,’ she said. ‘Come with me.’

 

'Oh, bye, Cindy'

‘Oh, bye, Cindy’

For Rapunzel, she's my favourite princess. I can go on my own.

For Rapunzel, she’s my favourite princess. I can go on my own.

A picture with Rapunzel

A picture with Rapunzel

She was one happy girl that day declaring that it was the “bestestestestestest day ever!” and I had a great time reminding her ever since that day to be kind and nice like a princess. Whenever she wasn’t kind to her brothers and started her hissy fits, I’ll tell her she’s a princess and not a wicked witch.

Works wonders ALL THE TIME.

DreamBigPrincessAcademy2016_BecksKao (71)

A trained princess now

More details:

Singtel launches The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia’s suite of kids’ entertainment channels including Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD on mio TV’s Family+ Pack from 1 June, 2013. The channels will be available in dual languages (English and Mandarin).

Look forward to the next Dream Big Princess Academy. Subscribers who sign up or recontract get a serial code to secure a slot in the Dream Big Princess Academy.

Disclosure: We were invited by Singtel for this event and no monetary compensation was received. All opinions here are mine. I have nothing against fairy tales; I am of the opinion that my daughter not read any because there’s no need to dream about ‘someday my prince will come’ or any ‘happily ever after’ because life is life and we just got to roll with it and suck it up.

Becks Kao Motherkao loves... Reviews

The haircut after the haircut that went wrong (ft. a review of Aqua Korean Hair Salon)

July 19, 2016

So we all know that my little girl had a haircut gone wrong.

She was very upset with how short her hair turned out to be and threw a fit two weeks ago. Thankfully she is also one happy-go-lucky girl who bears no grudges and after we kissed and made up that night, she showed her mama she loved her more than she ever did.

What a wonderful little girl. Feisty and stubborn as she can be, sometimes hurling hurtful words to break my heart but also endearing and very expressive with her little acts of affection at the same time.

Just last Wednesday, after I returned home declaring that I was done with filming (the Channel 8 folks came by and interviewed me for Money Week 财经追击), my kids promptly echoed a chorus:

‘TIME TO CUT YOUR HAIR, MAMA!’

You see, out of panic at the salon the other day, I had randomly asked Becks if she wanted me to cut my hair too to ‘keep her company’. To which she said a resounding yes. I was held ransom immediately by the offer but got off the hook when I told her that I could only do it after Wednesday because I didn’t want to have short hair for TV.

She remembered. And so did her brothers who overheard everything we said.

Oh well. Don’t believe your kids if they tell you they can’t remember anything.

~~~

For my haircut, I took the chance to try out a Korean hair salon near where I worked.

So after this…

Haircut at Aqua Korean Hair Salon (2)

this…

Haircut at Aqua Korean Hair Salon (3)

and this was done…

Haircut at Aqua Korean Hair Salon (4)

I am happy ]to say I now have shorter hair than Becks’ and ain’t no one’s going to be complaining anymore about any haircut gone wrong.

IMG_6012

Of course, the little girl was really happy she’s finally got company.

Haircut at Aqua Korean Hair Salon (6)

 

~~~

A quick review about the hair salon:

I love k-culture and have been immersed in it for close to 6 years now. It started with Running Man and quickly morphed into a crazy love for everything K – food, hairstyles, fashion, people, drama and history. For the longest time I’ve wanted to get a Korean hairstylist to do my hair, and when I finally did at Aqua Korean Hair Salon, I did it over very few words and lots of quiet flipping of CeCi magazines.

You need to completely trust that a Korean hairstylist knows exactly what to do when you give him simple words like ‘short’, ‘c-curl’ and ‘volume rebond’, and even then with Moon, my stylist, he was first to suggest I was good to go with just an A-line bob because my hair’s really straight anyway, and if I were to be diligent to blow dry it daily, I would have a similar c-curl effect. I liked that he was honest, and didn’t try to hard sell anything that didn’t make sense.

But I’ve always wanted to try the c-curl and know for a fact that no one else would do it better than a Korean (plus I love Kim Ji Won’s hair in DOTS) and told Moon to go ahead and try it on me.

KJW in DOTS (Photo credit: KBS)

KJW in DOTS
(Photo credit: KBS)

And he did. He unassumingly worked on every strand and step, with quiet confidence and finesse.

The result? I. loved. it. much.

I managed to even tell him that in Korean.

좋아. 진짜좋아. (Joa. Jjinja joa.)

Haircut at Aqua Korean Hair Salon (5)

More details:

Aqua Hair Salon is at Delfi Orchard #03-16, next to the best place to do your brows, Browtisan. Connect with them on their FB Page – you can make appointments and get a non-obligatory consultation by leaving the stylists a message on FB, or contact them at 6732 8011.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All recommendations and opinions are solely my own.

Becks Kao Milestones and growing up What to Expect... As a Mother

The day my little girl said she hates me

July 11, 2016

PROLOGUE

I had never expected this day to come so soon. At some point in motherhood, I had imagined that my daughter might throw one huge tantrum and scream hurtful things at me but that would be the part when I am raising her in her adolescence and NOT NOW.

This episode takes the cake of all the tantrums she’s ever thrown and is making me rethink about preparing my heart for more epic tantrums sooner than later.

~~~

So it was a typical Sunday like all other Sundays yesterday. We spent time together as a family and made plans for dinner. And since it was an evening where we were going to get a rare treat from a chef friend who was going to cook us a meal at our place, I thought I’d better bring Ben to the hair salon for an overdue hair cut (and before the discipline master in school charges me for neglect – it’s been 2 months!) while dinner was being prepped.

And when I asked aloud in the car if anyone wanted to follow, I was surprised to hear Becks chimed a loud ‘ME!‘. This girl would never let anyone touch her hair, let alone cut it. She was quick to make her conditions known though – a trim will do, thank you very much; I’d still like to tie up my hair and braid it like Rapunzel ok, Mama?!

When we got to the salon we frequented, I gave instructions to the stylist for both kids who wanted their haircut.

For Ben, short, please. As short as possible.

For Becks, I pointed to where her shoulder blade was and told the guy in Mandarin that this little customer of his would expect to still tie her hair up after her haircut.

But I – very unfortunately – also did the following:

– used the word ‘chop’ in my mix of spoken Mandarin and English

– convinced Becks that the back of her hair looks nicer layered and subsequently agreed that it should be layered (which contributed to the short length)

– agreed that he should do whatever that’s needed to get rid to that tension wave that’s looking pretty obvious on her long tresses due to excessive tying

– read HER WORLD and not hover around the hairdresser and breathe down his neck to make sure the haircut was done to her requirements

Bad, bad Mama, I was. Catching up on all my magazine flipping

Becks must have sat there feeling extremely horrified as the cutting went on as her hair got shorter and shorter. To her credit, she stayed composed until we left the salon. I could tell my little girl was terribly upset with this haircut but she kept a straight face.

It didn’t help that her brothers called her ‘mushroom head’ (ugh, boys!) and everyone (my helper, me and the two hair stylists at the salon) exclaimed that she looked great with short hair after the cut was over.

She asked me in private after we’ve left to tie her hair up, and when I couldn’t, I knew a storm was looming.

I frantically took this photo and sent it to my family group chat so she could hear assuring praises from her yeeyee and grandparents that she had a fantastic haircut, but that didn’t quite work out because she kept insisting on our walk home that I tie up her hair.

The smile she couldn't fake

The smile she couldn’t fake

I quickly texted her dad who was with our chef friend at home and warned him that Becks was unhappy about a haircut gone wrong. I made sure that he knew what happened and told him to assure her when he sees her later.

And when we finally got home, her father gave her hug and told her she was the most beautiful in his world, and that was when she burst into tears and screamed at the top of her lungs saying:

“I HATE YOU MAMA. I DON’T LIKE YOU! I HATE YOU, MAMA” with the deadliest glare I have ever seen.

She then walked across to where I sat and hit me profusely, hissing at me to give her her long hair back, and when I said I couldn’t, she did the unthinkable.

“Then I wish you would die, Mama. I hate you,” she sobbed.

All because of a haircut

~~~

EPILOGUE

I watched in disbelief as my daughter cursed me with such anger. I even let her hit me to vent her frustrations, only to realise that she was reveling in the hysteria more and more as she hit and cursed and glared.

So I walked out of the house to remove myself from this hysteria and went downstairs. I sat alone at the playground for 15 minutes, thinking about those times I hurt my mother with the words I said and wondering if my mom would be in stitches right now, thinking: is this what they call karma?

When I returned, Becks was all showered and clean and lying in bed, sobbing, AND COMBING HER HAIR like there was no tomorrow. She managed to whimper a soft ‘Sorry Mama’ when she saw me and I made it known that whilst the apology was accepted, I was deeply hurt.

“All because of a haircut, Becks, and I cannot believe you wished I die because of this. Your hair would grow and you’ll have your long hair back but if I were to be gone, I’ll be gone forever” was what I said to her.

Life quickly resumed after we both calmed down (thank God for my boys who hugged me and made it all better). We had a lovely dinner with the most awesome steak and aglio olio and grilled corn linguine, thanks for our private chef friend.

While we were eating, my daughter disappeared every now and then to comb her hair.

~~~

POSTSCRIPT

Last night before we went to bed, I held my little girl tight and assured her that I would never hurt her or harm her. It was only a haircut, and I was sorry I didn’t control the process of her hair being cut more strictly than I should.

I told her she should never ever say those horrible things to me ever again and she made me a promise she wouldn’t.

-THE END-

Becks Kao Milestones and growing up

Words of gold, Becks Kao style

November 13, 2015

At bedtime one night…

Me: Oh, it’s Dada’s turn to read you all a story.

Becks: Ok, I’ll choose a book and ask Dad.

Minutes later…

Nat: Erm, Mom… Dad says he will read it tomorrow. He’s tired.

Becks: Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. Always saying tomorrow.

Me: -_-

~~~

One afternoon…

Me: Let’s go through some words today, Becks. Let me look at your worksheets from enrichment class.

Becks: Erm, maybe next time?

Me: Next time, next time, I may not be free next time.

Becks: Then you make time, ok!

Me: -_-

~~~

At bedtime, some nights ago…

(Becks makes it a point to spread everyone’s blanket at bedtime, like a turning in service she provides. I know, she’s such a sweet soul.)

Fatherkao: Becks, are you going to spread my blanket tonight?

Becks: (clearly in the midst of something else) You got to learn some patience, ok!

~~~

Becks, the sweetest, loveliest thing that happened in our lives

Becks, the sweetest, loveliest thing that happened in our lives