Don’t babies naturally fall asleep when they are tired?

When my eldest was 3 days old, the midwife came over for a home visit to check her weight and height and to see if I needed any help with breastfeeding. My baby yawned a few times, which I thought was completely normal. I mean, how many times have we seen cute pictures of babies yawning, right? The midwife said ‘poor baby, she is so tired’ and she looked very concerned. My hubby and I exchanged looks and we were thinking ‘What’s the problem? When she’s tired she will just sleep. She is sleeping most of the time anyway!’ We didn’t know about bedtimes, routines or sleepy signs. Some days she would cry incessantly and we had to put her in the car seat and drive around. She would promptly fall asleep. However when we carried her out of the car she would wake up and cry again! When she was 1+, she would sit and do jigsaw puzzles till 10 or 11pm while I did my assignments and she would just take her bear, get into bed and fall asleep almost immediately.

Her first pair of sandals

When she started to walk, I went to the mall to get her some shoes. I couldn’t believe it when the saleslady told me that the cheapest pair of sandals cost $50! Made of leather. Leather? Why in the world would kids need leather shoes? Mummy needs a new leather handbag… In the end, she convinced me how important it was for toddlers to wear the proper footwear with good support.

What a great fashion sense… red socks with sandals!

During winter, I just pulled on a pair of socks with the sandals as I was definitely going to let her wear that pair of sandals till she outgrew it! I honestly didn’t notice that the other toddlers were togged out in closed-toe shoes and some even in boots. Her toes must have been freezing most of the time. Oh and our pram was a $40 one which my mum got from OG and brought over to us, and I used to wonder how come the other babies looked so snug in their ultra bulky and comfortable strollers which were covered on all 4 sides, while my baby looked so exposed in her flimsy pram.

Her favourite toy

She used to play with our phones, the remote controls (don’t ask me what it is with babies and the most important gadgets in the house) and even my spectacles. Of course we told her not to touch those things but we were not consistent or firm enough and many gadgets were spoilt by her. As she grew up, I thought she would just know how to behave and how to be a good girl. Ok, I must have been the most naïve parent in the world. But of course she didn’t, and the other kids just followed suit, both the bad and the good.

Her next favourite toy

I have since come a long, long way. I now know how important sleep is for children (and mummies too!) and I know for certain that babies or children will not just go to sleep when they are tired. In fact, when they are over-tired, they become hyperactive (as some hormones are released) and will find it even harder to sleep. Kate goes to bed at 7pm, and the 3 other kids in primary school go to bed by 8.30pm. I also know for certain that we definitely, positively, without a doubt, have to discipline children. And it should be done as early as possible. With Kate, from the time she was 6 months, when she wanted to take our phones to play, we will say no and take it away from her. Consistently. It saves us a lot of money on replacement specs, phones and whatever else that she may decide to destroy. I will share with you my journey on all the different aspects of parenting in my million mistakes as we trail Kate’s development.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Racial Harmony Day

Last week, #4 volunteered me to help out in her school’s racial harmony day. To be honest, I never actually knew what they did in school on RHD. I just presumed they wore the different nationality’s costumes and that was it. When I entered the school hall, I was surprised that the teachers actually took the trouble to organise different booths to showcase the different cultures.

There was a henna booth where the kids had their hands drawn by the parent volunteers, and the older students even had the choice of creating their own designs. There was a booth where a mummy volunteer taught the students how to don a sarong kabaya. They could then proceed to another booth to have their photos taken.

There were plenty of traditional games to give the students a chance to play the games we played in our day. There were games like Capteh (whereby the players kick colourful feathers attached to a rubber base), Kuti-kuti (whereby the players flick colourful animal shaped tokens), 5 stones (triangle shaped packets filled with beans), hop-scotch and paper balls which you have to manually blow up. I was manning the card games booth, with ‘old-fashioned’ games like ‘Donkey’, ‘Old Maid’, ‘Happy Family’, and snakes and ladders.

Traditional games

The lower primary students were very excited and enthusiastic to try out all the different games. The upper primary students were reticent at first. Perhaps they felt that the games were rather childish. However the teacher encouraged them to take a break from the stress of the upcoming Prelims and to enjoy themselves. They ended up having fun with the simple games!

Many students asked me if I had ‘Sleeping Queen’ (a current card game). One boy saw we were providing card games and asked if we had poker cards. I couldn’t believe it but quite a few kids asked me “Auntie, how do you play snakes & ladders?” The parent volunteer next to me promptly answered “Ladder go up, snake go down”. To which the boys let out a long “Ohhh….”

It reminded me again that our kids are indeed from a different generation. Their experiences are so different from ours. They do not see the world like we do. They probably perceive me as ‘old-fashioned’. I am slowly stepping into their world. One parent volunteer I met told me she took leave to be here as her presence meant a lot to her child. Although I am so busy, I always leave the school glad that I had spent a morning with the children. It is heartening to see your child happily playing with her close friends. I find that time stands still when I’m in the company of so many carefree and spirited children (even if it’s just for a period, before they return to their boring classrooms). To see them wholeheartedly enjoy whatever they are doing reminds me to do the same.

I highly recommend all mummies and daddies to at least volunteer for 1 event per year per child. It’s really not too much to ask right? It means a lot to our children, and it says to them that they are important. Important enough for us to take leave from our work or from our busy schedule to be involved in their school life. Think about it: it costs nothing, you don’t have to plan anything, and it’s not all that tiring… unless of course you volunteer for the outdoor excursions like the zoo outing or the nature trail at fort canning. Sounds much easier than taking them out over the weekend!

Sane tip: I used to tell my kids, do you seriously think I have extra time to volunteer in your school? I realised its a poverty mentality. Now, I tell all of them, if there’s anything you would like me to be involved in, just ask me. I will definitely try my best to go. I realise that taking a couple of hours out to be in the company of my child and her classmates will always slow me down in my busy day. Your child will be so happy you went that she will be very pleasant company for the next few days (that’s what I notice, anyway).

Save tip: If we are looking for ways to bond with our child, I don’t think I can find any cheaper alternative than this.

~ mummy wee – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Milk Magic

(written by #4)

#4 learnt this over at a friend’s house and came home to show us. This is a really quick activity that can be done after a long day at school to unwind. The materials can be easily found at home.

Step 1: Gather these materials: 
  • Milk
  • Food colouring (3 is recommended)
  • Straw
  • Shallow dish
  • Liquid hand soap or dish washing detergent
  • Cotton bud
Step 2: Pour some milk on the dish

Step 3: Use the straw to dip into one of the food colouring (just a little is enough), then dip it in the milk.

Step 4: Repeat with the remaining colours.

Step 5: Pump a bit of soap onto the tip of the cotton bud.

Step 6: Dip the cotton bud into the milk and move it around to create your very own designs.

Have fun!

Sane tip: This experiment is really easy and safe even for a young child to manage on her own. But if you do have some time, doing it with your child is so much more fun! I don’t usually do much art anymore, but when I did this with #4 it was nice and relaxing to just doodle with the cotton bud and it brought lots of smiles to our faces as we saw our own beautiful designs come to life from a blob of colour 🙂

Save tip: If your milk has just expired, let the kids use it and have some fun.


~  mummywee – parenting 6 kids in Singapore without going mad or broke  ~

Gymboree @ Harbourfront

I heard that Gymboree at Harbourfront was allowing FREE open gym for kids aged 0-60 months for the month of July. I jumped at the chance to take her there as she loves to climb all over the house. She had such a blast!

Getting a head start at rock climbing
Up, up, and away…
Easy peasy
I did it!

Quite a few mums were amazed at Kate’s sure-footedness and were curious at how she became this way. Lots of tummy time from 2 months old, daily trips to the playground from 6 months on (fully padded with knee guards and soft shoes to crawl around and explore), and not being over-protective all helped.


An older boy accidentally kicked her but she was unfazed. What a tough little cookie. I’ll definitely keep my eyes peeled for more such free sessions! Do email me if you know of any such places and I can share it with everyone 🙂 

Sane tip: I love such fully padded gyms. I don’t have to run after her to ensure she won’t hurt herself. I train my kids to be physically steady so I don’t have to hover over them. 

Save tip: I’m always on the look out for freebies 🙂

~ mummy wee – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Coarser Textures

food journey (9 months)

This week’s menu: Japanese pumpkin, broccoli, carrot, potato, sweet potato

I’m going to start making Kate’s purees lumpier so that she can slowly progress to eating the same foods as us. Fruits like apples and pears can now be eaten without steaming. I either give them a quick blend to add them into her purees (especially to thin some dryer vegetables like sweet potatoes or carrots) or I just use a metal teaspoon to scrap directly from the fruit to feed her.

Just a quick blend for a lumpier texture

Every Sunday I will make a whole week’s supply of food for Kate, which takes me roughly an hour. Our freezer is always chock-a-block with so many mouths to feed, but if you have plenty of freezer space, it would save time to make a fortnight or a month’s supply at a go. I got these cute little food containers from Robinsons a couple of years ago. They were very handy for the kids’ snacks and even for making jelly. They come in a set of 8 (either hearts or cars) and cost $14, and they are BPA free. They are the perfect size for Kate’s portion at the moment. When we take Kate out, I just grab one container from the fridge and I’m ready to go (with so many kids, everything is usually grab-and-go).


I had been eyeing the Beaba babycook while I was pregnant as it seemed very convenient and was just so adorable. When my ex-colleagues mentioned they were polling to get her a huge baby hamper, I asked for vouchers instead. I remember after #5’s full month party, I had more than 20 boxes of clothes hampers! It was rather impractical (who needs 20 hooded towels) so this time I requested the guests not to buy any gifts. Since I didn’t need to purchase a  breast pump, sterilizer or clothes as I had plenty of hand-me-downs, I splurged the vouchers on the Babycook. I have to admit it’s rather expensive at $279 (occasionally Takashimaya sells it for $189 at their baby fair) but the great thing is that it steams and blends all in one machine and turns off automatically when it’s done steaming.

With the other kids, I used the traditional method of steaming in a pot and more often than not I end up over-steaming the food or burning the pot. I figured that it cost more money in wasted food and in replacing the pot, not to mention the frustration (with myself!) and stress level when that happens. I consider it one of the handiest appliance at the moment, and I foresee using it for many years to come. I still do steam and blend vegetables for the older kids when I need to thicken their sauces. However, I’m sure there are other steamer/blender options on the market which are cheaper. Just be sure to get a steamer which shuts off automatically. I find that helped tremendously.

Food / Milk warmer

Every night I would take down 3 containers of food to defrost for the next day. Just before a meal I would warm it up in this food/milk warmer. It takes about 10 minutes to warm up. Once ready, it will let out a little ‘beep’.

I started giving her some finger food but I don’t think she’s ready for it. If I cut the pieces too big she chokes, and if I cut them too small she can’t pick them up. Or she squishes them too tightly until they turn to mush. The only thing she manages to pick up well is shredded chicken in tiny pieces. Guess I’ll wait a couple of weeks before trying again.

Sane tip: I used to do everything the traditional way – steaming food in a pot, sterilising their milk bottles in a huge pot of boiling water, heating up their food by warming up in a bowl. I realise appliances really do save a lot of time and hassle.


Save tip: For your baby’s full month party, tell your good friends or state in the invite: No gifts please. We’re happy for them to just come and celebrate our joy with us. But if they feel they have to buy something, they will either give you vouchers or red packets. More practical.

Read about an Allergy that almost killed #1

6 easy peasy tips to make your baby smarter

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore  ~

“You have 6 kids?”

I get that all the time. Yes, I do have 6 children.
Our brood
And I’m thankful for each and every one of them.

All of them are different. They have different personalities, different interests, different temperaments, different learning styles, different intelligences, different gifts. It has been an interesting journey, to say the least.

I had my first 5 kids in succession (all 2 years apart). They were all natural births sans epidural (ok, maybe I was a little bit crazy).

Subsequently there was a break of 6 years and Baby Kate entered our lives. Now that the 2 eldest are in their teens, I have the benefit of hindsight on what worked and what didn’t. I am better able to parent Kate with the little things that I learnt along the way, many through trial and error.

We didn’t have any experience with kids. None of our siblings had kids yet and we were the first among our friends to have kids. We must have made a million mistakes along the way as we didn’t know any better.

Nowadays, there are so many viewpoints on every aspect of child rearing. From the type of milk to feed our toddlers (fresh or formula), styles of discipline, what sort of pre-school is best for our kids (the options are mind-boggling), to enrichment classes to enrol junior in (the options are even more mind-boggling).

The way I parent Kate is a culmination of all the experiences, both my own and through friends, and knowledge that I have amassed from the past 15 years of parenting the kids, which I will share in my million mistakes.

The early days were a challenge, to say the least. I had my 2 oldest girls overseas, while the hubs and I were studying full time for a degree. We had no help whatsoever (only the occasional break when my mum or mum-in-law visited us for a couple of weeks when I had to go away for fieldwork). We took care of them ourselves, did the housework and cooked every meal. I managed to obtain my degree (with distinctions!) and bring up the toddler while being pregnant with #2.

There were times when I had to take her along to my lectures (I’m not kidding, and she wasn’t the only toddler in the evening classes). She sat quietly with her sticker books and crayons, and I was always armed with snacks. I must say that she was an easy toddler. It wouldn’t have been possible with my son!

She watched while I studied

Good time management became a necessity and I stopped procrastinating. I started on my assignments early and paced myself so that I wouldn’t have to burn the midnight oil (even that was a luxury!). I stopped wasting time on things like window shopping, surfing the net, or partying. It helped that she was happy to play by herself for stretches of time. The rental apartment was small so we were always in her sight. Those days are a far cry from our present situation, where Kate is really lucky to have so many older siblings to play with, and to have her grandparents visit weekly.

Kate is now 9 months old and this is where our blog commences. I have learnt that for a baby, the important areas in the first year concerns establishing good sleeping patterns, giving her a healthy head-start with nutrition, taking good care of her teeth and gums, and that it’s never too early to start reading to her. You can find all that and more in under 12 months.

It might sound unbelievable, but we had absolutely no clue how to discipline the kids when we first had them. I have a high threshold of tolerance towards mischief and would let most things slide. Of course, with no boundaries, the kids pushed the limits until there was a stage where I was constantly yelling at them. The hubs’ method of discipline, on the other hand, was swift and harsh. Misbehaviour was dealt with depending on his mood, usually by a quick smack, with no explanations whatsoever. Well, 16 years later, his punishments are still inconsistent, while I still don’t have all the answers. However, I hope to share some of what I have learnt, in discipline tips.

The 3 older girls have crossed the dreaded PSLE and all of them managed to score a minimum of A for every one of their subjects. I know it doesn’t sound impressive to those mummies who expect a lot more from their kids. But the fact that my kids hardly have any tuition except in the P6 year (save money), don’t do any extra assessment books at home (save some more money), are not coached by either of us parents (so that we don’t go mad), and they play at the playground everyday (so that they don’t go mad), I think they fared pretty decently. More about that in PSLE & more.


Every school holiday, I make it a point to expose our kids to some form of charitable work. In this age of entitlement, they have forgotten to be grateful for what they have. By making voluntarism a part of their lives from young, I hope to instil in them compassion and empathy for others. Here are some simple ways by which we try to give back to society in kids & charity.

As parents, we should leave a legacy of family traditions for our kids to pass on to their kids. This would help them to have a sense of belonging, and it would be so wonderful in years to come when the next generation of cousins enjoy the same traditions that all came from grandma! (that’s me). I also try to keep some of the traditions which my mom passed down to us. Family traditions also form the basis of fond memories of their childhood which they will look back on and reminisce. We would love to hear about your family traditions too!

And what about mummy? Mummy takes care of the entire family but who takes care of mummy? We’re in for the long haul. We have to keep ourselves healthy and happy so that we can hold the family together. We also have to constantly upgrade ourselves, to be open to new ideas and new perspectives and to never stop learning.

I had always relied on my kids or the hubs when it comes to technology. In fact, this blog was created by #1 (never mind that it doesn’t look professional) and I’m so proud of her. Yes, I can start to feel the ‘generation gap’. The internet, social media and technology are so much a part of her life.

However, while creating this blog, I learnt a lot from my daughter and was even able to figure out some of the functions while she was at school. I gave myself a pat on the back. I always tell the kids that learning is for life. I’m glad that I’m able to practice what I preach, especially in an area I have always shunned – technology.

I will include some tips at the bottom of the posts to save you from going mad or broke (hopefully). If we challenge stereotypes, go au natural, and get creative, raising kids in Singapore can be a blast! (most of the time, anyway) Happy parenting! 🙂


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~