Kate was so busy at the Hokey Pokey indoor playground

We took Kate to the indoor playground at Millennia Walk on her 1st birthday. She had so much fun there! We were there for one and a half hours until closing time, and she wasn’t done exploring everything. It is targeted at the 0-5 year olds and there is a huge variety of toys to entertain them. She started off playing in the ball pool with #4 and #5.

After awhile, they took her out and put her in the swing. She loves the swings at our playground but we can’t swing her properly as there are no seat belts. This swing is perfect for the tikes as the seat has a backing and she can hold on to the sides.

Higher, higher!

The coolest thing here? It’s gotta be the rollercoaster! We put Kate in the little car and gave her a push.

Wheeee! It gathered speed pretty fast and #4 was afraid she would fall off so she caught her midway. It would be perfect for those above 2 as they would be able to hold on tight by themselves.

#5 took his passengers for a wagon ride around the place.

They have a whole array of kitchen play toys. I love this cool red retro kitchen. Wish I had a life-sized one at home!

There’s a fully furnished doll’s house, but I think the dolls have gone for a holiday.

For the boys, they have a shelf full of vehicles which they can vroom around on the city play mat. This miniature red fire station can be opened for imaginative play, and there is even a little fireman’s pole in there.

There’s also a train track table top which was very popular with the little boys.

Lots of kids were huddled inside the castle. It has a red slide for a quick escape.

There’s even a rack of costumes for pretend play. There seemed to be more options for the girls than the boys. Anyway, most of the boys were too busy with the trucks and the slides.

Kate found this little piano and started tinkering away. Sure looks like a pro!

She picked up a little camera which looked like a phone to her. She’s now at the stage where she’s obsessed with phones. At home, if she fusses, #3 will take her to the speaker phone and call grandma. She loves to hear a voice on the other end.

She dialled some numbers and called her friends to tell them about this oh-so-cool place. I think she’s gonna bring her gang here the next time round.

Kate’s favourite? The ride-ons. She spent a good half hour trying all the ride-ons. 

She likes the Thomas one best. She started by pushing it around..

Then she got on it..

And then she started standing on it! I’m glad the floors are padded.

She moved on from the ride-ons to the scooters.

“Wadaya mean I’m too young to ride a scooter?”

“See? No sweat.”

“I’ve found my new mode of transport!”

Sane tip: I love this place. There is so much to entertain her that I can just sit and watch while she moves on from one toy to another. At home she gets bored after 10 minutes and I have to look for new things to entertain her. We’ll definitely be back!

Save tip: Weekdays it’s unlimited play. Weekends it’s $8 for an additional hour. Probably good to get the membership @ $50 per year if you intend to camp out here often with the kid. I just might get it the next time round.

Hokey Pokey
9 Raffles Boulevard
Millennia Walk #02-42
Singapore 039596
Tel: 68845385

~   mummywee – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore  ~

Kate turns oNE!

It has been 12 months since Kate came into our family. She has been such a blessing to us. With the pure innocence of a baby and her ever-ready smiles, she has brought much joy to the family.

Over the weekend, we had a simple birthday celebration with the extended family. She seems to know it is her big day. When she saw her cousins gather around the table, she quickly went over and sat with them. She was a bit too short for the table so she stood up on the chair!

She seems to have socialised into the big kids club. She waited patiently for the cake to be served before she started to eat hers. Normally, if she saw food in front of her, she would immediately reach for it and pop it into her mouth.

Taking her first bite of cake she’s ever eaten in her life.. yummy strawberry sponge cake baked by her aunt.

What is this strange texture?

On her actual birthday, the whole family took her out. We decided to take her to have lots of fun, fun, fun, so we took her to an indoor playground at Millennia Walk which is suited for the 0-5 year olds. #4 and #5 accompanied her in (although they are a tad too old for that place) but they ended up having a whale of a time too! The older 3 had truffle fries with daddy while waiting for us.

We then went for dinner at La Maison. After I finished feeding her her dinner, I allowed her to try feeding herself some rice while I ate. What a great mess she made. I’m glad I had the table topper mat (store details in Armchair shopping – part 2) which I just folded up and threw away.

My youngest… and my eldest. This photo was taken 14 years ago! How time flies.

She’s a really lucky child to have 5 older siblings who love her. She had a great time and we called it a night as the kids had exams the next day.

It’s my birthday, yay!

A look back at the first year of baby Kate’s life…


The kids were eagerly awaiting her birth and were so excited when the day arrived.

#3 made this banner for us
At the hospital
Her first day at home

I asked #5 to read to her and he took his Lego Ninjago book and told her all about the good guys and the bad guys. And he told her not to worry, the good guys will always win.

“yup, I get it”

We give her plenty of fresh air and sunshine everyday. She loves gazing at the clouds.

She’s a contented little baby
She sits in her little ‘throne’ and waits for everyone to come home
Her first spa in the big bathtub
HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY, BABY KATE !

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

Jurong West Swimming Complex

It’s the start of a one week school holiday (again). This time, it’s a 4-day break for PSLE marking with one public holiday, which means I have 9 days of having the 4 younger kids at home with me! We’re going to start our week off with a trip to the swimming pool. We actually intended to go to the Jurong East Swimming Complex as #4 went there last week with her school and she enjoyed herself very much. However, when we reached there, we were so disappointed to find that it was closed! They close for cleaning on Mondays. So do note that. The next nearest alternative was Jurong West Swimming Complex (do note that they close on Tuesdays for cleaning).

Although smaller than Jurong East Swimming Complex, it was not too bad for a public pool. They have a central play structure for the younger kids, a long slide for the older kids, and a shallow pool for the babies. Kate did not dare to play at the play structure as there was a lot of water falling from everywhere. So her siblings decided to take her to play in the Lazy River. You can rent one of those yellow round float for the kids to sit in and relax while they get pushed along the river. Personal floats are not allowed in the river. Each float costs $2 for a 2 hour rental period. You also have to put a deposit of $3 per float. I rented 2 for the 5 of them to share.

The floats are rented from this Guest Services counter at the entrance

#3 brought along a friend with her. She came over to study with #3 as this week is supposed to be a study week for the children as the exams are next week (they are in P5). I told them to take a break from studying to go have some fun at the swimming complex without the crowds.

They can all handle Kate beautifully

They went a couple of rounds around the Lazy river. There are parts in the river where some water falls on you while you drift along. Kate was unprepared for that and she didn’t like it. She had enough and wanted to get out.

They tried taking her to the very shallow baby pool to play with the water but she kept shaking her head and refused to go in. She had had enough of the water!

The shallow pool is just by the side of the play structure

Since she didn’t want to play anymore, they returned her to me and went off to enjoy on their own. The weather was perfect, slightly overcast so it was not hot.

I gave her a snack and she’s all good now!

Her usual cheery self, with a lot to say…


Sane tip: Do rent the float. It’s pretty relaxing to just float along… All your problems can wait… Oh, and keep the entry card for your exit. I threw them into one of the many bags we had and we had to dig everywhere to find them.

Save tip: Less than $10 for an afternoon of fun for everybody is sure a good deal!


Jurong West Swimming Complex
20 Jurong West Street 93
Singapore 648965

Operating Hours:
8am – 9.30pm
(closed every Tuesday)

Adults: Weekdays $1.50 Weekends $2.00
Child/Senior: Weekdays $0.80 Weekends $1.00

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

A lovely old playground

Instead of hitting the usual neighbourhood playgrounds for our daily dose of fresh air and exercise, we went over to a friend’s condo to play. It was one of those older condos which I really love. Nowadays, most playgrounds are fitted with the new play systems. Apparently, they are safer for children. When I was at the hospital with #2 a couple of years back, the doctors told us that the majority of fractures in children are due to playing at the ‘monkey bars’. So those offending bars have been gradually removed from all playgrounds. However, I find that the new playgrounds are all too similar and lack the ‘open-endedness’ of the playgrounds of old which we were all familiar with. 

In this condo, there was a pond with huge fishes and giant terrapins and #3 was teaching Kate how to throw some bread in to feed the fish. But she kept refusing to let go of the bread!

The birds did not seem to be afraid of people and I could go really close to take this shot without frightening it away.

As this was a rather old condo, there was still a low monkey bar and Kate managed to hold on for 2 seconds by herself! (No, I did not let her hang there by herself. #3 had her hands underneath to catch her when she released her grip). In fact, I ever took #5 to a baby gym when he was around Kate’s age, and they had a monkey bar there and parents were taught to get their babies to ‘swing’ by releasing one hand at a time and grabbing the bar in front. Apparently, this is supposed to stimulate a part of the brain. 

There was a tunnel which resembled a train. I like these open-ended structures where the children can stretch their imagination and let it be whatever they want it to be. Kate found it really amusing to be in a tunnel.

She will always have a go at rock climbing! This structure is meant for the older kids so she didn’t get far. But hey, it’s the effort that counts ­čÖé

They even have these old-fashioned swings which I haven’t seen in a long time. #5 held on tightly to her. I was surprised how fast this swing could go. Or was it that I am growing old.. Anyway, it sure brought back memories. We had a swing like that a good decade ago.

A friend found this treasure of a picture when she cleared out her house for her move back to Singapore. #2 was around the same age as Kate now!

#1 must have been about 3.. She’s almost 15 now. How time flies!

Sane tip: It’s good to take the kids outdoors everyday for some fresh air, even if it’s during the exam period.

Save tip: You don’t have to go far. Even a short stroll around your neighbourhood will be good enough.


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

Where’s it gone?

At 10 months, your baby’s separation anxiety may start to become obvious. She would start crying when she sees you leaving. Our natural instinct may be to sneak out when she’s not looking (I was definitely guilty of that!) However, that will only make her more insecure and clingy. The best way is to tell her firmly but gently, “Mummy has to go to work now. Grandma or Auntie will take care of you and mummy will be back tonight”. Give her a kiss and leave. Do the same routine every time. She will know what to expect and will be more secure. This will also help when she needs to start childcare or kindergarten next time.

This is an activity to help her understand object permanence – that when she can’t see the object, it has not disappeared. She will realise that when she can’t see mummy, mummy is not gone forever.

Materials:

2 plastic cups or bowls
1 toy or any object (which can fit under the cup)

I used 2 plastic cups and a silicon muffin cup


















Step 1: Turn the 2 cups upside down in front of baby.
Step 2: Show baby the toy.
Step 3: Place the toy under 1 of the cups.

















Step 4: Observe what baby does. She will probably lift up both the cups. She will be surprised to see that the toy is under one of the cups.

















After she has figured that out, you can start making a game out of it and let her guess which cup the toy is under. If your baby is able to put the object under the cup herself to let you guess, you know you’ve got a cheeky little genius on your hands!

I found it!
















If your baby is able to play this game for 5-10 minutes, it’s enough.

Sane Tip: In the beginning you may not know how to play with your baby, but after you start to do some games with her, you will get to know her better and will even start to have fun with her!

Save Tip: When baby is young you don’t need to buy expensive toys. Just look for things around the house which you can turn into ‘toys’ for baby.

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

DIY Playgroup

We now know that baby’s brains develop most rapidly in the first 2 years of life. Hence the popularity of baby enrichment classes sprouting up in recent years. However they don’t come cheap. One lesson can easily cost $40. Why don’t you start your own baby playgroup? It costs nothing and is not that hard to do. It may seem a little daunting in the beginning but don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it pretty soon.

My neighbours and I started our first playgroup 8 years ago. Needless to say we have stayed close till now and our children always have ready playmates. It was also useful to have one another to discuss little issues that we had as our kids grew up.

Currently Kate is in a playgroup with 3 other 2012 babies. It is nice to watch how the babies grow and change, and how they learn to interact with one another. Gather a group of similar aged babies or toddlers and you can get started! This is the sequence of our playgroup.


1) Good morning song
2) Sing along
3) Story time
4) Activity
5) Puppet show
6) Free play
7) Pack up song

1) First we start off with a “Good Morning” song. This is to signal to them the session has started and to introduce the names of their friends.

It goes like this:
Good morning, good morning, nice to see your smiling face
G       E     E     F      D      D     C    D   E   F     G     G   G
Good morning, good morning, to you and to you.
G       E     E    F      D     D     C   E    G    G   E
Hello Aly, hello Reine,
D D  D D  D  E   F
Hello Vivi, hello Kate,
E  E   E  E  E  F  G
Good morning, good morning, to you and to you.
G      E     E     F      D    D       C   E   G   G   C

2) We will do a series of songs. It’s good to do songs with actions or sounds. You can find these songs on You Tube.

Old MacDonald had a farm
Incy Wincy Spider
The Wheels on The bus
Row, row, row the boat

Row, row, row our boat..

3) We will read a book to them. We usually get a ‘touchy-feely’ book or one that can be dramatized to grab their attention.

4) We will do an activity. This would depend on the age of the children. It could be taking things out of a ‘magic box’, or craft work like sticking coloured paper, or something more active like rolling a ball to one another. Simple activities will do. Today we are doing finger painting.

Reine’s colourful prints

Aly is concentrating hard on getting a lovely green hand print.

And Kate is making one big mess!

Abstract art, mom…

5) We do a simple puppet show.

That’s so funny…

6) Free play (each mummy brings along a different toy every week).

7) End up with the pack up song (to teach the children that they have to clean up after they play). Tune to “Are you sleeping, are you sleeping, brother John, brother John”

Pack up time, pack up time
Let’s all help, let’s all help
Put the toys away, sort the toys away
Pack up time, pack up time

(Repeat twice or three times until all is packed)

Each mummy can be in charge of a section. You can include a theme for each week. Suitable themes: Food, My body, Colour, Animals, Fruit, Numbers, Shapes, Sea animals, Weather, Vehicles, Pets. Each session usually lasts about 45 minutes. As the babies grow older we can stretch it out to an hour or so.

Sane Tip: It’s really helpful to have a handful of mummy friends with kids of the same age. Sometimes you may think that your child has a really big issue which you are concerned about, but after checking with the rest you realise that the other kids may have it too and there’s nothing to worry about.

Save Tip: Some enrichment classes are worth spending on because we can’t replicate the skill of the teachers. But for starters if you just want your child to learn to interact with other children and you want to do something more beneficial and hands-on with your baby on weekends instead of going to the mall, this is ideal. You can also do toy swaps with each other and if the ages of the kids are a few months apart, you can even pass on items which they will outgrow like the walkers, activity centres, play pen, etc.


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

Splashing good time

I used to take them swimming once a week, but ever since Kate was sick with the rash we haven’t gone swimming. She was happy to be in the water again.

This float is pretty cool… the child goes in one side and the adult (or older child) goes in the other end. #4 was relaxing and floating around with her.
How come we don’t seem to be moving?
´╗┐


She’s fascinated with the water. She kept on hitting it and watching it splash.


















An early lesson in science… Beats classroom learning anytime. When #5 was 18 months old, I went for a trial class at one of the very popular enrichment centres (I wanted to see what my friends were doling out good money for). They conducted a Science experiment for the toddlers using water and some boats during the lesson. The kids just sat there and stared at the teacher. Unbelievable. (I mean, the parents. I have much better things to do with my money!)

It’s #3’s turn to take over Kate. She’s much more comfortable with the baby so I asked her to get her used to having water in her face. She played with her and even threw her up!
“Whee….”
#3 went off to play with her friends and #5 took over. He’s ready to fight off anyone who dares to splash her.
Gor gor (brother) says we’re on a mission…
After swimming for about 45 minutes, she had enough.
Let’s call it a day… I’m starving. 
My mom fed Kate her dinner while the rest continued to play with their friends.
Sane tip: Get a 2-person float so you can relax while floating around with her. (Float is from Tom & Stefanie- they have a few outlets)

Save tip: Real life learning is more effective than enrichment classes and the best part is… it’s free!
~   mummywee – parenting 6 kids without going mad or broke  ~
´╗┐

Kate is 10 months old :)

What is she like now? She’s very sociable, and likes to join in our conversations. When we talk, she will babble. When we sing, she will sing. When we stop singing, she will look at us slightly embarrassed and then stop singing too. She likes to wave ‘bye bye’ and will clap her hands when we tell her to. She can say words like ‘jie jie’ and ‘daddy’ quite clearly. I was wondering how come she said those words instead of ‘mummy’ which most babies start with as the ‘m’ sound is easier to make. #3 revealed to me that they have been whispering to her constantly “call jie jie”. 

On 2 occasions, she was forced to say ‘milk milk’. Once was when we were going to the supermarket and she saw us getting into the car and she wanted to go. So we took her along (we always do the “grab and go”). Half way through, she started fussing. We kept giving her things to distract her which usually worked. Suddenly she looked at us and cried out in a really desperate tone ‘milk milk’. Then I realised that she hasn’t had her milk since morning. I had a French loaf in the trolley so we fed her a little bit of that and quickly finished up our grocery shopping and headed home. She gulped down a full bottle of milk.


The second time was at night when she was recovering from her illness with the rash. She was fussing so daddy said “ok, bao bao” (meaning ‘carry’) and he cuddled her and tried to soothe her. She kept on fussing and was babbling some words when suddenly I heard her say “milk milk”… ah, ok, we got it.

Her favourite part of the day? Going to the playground!

All togged out in her knee guards and soft shoes



















She will do everything. Sit on the ‘horsey’..

















Slide down the slide..

Climb anything she can manage to climb.

Her knee guards are from Mothercare


















Her brother will rock the see saw for her and she enjoys it. I tell him not to rock her so hard but he says, “Look, she likes it!” I think she’s going to grow up to be a dare devil.

















Ok, time to go home for dinner.

All sweaty and happy

















Sane Tip: From the time she was around 5 or 6 months old, I would take her to the playground all geared up and she would crawl around by herself. She learnt not to fall off the edges and she even learnt how to climb back up the slide by herself. I try to make her independent so that I don’t have to follow behind her every step which is so tiring!

Save Tip: I got her soft shoes from Stride rite outlet at IMM for $19.90. Limited designs, though. 

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