Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Circus" On Bed

I was happy with the new tailored made bedsheet and a pillow case from IKEA. This was the 2nd piece of children fabric I bought. The overall cost is less than RM 80 (fabric + workmanship + 10% discount for IKEA Friend card). *Note: In fact, the leftover fabric (as right picture) is still enough to make one pillow case + one bolster cover.

Compared with the 1st design (see picture -far left), the 2nd piece is much colour-rich and the design is sort of circus-like theme (the small flags and the circle dots). And I'm glad to choose white finish for the bed frame. Isn't that it makes any bright or cheeky designed bedsheets look more outstanding? Furthermore, our room looks quite children-oriented with this new bedsheet.

How did our boy feel about it? Haha.. he's so excited to hold his new pillow while I changed the bedsheet. Definitely he likes it very much. Just like his mum.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Play n Learn: Springwood Farm Quoits

It's another wooden toy set from ELC. Guess my hubby can't say anything once he read this post. Haha... a "beautiful lie" from a shopaholic mum. This toy is actually for kids aged 3-8. But I bought it when my boy was just almost 1yo. Too crazy? Not so, I feel lucky to buy it first because it's no longer available now. (Good enough for an excuse?!)

Farm Quoits is perfect to play outdoor and indoor.
As the weather looks so extreme (hot and wet) recently, we don't bring our boy to the playground as to avoid him catching a cold. Finally I took the Springwood Farm Quoits out from our store and unpacked it last weekend. How happy he was to help me set up the quoits on the floor. But what he can learn??? Learn about the farm animals like sheep, rabbit, horse, chicken, duck and cow and also the numbers* (1 to 6). *Elder kids can learn to count the scores from their throws of rope over the animal targets.

It's a fun game to play together with kids for the purposes like family leisure and home parties.
Per label's reference, this Farm Quoits is aimed for:
(i) Physical Development: helps little ones develop coordination, balance and strength
;
(ii) Hand and Eye Coordination: helps little ones use their hands effectively and develop good reflexes;
(iii) Social Skills: helps little ones learn how to make friends and enjoy company.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Honour Him A "Super" Status

That's it. We granted our 2+y.o boy a "super" title with what he is doing. Now he will sit well on his car seat or a highchair when we ask him to take his "super" seat.

Months ago, after we realised that our boy has declared his 1st independence from us (ie walk by himself (resist to hold hands); bathe by himself; dress up by himself and sit like us (without highchair & car seat), we start to worry about his safety. Until I read him this book "Room on Broom" by Julia Donaldson, the phrase of "magnificent broom" gave me the idea about "super" term. Next day in the car, I spoke to my boy who stood beside me.
I asked: Boy, would you like to sit on your "super" seat? It's "super" seat, only you got it, you know?
He turned to me and replied curiously: Yes... Super seat, I got. Mommy no? (new term easily caught his attraction)
I answered: Yes, mommy and daddy don't have. Only you got.

To our delight, he quickly moved to the car seat and sat on it till we reached our destination. He is happy with the new status. To protect his little pride in showing-off his little independence, we continue with this soft tactic to coax him (like his "super" bed or "super" chair or "super" car-trolley/pram). Indeed, little ones have self-esteem from young age! We understand that our little one wished to act like us to do things by his own. So we no longer use "baby" kind of term on his items. We let him feel that he has grown up mentally with the honour - "super".

Just think about what your little ones like.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Home Project 3: DIY Father's Day Card

Happy Father's Day!!! (It was yesterday) Here's the DIY card that we (my boy and I) made together for his daddy. Of course, the cutting work was all done by me. My boy just watched how I do.

This DIY card was made from the recycled materials like Kinokuniya Newsletters and an open-window envelope (plastic for making the glasses). First of all, I cut the "face" out and then cut different shapes like triangle, oval, circle, rectangle and square to assemble the parts like nose, eyes, eyebrows, hairs, ears and mouth on the "face".

Upon completing it, I gave my boy a small test regarding the names of the organs (face) and the shapes. For example,
I pointed the "nose" and asked: What is this?
My boy: Nose.
I asked again: What shape is this?
My boy: Triangle.
Or another example,
I asked: Where is the Square?
My boy pointed the glasses: Here.
I continued: What is this?
My boy: Daddy's glasses.
*Repeat similar questions with the rest to test how much your little ones have learned.

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Boy's 1st Birthday Gift

ELC's Large Wooden Bead Frame

Toy Store is another place that I always visit when I go to a mall, especially the Early Learning Centre (ELC) from UK.
*currently ELC branches in Malaysia (The Curve & Pavilion KL) are called "Think Toys" and the range of ELC is lesser now. You may find some ELC's products at Mothercare. Amongst ELC's product ranges, my fave is the wooden range. In my perception, I think wooden toys are more durable than plastic toys. Ohhh... I had eyed on this Large Wooden Bead since I first visited the store. Finally I bought it as a birthday present for my baby's 1st birthday. (RM 110)
I like the chunky and colourful beads shaped in different objects (ie flowers, vehicles, bees and butterflies). My 1y.o boy enjoyed moving and pushing the beads along the spiral wires from one side to the other end.

Per label's reference, this bead frame is aimed for:
(i) Problem Solving: teach little ones how to work things out for themselves
;
(ii) Hand and Eye Coordination: helps little ones use their hands effectively and develop good reflexes.
P/S: More ELC items are available through Mothercare.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Book Review: How Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends?

Book Review # 5: How Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague

First of all, to whom is interested in buying Leapfrog's Tag Junior, now it's the best time to get it from Mothercare (Sales last till the end of June).

* Tag Junior & 1 Tag Junior's book set for RM 129. (Normal RM 179)

* Tag Junior's Book (any titles) for RM 25. (Normal RM 32)

This is the latest title I bought for my boy. I like it because it introduces different types of Dinosaurs and most importantly the Tag Junior can pronounce those complicated names of Dinosaurs like Cryolophosaurus, Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus and others.

Also, this book is good for teaching young kids how to "play nice" with their friends. Although young kids are always forgiven being the reason of "too young" to learn about the rules, parents are responsible to instill good manners or moral values to their children as early as possible. Sooner, they meet and social with others at the playground or in the school. As parents, we don't want to see that our children are refused or neglected by their friends one day. We want our kids make more friends and to be popular amongst their social circles.

Through reading this book, you can explain to your little one how to play nice with other small friends in public. Let your little one know how important it is to share and queue.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's Dumpling Festival - 5th Day Of 5th Lunar Month

Haha... my hubby reminded me that "Duan Wu Jie" (端午節) belongs to Korean Festival when I told him that this Wednesday is Dumpling Festival (today). In certain countries, it's also known as "Dragon Boat Festival" (龍舟). Yes, it really twisted our mind to accept the fact when we heard KOREA succeeded to file "Duan Wu" as their intangible heritage to UNESCO's list.

How do we tell the tales of this festival to our next generation? Originally, we celebrate "Duan Wu Jie" is to pay respect to the patriotic poet in ancient Chu, Qu Yuan (屈原). Indeed, this festival is as important as other Chinese traditional festivals like Lunar New Year, Lantern Festival (元宵节), Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節)and Winter Solstice Festival (冬至), all Chinese families' members (for Malaysia) get to celebrate it together by sitting around the table for a re-union dinner. Today, most Chinese families only gather to celebrate the Lunar Chinese New Year and QingMing Festival (清明节).

No matter how, we still celebrate the Dumpling Festival as usual - eat variety of dumplings (ie pork, red bean, plain, Nyonya) which were made by inlaw and aunties with sweats. This morning, still I saw my mom prepared a can of orange liquid (雄黄水) to splash over the front and back of the house. At the main door, she hung twigs of a herb plant. These are another customs passed down from my grandma that in a belief to keep the evil things away. In fact, my mom explained that her mom (my grandma) used to rub the brownish liquid on her and siblings' foreheads and all members gathered around to eat like reunion dinner.

Lastly, I wish all Chinese friends have a happy Dumpling Festival. Bon appetit.

Monday, June 14, 2010

We Went to A Mini Bird Park

Yesterday we brought our boy to Ikano Power Center to visit the Bird Park II. It's held at the main concourse area. We can see some small and big closure (cage) with birds residing in.

After we had a quick brunch @ Kluang station cafe, we headed to the indoor Bird Park. My hubby asked "why the bird park is so small?" when we entered the biggest walk-in "cage" to get an up close distance with some birds like Malay-eagle, Ibis,Peacock, Flamingo, cockatoo, Pigeons, wild ducks and small chicks. I answered him "Hey man, it's free entrance!". We were not able to stop for photo-taking as the crowds kept flocking into the "cage".

Oh no, I've told my boy that we're going to see owl at the Bird Park too.. but I can't spot any in the biggest closure. So we walked out
with a little disappointment. We continued with few more small cages located at the other corner and came to the last cage (covered with shade) we met the owl.

At last, we went to the photo booth to take a photo with the tamed parrots for remembrance (RM10). Sure we will visit the KL Bird Park @ Lake Gardens one day.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Baby Goes Green: Pocket Cloth Diapers

Back to our baby times, our moms wrapped our bottoms on piece of squared white cotton napkin or cloth diaper. During that time, napkins were secured by big safety pins. Today, napkin fasteners (with three-side hooks) are highly recommended and sooner substituting the safety pins. Napkin fastener looks much safer but the con is that it can't hold the napkin as secured as the safety pin. In order to minimise the usage of disposable diapers, I'm still hoping to get a better alternative.

Until my baby was about 3 months old, my hubby emailed me a local website which sells pocket cloth diapers. It's introduced by his friend who bought few for her baby. Once I visited the website, I immediately urged my hubby to order the Sampler Pack (2 pieces). Yes, it was what I looking for - Blueberry's Cloth Diaper. Then I realised it's a premier brand (made in USA) in the market. The price I paid was about RM 120 per piece (now it's RM 100+). Certainly you can't compare its quality:
  • Outer layer - Ultra-soft Minky (plush "micro-fibre") that keeps wetness in
  • Inner layer - High quality Microfleece that keeps baby's bottom dry
  • Insert - Organic cotton or Bamboo cotton that provides superb absorbency
  • Designs - Varieties of funky and colours for laminated Minky
Commonly pocket diapers comes with 2 types of closures: (1) Hook & Loop (Velcro) ; (2) Snap (buttons). I chose one each for my Sampler Pack. Based on my experience, I found out my baby outgrow in the Snap closure faster than Hook&Loop (H&L).(see picture above - Baby @ 10 mths old wore Blueberry) H&L (size L) can hold up my baby well from 4 mths to 1 year old. Diaper changing is as easy as 123 at home - snap on or snap out. Also, you are not only saving up a lot of money but you are saving the Earth. It's worth the investment.

It's happy to know that many new moms are using pocket cloth diapers. Regardless the premier Minky type or the budget PUL type, they work same for the functions (easy-wear, save money & environmental-friendly). Currently I stock in some HAUTE's pocket diapers and sell them at attractive price, RM 30 per piece... to support your baby goes GREEN.

HuggaMAMA Photo-Contest

Hello to all preg-mamas... here comes a great chance to show-off your beautiful belly and it may win you some good prizes from Huggies.

The contest period is held from 1st June 2010 until 31st May 2011. *so those who plan to have baby soon can consider it once you're conceived.
They will announce monthly winners... so you stand for 1-12 chances to win throughout the contest period. Just upload your photo by end of each month.

Most importantly you need to rally more votes to be the winner (of the month). The votes are accounted for 60% in judging criteria. Eee, this sounds like those popular TV singing contests where SMS votes are highly proportioned. **Tips - advertise your photo at Facebook or Twitter. Log on now to www.huggies.com.my and read more details of the terms and conditions about the photo contest.

Get ready with your camera!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Facelift For so-sweetcloset

Yes...today I have just applied for a new design for this blog, so-sweetcloset. (*only for those who have visited or followed my blog may alert of the change) Actually I like the old design alot but it no longer fits my blog. The new design gives a fresh and clean look here.

6 months ago, I just resigned a 9to5 job to become a full-time mother. Also, I am operating online selling business in small scale but also trying to take over family business. I have to adapt myself to the new challenges and new schedules. Same to my family, my husband and our 2 y.o boy. Am I too ambitious? Or selfish?
It's quite complicated to tell my new status. At first, I thought I could spare more time to look after my boy with the new roles. After 6 months, I realise that I need to reposition myself amongst the roles I'm doing.. yes, before I lost.

1st Role: 24h Mother to my beloved boy
I have to say "sorry again" to my boy because I'm not able to look after him around the clock. I need to focus on the family business soon. But I'm feeling better that I've the flexibility to fulfill certain tasks in my boy's daily life. Like we can have breakfast together and I can fetch him to/from kindergarten later.

2nd Role: Online selling business
In May, I have switched the Sale of remaining children stocks to the hottest network - Facebook under account of "oneplusone-maternity@live.com". We will keep our passions in promoting eco-baby products like Glass bottle and Cloth diaper. Think GREEN if you have options.

3rd Role: Small family business
It's never been so easy to take over a business which runs for 20+ years. It's unlike studying the economy or accounting... then I can handle it. The most challenging part is how to get familiar with the human network, ie the suppliers (small or big), the customers and also the competitors. Just lucky that I get a chance to learn with my parents. So I need to devote greater effort and time as to sail it alone one day.

4th Role: Blog-a-Mum
I definitely will spare time to continue my first and only blog. so-sweetcloset is like a diary of my parenting life as well as a keepsake to my toddler when he's grown up. Sharing with you about my thoughts and my experiences and my materials on bringing up a child.

Wish me luck and thank you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Train My Boy To Speak Bilingual

During our school days, we were trained to learn in multi-languages. I'm so well aware of the hardship I had in accomplishing my tertiary studies at foreign university where English is the only medium. So for me whose mother tongue is Mandarin always have to study harder.

Hence, I have compromised with my hubby as to speak English with our newborn. Yet we don't give up mother tongue - Mandarin. Our parents and people surrounding our baby are speaking of it. We glad that we could expose our baby to a bilingual environment as early as. Now he's picking up both languages quite well.

1st Point: Never mix any two & above languages/dialects in your conversation with your baby.
For example: Baby, 你要watch TV吗?(Translate: do you want to watch TV?)
Our method: My hubby and I analyse the main speakers surrounding our baby (include his family, my family and the babysitter). We understand that our baby will be exposed to "Mandarin" the most. As such, we both decide to converse in English (though it's not our 1st language) to him whilst others speak other languages with him.

2nd Point: Be consistent. Stick to one language or one dialect from the 1st day you speak with your baby.
For example: You speak only in English with your baby in private. When involving others (your mom/babysitter/friends), you may use other language/dialect spoken with them to your baby. Avoid this situation as much as possible as not to confuse your baby's recognition of language.
Our method: Similar to the 1st point. We remain using English as the medium of conversation with our boy since he's born. No matter where and when. Not shy to speak up even though we are not so fluent in English.

3rd Point: Speak and explain in one language/dialect. No need to translate what you speak of (include reading).
For example: Baby, this is an apple. 这是一颗苹果。
Our method: We speak and read to him in English. We explain the meaning/object in English too. Either we use body action to describe the words like running, crying.. or we show him the picture/real object like apple, tummy, water. We notice that young child is able to match the same words/phrases in different languages. Like he will tell my mum "Ja-Ja, 我要踏脚车" then turn to me and say "Mummy, I want to ride bicycle".

4th Point:
Correct/guide your baby to use the same language which you speak with him/her.
Sometimes, we have to correct our boy when he mixes the languages in his conversation. For example, he says "Mummy, 我要go to park". (I want to go to park)
Our method: We'd ask him to repeat his sentence by hinting the first word "I.." then he'll respond "I want to go to park". With more and more practices, we believe that our boy can pick up both languages smoothly.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Says "No" To E-games

In my previous post, I commented about the use of i-book for my boy. Worried if he will lose interest in books. However, it's hard to avoid electronic impact in our current daily lifestyle. Like myself, I always online to write blog and go to Facebook. My boy can tell "computer","handphone" and "remote controller" which I don't think I'd know such things during my time. Even some of the kids I know have their private email accounts and many have registered with Facebook as well. Hence, I really need to monitor my usage of internet at my boy's sight.

Electronic games are very popular amongst the young kids like Game boy or PSP, Playstation and Wii. Many parents reward their kids for good academic performances; some parents buy these for entertainment. With more and more new inventions, I'm very scared that my tot will indulge in the E-world be
fore he attends school. I really miss the childhood time I had with my siblings and neighbours. On windy days, we played kites in the field; on rainy days, we went to find the tadpoles in the drains (after rain).

For my 2 y.o boy, we only can play at indoor. So I need to invent some games to play with him and make him happy. These days, we enjoy throwi
ng balls into basket. During playtime, I instill simple rules for him: (1) queue behind me after his turn (2) take turns to throw. An experienced mum advised me to rotate different types of 'Play n Learn' materials. New things can challenge and inspire children learning spirit. Just lucky that I got many used stuffs from my sister-in-laws. (see one at right) Slowly I take one out for my boy to play. Wished I could delay my boy in making his commitment to E-generation.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Book Review: Dr.Suess's ABC

Book Review # 4: Dr.Seuss's ABC (An Amazing Alphabet Book)
I have bought few titles from Dr.Seuss's collection. Included this one. But I still haven't read it to my 2y.o boy because I think he's still young to adapt the "amazing part" of this book. In this book, you can find many weird animals (not seen in the real world) with funny/silly names. Really amazing... Nevertheless, the author is brilliant to write the playful sentences which create tongue-twisted fun as well as to attract the young readers with his wild n crazy drawings. Definitely I want to read it to my boy when he grows older (ie 4 y.o).

Never expected that his daddy has downloaded an i-book app from Mac-Apple (for iphone or ipad). No doubt that my boy was so attracted to view the i-book version of "Dr.Seuss ABC". I-book can be viewed via 3 different options, "Read-to-me", "Read-it-myself" and "Auto-play". For my boy, he was delighted because of the "touch" effect which can play "sounds"... which he can't get it from the normal book. But it aroused his interest to read this book.

Last night, my boy wanted his daddy to read this book. So his daddy held the book but my boy who sat on his lap was moving his index finger on the pages... then asked "why no sound?". Hilarious... (I looked at my hubby -- his i-book's fault) My hubby entertained his little boy and said "you point it again".. once my boy point at an image or a sentence, my hubby will read.. as if using "Read-it-myself" @ i-book. But there's a little argument arisen with 1st alphabet.
His daddy read: Aunt Annie's Alligator..
My boy said:
Ooi.... crocodile!
(point to the picture, see left)
His daddy repeated:
Alligator. It's alligator.

My boy opposed: No, crocodile!
I explained:
Crocodile and alligator look "same". (how to explain?)

My boy finally said:
Aunt Annie's Alligator Crocodile.
(haha, agreed to me?)
I decided to continue reading this book to him (not to wait till 4 y.o). I like how the book conveys uppercase and lowercase letters and produces the fun words in rhyme.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Explore Fun During School Holidays

Haha.. my boy hasn't attended a full time pre-school programme. So for him, it's a holiday on every day. In fact, he just has a very normal day everyday. Wake up, eat, play, watch TV, take nap, read and sleep... only me and my mom are his companions.

The mid-year school holidays start now. There are many holiday programs held at the major shopping malls. I think my 2y.o boy could take part in some of the programs. Let's go.

1) Pavilion Kuala Lumpur - Balloon Carnival
from 4th June to 15th June

- Free one ride on Hot Air Balloon (indoor) with purchase of RM 200 in single receipt
- Open for children aged 3 to 10 whose weight is below 30kg
Well, my 2.yo boy is not qualified to take a ride on the Hot Air Balloon. But I think he'll be excited to see the colourful balloons and meet the clowns who can make any kinds of art balloons.

2) IKANO Power Centre - Bird Park II
from 4th June to 20th June
-
Discover & Learn Bird Species, Photo booth, Feeding time, Colouring contest
- Spend RM 100 with any credit cards and bring home with a free goody bag of stationery & gifts
Definitely it's a good chance to educate the young kids about the variety of bird species. I've told my boy that we will bring him to meet the owls at the Bird Park... (hopefully they are there as seen in the ad)

Hope my boy could explore fun like the other school kids from these holiday programs. Happy School Holidays!!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

My Boy Has A Bag: DPAM's Rhino Backpack

It's a good idea to let a toddler have his/her own bag. For my boy, he's happy to carry his own bag - a children backpack. By carrying a bag, he is trained to take a responsibility to look after the bag on his own (and the contents inside it). Not to weight too much on his shoulder, normally I put one book, one piece diaper, one water bottle and one piece of handkerchief. I will tell him to carry his little backpack when we are going for occasions or shopping. Sometimes he will ask for his backpack if he sees me holding a nice bag or sees us dressing so formal.

I just introduced this french brand - DPAM (Du Pareil Au Meme) in my previous post. I bought a DPAM's Rhino backpack for my boy last year. I like the design and I think my boy will like it. Yes, he is. See how co-operative he was when I told him that I want to take a picture of his little Rhino's bag.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Home Project 2: The Very Hungry Caterpillar's DIY book

For our 2nd home project, I managed to get some ideas from the website. We made a DIY book based on the same story. Just I use fill-in-the-blank format to do this book. My boy can stick the appropriate image (of the word) to each blank (in fact, the words are printed in shadow). In other hand, the print-out images are in blank for colouring purpose.
1st Step: Type the story and Copy the images. Print out.
2nd Step: Colour the images. (cut out the images for fill-in-the-blank)
3rd Step: Bind the DIY book.
4th Step: Read the DIY book and stick the appropriate image one by one. (see left)
*Have a look at the DIY book's cover & contents via below videoclip:
video
Besides, this book was featured in his toddler class last week as well as a topic for the art project (see right-the beautiful butterfly). While his teacher holds up the big book version, he happily pointed the book to me and said "Mommy, caterpillar book, I have this in the house". His teacher also surprised that he could name many such as caterpillar, strawberries, oranges, cocoon and butterfly. I'd just say: Good job.

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