Empowering My Kids and Building Self Confidence

Ally turns 6 this year and Max will be 4. They are both at the age where we feel they can make certain choices on their own. A recent trip to the supermarket made me think about how I can empower my children and build up their self confidence.

We usually do a weekly supermarket run, this involves a long list and a huge shopping cart. When I do this run alone with the three kids, I need to plan and be strategic ie: be as quick as I can. Now that Luke wants to grab everything off the shelves, I need to shop even faster. Usually all the kids follow along and I ask them to grab items off the shelf as and when I see it. It occurred to me the other day that since Ally can read, why not break up the list and get her to help? After all we were in our local supermarket, one that she knows very well and it was quiet.  She looked at me with questioning eyes, and I said ” Don’t worry you can do it, I trust you”  When she heard that I trusted her, she took the list from me and walked off with confidence.

In fifteen minutes she was back, with all the items on the list. More importantly, she was so proud of herself! Soon after that shopping trip, she offered to order our lunch from the waiter and even queued up at the post office to buy stamps all on her own.

I hope small accomplishments like these will help build their self-confidence and teach them to be independent.



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Not A Pretty Sight

Poor Luke has been plagued with eczema and allergies for some time now. It recently got worse when I gave him some cherry tomatoes for a snack. His palm started to swell and later his forearm as the juice of the tomatoes dripped down.

* The photos below are quite graphic, if you’re having a meal it might be best not to scroll down. You’ve been warned

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Thankfully they look worse than he feels. Besides the occasional scratch , he doesn’t seem to be bothered by them. We are about to embark on two week’s of steroid therapy plus tons of moisturizer. Between Ally’s enormous appetite and Luke’s supply of creams, these kids are bursting our piggy bank! Let me just put it on the record, when I grow old and incontinent, they better not put me in generic brand adult diapers.



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Max And His Twin

Max has started school this year and I am happy to say that he has settled in extremely well. His teachers have commented that he is well-behaved and attentive during lessons. Unfortunately, while he is an angel in school, his mischievous twin rears its head at home.

As a baby, Max was a dream, easy-going, always happy. He blended into our family seamlessly and was an absolute delight. Even at age 2 where many parents experience the terrible 2s, he was still the same placid easy going boy. When he hit 3, his twin appeared. One minute he would be sweet as pie, the next he would be screaming murder.

As he got older, his temper became worse. Whenever he is angry, he would hit out at the nearest object/person next to him. He would have these screaming fits where you can just see his anger and frustration. Honestly , I felt lost. I never experienced such things with Ally and really didn’t know what to do. So I tried to be more firm with him, that didn’t work, I tried to be less firm with him, that didn’t work. I deliberately kept him home with me an extra year to spend time with him and to hopefully work on helping manage his emotions.  After a whole day of tantrum throwing and screaming fits, I felt like I have failed.

He is by far a horrible child, in fact when his temper is in check, he is such fun to be around. The problem is his evil twin appears without warning and just as quickly as it appears, it then disappears. The whining and defiance really gets me upset and then I start fighting his anger with mine which we all know, never works.

I am at a loss at what to do, I do hope that this is really just a phase that he would outgrow as he matures and learns to control his temper and emotions.

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2012 Wrap Up

2012 was an amazing year with the arrival of Luke. This little guy is so awesome and has made our family complete.

Less than 24 hours old and surrounded by love

Less than 24 hours old and surrounded by love

3 weeks old, still a scrawny little chicken

3 weeks old, still a scrawny little chicken

2 months of baby goodness

2 months of baby goodness

brothers for life

brothers for life

New milestones, just as exciting 3rd time round

New milestones, just as exciting 3rd time round

First trip as a family of 5

First trip as a family of 5

Always full of smiles

Always full of smiles

Growing up way too fast

Growing up way too fast

We can’t wait to see what 2013 will bring. Happy New Year!

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Full of Shit, literally

For the past few months we have been dealing with Luke’s chronic constipation. As a baby on a milk only diet, he was fine. Then he started semi solid foods and his pipes became clogged. We tried everything, I stopped giving him Apples, Bananas and Carrots, foods known to cause constipation. I did tummy massages, bicycle legs, the warm bath, nothing worked. Finally we put him on medication after he went for a whole two weeks without pooping.

Anyone who has ever been constipated would know the discomfort. Each time he tried to go, he would cry out in pain. It came to the point where he started to hold back whenever he felt the urge to poo. On the advice of his doctor we started to put him on the toilet hoping gravity would help him. This was finally the solution to our problem. The first few times were hard, he cried as usual but didn’t hold back. Once he realised that he could poop easily, it became much better. I kept him on his medication and at the same time added flax seed oil to his meals. He has a jar of prunes everyday and we also increased his water intake. I’m glad to say that things seem to be getting better and I’m sure Luke is happy his pipes are now cleared.



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Tough Stuff

Ally had her first gymnastics competition today. She has been looking forward to it for months and has spent countless hours practicing, both in the gym and at home.

We reached the gym bright and early to give her time to settle in. She joined her friends for the warm up and was starting to enjoy herself. Her first apparatus was the beam and she did a fantastic job remembering her routine and executing it.


Then came the bars, Ally’s favourite. She saluted the judge, got ready to jump and catch the bars when it happened. She caught hold of the bars but her hand slipped and she fell, hard, onto the mat. She fell on her elbow and immediately started to cry. Her coach ran over to check if she was alright, we iced her elbow and tried to calm her down. At first Matt and I stood back to let her coach see to her, we both knew Ally can be very dramatic over the slightest thing and we didn’t want to make the situation worse. But I soon realise that she could actually be hurt. She could move her arm but didn’t have much strength in her fingers. We knew nothing was broken and so we spoke to her and she agreed to continue with the rest of her competition.


I had tears in my eyes watching her compete. It was obvious that she was in discomfort but she held it together enough to finish her routines. Sure she cried every now and then but when it came for her to perform, she did. The rest of the parents applauded her efforts as well and I’m grateful for their support.

Doing her floor routine

Doing her floor routine

This was an unfortunate accident that could have happened to anyone, anywhere. More importantly, Ally showed us that she had the determination and courage to carry on despite it all. We are so proud of her, my girl is made of tough stuff.

Always a champ in my eyes

Always a champ in my eyes

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Review of Puteri Harbour Indoor Family Theme Park- Little Big Club

I took the kids to check out The little Big Club at Puteri Habour theme park. If you’re not familiar with The Little Big Club, it features characters like Angelina Ballerina, Bob the builder, Pingu, Barney and Thomas. The main target audience is between 3-6 years old though we did see some tweens and a bunch of teenagers there as well.

Getting there: We went via the Tuas second link and followed signs towards Lego land. Once you drive pass the signs for Legoland, keep looking out for Puteri Harbour or the various Hello Kitty/Thomas signs along the road. Signage for the place isn’t as good as Legoland so drive slowly and keep heading towards Puteri Habour. The roads are very quiet as a lot of the area is still being developed.

Parking: There is an underground car park as well as outdoor lots , parking is free for both. Now, here is the interesting part, the theme park is housed in a very new building, so new in fact that the lifts from the basement carpark aren’t in operation yet. This means walking up the car park slopes to get to the ground level. Another thing to note, the turns in the carpark are quite tight and the slopes are narrow so if you drive an MPV, be careful.

Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at the venue, its RM 65 per adult and child for the little big club only. We didn’t bother with Hello kitty town as the kids aren’t interested but you can buy a pass for both venues. Children under 3 enter for free. There wasn’t any queue when we went and tickets were sorted out quickly. We were also given a schedule for show times and character appearances. You can check out that schedule at http://www.playtime.com.my  do note that they are now using the weekend/public holiday timings as its the local school holidays.

The little big club is split into two levels, the first level houses Bob the builder, Barney, Pingu and Angelina. The second level is solely dedicated to Thomas.

Merchandise: There is a shop on the ground floor selling Hello kitty merchandise as well as merchandise from the other characters. Max was disappointed to find that they didn’t sell Bob the builder toys.  Each character had similar merchandise, water bottles, school bags, soft toys, stationary sets and T-shirts. Thomas had the widest range, after Hello Kitty. There were a few hair accessories in the Angelina section as well. As expected, everything came at a premium but that didn’t seem to stop many people from buying lots of stuff.

Shows: When we were there the Thomas show wasn’t available but we managed to catch Barney’s beach party. This is very similar to the free shows that we get at shopping malls. Barney sings old favourites like “Mr Sun” , ” If all the raindrops” and the ” clapping song”. The show wasn’t crowded when we were there,  both the kids managed to find seats in the front.

Angelina Ballerina: The poor mouse has the smallest space dedicated to her, just a little dance studio. Girls can go in, put on tutus, mouse ears and dance with Angelina. By dancing with Angelina it means getting up on stage and following a video, staff are on hand to help the children. Ally really enjoyed herself, she kept looking at herself in the full length mirror. Needless to say Max, Luke and I were bored while waiting for her. Angelina herself makes an appearance there, check schedule for timings.

All dressed up and ready to dance

All the girls waiting to “dance” with Angelina

Ally following the instructions on the video

Bob the Builder: This was the area that Max was dying to go to. It consists of an indoor play structure with Bob the builder characters surrounding it. The play structure is very similar to Amazonia at Great World City. Max at 90cm, found it a bit hard to climb up the structure due to his height but he managed with Ally’s help in the end. Kids are required to remove their shoes before entering the play area, socks are not necessary. There is also an area where kids can help Bob “build” a house. There are numerous soft “bricks” of different shapes and sizes which kids can use to fill up the walls in Bob’s house. Even though we went on a weekday, this seemed to be a very popular area with the kids that drew the most crowds . There was quite a lot of snatching going on with the soft bricks so parents of younger children keep an eye out for that. Bob and Wendy make an appearance just outside this play area as well.

Max was so excited when he saw these

The “wall” of Bob’s house that kids can help build with the bricks

He ran out of the play area when he saw Bob, hence the bare feet

Pingu: Pingu’s igloo houses arcade games which don’t require any coins. There is a little air hockey table which is the perfect height for the kids. There are also two basketball games and two “whack a mole” type of games. Pingu’s house looks a bit empty and was the least crowded but my kids enjoyed the simple games anyway. Photo taking with Pingu takes place in his igloo as well.

Barney’s backyard: This is the only place we skipped as its built for 1-2 year olds. The play structure is simple and toddler friendly. Children are required to remove their shoes before entering . Barney makes an appearance just outside this venue at various times of the day.

Thomas and Friends: This is where all the rides are! The first thing we sat was of course, Thomas the train. It’s a simple train that goes around the indoor play structure, both kids enjoyed it and we went on it several times throughout the day. We were very lucky with the crowds, there was hardly any queue so the kids got to ride in Thomas more than once.

Thomas’s eyes move as he goes around the track and of course that famous whistle sounds as well!

Next the kids went on Bertie the bus, it resembles a ferries wheel except everyone rides inside of Bertie. When I first looked at the ride I was a bit skeptical if I should let Max go on it with Ally. There are safety bars to help keep kids securely in their seats.

Next to Bertie were the bumper cars. This was the only ride that the kids could not sit as they needed an adult to accompany them and I had Luke with me. Each bumper car was designed to look like one of the diesel engines, it was really well done.

Max loved riding in Harold, there are 6 helicopters that go round and round which the kids can “fly” on their own. Each Harold seats 4, Max and Ally sat together at first but by the end of the day, Max was sitting alone and “flying” Harold all by himself.

There was also a “bounce and drop ” ride, similar to the one at Lego land except this was Colin the crane. Max was skeptical about the ride at first but he ended up enjoying it and rode it 3 times continuously.

There was also a little ferris wheel which seemed to do more stopping and starting then actually moving round and round. The kids sat on it once and lost interest very quickly.

The best part about this level is the indoor play structure in my opinion. It incorporates elements of Thomas and friends and it’s really very well done. The structure is similar to Kids Amaze at Safara , minus the shooting guns. At first it can look quite daunting but both my kids managed it with ease. Children below 3 will have to be accompanied by adults. There is a loft area above with comfortable arm chairs, Luke and I sat there while the older two played. You could kind of see your kids in the play structure but not if they ventured to the lower levels.

Part of the indoor play structure, James was actually a tunnel that the kids could climb into

Bottom of the play structure, more train designs and motifs.

Every parent’s dream, a comfy armchair to rest those weary legs while being able to keep an eye on your children

Other things to take note : They state that no outside food or drinks are allowed to be taken into the theme park. That being said, I packed water bottles for both kids which came in handy. Food inside the park is expensive and the service is slow. The food was very average in quality but you are kind of stuck cos there isn’t anything else available nearby. The cafe is located where Thomas and Friends are.

Toilets: Be warned that the toilets are not the cleanest, the crowd wasn’t so bad while we were there, I shudder to think what its like during the weekends. The toilet upstairs had no baby changing facilities, neither is there a nursing room around. I changed Luke in his pram and just used a blanket to cover him when he needed a feed.

It was surprisingly cold, I made the mistake of putting Max in a sleeveless shirt. Take a light jacket for the little kids. Both Ally and Max ran around so the cold didn’t hit them too badly but I felt cold while standing around waiting for them. Luckily Luke had a blanket in his pram.

There is ample seating on both levels, the cafe on the second floor has limited tables and chairs but there are benches around the various rides.

Most of the staff were very friendly and patient with the kids. They would greet the children, give them hi-5s or help them in and out of the rides. I was surprise at how helpful most of them were, it was a huge help to me as I was alone with the 3 kids.

Do note that the park is small, we spent half a day there which I felt was more than enough . If you’re going alone with kids like I did and you are paranoid about losing your children like I am, you’ll be happy to know that the entrance and exit for the rides are close to each other which means you just need to stand at one spot to keep an eye on your children. For the Thomas ride, the exit is further away so just take note .

Oh, one last thing, the place is LOUD. They play songs from the various shows at each venue so be prepared to leave with “Bob the builder, can he fix it?” ringing in your ears. The noise echoes off the walls especially upstairs where the rides are. I found the Harold ride extremely noisy and was just grateful that Luke could bear with it all.

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