Wednesday 31 August 2016


Talk to Your Baby

The most important thing to do with your baby is to talk to your baby - alas I am not very good at that. Daddy FECS is much better at that. My mind is always thinking of the next chore to complete so that I can strike it from my to-do list, than talking with my baby. I am also better at doing any other activities with my baby, but they are all not as important as talking with my baby.

So I have decided that for the next one week, I will do nothing except to talk with my baby. I will make a conscious effort, and in order to help me to focus on getting into this habit, I will down prioritize all the other baby activities.

This post is a reminder to myself with the tips from 

How Do You Talk To Your Baby?

1. Do a running commentary

Don’t make a move, at least when you’re around your baby, without talking about it. Narrate the dressing process: ‘Now I’m putting on your nappy… here goes the T-shirt over your head… now I’m buttoning your dungarees.’ 

In the kitchen, describe the washing of the dishes, or the process of seasoning the pasta sauce. 

During the bath, explain about soap and rinsing, and that a shampoo makes the hair shiny and clean. 

It doesn’t matter that your baby hasn’t the slightest inkling of what you’re talking about. Blow-by-blow descriptions help get you talking and baby listening – thereby starting him or her on the path to understanding.

2. Ask a lot

Don’t wait until your baby starts having answers to start asking questions. Think of yourself as a reporter, your baby as an intriguing interviewee. The questions can be as varied as your day: ‘Would you like to wear the red trousers or the green dungarees?’ ‘Should I buy green beans or broccoli for dinner?’ Pause for an answer (one day your baby will surprise you with one), and then supply the answer yourself, our loud (‘Broccoli? Good choice’).

3. Give baby a chance

Studies show that infants whose parents talk with them rather than at them learn to talk earlier. Give your baby a chance to get in a coo, a gurgle or a giggle. In your running commentaries, be sure to leave some opening for baby’s comments.

4. Keep it simple – some of the time

Though right now your baby would probably derive listening pleasure from a dramatic recitation of Hamlet’s soliloquy or an animated assessment of the economy, as he or she gets a bit older, you’ll want to make it easier to pick out individual words. So at least part of the time, make a conscious effort to use simple sentences and phrases: ‘See the light,’ ‘Bye-bye’, ‘Baby’s finger, baby’s toes,’ and ‘Nice doggie’.

5. Put aside pronouns

It’s difficult for a baby to grasp that ‘I’ or ‘me’ or ‘you’ can be mummy, or daddy, or grandma, or even baby – depending on who’s talking. So most of the time, refer to yourself as ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’ (or ‘grandma’) and to your baby by name: ‘Now Daddy is going to change Amanda’s nappy’.

6. Raise your pitch

Most babies prefer a high-pitched voice, which may be why women’s voices are usually naturally higher-pitched that men’s, and why most mothers’ (and fathers’) voice climb an octave or two when addressing their infants. Try raising your pitch when talking directly to your baby, and watch the reaction. (A few infants prefer a lower pitch; experiment to see which appeals to yours.)

7. Bring on the baby talk… or not

If the silly stuff (‘Who’s my little bunny-wunny?’) comes naturally to you, babble away in baby talk. If it doesn’t, feel free to skip it. If you’re big on baby talk, don’t forget to throw some correct, more adult English into your conversations with your infant, too, so that he or she won’t growing up thinking all words end with a y or ie.

8. Stick to the here and now

Though you can muse about almost anything to your baby, there won’t be any noticeable comprehension for a while. As comprehension does develop, you will want to stick more to what the baby can see or is experiencing to the moment. A young baby doesn’t have a memory for the past or a concept of the future.

9. Imitate

Babies love the flattery that comes with imitation. When baby coos, coo back; when he or she utters an ‘Ahh’, utter one, too Imitation will quickly become a game that you’ll both enjoy, and which will set the foundation for baby’s imitating your language – it will also help build self-esteem (‘What I say matters!’).

10. Take your cues from baby

Incessant chatter and song can be tiresome for anyone, even an infant. When your baby becomes inattentive to your wordplay, closes or averts his or her eyes, become fussy or cranky, or otherwise indicates the verbal saturation point has been reached, give it a rest.


Let Baby Look at Fishes in the Fish Tank

Baby FECS 31 August 2017 (3M15D)

Let Baby Look at Black & White Graphics

25 August 2017 (3M5D)


Let Baby Look at Spin Top

Baby FECS 30 August 2016 (3M14D)

Pull Baby with a Towel

30 August 2016 (3M14D)


Bring Baby to Flower Shop... Let Baby Smell the Flowers...

If you don't have time to prepare smelling jars, simply bring baby to the flower shop, and let baby fest with her eyes the beautiful colors of the flowers and let baby smell the flowers. All these are for free. If you live near a spice shop, and if the shop owner allows, let baby smell at the spices too :-)

30 August 2016 (3M14D)

Saturday 27 August 2016


J Summary (7Y5M22D): Piano Practice Challenge

I got upset with J during piano practice this evening. He pulled a long sour face, and had a bad attitude clearly seen from his body language and played really sloppily. I felt really disrespected. Just then, Baby C cried and that provided a natural break and allowed me to cool down. I had a talk with him after that. I told him that it wasn't so important that he could play everything, but that his poor attitude was really upsetting. It didn't moved an inch. He started sighing. I stopped talking. I just hugged him and held him close without saying any words.

A while later, he said, "Mom, let's go downstairs and play the piano." And he played with a good attitude.

All my talk earlier was taken as reprimand, but the hug actually made him change his attitude. I guess all he needed was a hug and his love tank is filled up. Carrot works better than stick for J. I have to remember that next time.

I felt disrespected and he felt unloved. The hug and holding him close broke this vicious cycle, restoring the love and respect between us. I have to remember this.

This reminded me of what was explained in the book "Love & Respect in the Family" played out in the incident today.

Thursday 25 August 2016


Happy Belated 51st Birthday Singapore

Big Brother asked, "Mom, how come we didn't celebrate the Singapore National Day like last year and take family picture for memory?"

Mom: "No surplus this year, mommy's too tired, and behind in everything... replying emails, replying whatsapp, laundry, grocery shopping... everything... :-(...)."

Big Brother: "Very easy what..." He went to fetch the Singapore flag and gave it to little sister and waved it, "See now we just celebrated it :-)"

Better late than never, Big Brother saved the day :-)

So here is a Happy Belated Birthday, Singapore :-)... at least we made it in the month of August!!! :-)

Saturday 13 August 2016


Stroke Baby with Colorful Scarves

13 August 2016 (2M28D)
Age: From 2 months old

Stroke colorful scarves at baby, letting it drap down on her face and watch her reaction.


Let Baby Smell Spices

Age: From 1-6 months old

Objective: To stimulate baby's senses.


1. Containers of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, star anise, etc. or
2. Vanilla pod or
3. A ripe banana or
4. A slice of orange or lemon or
5. Flowers such as Lavender


1. Open a container in front of you and pass it under your baby's nose close enough for her to smell it.

2. Watch her face to see her expression.

Additional Information:

According to the Baby center, your baby "may open his eyes wide, startle, or even smile. In the case of the citrus (a smell babies generally don't like), he may frown or turn away. Try this activity every few weeks as your baby gets older and see how his reactions change."

If you don't have the time to prepare smelling jars, and if you live near a spice shop, if the shop owner allows, simply bring your baby there and let your baby smell at the spices :-)

13 August 2016: It was raining today. We could not go out. We happened to have jars of spices. We tried this for the first time today, when Baby C was nearly 3 months old (12W6D). She liked the cinnamon smell, but not the Cardamon smell.

I am not so good at remembering. It doesn't have to be so many jars at one go. Whenever I have jars near by, or cut an orange, I should let her try to smell it.

There are a lot of inspiration for baby activities from Baby Center here:


Wednesday 10 August 2016


A Letter to Pa

Dear Pa

My heart aches, when I think of you and experienced intimately the brevity and mortality of your life. My heart aches as I face the mortality of my own life. As I look at our children and Baby C, just beginning her journey, so full of promises, youthful and cute, my heart aches once more as I weep about the eventual mortality of our children's lives.

"What is the meaning of it all?" My heart cried out to God.

Each time as you come to mind, God uses the pain to remind me about the lessons of life and teach me to bring life's striving and pursuits into perspective.

I am slowly having a real heart understanding that the brevity and mortality of life brings us down to a level playing field. No matter how high we reach, in the end, we will all be brought down to a close. Whether you are the brilliant statesman Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, whether you are the CEO of a large MNC, whether you are the Queen of Denmark, whether you are the Secretary-General of the UN, or the President of the USA, whether you have won the gold medal in the Olympics or completed the Ironman marathon in record time, in the end, all our skills and achievements will be undone, as we will slowly and surely come to lose our human faculties.

The blog post by Dr. Kelly Flanagan puts it very well:

"In the end, pain and loss and suffering come for every one of us. Eventually, pain and loss always ring the final bell. They overthrow every kingdom."

"...every single one of us will eventually be equalized by pain and suffering."

What then is one purpose of suffering? It teaches us to be humble, to have compassion and empathy for others. That in our striving to achieve and to provide a better lives for ourselves, we learn to have empathy for the less fortunate and the have-nots, for one day, we will become like them, striped of everything.

The purpose of man is still to "fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man;" to know God personally and be in His presence forever, as our lives on earth eventually come to an end.

God wants us to excel, but in a right perspective.

This means I will still strive to excel, to be my best for His glory without competing with others - to be the best mom I can be without being a Tiger Mom, to do my best to help our children to reach their potential without giving them unhealthy pressures, to learn to humble ourselves and to learn to use our skills and resources to benefit others. To teach this lesson to our children.

Dear Pa,

Your leaving to be with God is not in vain. Every day, I am still drawing life's lessons from that experience.

Sunday 7 August 2016


Growing in Love Together... Towards a True Fairy-Tale Marriage

Picture representing a fairy-tale marriage

I dream of a fairy-tale marriage, that we live happily ever after, that my hubby will always agree with me, will always give in to me, will always pamper me, that he will never have differences of opinion with me. We will always have one mind, one heart, one voice. We will always agree. He will always know my mind and knows what I want, and gives me what I want. We live always at the same tempo, and that of course, he should always follow my tempo :-)

If my hubby will always agree with me, give in to me, follow my way, follow my tempo, then it will be perfect, and I will have a fairy-tale marriage.

But alas it is not always like that. No matter how much we love each other, our marriage is not perfect based on my (self-seeking) ideals, because we fall short.

We are two unique individuals. There will be times of differences of opinion. We are both very stubborn. We are both very proud. We can be defensive. We can be impatient. We can speak unkindly to each other unknowingly - sometimes even knowingly. We should agree in unity in front of our children as all experts advise parents to do, but we don't always succeed. We hear each other, but we don't always listen. When we succeed in listening to each other, we don't always understand all the time, every time. We can see things from different perspectives. Or we can see the other's perspective and yet still find that our own perspective is equally justified. We have blind spots that we do not see - sometimes perhaps stubbornly chose not to see. We can be foolish and childish. We have our own idiosyncrasies that can drive each other up the wall... to grumpiness and explosion. All these, alas, can bring us into corner and a stalemate.

In my fairy-tale wistfulness, I wish this will not happen, but it will, because we fall short. When we fall short, we can hurt each other. When we are hurt, we can get disheartened. When we are disheartened, distances can arise.

But by the grace of God, love closes all distances and bring us back. Even as the tears flow that cloud the eyes, we must not let hurt get in the way.

What is this love?

Whenever I feel my hubby has spoken unkindly. Whenever I am hurt and confused. Whenever I am self-seeking (i.e. seeking to be pampered by my hubby, instead of pampering him), I will remember God's reminder to follow the way of love (1 Corinthians 14:1), which is the most excellent (1 Corinthians: 13:1).

The way of love is...

Philippians 2: 4
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
Ephesians 5:21
Romans 12: 10
Romans 12: 16, 17, 20-21
Romans 14: 19
Romans 15: 1-2, 5
Romans 12:21

Summarized as follows:
  • Not looking to your own interests, but to the interests of the other
  • Honor one another above yourself
  • Submit to each another
  • Not easily angered
  • Forgive
  • Bear over
  • Keeps no record of wrongs
  • Not rude
  • Not self-seeking
  • Always trusts (like I continue to trust J)
  • Always hopes
  • Always perseveres
  • Patient
  • Kind
  • Not proud
  • Live in harmony with one another
  • Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good
  • Love never fails

If we can do all these, growing in (true) love together, then we have truly created a fairy-tale marriage. We are still work-in-progress, but love will help us perfect it. I am inspired by the marriage of the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and his wife, a marriage that stood the test of time, and I am sure that Kate's and William's fairy-tale marriage will too :-)

I wrote this post to help me remember what God is teaching me. I still dream of a fairy-tale marriage... that in our retirement and old age, we will continue to walk holding hands, going out to buy an ice-cream and sharing an ice-cream together, like our elderly couple neighbor next door do :-)



One Heart, One Voice, One Mouth...

This is what I aspire for my family - my heart's desire and this is what I pray for:

"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." - Romans 15: 5

It has been 14 years, still we have not reached there yet. And God's Word in the following verses (Romans 15: 7-9, 12-13) address that, and comforting me and teaching me how to respond:

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God (meaning in order to glorify God). For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God's truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy..."

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."


A Letter to Pa

Dear Pa

It has been more than a year, since you left us. Each time you came to mind, in my sorrows, still God is comforting me and teaching me about life. God comforted me with these verses:

"For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living." - Romans 14:6

Christ has died for us on the cross and has conquered death. You are in good hands, Pa, you are in good hands.

Love Our Children Now: One day they will… because I did not give up

Photo credit: The Better Mom

Lately, I have been rather down with J's behavior. Despite telling him umpteen times that he should be polite, greet people, say thank you, look into the eyes of the person, he just doesn't do it willingly. He still doesn't take initiative to wash his dishes. He can be rather sloppy washing his hands... etc etc. I felt like I am at my wit's end, struggling and swinging between giving in (unwittingly exhibiting permissive parenting style) and insisting with all my might (unwittingly exhibiting autocratic parenting style), creating a conflict zone at home. It is so hard. I kept making mistakes. I need wisdom (my birthday wish is to create an encouraging atmosphere at home).

I knelt before God, prayed and cried my heart out...

How amazing and timely then it is when God directed me to this post from Love Our Children Now:

"If he had forgotten for the 5th time what I just taught him yesterday…. I must teach it again. If he has shouted at me, openly defied me and lied to me, for the zillionth time…. I must forgive him, (even if he has not apologised). If I have been training him to do something for the past one year and he was doing it successfully for a month but drops the habit in the 2nd month… I must start the training all over again."

"...let me humbly learn to do what I can humanly do... for the rest, they either do not matter, or God will handle."

You can read the whole post below:

God also sent a dear friend, L, who has raised her children up, and whose words below uplifted me:

"Do not worry, E, and what's been talked in the home will stay with the child, love them lots and God will do the rest, keep trusting and keep attending church as often as you possibly can manage."

I will remember to:

1. Love my children lots - meaning in the area of character training and academic training to repeat and repeat teaching with love, forgive, forgive, forgive, do not give up, accept them just as they are.

This verse came to mind. God is training me to love through our children:

"It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails" - 1 Corinthians 13:7-8

2. Do what I can humanly do... and allow God's grace to cover all my mistakes.

3. Let God handle the rest.

God also sent some respite and rest, by giving me baby C who is already sleeping through the night.

Oh how blessed it is to have God by our side, that I do not have to struggle through life's challenges alone.

Bless this mother who shared her parenting journey and please continue to help her too.

Saturday 6 August 2016


A Letter to Pa

Dear Pa

My heart still aches whenever I think of you. We were able to bring you to Switzerland and France, while you were still with us. During Ma's visit this trip, we brought Ma to London. Ma saw the Big Ben, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, London Eye, Borough Market, Harrods, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, walk along the Thames River and Chinatown.  I was glad that we were able to bring Ma to London, while we all still have the health to travel. I am so thankful that God has been gracious to us that financially, it is not an issue to travel. Ma lamented that you hadn't been to London. You would have enjoyed it, because you loved to travel.

God comforted me from the Bible story that I happened to read to J during bedtime yesterday, with this verse from John 14:1-3 and reminded me to trust Him:

"'Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.'"

The story was about a grandma talking to her grand children, and this section of the story encouraged me:

"Great Ma-Mac claps her hands together and says, "Children! Jesus has prepared a place for us to be with Him forever. Oh, it will be so wonderful! Now, children, listen very carefully. When Jesus takes me to heaven, don't you say, 'Great Ma-Mac died.' I won't be dead. My old body will return to dust, but my spirit will be with God. I'll be in heaven, and heaven is a glorious and happy place. I'll be more alive than I have ever been. So remember, don't say I'm dead. You tell everyone that Great Ma-Mac has started really living because she is in the very presence of God. I don't want anybody to be sad because I sure won't be sad. Will you remember?"

Whenever my heart aches, I will remind myself that you have started really living because you are in the very presence of God.

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