So the last post I talked about my inspiration ideas for our home.
This post is gonna be about the process of our renovation! It’s a very long blog post cos I realized I’d never properly blogged about this besides snippets on Dayre.
Okay so the story is this.
We’d been staying in a very old apartment ever since before we got married and when I moved in with Fatty we didn’t change a thing. The decorating was done previously by Fatty’s older brother who’s since moved to Singapore and I think the style is maybe skewed Balinese? I don’t know la but it features a lot of dark wood and beige-y tones and wooden shutters and er is not really my taste la hahaha. But because everything was in working condition and we were young 20 somethings wtf we didn’t bother changing anything.
When we had kids we er had kids and were too caught up in life to consider anything beyond what was happening day to day. But we actually live with Fatty’s brother and sister, and his brother got married last year and they were expecting a baby too! (Delivered already wtf) So family was expanding, Fighter and Penny also getting bigger and space was slowly getting to be an issue. We actually have another unit next door that used to be tenanted but since the tenant moved out and we couldn’t find another, we decided to just move into it ourselves.
So last November (omg a whole year ago!) we started our renovation process. And since we’ve gone through the entire process, I thought I’d write about what we’ve experienced and what I learned.
Interior decorator – yes or no?
I think that’s the big question for most people – whether there’s a need for an ID even. I think most people just hire a master contractor and sort of go along and decide on the design themselves.
I decided to get an ID though because I’m a total noob in renovation and design! I didn’t have confidence in myself at all – not just in the design but even stuff like estimating how the sizes of furniture pieces might fit in the same space. Even more so for the renovation bit – I had no clue about buildings and construction and even what to look out for, and I wanted someone I could trust to manage and coordinate the project. Also I didn’t want to be yelling at the contractor and different sub cons every day wtf die early meh.
So based on friends’ recommendations, I interviewed a couple of interior designers to compare prices and settled on one I liked.
I think it’s very important to have rapport with your ID! Our ID is also an architect by training so I felt comfortable that she would be able to do the structural work well too, not just the design aspect of it. Also different IDs just have different styles and not everyone can switch up styles just like that. So it’s important that you look through their portfolio and figure out if their work reflects your taste as well.
Katrine (our ID) seemed to have pretty versatile styles – she could do contemporary, but also classical. And more importantly, she could do a mix of contemporary and traditional, which is what I wanted.
You sure fight one
Hahahaha my sub title. Apparently this is super common. Katrine told me she’s had clients who couldn’t agree on decisions and started bickering in front of her FHL. Couples sure fight because it’s a home they share but they may not necessarily have the same tastes and opinions and the entire process can be a balancing and compromising act between the both of you.
Fatty didn’t really care either way cos he was also working on Colony by then. So I had more or less free reign over the direction and ideas. But even then we still fought wtf. When I went over budget lolol.
Katrine confided that a lot of her clients don’t really know what they want. Like maybe they ask for a minimalist house but then want to buy baroque chairs for the dining table wtf. I knew what I wanted for sure, but the more I worked on Colony, the more my tastes evolved hahaha. So towards the last 1 month, we changed up the design, which caused some delays too. So to avoid too much waffling, I’d say really do your research and Pinterest first to get a clear sense of what you want to achieve for your house.
Um this is probably the first thing you should agree on and fix before you start talking to IDs and contractors. Budget is important obviously cos that’s how much you’ll be spending, but it will also give your ID/contractor an idea of how much can be done within your budget. Our ID was pretty creative in making our budget work by recommending cheaper options or alternatives to what we wanted.
Even then our budget bao zha la wtf. There can be unforeseen costs. Actually I feel like renovation is just one big unforeseen cost at times. For example, we realized that our balcony floor wasn’t level so rainwater would flow in to our sliding doors are, causing a flood. D: So we had to level off the floor to make sure the water drains out. We also had to do a lot of waterproofing cos it’s an old apartment and there were some leaks.
Let’s not forget adding items on halfway that we’d forgotten, eg. alarm system and CCTV for one. Another unexpected expense was when we realized how much nicer (and warmer!) timber flooring looked, compared to tiles or laminate and timber flooring wasn’t in the budget wtf.
I think with the budget you gotta be reasonable too. Don’t give an RM50K budget and then expect the world cos that’s not happening. If you want certain things that you’re not willing to give up and you have an unreasonable budget, you just gotta expect it to go over then.
Renovation is just a huge spell of hiccups lolol. You have to accept that! *bangs table wtf. Like I’d mentioned, the balcony flood and the leaking were just two of a lot of problems. And these hiccups often cause…
From everything from getting approval from building management to issues arising on site to even screwed up delivery of things. Our delay was extra special cos we actually used the same ID firm to build Colony. And Colony was more urgent so we diverted all the resources to Colony and put our house on hold. End up our house renovation took like seven months to complete (not including design phase ok) lolol and our place is not even big.
Problems after moving in
When everything is set up and ready, moving in is the final test to make sure everything is working fine. When I moved in only I realized… cos my closet is small, we installed a baby ceiling fan. Then when I opened my cupboard door, the door hit the fan WTF. Hahahaha so we had to move the fan. And random things like the front door was hitting our kitchen counter when opened, so we added a stopper. Or I found that Fighter’s shower head was missing WTF.
These are all teething problems, to be expected and settled accordingly. The bright side is you get to do it while in the comfort of your new home. 😀
But all in all, I had a great ID and project manager. And while we had minor problems here and there, I was quite satisfied with our sub contractors too. And we had some really nice sponsors!
Here’s the team from Suzuka, a company that specializes in wall finishes and stone/brick veneers working on the kids play room.
I installed a white brick veneer as a feature wall for the play room, and for our balcony too.
This is what it looks like (and that’s our new wooden floor). Why I’d recommend doing a veneer instead of regular bricks is that it’s cleaner and less dusty. Also it takes up less space than normal bricks. And Suzuka’s quality is fantastic – the brick wall looks so real. 🙂 It’s certified with SIRIM and Singapore Green Label and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor – I used it for the kids’ room and the balcony after all!
(There is a 20% off promotion for their brick collection from now till February 2018, and free 1 kg grouting material with every box. Go here for details. )
For the look I wanted we also decided to install paneling/wainscotting. Yea la now everyone says my house like mini Colony wtf. #onetrickpony
Paneling halfway through!
A lot of people asked about my lighting too! I gotta say that Katrine is fantastic at lighting. She really knew how to balance regular down lights with ambiant lighting and spotlights as well. My pendant and ambiant lights (the three lights above my kitchen peninsula and the bubble lights above our dining table) are all sponsored by a shop in Kota Damansara called Ambiant Lighting. They don’t have a website but here’s their contact details and address.
Our kitchen was sponsored partially by Venture Ideal Renovation. OMG my kitchen I went back and forth between blue-grey cabinets and my original love, white. I think I made a decision at least three times F Katrine’s and Venture Ideal’s life. In the end I settled on white la cos that’s what I’d always wanted – a clean, white kitchen.
See where the three lights are? There was a wall there but I broke it down to create an open concept kitchen. MIL warned me that oil is gonna get everywhere and my sofas are gonna be oily wtf. O_O So that’s something you gotta think about ok don’t say I didn’t warn you. My MIL did warn me but I stubborn hahaha. But on the upside, the space looks much bigger and I like that if I’m in the kitchen I still get to keep an eye on the kids.
And last but not least, thank you Mitsubishi for furnishing our kids’ play room with the air conditioner!
OK so guys I wanna ask you this – how are your kids with eating fruits and vegetables?
I started my kids on veggies and fruits really early on – like every other baby, pureed fruits and veggies were their first solids after all. But today at age 4 and two, here’s their preference: They both love broccoli and baby spinach and watercress and refuse everything else. They are particularly suspicious of peas, carrots and beans and Fighter spat out his eggplant at dinner today. T_T
Fruits fare slightly better with these two – they like bananas, pears, watermelon and grapes. Fighter also likes mango while Penny is actually much more of a fruit person and she loves strawberries and papaya too. In fact she’ll eat most fruits I offer her but Fighter is much pickier and if she sees him refuse something she’ll also refuse out of solidarity or what I dunno. -_-
I gotta keep trying though! I myself like vegetables but as a child I didn’t, and only ate them cos I lived in fear of the wrath of Mummy Ooi hahahaha. Fatty on the other hand is super picky when it comes to veggies and fruits, only eating leafy vegetables, and that’s a habit I’m trying to avoid with our kids.
I heard somewhere that kids need to eat something seven times on average before they accept it so… challenge accepted. Here’s my three proven techniques of getting kids to eat their greens.
I half feel that a basic foundation to be Secretary of State you gotta go through training of persuading toddlers to do things they don’t want first hahaha. Anyway the first step is always negotiation. How many times already I’ve made Fighter try some food only to have him like it, but he still NEVER GIVES IN. Every time is a new battle with me going, “One bite. Just one bite. If you don’t like it, you can spit it out.” And he’ll be shaking his head vigorously and clamping his lips wtf.
This works half the time though. And when he does take the bite, half the time he likes, it half the time he doesn’t. I’ll take whatever wins I get.
When negotiation fails, I resort to tearing up veggies into miniscule pieces and hiding them within spoonfuls of rice. :X Sometimes they stop and extract some veggie fiber from their mouths, but usually if I cut up the food small enough, they eat it up. :X
3. Feed them juice
Did you know that our recommended fruit and vege intake is 2 servings a day? And only 6% of Malaysians get enough fruits and greens? To supplement the critters’ (and Fatty’s) intake, we normally have juice in the morning – either freshly pressed or juice boxes like from Marigold Peel Fresh. The kids are perfectly willing to drink juice cos they love sweet drinks and I’d much rather feed them juice than soda.
And I was invited to speak at the Peel Fresh Daily Fruit Goodness roadshow last weekend! From the point of view of a mom with two toddlers (and a picky husband lolol).
With fellow blogger Lizzie, and Nazrudin and Lisa Surihani!!! I don’t even follow local entertainment but I was starstruck anyway hahaha cos they were all so eloquent and intelligent and warm. We’re all parents so I found our discussion about kids and healthy eating pretty interesting and insightful.
Thank you MARIGOLD Peel Fresh for having me!
There were a bunch of a games held at the roadshow…
Like this mini golf game where you hit an orange instead of a golf ball lol. Super suay, you get three turns and I failed to hole in one any of my three balls. But then when I posed for this picture, I successfully hit my orange into the hole cis hahaha.
No surprise there but the critters’ favorite out of the 9 Marigold Peel Fresh flavors is Mango. There is also a No Sugar Added range with 6 flavors – Orange, Apple, Cloudy Apple, Mixed Powerberries, Mixed Powerveggies & Fruit, Mixed Fruit Mangosteen and their newly launched Mixed Kale & Veggies.
All Peel Fresh juices are fortified with Vitamins A, C, E and antioxidants.
Penny’s like O RLY?
Yes really. Hahahah love this pic it looks so posed my critters so clever *sayangs
This post was written in collaboration with Marigold Peel Fresh.
I realized I haven’t actually written at all about our renovation process! When we were going through it, I thought OK I’d write after everything is finished and tadah I’d have nice pictures to show wtf. But then I realized that actually I have a lot of things to say dammit wtf. So Imma break up my blog posts into a renovation series! *crickets chirping wtf
Hahahaha I have no idea how many of you guys are interested in home and decor blog posts but whatevs wtf.
Today’s post is gonna take no effort at all to write wtf cos it’s actually about the decor inspiration behind our house.
I feel like most people in Malaysia tend to go for the contemporary look – indeed, the portfolios I checked out when we were shopping for designers all contained pictures that look like this.
Nice but not really for me cos I prefer something more comfy and homier.
But maybe this is a bit much wtf. On the other end of the spectrum, we have the Traditional style which is too fussy for me too.
This was the style that I really wanted to go for! It’s called Transitional and it’s basically a good blend of Traditional and Contemporary. So you have cushy, more traditional looking furniture but you also have cleaner lines and simple silhouettes and a more muted color palette – usually in shades of grey and blue I notice.
But then we started work on Colony and as I researched and absorbed more, my style changed much to the chagrin of our designer hahaha.
In the end I wanted something like this.
I know this style by “Parisian apartment” but who knows if it has any other name. Most of Paris was rebuilt in the 19th century so their apartments feature a lot of ornate molding and paneling, fireplaces and mantles. Contrasted with sleek modern furniture and lots of art work and even some antique pieces, it’s a striking combination! To me la at least.
The elements are – elaborate moulding and paneling, artwork, slightly rustic or antique furniture, and chandeliers! And usually parquet floors, especially in a chevron pattern.
As for kitchen, I love this kitchen by Emily Henderson! The tiles and the color of the cabinets and the semicircle (?) handles….
For Penny’s room don’t need to guess what kind of room I wanted la ok hahaha. Penny actually loves pink too so it was a no brainer, only need to figure out what kind of pink style to give her.
This was one of the inspirations. Muted pink with grey. Ooh pink with mint was another alternative.
This one is a brighter option! I considered this cos the kids have toys and books obviously and those are usually quite colorful. I was thinking it would be easier to style her things this way.
Okay this one only cos it’s sooo sweet. It looks like an illustration from a kids book can?! Like Secret Garden or something. But it’s a bit too saccharine for me la and doesn’t really suit Penny cos she’s so gangsta.
For Fighter’s room I went back and forth quite a bit! Fighter is older so his preferences are more developed but at the same time, he’s quite fickle. And I didn’t want to focus on a particular cartoon or character like Batman or Star Wars cos he will definitely outgrow them at some point.
In the end I decided on a intergalactic/starry sky theme for his room. Navy walls are not that childish and can be adapted as he grows up.
AND THIS IS SO DAMN GORGEOUSSSSS. But I don’t know where to find any of the pieces here hahahaha.
This too! Dark grey walls work equally well as a starry night sky and the moon light is so beautiful. T____T If anyone knows where to find something like that please tell me wtf.
Anyway that’s about it. In the next post I shall reveal whether my vision came to life in our house or not hahahaha.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! I used to be damn gung ho dressing up some more. Lemme dig out some photos.
…. OK I say gung ho but actually I just realized I was always very kiam with my costumes HAHAHA. I refused to spend on expensive costumes and this was a time before DIY and Pinterest so I anyhow make do only hahahaha and my costumes were not imaginative wtf.
Dressed as a bunny in Kyoto. Only because I found the ears and fluffy bobtail in Claire’s for like 200 yen wtf.
Dressed as a leopard the next Halloween wtf. Also cos I found the leopard ears and tail for cheap at Claire’s. Do you see a trend wtf.
This wasn’t for Halloween but it was for a Nuffnang costume party. I think the theme was animal so I went as a bumble bee. My most DIY costume cos I wrapped black ribbon around myself to make stripes, fashioned feelers out of an old headband, and used tulle to make bee wings!
Anyway since I had babies, Halloween’s focus has always been on them. And this year we attended our first Halloween party for kids! Halloween is not that mainstream here la but it’s recently been getting bigger and bigger. So yay! This party in particular was at a friend’s condo; the condo management damn nice organized a party and trick or treat. Whoever residents are interested can sign up and prepare treats, and the party would just head to whichever apartment.
Getting ready! Fighter had his Captain America suit all ready and Penny has an Anna from Frozen dress AND a Belle dress from Beauty and the Beast but what does she want to go as for Halloween?
I gotta give it to her for choosing strength over beauty lolol.
Anyway I obviously had no Supergirl costume at the last minute! So I borrowed Koko’s Superman tshirt that conveniently comes with an attached cape and paired it with a red tutu skirt and called it. :X
Koko on the other hand was super proud to wear his Captain America suit! Suet got it from the UK and it comes with a mask and a shield! He refused to put on the mask though wtf.
Suit comes with built in abs HAHAAHHAHA.
Supergirl and Captain Chase wtf. Fighter is mildly interested in superheroes but Chase is obsessed with pirates and the ocean.
These four as usual hahaha. Lollipop is a ballerina and looks super pretty next to my Supergirl hahahaha.
OMG Supergirl’s smile beh tahan. And got double chin suddenly hahahahaha.
These two suddenly damn lovey dovey kept holding hands hahaha.
With the critters. Fatty didn’t dress up so he has to take the photo for us hahahaha. I didn’t plan to dress up until like the day of the party also la but suddenly got mood wtf. Dug out Mickey ears from Tokyo Disneyland, this red Azorias skirt, a black turtleneck and black stockings and called myself Minnie Mouse. But then I realized I forgot about the polka dots on Minnie’s skirt hahaha. #fail
Trick or treat! Our first time doing this ever and I really had a lot of fun, don’t say the kids hahaha. Like there was this warm sense of community even though it isn’t even our condo lolol.
And our kids were so polite! Some of the residents weren’t in and they left like trays or baskets full of candy for the taking. Our kids always took one each only damn not greedy. <3
This guy went all out I think he should win best dressed WTF.
Fighter started calling him Pumpkin Uncle and I think the uncle was a bit amazed cos that wasn’t the look he was going for apparently hahahaha.
Trick or treating over, time to indulge wtf. Penny is holding up a chocolate eyeball hahahaha.
These gluttons cannot wait lol.
Unrelated photo cos we were so surprised we didn’t snap any. But they had a Best Dressed contest at the end of it and Fighter was one of the best dressed winners hahahaha. Captain America woohoo wtf. He won…. a bar of chocolate wtf.
And that was our Halloween! The kids loved the whole process and the candy of course. And it’s rekindled my love for costumes hahahaha. Next year Imma start work on their costumes after CNY WTF Fatty included.
This week and a half (and more to come wtf) has been madness for me with our house moving, but we took a break to have lunch with some very interesting people.
Nawal and her ten year old daughter, R, are refugees from Iraq. We met them as part of an initiative by the Picha Project, a social enterprise whose main aim is to empower marginalized communities in Malaysia, specifically refugees. In an effort to raise awareness about refugees in Malaysia and their plight, and to give us Malaysians and refugees a chance to get to know each other, the Picha Project organizes (weekly I think?) lunches hosted by the refugees in their programs, at their homes.
I honestly don’t know much about the refugee situation in Malaysia but I’m kepoh and I like people wtf. So when Fatty told me about Picha, I said let’s do it wtf. And I roped in two other people I knew would be up for it – my parents.
I didn’t know what to expect but when we arrived at Nawal’s flat which she rented with her brother and his son, we found a tiny but spotless and carefully decorated apartment. Nawal had created a home – there was a money plant with its vines pegged on the wall, various decorative items set out in precision on the shelves, even a princess doll.
The spread Nawal had prepared for us. :O
When we arrived she was still cooking in the kitchen. Cos her head was uncovered we wouldn’t see her…until she climbed through the window to her room to shower and change. O_O
Critters digging in. Penny naturally went for french fries hahaha. Fighter headed straight for the rainbow sprinkle donuts which were made by R!
Nawal told us her story through halting English and Google Translate. The refugees I know about in our country are mostly Rohingya who are marginalized in Burma anyway. But I was curious as to Nawal’s background so I asked her what she did back in Iraq. She told us she used to be a journalist. She was an intellectual, not someone running from poverty. When the unrest in Iraq broke out, her uncle? brother? I couldn’t tell from the translation – was shot and killed. She was at threat being a journalist, so she took her daughter and fled. Her family broke up – they all left for different countries and Nawal lost touch with them. She only found her mother was in Jordan last month I think, after four years of lost touch.
We asked why she chose Malaysia, and she said she’d come for a holiday before and liked it. So she chose to come here. When asked if she would make Malaysia her permanent home if she could, she smiled and nodded. And said simply, “Good place, Malaysia. The people.”
Meanwhile, while the adults were talking, the kids were doing this.
From different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different religions… they’d easily transcended all barriers and made friends.
Fighter is naturally very open and loving so I wasn’t surprised he warmed up so quickly to R and Nawal.
But Penny who’s normally so suspicious of strangers and super unaffectionate with everyone except me, when R beckoned to her, she trotted over and fell onto R’s lap, hugging her. (Then Fighter FOMO and faster joined in hahahaha.)
Nawal and R are my new heroes. I don’t presume to know how they feel but… they’d fled their home, separated from their families and are living on the edge. Life as a a refugee especially in Malaysia is tough – they have no status or rights, and therefore no legal means of earning income. Yet they are still warm and full of joy. They opened up their home and welcomed us strangers in and fed us. What money Nawal has, she still takes some to give to her neighbors who have less.
Penny spent some time playing with R’s princess doll. When it was time for us to leave, I made Penny give it back to R, only to have R and Nawal press the doll on us. I didn’t want to take things from them when we have so much more so I refused repeatedly, saying that Penny had so many dolls at home already. We then left and went to the lift lobby to wait for the elevator to go down.
Suddenly R burst in and rushed up to us. She pressed the princess doll into Penny’s toddler hands and said she wanted Penny to have it. Fatty started to protest again, but then I stopped him and said thank you. I think maybe giving us the doll meant something more than simple generosity to mother and daughter. We – especially the children – had forged a connection and a budding friendship and maybe this was their way of furthering the connection. And I think accepting the doll means accepting our connection.
Today I bought an Elsa doll (because I told them that Penny loves Frozen and they laughed and nodded) to give to R in exchange. Our friendship and best wishes in return.
If you want to find out more about the refugee situation here and the Picha Project, here’s their website. Picha works with people like Nawal to create traditional food from their cultures, for event catering as well as home deliveries I think?
Ok that’s all wtf. So glad we went for this and that the critters were there with us. ^^
It could be always slouching over my phone….
Hunching over my laptop…
Rushing all over for Colony….
Or all that lugging around 12-kilo children (sometimes two at a time)…
But it’s resulted in major back pains at times. T3T Mostly in my upper back, shoulders and even neck. *cracks neck
I’ve been dragging Fatty with me for massages recently cos sometimes it gets so bad my back aches lead to migraines I suspect. T3T Massages seem to help but ain’t nobody got the time (or pockets) to keep going for massages la. Crowdfunding meh wtf.
Well, this is a great alternative! Hahahaha.
As a kid, I used to get “growing pains” (Fighter gets them now too FHL) where the bones in my legs seem to ache, especially at night. I used to rub Yoko Yoko over my legs and it helped, so I’m well acquainted with it. Kept calling it Yoko Ono to annoy my mom and it worked hahaha.
Anyway, now adult also still using Yoko Yoko! Because now Yoko Yoko also has a heat therapy back pad for pain relief on the back.
Inside each box comes two heat pads, each wrapped in its own foil bag. Once you rip open the bag, the air activates the pad and it starts heating up.
The pad is has a 3 cell shape for better, more flexible coverage I suppose. One side comes with adhesive with which you stick on the affected area.
I’ve been using it on my lower back cos that’s where my pain comes from normally. Each pad lasts very long – longer than I’d expected! I applied it in the afternoon and after dinner it was still warming up my back hahaha.
I gotta say – it’s awesome having a portable heater on you. Hahahaha. Heat therapy improves blood circulation, so by warming the affected area, the volume of blood flow increases, which in turn increases the supply of oxygen and the removal of metabolic waste, leading to less pain and better healing.
I guess that may be true – but the warm feeling on my back is just shiok la hahaha. Every time I lean back, the heat pad presses on my back and the heat intensifies and it feels SO GOOD omg hahaha.
Yoko Yoko Heat Patch is not a cure nor a miracle of course. But what it can do is make you more comfortable especially if like me, you get aches and back pain often.
This post was written in collaboration with Ammeltz Yoko Yoko Heat Patch for Neck and Shoulder Pain.
Sometime this year, Fighter has noticed that he’s smaller – much smaller, in fact – than most of his classmates. For example, his best friend Chase is more than a head taller than him fhl wtf.
Here he is with his classmates wtf.
He points out the fact pretty regularly now and we’ve been telling him that everyone is different in their own ways and because he’s so small, he’s special. One of his teachers even gave him a children’s book about how everyone in the world is different – different hair, different skin, different cultures and traditions – but we’re all still the same inside, to teach him the concept that everyone is unique.
Before he started preschool last year, I was worried that he’d be picked on for his size. But I was clearly worrying about nothing cos his teachers tell me his friends love him cos he’s small! They all think he’s damn cute lolol. His class teacher told me that once, she was demonstrating something to his class and for some reason, Fighter kept reaching out and messing up her things wtf.
She gently admonished him, only to have one of his classmates pipe up, “Teacher, please don’t scold Jude. He’s so cute.” Hahahahaha. And I can see it myself! His classmates are extra loving to him and Chase protects him; even the more boisterous boys slow down and take care of him like a younger brother hahaha.
But all that didn’t matter to Fighter. All he wanted was to be tall. He readily ate everything I put in front of him, hoping it would make him grow faster. He hates eggs but tried his best to eat one every morning cos his Ah Kong told him it would make him bigger. One day, we marked the kids’ heights on our bedroom wall with a pencil and every few days after, Fighter would run in, asking to be measured to see if he’d grown any taller.
He would pull at the sleeves of his school uniform and tell me that he was sure his sleeves were higher up his arms now. He would always tell us that he’s bigger than Penny (even though Penny is really catching up with him). And he’d tell me hopefully, “When I’m same age as Chase, I will be tall like Chase!” Because he confused age and size, thinking logically that the older he was, the bigger he should be.
One day, on the way to school, he cried in the car. I asked him why, and this is what he told me:
“I don’t want to be special, I want to be tall.”
Damn near broke my heart ok. T______T
He continued, “Can you bring me to the doctor, mommy? I want to ask the doctor to make me grow taller.”
So I scheduled an appointment with a pediatric endocrinologist. Basically she specializes in children and growth, which involves hormones.
A year ago, I’d already asked our usual paed about Fighter’s growth. Cos he’s always 0% percentile on growth charts. T____T Our paed recommended this specialist but told us to wait until he was 4 or 5 cos by then we’d know if he’d have caught up with his peers. (he hasn’t.)
Our appointment was on a weekday so I picked the critter up early from school and went straight to the hospital. Here he is kuai kuai waiting for his turn while eating his lunch.
Basically we got in to the doctor and we went through his history, and our family background and heights. This is what I gleaned from our conversation:
- The cause of his size is most likely genetic cos duh half his genes come from me and the Ooi family. Based on my height and Fatty’s and Fighter’s own current height, the doctor projected that he would reach this range of height, which isn’t very tall for a guy la. This is if he were born a normal baby.
- But he didn’t have a normal birth. He had a very premature birth and prematurity affects a lot of things, including size. Most premature kids catch up within the first few years, but 20% of them don’t. The doctor thinks Fighter is one of those that won’t. T______T
- Besides being premature, he also had a very low weight for his gestational age (31 weeks). Ie. he was smaller than he’s supposed to be even at 31 weeks. He was born at 1.1 kg which is like 2-3 times less than a normal baby so it’s like he has to catch up 2-3 times faster than normal.
All these factors combined will most likely result in him being a very small adult, possibly even slightly taller than me only. When I heard this I had to work not to cry. T____T It hit me again that I failed to give Fighter the best start in life cos of my preeclampsia and malfunctioning placenta and he is this way cos of me. (Had preeclampsia with Penny too so this is why I don’t want another child, bring another baby in to the world and give it a shit start to life for what wtf.)
The doctor told me there was a treatment available – growth hormone therapy. It works best for children who lack the growth hormone (apparently Messi was one such case wtf) but for normal kids who are just born small, it won’t be as effective. But the doc said that since Fighter was a preemie and had low gestational weight, he was a good candidate for it.
But the therapy is: injections. Daily. Which could go on for years depending on his progress. T______T
Monetary cost aside, are we really prepared to let our four year old endure injections every day for years? Until he turns 18 and finishes growing? Or until we feel he’s made enough progress? It’s like being diabetic leh this treatment!
And that’s another thing — cos I don’t know the exact height he’ll grow to be if he doesn’t do the treatment, I will never know how much difference the treatment makes. Whether the treatment was worth it. Or whether it didn’t help at all and he would reach the height naturally anyway.
And what kind of message would I be sending to Fighter anyway? That size is so important until we gotta subject him to daily injections? And what if he ends up on the small side anyway? Would he end up feeling that why go through all this suffering anyway if he still ends up short?
But on the other hand. What if he grows up really tiny…. and I regret not doing anything about it? What if he blames us for not taking the chance when we could?
(In case you’re wondering —
- Nutrition and exercise may make a difference but not much if he’s meant to be this size already.
- Peanut root soup better avoid wtf. Doc said it does contain hormones to grow but it also increases bone density and age which will shorten the period he can grow. )
That’s the dilemma we’re in right now. But honestly it’s probably going to be a no go. We are going back to see the doctor in 3 months anyway for her to monitor his natural growth. Fingers crossed.
So a couple of weeks ago, I was at a mommy’s dinner with the moms of Fighter’s friends. There happened to be another group of girls there, some of whom were also moms from the same school. #momlyfe (I know I know before I became a mom I think I won’t even know so many moms walk among us WTF)
Anyway I was talking to this one mom whom I’ve seen around school but never actually talked to properly. She showed us a photo of her 5 year old daughter’s writing in Mandarin. I don’t know anything about Mandarin but dude those characters were complicated. At five, this little girl was writing long fluent sentences in beautiful characters, in Mandarin.
While at four, my son can barely write the word ‘flip’.
The mom went on to tell us that her daughter doesn’t have a rest day. O_O Every day of the week (yep weekends included), she has a class or activity on, be it math tuition, English tuition, ballet, swimming, polo, or whatever. Some days she has more than one activity going on!
And this is totally common. Talking to my mommy friends, I realize that nearly every single child Fighter’s age (4 or 5 years onwards) goes to lessons outside of school – Mandarin, Shichida, soccer, gymnastics, even got phonetics class wtf. This ranges in frequency at least a few times a week, up to more than one class a day, daily. From school, they fly home for lunch before running off for their next class. Some end up eating their lunch in the car because there ain’t not enough time between school and their extra classes. And these kids aren’t even in primary school yet. :O
My kid on the other hand. I take him (and Penny) home from school and they have lunch. After lunch he takes a bath, then he takes out his Lego, his building blocks, or he draws on his blackboard. Or he plays with Play Doh. More often now that Penny is older, they have a lot of conversations and pretend play. They take turns playing doctor and patient, or policeman and bad guy, or they gang up to make me toy food which I have to pretend to eat enthusiastically wtf. Sometimes if I don’t pack them up and take them to work with me, or plan play dates, they go outside to play with bubbles or I take them to the pool for a swim. This goes on until dinner and bedtime.
That’s it. No extracurricular activities. I did start him on swimming class once a week but I was thinking of more for survival chances if he happens to fall into a mining pool or something wtf.
My kid does nothing but play all day. He can’t write, he can barely draw, he’s still illiterate, he can’t even balance on one foot WTF. Although he can strike up conversations with strangers, debate with me and point out flaws in my argument wtf. In comparison, his peers are making elaborate pictures on paper, playing soccer, swimming like fishes, and reading Peter and Jane. They are so advanced it’s crazy.
So my questions are these, people.
I don’t believe there’s any one right or wrong way to parenting. But am I too free with my parenting? Should I be doing for my child to make sure he advances, if not on par with his high achieving peers, but at least not so falls too far behind? I think my parenting style has always been slightly hippy – I believe in not pressuring kids when they’re so young especially, and letting them grow at their own pace. But am I too chill until they’re not growing at all? By not pressuring them, am I not pushing them to develop grit?
My second question was – and I actually posed this to the mom I talked to – how do you even find the time for all these extra classes!? She confirmed my suspicion – that she spent most of her days in the car, ferrying around her kids from class to class. But she has the privilege of being a full time SAHM. What about those of us who are working? How to juggle? And do I want to spend the remainder of my free time (and my kid’s free time) rushing from class to class?
And thirdly, what about play? I believe so strongly in free play for kids that it’s nearly my religion wtf. Data shows that play helps children with socialization (which is actually my top priority but not the only one la), conflict resolution, creativity and a whole bunch of other good stuff. Shouldn’t 4-5 year olds (who are still by definition, toddlers) be playing in all their free time? Or am I being too extreme – that it’s okay to get them into organized activities and lessons even at 4? (I’m not talking about one or two classes a week ah, talking about at least several times a week.)
I don’t have any answers. But I’m opening up a forum to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment!
I vlogged guys!
I had a lot of fun doing it actually – I think I haven’t vlogged so long that it’s stopped becoming a hassle and started being fun instead. And I feel like an A+ mom for capturing such good footage of the kids!
Anyway this was taken one Sunday when Fighter had his swimming class.
And he freaking hated it FML.
You know the funny thing about this article?
As you know, I’ve been collaborating with Hotels.com recently, about trip planning and that planning a trip is actually half the fun.
I tend to be very impulsive and disorganized so normally I leave the planning to my travel partners and just go along with their suggestions. But writing these Hotels.com blog posts (HERE and HERE), I more seriously started to consider traveling to Japan by myself and consequently, started thinking of what *I* myself really want to do there.
If you’ve been a reader, you’d know that I looove Japan and have been there many times. I even lived there for a year when I was in college. So I’ve been to all the usual touristy places and even experienced regular daily life, commuting to school, having homecooked meals with my host family yadda yadda.
So this time, if I do travel on my own, Imma dedicate my trip to exploring the more unusual and obscure sides to the country. Maybe obscure isn’t the word, but maybe “less touristy” is. Not the usual Tokyo Tower or Harajuku’s Takeshita Dori, but attractions more off the beaten track.
Like this Ninja Restaurant!!!
- Ninja Asakasa
Photo Source: Weird Japan
OMG this place looks awesome. Just look at this waiter hahahahaha how can you not!?
When I was studying in Kyoto I went to this prison themed restaurant but this ninja restaurant looks ten times better!
Photo source: Atlas Obscura
Food also comes in a bento box with dry ice for that mysterious factor HAHAHAH.
2. Wisteria Tunnel
Photo source: Atlas Obscura
Located in the Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu, this passageway of wisteria blooms during Fuji Matsuri – early May or late April. Means if I gotta get my butt over then la! Or else it’s apparently just a ‘mass of twisted branches’ hahahaha don’t want la.
But this place is sooo beautiful, I’m not even normally a fan of scenic locations and I’m dying to come here.
3. Brasserie Kyushoku Toban
Photo source: Atlas Obscura
Guys. Lest you think looking at this pic this is some sort of child labor institution, it’s not hahaha. It’s a cafe that supposedly gives you Japanese elementary school lunch experience.
Photo source: Atlas Obscura
You apparently sit in an interior that looks like a classroom, and true to Japanese fashion, a hot cart travels up and down the aisles serving noodles or rice, fish or pork, soup, flavored milk, and a healthy fruit dessert. It also apparently serves whale meat O_O for that nostalgic factor cos they used to serve it back in the day.
4. Nakagin Capsule Tower
Photo source: Atlas Obscura
Photo source: Atlas Obscura
I’m not sure if this is actually open to public but I read about this capsule tower recently. It was built in the mid 20th century and consists of two separate towers which serve as support to 140 prefabricated capsules. Each capsule is one self-contained tiny apartment. Each apartment is furnished with the latest gadgets (at the time anyway) and was targeted for bachelor salarymen. But the project flopped cos everyone just thought it was too depressing to live in tiny capsules (guess they never saw Kowloon).
There’s talk of demolition for this place since it’s located in prime area Ginza. So if I go, must be ASAP before it comes down!
What about you guys? Do you have any tips as to where I should head to if I make this solo Japan trip?
I was gonna focus on attractions in the Tokyo/Kansai area only to maximize my travel budget. Which would mean potentially striking off Wisteria. T3T
But! Hotels.com wants to save us. ^^ Hahaha. The Hotels.com Rewards program is a loyalty program that gives members instant savings on their hotel bookings, plus free nights later on – one free night for every 10 nights stayed.
Source: Hotels.com website
Source: Hotels.com website
There are also Secret Prices to be unlocked if you’re a Hotels.com member, as well as mobile app exclusive prices. For more info, check out the Hotels.com website.
Source: Hotels.com website
And what’s better than getting a discount when you head over to their website? Use this special code 8OFFHTFOTMY to enjoy 8% off your next trip with Hotels.com.
For more info, check out the Hotels.com website.
This post was written in collaboration with Hotels.com.