When Fighter was quarantined with the flu a few weeks back, I kept Penny at home too just in case she’d actually caught it too. At some point, Fighter was better already and Penny was perfectly fine so I had two preschoolers going slightly stir crazy at home. I started googling for indoor activities, thinking we could do some arts and crafts at home.
I came across this idea called “homeless care packages”.
They’re basically little packages filled with items that would be very useful to a person living on the streets. We live in the city, so very often we see homeless people sleeping around our neighborhood. The critters have also noticed them and asked us about them so I thought this would be a great project that we could do together.
Before we had kids, Fatty and I used to occasionally volunteer at a soup kitchen in KL. I blogged about it HERE. The soup kitchen would organize trips with volunteers, usually at night. Donors would supply foodstuff like packets of rice or noodles, some fruits, snacks and water and we would travel around the city and disperse them. We stopped when the kids were born – I guess too busy with midnight feeds and I forgot about it also. Recently I thought of rejoining these trips but then I also heard that they’re doing very well and packed with volunteers! So this is also the perfect way to do something else to help!
I told the kids about my idea and asked if they wanted to help. Fighter immediately said he wanted to but Penny frowned and said, “No. I want to do arts and crafts.”
Me: “We can do arts and crafts too! We won’t do homeless kits today anyway cos we still need to go out and get some supplies. You want to help me and Koko?”
Penny: “No! I wanna do arts and crafts!”
Me: “But listen Baby. Don’t you want to help people who are poor? They have a very tough time cos they don’t have a house or anyone to take care of them.’
Me: “Next time if Mommy and Daddy are not around and lots of bad things happen and you have no one to take care of you and no house to live in, wouldn’t you like someone to help you like we can help these people now?”
Fighter: *nods earnestly*
Penny: “Nope. I don’t want.”
At this point I had a feeling she was just saying no cos she knew I wanted her to say yes. -_-
Me: “Fine. You can play your own things and Koko and I will make the homeless kits.”
Penny: “Okay. But Mommy can you help me open this box (of Playdoh)?”
Me: “No. Do it yourself. Since you don’t want to help other people, don’t expect people to help you.” My words were pretty mean, but I was super shocked and angry with her. I don’t know when kids get better at thinking about others – is four too young? But I remember Fighter at four was already very aware of people’s feelings. I was angry with her not for lacking compassion, but for being so stubborn and for refusing to even help me when I asked.
Penny burst into tears.
I made as if to leave the room to join Koko in his room.
Penny cried and ran after me.
There followed half an hour of sobbing as she tried to get her emotions under control. When she finally calmed down enough, I hugged her and asked, “Who takes care of you, Baby?”
Penny: *sniffling* “Mommy and Dada.”
Me: “Yes. Why do we take care of you?”
Penny: “Because you want me to be safe.” Wah where did this come from why so self aware one lolol.
Me: “Yes but we also do it because we love you and want you to be okay. Some people in the world have nobody to take care of them. They have no money and no home and it’s very hard for them to be outside and feeling unsafe and hungry all the time. It’s so tiring for them but it’s so easy for us to do something small to help them.”
Penny: “But I’m also tired.”
Me: “Not as bad as them. If you’re tired you can always go to your bed and rest. They don’t even have beds. Where are they going to sleep if they’re tired?”
Penny keeps quiet.
Me: “We might be tired doing some work, but we are still better than them. Next time if Mommy and Dada are not around, I hope there are people who will also help you if you need help. That’s what we are doing now, just helping people who are more poor thing than us. Do you want to help Mommy help poor people?”
Penny nodded earnestly.
Honestly I still don’t know if she really understood what I was trying to say or she was just trying to please me wtf. But I think at least some of it got into her head cos the next time she saw my parents, she asked my mom, “Grandma, are you poor?”
Mummy Ooi jokingly said, “Yes, we’re poor. Why ah?”
Penny: “Oh ok do you need any help? Mommy said we must help poor people.”
HAHAHAHAHAHA WTF. Baby steps ok baby steps wtf.
Anyway, homeless care kit!
I googled for what we could include in our care kits and compiled what I thought would work best for our climate and environment. Then I went out and bought the supplies. All in all, they cost me around RM 100 for twelve kits.
The kids making kits! Advertising for Guardian here wtf #notreally #notanad lolol
They did everything themselves with minimal supervision! Unwrapping the packages, putting things into bags and counting and making sure they check off everything and put one of each into each bag…
This is one of our care kits. I used ziploc bags (not the most environmentally friendly option) but waterproof and reusable and pretty useful in general. We put in toothbrush, toothpaste, sanitary pad (very useful for women), wet wipes, a little packet of body wash. The small white tube is lip balm which we made ourselves at home! Cos I found drugstore lip balms very not worth it – around RM 15 each? I went out and bought my own lip balm cases, beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter. I think total cost less than RM 15 per piece lo for sure and I made enough extra for the kids to use too.
I also added a packet of biscuits. Other options of food could be granola bars since they’re supposed to be high energy or high protein or something right hahaha but seems quite ang moh and elite I don’t know if the average person here can appreciate it hahaha.
Here’s a list I made of things you could potentially put in too if you’re thinking of doing this! Most of the items are sanitary products or toiletries cos I imagine if people had spare cash, they’d probably spend it on food. Hygiene products are probably not high on their shopping list but goes a long way to making someone feel more “human” I think. I mean I know *I* feel better after a good shower or brushing my teeth lol. Plus I think if someone living on the street is trying to look for a job in the meantime, it would be so good for them to get presentable.
Our next batch I think I will also add in tissue paper, a plastic fork or spoon, and a bottle of water if it fits.
The critters ended up really excited and happy to make these kits! Big change from that day my big fight with Penny wtf. We made about twelve of these and I planned to keep them in my car so if we’re driving around and happen to see anyone who needs it, we can just hand them one.
So remember I said we see a lot of homeless people around our house? The other day we were on the way back from our condo pool when we saw a man sleeping at the bus stop outside our condo.
So when we got home, we grabbed one of our kits, plus a spare package of biscuits, and the kids put both next to the sleeping man. He didn’t stir or budge. At night Fatty and I took a walk outside and we saw the man still sleeping there. O_O The care kit had fallen to the ground but he was still sleeping.
But later on, when we walked back, he’d disappeared along with the biscuits and the care kit. I hope he took them with him and found them useful. 🙂
Showed the kids this pic and they worriedly asked, “What if he finishes using the toothpaste?” lololol then we give him again la wtf.
In my last post, I wrote about the importance of empathy. I think this project is a good start to getting kids involved and not just talking to them about it. ^^
Is it this blog becomes active when I get worked up over something wtf.
This will be an AudVerbalDiarrhea post ok guys bear with me.
This is literally a sequel to this post: To the mom judging another mom, please stop.
TL;DR: When Penny contracted Hand Foot & Mouth Disease last year, I unthinkingly brought her out to a toy store to cheer her up. I didn’t think it would do any harm cos she was in her stroller. I received a lot of flak for it and considered it from all aspects. I openly admitted my mistake and made a public apology on my Instagram. That didn’t stop the judgment though. Parents and non-parents went on and on berating me. I won’t go into the details; you can read about it at the above link.
Here’s the story of what happened the last few days.
So we’ve been having a slightly tough time at home. Three weeks ago, Fighter caught Influenza B and was quarantined at home for a week. I kept Penny back a few days too to make sure she didn’t develop any symptoms before I sent her back to school. The next week, Penny herself fell ill, with suspected chicken pox. I say suspected cos she’s had her chicken pox vaccination (as has Fighter), so her symptoms were extremely mild, until the doctor couldn’t confirm it was chicken pox wtf. She developed a few spots on her face, and that was it. No fever, no itching, no blisters. She remained her normal self, active, ate a lot, but I kept her home from school anyway.
The doctor told me to look out if the blisters come, a sure sign of chicken pox, but she didn’t even get any blisters. He told me that once the spots dry up and heal, she’s no longer contagious. She didn’t even have blisters so nothing to dry up also wtf. The spots merely faded away and I waited until only small brown scars remained.
At first I thought she would miss her first ballet recital and informed the teacher. But her spots fully healed in time so we made it!
I posted a photo of the four of us at her concert with the caption “Chicken pox, influenza and hives ain’t gonna stop us” as a joke. (Hives cos I think I was too stressed out by work and them being sick (and a possible allergy from Colony reno sites) that I broke out a few days prior.)
Apparently my photo went viral on whatsapp and parenting FB groups in Singapore. Malaysia maybe got also but I didn’t hear anything. I suddenly had a lot of followers DMing me to tell me I might want to clarify myself.
Here’s the photo that started it all wtf. Or one of those la.
Weiqi Vivien started a fire out of ashes lol. I applaud her back.
Subsequent comments. Thank you Marilyn Teo. Wow Hazel Lian-Tan, are you ok?
Calista Faye called me a fucking idiot. *poker face* Winnie Ou reminded the group that I once brought Penny out when she was sick. I guess once a criminal, always a criminal huh.
From favorite blogger become a zero wtf. This person also whacked me before catching herself. But kudos she apologized for it.
I guess my caption was a bit misleading, if you weren’t following my earlier stories and didn’t see that the kids had already recovered and Fighter had been back at school for a week even.
So I wrote back.
But I was also pretty angry that I had to clarify this to people who aren’t even following me and don’t know me at all. I had a lot of people messaging me to ask if my kids were still sick and I wrote replies to explain, one by one. They didn’t jump to conclusions, they checked with me. But these people who didn’t bother to check with me or find out the story? They just went ahead and posted my photo for all to see, with judgmental statements and insults.
Hazel Lian-Tan, this is for you. Never thought there would be a day where I’d have to say: hives are not contagious.
And then I got this indecipherable lump of cactus wtf. I don’t know who or what she’s talking about! Is she talking about those people who judged me? Or me for scolding people? I couldn’t brain honestly and blocked her with relief wtf.
A lot of people asked if I would share if those three ladies apologized to me and I said I would. Because it takes a huge effort to understand when you’re wrong, and apologize, and I wanted to give them that credit.
Vivien actually had the most sincere apology. I wasn’t that exemplary also la to be fair, cos I also wrote that I heard she simply accuse people before me. I do take it back.
I’m not sure why Winnie thinks she wasn’t judging when she clearly brought up my past mistake in regards to this post which is a super judgmental move imho. It’s like something goes missing, and there’s a repented robber in the room and you say, “YEA HE DID IT AGAIN FOR SURE! HE STOLE SOMETHING BEFORE!” But ok hahaha.
She totally did not have a clue what was going on at all.
She basically said sorry if I felt offended (which etiquette experts don’t count as a proper apology). I was ok la, sorry is a sorry wtf. But then she went on to defend her stance which nobody is disputing, nor does it justify why she felt she could be so rude and judgmental in her comment. Then after that, she still not aware that my kids are not even sick and say she hopes I just “used the wrong choice of words”. Why did she apologize then if she doesn’t know “there is more to what I posted”?!
I very shocked by her at this point, but I didn’t want to continue arguing on her level so I let it go.
Then today I received this DM, which is the catalyst for this blog post. Wow. Just wow.
I guess in the eyes of all these women, really once a sinner always a sinner. It didn’t matter how careful I was this time, checking with the doctor when it was safe for them to return to public, or that I even kept Penny who didn’t have the flu, from school until I was sure she would not develop it in the next few days and infect her classmates. The most important takeaway it seems, is that I took my sick child out before.
Is motherhood now a competition and I’m the last person to find out? Is the goal now to be the most perfect mother, who never makes a mistake, whose main goal is to keep her children safe from disease, screw you all other disease laden fuckers?
Look. I have been on both sides of the fence. I have unthinkingly taken a sick child out to cheer her up, thinking that it wouldn’t matter, it was a minimal risk. I have also pulled my children out of class when I heard one of their classmates broke quarantine and returned to school contagious.
I know what it feels like to nurse a sick child. It is painful and draining for everybody. I think every parent knows this. And ideally, if everyone could, we would just keep our sick kids at home to recover. I wish people wouldn’t take sick kids out of course, and if I knew that because of me, Penny had inadvertently infected another person I would regret it so much.
But i also know it still happens. For a variety of reasons. When I mentioned “resources” in my earlier reply, I wasn’t talking about myself. I meant that not everybody has the same privileged position as us to make that call.
It’s all very easy to say when you are in a position to stay home and take care of your child when they’re sick. Very easy when you don’t need to worry that it will affect your paycheck. When you don’t need to worry that it may affect your job security. When you have a significant other who is capable and willing to step up. When you have available helpers or family members. What if you didn’t?
I’m not saying sure, bring out your sick kids and let’s have a party. I’m not saying you cannot be angry if you know a mom purposefully brings a sick kid out and infects yours. That’s what all these detractors can’t seem to get into their skulls. I’m merely saying, have a little empathy. Because it doesn’t mean every time that happens, someone is just being inconsiderate, or selfish, or irresponsible. Of course, there are people like that. But would it take very much effort if you would just take a step back and try to understand what happened and why? Ask some questions (kindly) and get a sense of the situation before you judge someone’s actions and start bitching?
When the Penny HFMD thing happened, other than those nasties who attacked me, I did also have people write to me with compassion to tell me I was wrong. Because they were kind, I did not react defensively and was able to listen and accept their views. If you’re telling me that your angry exposes are meant to educate, isn’t this a kinder and more effective way of educating others?
We, as parents, may not be able to make the ultimate best decision, but we make the best decisions we can in our own individual circumstances.
Calista stands by her stance. I stand by mine too. That empathy goes both ways. It’s terrible having a sick child and understandably it feels better to blame someone. But the other mom probably is having a terrible time too. It’s fine to educate and get angry and take steps to prevent bad things from happening, but you don’t have to be mean or self righteous about it. Have you never made a mistake in your life?
It’s this lack of empathy exhibited by these individuals that really bothers me. Empathy is the quality that makes a person not self centered. I want my kids to be healthy and safe. But equally, the quality I want them to grow into most is the ability to empathize with others and be kind. If we don’t practice that ourselves, you really think our kids will?
Okay we are finally ready to reveal this!
Now that we have officially finished building Colony 5, this is my customary blog post about it.
Internally we call it Colony 5 cos it’s the fifth location we signed, but it’s actually the fourth one we’re launching (cos the original 4th one delayed wtf).
Externally, it’s called Colony @ Mutiara Damansara. It’s our first location out of Kuala Lumpur and it’s located in the Curve area, just down the road from the McDonald’s drive thru! (which explains why my Mcds intake went up recently wtf). It’s situated in a beautiful new office building called KYM Tower.
We have about 19,000+ square feet of space, over two floors, and we’re on level 8 and 9!
If you guys have been following me, each coworking space of ours comes with a different design. No two spaces are alike, and I usually conceptualize the design based on what I’m feeling at the moment lolol. I also take into consideration the kind of guests we’d have there la, and their requirements, to create a suitable environment. Not that bimbo ok hahahaah.
So as I’d mentioned earlier, Colony @ Mutiara Damansara is our first location not located in the city, out of any serious central business districts. I thought we might have younger companies and more startups compared to our other locations…. so for its design theme, I wanted to do something a bit more quirky and less stuffy. Something more fun and playful, without compromising our design and material standards.
I decided on Wes Anderson. 😀 I don’t remember what made me think of it already, I think I probably saw a picture of a pastel pink room, kept surfing for the concept and eventually settled on a Wes Anderson theme. Did you know he has a cafe/restaurant in Italy! That was an initial source of inspiration for me.
I haven’t watched all his movies la but those I watched, I loved! The aesthetics – the overall quirk, the juxtaposition of colors and textures, the dreaminess, the retro vibe. *hearts in eyes*
Plus Wes Anderson is such an iconic name in movies, known for his distinctive creative style, essentially a trailblazer or pioneer in his field. It made sense to pay tribute to his work with this center!
Manatau *jeng jeng jeng* Only after we embarked on this Wes Anderson journey did I realize that this is actually the hardest, least straightforward theme we’ve ever done LOL.
Firstly, his movies are obviously set in different time periods and places. So while the movies have a very clear WA aesthetic, they are also not the same. Which I stupidly didn’t realize at first! The major problem we had with this aesthetic is that there are so many takes and variations on it. We essentially had too much inspiration and couldn’t figure out which direction to take it!
I think we changed the design 7-8 times fck our designer Jason’s life hahahaha. And each version was very different from the others. Nothing seemed right for us – too retro, too simple, too heavy, no wow factor… I was actually very stressed leh. That this would be the first Colony I fail at executing lolol. And people would call me uhh three hit wonder wtf.
Even colors wise, there were too many choices and we threw out so many different color palettes before finally settling on what we have.
But I think towards the end, we finally managed to pull it together! Jason and I also had the help of Soiree Lab *ahem*. One of my oldest, dearest friends Hui Wen is some kind of savant at styling and I roped her in to do the soft styling for the space – artwork, rugs, lamps, flowers, you get it wtf. She not only sourced the most unexpected pieces that just worked, she swerved a few of our design decisions, and just like that, everything clicked together.
We decided on different interpretations for different areas so the space looks different depending on where you are.
Here’s a virtual tour! Shall we? *offers arm*
Welcome to Colony! Hehehe. Went for main double doors that are grand looking with facades flanking it, but countered it with an unexpected mustard color.
Our door handles are parrots! If you guys ever come to this Colony, you have to check out the details! There’s that saying “the devil is in the details” but really, this Colony’s beauty really lies in all our tiny details.
Jason also added the stylized border stickers on the glass which I love so much. T3T Gives it a little Art Deco touch!
Once you step in our doors, you’re greeted with our reception and concierge area. Which very clearly drew its inspiration from The Grand Budapest Hotel hahaha. This area la! Sketched over seven times wtf until we pinned down the look we wanted.
And yes I am aware our runner looks like Louis Vuitton hahahaha.
Another angle of our reception. Our chandelier is gorgeous and picked out by Hui Wen, but even that came in at the last second! We’d originally had a row of light bulbs under the Concierge sign, and Hui Wen suggested swapping them out for this chandelier instead.
And our flooring also changed dunno how many times! I wanted terrazo cos I felt it would really capture the retro feel, but terrazo is very expensive actually! Out of my budget hahaha. And some more expensive but doesn’t look expensive cos in Malaysia it will forever be associated with terrace houses built in the 1980s wtf. I Pinterested like mad and settled on this broken marble floor that I think captured the essence even better – affordable and retro but still marble so still expensive looking.
The contractors really cursed me though cos this floor involves throwing down marble pieces to break them, then carefully piecing them together in a pleasing pattern sorry uncles.
Next to the concierge are the phone booths and printing room. Doors of mustard to match with the front door.
A peek inside one of our phone booths. All our wall prints are Wes Anderson connected – either literal movie posters, or more subtle references – pictures of characters or things featured in his movies.
Phone booth door handles.
Lounge area. Jason and I picked out the couches and vintage trunk coffee tables, and Hui Wen brought the Chinese style stools and cushions. And styled the tables!
Those coffee table books are also Wes Anderson!
View of the lounge from the main entrance.
Shit is this magical or what wtf.
Our meeting rooms are always named after a great person, and the conference room in Colony @ MD is called Gandhi.
I asked for a lot of geometrical patterns especially round shapes, and Jason upped and gave me beautiful curved ceilings T____T I did not even know they could be a thing. T____T
Love all the wallpaper we chose. Colors for Gandhi are blush pink and dark cyan so uh there are a lot of both colors here wtf. *runs out of ways to describe it*
Here is our hot desking area. Lockers are off to the left of this photo so guests don’t have to worry about the security of their belongings. ^^
More bright colors, curved shapes and loud, floral motifs. ^^
Our pantry! We don’t have an in house cafe in this center because there will be a cafe right across the corridor from us! So we created a bigger pantry for guests to sit and chill and even have discussions. I love it that Jason even painted the emergency and utility room doors mint green lolol.
Our other meeting room! Also done in blush pink but with more subtle shades of green. Did you see our super amazing fringed hanging lights! *hyperventilates* Who cares about how we’re going to dust it!
We christened this meeting room Kahlo, after Frida Kahlo.
Our optical illusion corridor wtf. This corridor was also conceptualized pretty far into the design process and we played around with the color too. I wanted a more blue toned pink, going towards lavender a bit, but Jason kept saying coral is Pantone color of the year hahahaha. I don’t care about Color of the Year la cos every year it changes what! But our reception area looked best with this coral pink, and I agreed it wasn’t a good idea to introduce more than one shade of pink (already our color palette so rich) so we stuck to this.
I picked out these tiles before going on our Shanghai trip and to my horror when we were there, we visited this casual dumpling restaurant, super not fancy kind, and their tiles are these tiles WTF. They never maintain la and their tiles were blackened and I was completely horrified. I called Jason when I got back to cancel the order but he sent me a photo of his workers laying the tiles here already HAHAHA. So there we are. Whatever la, I am using these tiles in a much nicer way anyway hahaha.
Down this corridor is our nursing room. For nursing moms to either breastfeed their children if they need to, or pump and store their milk in a fridge we have for this use.
And our kids’ play area! This one credit goes to Jason and Hui Wen cos I had no hand in this hahaha. I just told them I wanted a white based room with pastel colors playing off it.
And our pink corridor leads up to…. our event space. ^^
We designed this space for workshops, conferences or annual meetings. It’s sound proof, can be shut off for max privacy and furnished with modular furniture that can be arranged seminar style, group discussion style or even for product launches or parties.
So ya know, if you looking for an event space, lemme know wtf.
And my video on our space! Plus what I did that day wtf. But the video doesn’t do it justice la cos I don’t know what I did with the colors and brightness but it looked completely different on my laptop when I was working on it wtf. 🙁
Just look at my photos ok wtf.
But in all honesty, this is so far, the Colony closest to my heart. We worked with a new designer whom I believed in, but was also quite green; I mean he already admitted to me this is his biggest project by far wtf. He’s good, but this concept is pretty unusual and stumped us at many, many points. I took more control than ever before, did more research than ever before and slowly, we pieced together this place (with Hui Wen who contributed so much with her amazing sense of style) that it now takes my breath away.
I learned and grew so much with this project and for that, Colony MD will always have a special place in my heart.
One of those days again.
When your son pulls a fever out of nowhere. When he develops a sudden pain in his knee and foot, so painful he screams in agony for two hours. When you rush him to the emergency room only to find it’s influenza.
When you might as well cancel the rest of your week then but you can’t cos you have two unmovable deadlines looming. When you’re in the middle of a meeting when your phone suddenly got missed call and it’s your helper telling you your son’s fever is at 40C even though you gave him a suppository before you left for work that morning. When the meeting is actually your client telling you why they’re disappointed in your work, and you want to look attentive but you can’t really focus anymore.
When you rush your son to the hospital (with a packed bag, expecting him to be admitted) and he vomits the whole way there. When you and your husband eat Grab burgers at the hospital while waiting for the doctor. When the doctor tells you no need to admit and relieved, you head home. Sorry, when the rest of the family heads home, while you go back to work because deadlines.
When you fight with your husband because he needs to leave for the airport and your son is having a meltdown about it but you’re not home yet. You went for an exercise class you already registered for, then went to tapau lunch and to school to pick up your son’s homework. When you spend the rest of the day separating your children or yelling at them to keep their face masks on I ALREADY SAID DO YOU WANT TO CATCH/PASS ON THE FLU?, or googling indoor activities to keep them busy so you can actually work on your laptop.
When maybe your daughter finally has had enough with the reduced amount of attention she’s receiving and wakes up crying in a very heartbroken fashion. When she clings on to your hand and refuses to even let you go grab dinner. When she cries and cries and it’s 9 pm and you’re so exhausted and emotionally spent you’re crying yourself.
There are the bright sides of course. The client, while unhappy, has also been the nicest to work with, for which I am grateful. Work, while intense is also satisfying. Fighter had crazy high fever yesterday but no temperature today today which is unexpectedly quick for influenza. Tim and I have since made peace.
But all in all, it’s just been a rollercoaster of a couple of days. It’s one of those times when I feel like I’m all hollowed out because I’ve given all my sayang and comforting away and I have nothing left for myself.
Here’s where I write that things can only get better, and I know they will. Of course this too shall pass, but I don’t feel like ending it on such a note when I don’t feel cheerful at all. I feel tired and teary and I will end it as such.
So today I’m going to write about two incidents that happened within the past two weeks.
Peer pressure has hit the critters, guys. And it has hit hard.
One of the things we did when we were in Malacca the weekend before was do the usual touristy Jonker Walk jaunt. We happened to pass by a stall selling cheap plastic watches for children. Fighter loves all gadgets and things with buttons and immediately set his sights on a bright blue rickety looking wrist watch.
I didn’t want to buy it for him because the thing looked like it would just die the next day and we’d be left with more trash on our hands. Besides he and Penny already had a bunch of these broken kids watches lying around at home.
Mummy Ooi promised she would go back to KL and find a less flimsy watch for him and he reluctantly agreed. I still wasn’t too keen cos I’ve seriously never seen any kid’s watch last beyond two weeks but who am I to deny a grandma’s love?
So the next day we came home from Malacca and it was a Sunday. It was evening and I was washing Penny up for bed, and Fatty came up to me and told me that Fighter was refusing to go to school unless he had a new watch.
I think my blood pressure doubled then. My heart pounded cos I was so mad hearing that! I went to talk to Fighter and found out that he’d started off by telling Daddy, “Daddy you know, in school I’m very bored. If I had my watch I could look at it and not be bored.” Which then escalated to “I don’t want to go unless I have a watch.”
My worst fear had come true. I had an entitled child.
Entitlement is one of the negative traits associated with millenials (and I’m considered a millenial myself wtf). I do encounter it occasionally, and it drives me crazy. I realize that our lifestyle is pretty privileged so I thought I’ve been pretty aware that I don’t raise children who feel they’re entitled to special privileges or opportunities for no reason. Not aware enough apparently.
I was so angry I wanted to scold him there and then. But I wanted to handle it right so he would understand. So I took hold of his hands and asked him, why do you want a watch so much? (because I like it) Do any of your friends wear watches to school? (yes, A does) You want one cos A has one? (yes…)
I continued to ask, does Chase have a watch? Does YS (his other best friend)? Does SY (his ‘girlfriend’)? None of them have watches.
I tried on a gentle but hopefully firm tone. “Fighter, you know what my job is as your mommy? It’s to feed and clothe you and send you to school. And to love you and take care of you. That’s all. My job is not to buy you presents whenever you feel like it. Grandma promised you a watch but now I think I’m going to ask her not to get it for you. Because you cannot think that every time you want something, we have to get it for you.”
He’s sobbing at this point.
“Do you understand what I’m saying?”
He nods but honestly I’m not sure he entirely does.
So I told him, “If I buy a present for you every time you want it you’re not going to appreciate it. So I’m telling Grandma not to buy you a watch. If you still want it, you have two options. One, you get all correct for your next three spelling tests (they have a weekly spelling test either in Malay, English or Chinese) and I’ll buy you a watch. Two, you can save up your allowance and buy the watch yourself. Which one do you want to do?”
Sniffling, he said he wanted to do the spelling option.
So that’s where we’re at now. Fighter has gotten the two tests after that all correct. Peer pressure – wanting something that his friend has, and wanting to show if off I suspect – started it but entitlement escalated it. What I did is probably not enough – it will take years of teaching – but I hope it’s at least a step in the right direction. T3T
The next incident occurred with Penny.
We were having dinner at a Korean restaurant one day, and a Blackpink song came on. The critters love Blackpink, and Penny says her favorite is Rose.
Penny grabbed my arm and breathlessly said, “Mommy, my favorite is Rose!”
“I know, you told me,” I said, smiling. “But why is Rose your favorite?”
“Because she’s so skinny.”
My eyes wanted to pop out lo wtf. “Baby! Skinny doesn’t mean nice or pretty! You’re not skinny.”
“No I fat.”
OMG. “No Penny you’re perfect! I don’t want you to be skinny ok? I want you to be like this. This Penny now. Don’t think of losing weight or wanting to be skinny ok? You don’t have to be skinny to be pretty. Everyone looks different but doesn’t mean skinny only is pretty.”
She nodded and went on with her usual four year old antics but I was pretty disturbed. She’s only four and she’s somehow absorbed that society views thin as beautiful and that being skinny could be something to aspire to. The world has caught up with my children and is pushing onto them values that I don’t agree with. This is something I will have to watch for and guide them accordingly.
And they say the baby age is hard. This – mental and emotional growth and wellbeing – is so much harder!
Welcome to the blog where you have to scroll through other people’s vacation pictures. Hahaha.
We went on a family trip to Shanghai during the March school holidays and it’s only taken me two months to write this blog post. *prolific
As usual I must give my reasons and the reason is honestly I wanted to start with a vlog on Disneyland first. But I recently downloaded a new video editing software and the learning curve is terrible after using Imovie hahaha.
So presenting to you….the most noob Youtube video of my entire vlogging history wtf.
As you can see, I didn’t even bother to make a thumbnail wtf.
I could barely just trim the footage and join them together and add subtitles. I even accidentally deleted my intro clip FML. There’s a lot more that can be done obviously but I haven’t figured it out yet hahahaah. So yea bear with me.
My review of Shanghai Disneyland
I’d heard a lot about Shanghai Disneyland prior to visiting – that it was the most high tech and largest Disneyland to date and I was really excited to go! But I was also concerned that it would be super crowded (like how Tokyo Disney and HK Disney are), especially with it being located in super populous China. I dreaded having to fight line cutters cos um some people from China have given the country a bad name wtf.
But I was pleasantly surprised! We bought our tickets from Klook so we didn’t have to buy them at the park itself and jam with the crowds. All I had to do was show up at the entrance with our passports and we got in so smoothly. Even then, there were no rude people to fight wtf. My adrenaline rush for nothing hahahaha.
Disneyland was as expected, up to standard as usual – clean, orderly with friendly, helpful cast members. Some of them weren’t very fluent in English and I could see they were nervous dealing with a banana (me wtf) but they tried their best and we didn’t have any issues.
Shanghai Disneyland is supposed to be very high tech but I was too busy with the kids and rain to really notice much to be honest. One thing though is the Disney Resort app that you can download to view the park map on your phone and you can book fast pass with it too. I would recommend you download it before your trip though as you need to register using your phone number to get a passcode sent via SMS to you. I didn’t receive my passcode until 2 days later wtf.
We were there for two days and I really enjoyed the food! I don’t remember Disneyland food being this nice hahaha. This was spicy minced pork rice and I had it for lunch two days in a row wtf. For dinner one of those nights we went to Cheesecake Factory also part of Disneyland cos Fatty is a sucker for cheesecake. The critters also gave 5 star review to their Cheesecake Factory mac and cheese. ^^
Crowd wise, it was the best Disneyland I’ve been to. It could be that we went on a weekday or that rain was forecast, but the crowd was really very manageable. A friend told me that Shanghai crowd The longest we had to wait was for the Princess meet & greet. The sign said an hour from the starting point but the cast was so efficient that we made it to see Cinderella in just half an hour.
People in Shanghai were unbelievably polite! Not only was there no pushing or furtive line cutting, people went out of their way to be polite to us. T3T People regularly let us go first with a smile or a nod, especially when they saw us with the kids. I was so touched since I really did not expect it. Way to go Shanghai. T3T
There was only one case though. We were waiting for a ride with my in laws – I forgot which one – and I noticed some slight commotion behind me. A nine or ten year old girl and her grandmother had just elbowed their way so they were suddenly in front of the two teenage girls who were originally behind me. I wasn’t sure so I looked at one of the teenage girls, who didn’t do anything but looked uncomfortable.
After a bit, I noticed the girl and her grandma arguing. My Chinese is pretty basic but all the while I’d assumed it was the grandma being kiasu and dragging the girl in front. But when I listened in on them, I realized the girl was the one whining about being too slow and how they would need to wait so long to get to the front of the line and the grandmother scolding her and arguing back.
Then a couple minutes later, the girl is squeezing under my arm that was resting on the fence wtf. I’m like HEY but then the grandma is always barrelling past, telling me that ‘her granddaughter’s friends are in front and she just wants to go to them’. I go to stop them again but my mother in law pulls me back, telling me to let it go, she’s more stressed listening to those two bicker behind us and wondering when they’re going to cut our line wtf.
Fatty, my father in law and Fighter are a couple people ahead of us and the girl and grandma pushes past them. The grandma gives him the same excuse, but Fatty is actually right at the head of the line and he knows there’s no friends waiting in front! He shouts at them asking for proof and complains loudly to the Disney staff LOLOL. Luckily the grandma has enough shame to stop and let us all go first.
So that was that. A very weird encounter but besides that we had a really wonderful time! I’ve had a lot of people ask me about my experience bringing young children to Shanghai and Disneyland, and I say: go for it!
If you have any other questions about Shanghai or Disneyland, drop them in the comments!
Us on the carousel! We went on this carousel multiple times because of penny.
But see how happy she is!
Met Jessie and Woody! Penny instantly claimed she’s Jessie lolol.
And my handsome, infuriating, loving little boy.
They were enjoying the food too!
Penny overdosed on fries though. -_-
Willingly got suckered into buying this for Penny cos omg it’s Stella Lou! This was when Penny said, “Mommy look. I drink her blood.” WTF.
Happy watching! Must watch ah I seriously took a month to fucking edit this damn vlog wtf.
Ok since I rarely write about work I decided to do so now cos…. the last two weeks have been pretty difficult!
We are launching two more Colonies in June this year – one in the city with a view of the Petronas Twin Towers at Star Boulevard, the other in Mutiara Damansara. Which means that both are currently in building phase.
My job is to basically lead the creation of all our spaces (from conceptualization to end). So I’ve been doubly busy this year since we’re running two projects at the same time. *screaming emoji wtf*
To give you a little background, my job is not just coming up with the concept or the design of the place. It’s everything involved in creating the space. Once Fatty and his team have signed an agreement with a landlord or developer, the entire thing is passed on to me.
My job is to:
- Deal with the landlord and building management to secure approvals before we start building
- Make sure our ID firm submits architectural and engineering plans for city council and BOMBA licenses and approvals
- Manage the given budget and make sure everything we want fits into it
- conceptualize the design theme for that particular space and come up with mood boards. That means I start pinning!!! I have lots of secret boards on Pinterest hahahaha.
- Review the designs presented by our ID. Revise until completely happy with it
- Make sure that all drawings are complete – mechanical & engineering, plumbing, elevations, 3D renders, etc
- Manage the timeline. I basically hassle everyone involved to make sure we finish the project on time. Each Colony’s renovation takes 2-3 months which usually amazes everyone
- Ensure the space is not only beautiful, but functional. This means also managing the IT (phones, internet) parts -which honestly I still suck at and have no idea what everything means and only have Nitaya to thank she seriously handles like 95% of it wtf; outfitting the kitchen if we have an in house cafe; installing CCTV ;and a security and access system
- Planning and choosing the furniture, flooring, textiles, art, and other decorative elements
My job is to basically hassle everybody to do things la wtf.
Up till now, I’ve completed three Colonies with the help of Hoe & Yin, our designer and architect. Colony 4 threw me a complete curve ball. From here on, Imma be very honest about the problems I face at work, the mistakes I made, and what I’ve learned.
I’m really bad at confronting problems that seem insurmountable to me
It’s also why I procrastinate so much wtf. So many followers think that I’m a god at balancing my shit. Lol please wtf. A terrible trait of mine is I tend to ignore a problem and hope it goes away, which obviously never works wtf.
Back in college it was so bad that whenever my bank statements arrive (and dealing with anything financial really scares me), I just tossed them in a drawer, unopened. O_O I never looked at them and this was the time before Internet banking ok. Ten years on, I thought I’d got this bad habit in hand but clearly I don’t.
I genuinely like our designers as friends… and I have trouble working with friends. When our design renders were delayed, instead of chewing someone’s butt out, I assented, in order not to create conflict. I was completely overwhelmed to be honest, by people who kept assuring me that everything would be ok. I wanted to believe it so I closed my eyes and convinced myself we would catch up later.
But when the design is delayed, it affects the costing, the drawings and overall timeline of course. We completed our costing late and then only realized that we couldn’t afford it. By then it was too late to revise without losing a lot of time or money.
Outdoor venues are really hard to pull off
For Colony 4, we secured the penthouse level of Star Boulevard, a gorgeous new building, that has a view of the Twin Towers. We also had the entire rooftop to do whatever we wanted with it. And our floor has double height ceilings.
The entire building is seriously good looking wtf. Double height ceilings, and floor to ceiling windows that let in tons of light. The rooftop was a dream too!
Before it turned into a nightmare wtf.
Colony 4 is our biggest project ever. Biggest floor area, biggest budget all. We get quite a lot of enquiries for bigger events that we can’t accomodate cos our event spaces are not big enough, so Fatty decided he wanted the rooftop to be a designated event space.
Our budget this time is a lot bigger than before so although I wasn’t completely sure, I went ahead with it. But here problems started mushrooming up. First, the rooftop was split level. Which meant that to create a decent event space that could potentially also cater for weddings, we had to level the roof. Which means we have to pour concrete to make the whole floor same level. Then we had to put in new flooring.
Then I started visiting outdoor wedding venues. I realized that nobody just had an outdoor space. With our unpredictable Malaysian weather, every outdoor venue also had a backup indoor space to escape to if it rained. So I explored the cost of getting a glass roof in, to keep away rain but still have a view of the city skyline. But glass roof cannot exist without walls ma wtf. So I have to build walls too, which essentially makes it a complete building in itself wtf. And building a structure like that is expensive! Then got structure already I need to install aircon and lighting or else everyone would suffocate inside. And IT access so everyone can IG stories. And we haven’t even started decorating the place and buying banquet furniture. All this not gonna pay for itself yo wtf.
There were other things too. Since the ceilings were double height, it basically meant we had to build everything up to double height too. Which means double the cost. T3T Since we had those double height ceilings, it seemed a waste not to build a mezzanine. Mezzanine means more structural work. Lastly, our design itself was just cost a lot to execute.
With everything included, the final came up to RM 2 million over budget. *screeching sound effect* *suffers heart attack*
It was bad wtf. Fatty was hounding me to slash costs, and Katrine and I were trying so hard to cut, but with what we wanted to do, there was no way we could fit it into the budget. Fatty was telling me I needed to penalize the designers and that we might need to scrap the whole project if we cannot cut it down to size. And if we did, we’d lose so much money cos we’d already begun work. T_______T
It was a dark day wtf. I had never been in this situation before and I realized that there were still so many things I don’t know. And I couldn’t see a way out of it. Cut my own salary ah wtf. I actually offered but Fatty said I siao wtf. Cos cut ten years also cannot cover lol.
Mansplaining is real
I would say partly cos of the digital and social media industries I’ve been immersed in are majority women, and partly cos I wasn’t woke wtf, but I’d never noticed “mansplaining” and its close cousin, “talking over women”, until I started working at Colony.
In contrast to advertising and marketing which is quite female dominated, construction is a man’s world. I’ve had contractors refuse to answer my questions because “she wouldn’t understand”, and building managers not look me in the eye, decline to shake my hand, but then become damn brother with Fatty. One manager even acted like I wasn’t there the whole time, until I asked him a direct question. Even then he replied without looking at me! I felt like tearing off his facial hair to be honest.
I’ve also had men brush me off with a supposedly reassuring, “don’t worry I’ll work it out with Tim” wtf as though my concerns don’t count, and I shouldn’t worry my pretty little head about it wtf.
Which helps me understand Katrine, our designer, a little more. I’ve heard stories about her being difficult and I’ve personally seen the way she rips into vendors lolol but it doesn’t seem like she has a choice. Maybe that’s what she has to do to get things done in this male dominated field. If I do this longer, I might be the same.
In the end, we managed to find a solution for the problem that’s even better than what we originally wanted. And we just have really amazing designers on board.
This is the design for our reception and concierge area! By 161 London.
And our lounge area. A pretty different style from what we’ve done so far. :))) What do you think guys?
So all’s well that ends well wtf. But Colony 4 wasn’t the only issue – I had some issues with Colony 5 too one week, and after I managed to fix them and keep on, Colony 4 started banging on my door fml. Hahaha it was one thing after another and we ain’t done yet wtf. That’s why I haven’t released any new blog post or video in two weeks. T_T
This blog post is really just to jot down what happened. And we’re off to Shanghai tomorrow!
This is a vlog post so you’ll see my vlog further down!
My birthday happened on a Sunday this year and when Fatty asked me what I wanted to do I was really stumped wtf. In the end I told him I wanna go for a massage and eat braised duck rice for my birthday LOLOL.
So that’s actually what we did. We tapau-ed braised duck rice and fish head curry (from kopitiams) and invited my family over to eat with the kids. Sieu Ee and Dawid came along too cos I think my Everything Buddy TM was worried I wouldn’t have a celebration this year hahahaha.
I spoke about this on my vlog but I’ll elaborate here a bit.
I think because it was my birthday, I woke up subconsciously wanting to have a chill day to focus on myself and just relaxing. Do my makeup leisurely in the morning, take some OOTD shots, read my Kindle, etc. Instead, I got two very clingy children, one of whom woke up on the wrong side of the bed or something, was defiant and had multiple tantrums throughout the day.
Fatty (bless him wtf) was doing his best to make sure I had a nice relaxing day but even then I was so fed up. And when I’m fed up I know cos I’ll spend more time on my phone than usual wtf. And I know you can actually see it in the video!
My stoned expressionless face and phone time is very obvious in this vlog I think. Even if we didn’t manage to catch much of the bickering, meltdowns, and disciplining, you can see it all through me hahaha.
I decided to post all this up (even though I look like a shit unenthusiastic mom) because I’m supposed to be an honest blogger ma hahaha. I’m keeping it real yo wtf. Everyone has shit days and social media is doing too good a job of hiding it.
So here. My day in which I felt like running away from the critters, which also happened to be my birthday lolol.
Every time I post pictures of my kids getting ready for bed, I’ll get DMs asking how I sleep trained them, followed by complaints that their own kids cannot go to sleep early.
To be honest, my first thought would be, why cannot? Most parents worry about their children’s diet – how much they’re eating and whether the food is healthy. But to me it’s equally important that kids get enough sleep, cos sleep fuels growth and development. And Fighter being so small for his age, I just want to make sure that he gets everything he needs in order to grow well. T____T
So yeah, my kids are in bed by 7 pm and usually asleep by latest 8 pm. I know some families have working parents who come home late and can only see their children at night. So I understand the need to keep the kids up a little longer so they can see mommy and daddy at the end of the day. I think in the end, all it boils down to is your family’s lifestyle and finding what works for you.
Since I get questions about the critters’ sleep all the time, I thought I’d do a sleep FAQ here for what we do.
what time do they sleep?
Ok so on weekdays, I’m quite strict with their bedtimes. Both of them have to wake up at 6.30 am for school (FTL) so by 6.30 pm they start getting ready for bed. Normally both are fast asleep before 8 pm.
what’s their sleep routine like?
From 6.30 pm, they start winding down! We wash up, change into pajamas and brush teeth. I read them both a bedtime story (picked by Penny) and then Fighter goes into his room to play a bit. I turn off the lights, turn on her night light while Penny arranges her stuffed toys in a specific way on her bed wtf. I give her a bottle of milk, she drinks it and usually falls asleep immediately. Sometimes she doesn’t right away, so I stay in the room with her until she does.
After Penny falls asleep, I go over to Fighter’s room. We read another book that he chooses himself, he tells me whatever he wants to say about his day, then he drinks his milk. He doesn’t fall asleep immediately so he brushes his teeth. Then I tuck him into bed, turn on night light, turn off lights, kiss him goodnight and leave the room. He goes to sleep on his own.
why so early?
They both wake up at 6.30 am on school days. On weekends they may sleep in until after 7 am but that’s about it hahaha. They also don’t nap anymore. On weekends and holidays though they usually sleep later, about 9 or more.
However, even before they started school they already slept early. Two reasons – we have a circadian clock and it’s healthier for small children and babies to sleep early; also sometimes I want to go for a dinner with just grown ups and it’s easier to put them to bed then I can go out and relax HAHAHA.
For a guide on age-appropriate bedtimes for children, you can see here.
when do you know to drop the nap?
When you notice that it is consistently difficult for them to nap at their usual time! Penny used to nap from 12-1 pm and then go to bed about 7 pm, but after a time, I noticed she’d struggle to sleep cos she just wasn’t sleepy. Her nap dragged on, and consequently, her wake up time would get later, and she ended up with a later bedtime.
When it gets harder for your kids to fall asleep for naps, it may be time to drop one nap. When it happened to Penny and she was already down to only one nap a day, I decided to just take it away. At first she’d get cranky about 5 something, and end up going to sleep at 6.30 pm. But that was ok with me too cos she’d sleep a good straight 12 hours at night.
I prefer that both her and Fighter don’t nap, so that when they sleep at night, they sleep longer. I notice that if they do nap, they end up going to bed much later, and the total hours of sleep they get is actually less.
my kid didn’t nap and he’s still sleeping at 11 pm!
I get this question a lot too. I don’t know your situation well enough, obviously, but I think there are a few questions to ask. Were they overexcited? Over tired? Kids are human, not robots. My kids don’t go to sleep at the exact same time every day, and neither do I wtf. If you stop their nap one day and they still sleep late, just keep trying. ^^ Sleeping late is a habit they have to break after all. As long as you stick to a consistent schedule for them, they should end up sleeping at the time you wish.
how do you get fighter to sleep on his own?
Actually I also just managed this the past few months wtf. Even though they have their own rooms, ever since they were babies, I’d either breastfeed them until they sleep, or sit in the room with them until they do. I never sleep trained them to sleep on their own. But they’re older now, and they don’t go to sleep immediately all the time. So end up I can stay in Fighter’s room for very long sometimes, and only get to eat dinner very late. This is not sustainable wtf.
So this is what I did. I asked Fighter why he wanted me to stay in the room with him, and he said cos he’s scared wtf. But he’s actually not cos when he wakes up at night, he gets a drink of water from a Thermos we keep in the room, and goes back to sleep on his own.
So I told him we can do it slowly. I usually sat on his bed while he fell asleep so every day I would move slightly further away. From the bed next to him, to the foot of the bed wtf. To an armchair in his room, then on the floor right next to his door wtf. Then I told him I would just be right outside his door, eating at our dining table, or in the living room, watching TV. I told him he could come out and check on me if he wanted but not too many times hahaha. And I’d go in and periodically check on him too. And it works! He pops his head out once or twice, but goes back in by himself and goes to sleep peacefully.
For Penny I don’t know if this would work wtf. Cos she’s way more stubborn and cannot reason wtf. But she’s still younger so I’ll give it time and try a different method if I have to.
any other useful tips?
- a consistent sleep routine is useful. For toddlers and small children who can’t tell time, going through the same routine every day (wash up, ready story, chat about the day etc) can be very calming and prepare them better for bed.
- decide what time you want them to sleep and stick to it. Don’t anyhow one day sleep at 9 pm, next day want to sleep at 7 pm. If you cannot sleep at erratic times, don’t expect your child to be able to.
- time their naps if they’re still napping. I did that with both kids. For example, if Penny always wakes up at 5 pm from her nap and only falls asleep at 10 pm, it means she probably only feels sleepy 5 hours after her last nap. So if I want her to sleep at say, 8 instead of 10, I make sure she doesn’t sleep anymore after 3 pm (5 hours before 8 pm).
- car naps are the worst wtf. I don’t know about you guys, but every time those two fall asleep in the car it wreaks havoc on their sleep. Cos they won’t sleep that long in the car, maybe max 15 minutes? But end up sleeping an hour later than bedtime it drives me mad wtf.
I realize writing this blog post that I may sound slightly anal about my children’s sleep and maybe I am hahahaha. It’s just that my kids, when sleep deprived, are very annoying hahaha. Cranky, grumpy and not fun to be around. Plus I don’t want their immune systems to be compromised by a lack of sleep la.
My methods may not work for everyone cos it really depends on your lifestyle and preferences. But hopefully some of my tips will help you if you’re looking to fix your child’s bedtime.
Leave me any other questions in the comments and I’ll try to answer!
OK this one I rush like sai to get it out before Chinese New Year actually ends wtf. Cos we got wish you happy CNY in the video ok so must make sure it’s still relevant lolol.
This Chinese New Year was pretty ok actually. I usually dread CNY – the rush, the preparation, the weather wtf, and the billion family obligations that make me feel like my time is not mine wtf.
But this year CNY was in the middle of the week and we got a longer break. We didn’t rush as much, we took a flight and avoided the horrific jam, and it was generally very chill with close family members.
Also, I’d planned to vlog for the New Year and my kids vlogged some for me! Hahahahaha. So watch this if only to see Fighter and Penny vlog LOL.