Go away, COVID-19, nobody likes you

This photo was taken in May 2018 in a sauna. My mother-in-law had been avoiding bathhouses because she had mastectomy done as cancer treatment. In Korea, appearances are important and physical “flaws” can cause major embarrassment. I somehow managed to persuade her by saying that everyone will be focusing on themselves rather than people-watching in the bathhouse.

In the end, the bathhouse turned out to be more terrifying for me than for her. Emmett was a tiny bubba 8 months young, and there were only a few pools with a suitable temperature for him (~37°C). I’m not sure if you’ve encountered Korean ajummas, but their level of entitlement is next level. A bunch of ajummas waded over and wrangled Emmett out of my arms because he was “so cute” and they all wanted to hold him. Years of studying the language and culture of Korea did not prepare me for this.

“So cute”

Two years should be enough to recover from that traumatic experience (kidding, we busted our budget on Japan last year) and so we booked tickets to Korea and Jeju for late April through May. That timing is perfect because it overlaps two Public Holidays here and the Golden Week in Korea. Taking long leave in Korea is unheard of and it was the perfect time for my BIL and SIL to hang out as well. ⁣ ⁣

From the way things are going, I doubt the dust will settle in time for us to visit. We’ve since cancelled the Jeju trip. ⁣
I’ve put in a refund request for our other flight too because nobody can come out alive after 14 days indoors with two kids. Maybe they’ll survive physically, but they’ll be dead inside. 😭

Right now, the only thing that needs to die is C19. Someone once told me that certain gods are mercenary gods – you give them offerings in exchange for things that you want. That’s an idea.

The night I slapped Elise on the cheek

Elise has been extremely trying. I’ve read that this is the time preschoolers start acting up and pushing boundaries. She’s been terribly “defiant”, “aggressive”, “rude” and “ill-behaved”, as adults would put it. I’ve been telling her to use her words to communicate her intention to the other party, but it falls on deaf ears. Monster Elise doesn’t show up all the time, but when she does, it’s as if she’s the Devil Incarnate.

The object of contention yesterday was an innocent laundry basket with a ladybug design that Elise upturned and wore over her head. Emmett wanted to have a turn and instead of using her words, she used her hands to signal her dissatisfaction. Picture two neighbourhood strays fighting. That’s similar to how the two fought, except their fingernails aren’t as sharp as claws.

I intervened, because it was a long day and I didn’t want to rush either or two kids to the emergency room in my pajamas. Removing the laundry basket and keeping it high up, I chided the both of them that if they didn’t know how to take turns, then nobody could play.

I dragged both of them to the bathroom and Elise was not having any of it. Unleashing all the pain techniques in her limited repertoire, she pinched, scratched, attempted to bite and even spat at me. My immediate reaction was to brandish a prompt smack on her cheek. Neither respectful nor classy and frowned upon in the entire Western parenting world.

More tears and yelling.

The second step involved Words of Hurt, where she threw out lines like “I don’t like friends. I don’t need friends. I don’t like you. I’ll beat you and then you’ll die. I don’t like Emmett!”.

These words don’t reach deep into my heart because 1. I know she doesn’t actually mean it and 2. I am stone cold inside. =| Restraining her arms by her side, I explained that she has to use her words to communicate her intentions and that if she uses violence, the other party will likely react violently. That’s why I don’t fancy corporal punishment as a method to correct “misbehavior”, even with explanations before and after. There’s just no logical reason to explain why they aren’t allowed to hit other people who misbehave.

The thing about young children is that they rarely bear grudges. She was laughing over a joke with Emmett soon after I released her from my long lecture.

A book that I’m currently reading at a snail’s pace talks about reframing the idea of discipline and focusing on the connection with the child rather than piling on consequences and negative reinforcements. That’s not to say that the children turn out to be spoiled brats.

Rather, it’s to learn how to consistently set limits and address the root cause that’s causing the behaviour (e.g. attention-seeking, over-tiredness etc.) instead of reacting to the “symptom” (e.g. throwing tantrums, slapping, hitting etc.). Respectful parenting is not permissive parenting. My style of parenting is far from respectful, and there’s a steep learning curve. Lots to learn.

Tonight, Elise cried herself to sleep over an ice-cream that she didn’t get to eat. Oh, to be a child, where not getting an ice-cream is that devastating.

Review: Wen’s Whitebait Powder

About

Though newly set up in March 2018, Su Wen, the founder of Wen’s Whitebait Powder, is no stranger to the industry. Her family has been importing seafood from their family-owned fisheries into Singapore since the 1960s. Wen’s Whitebait Powder is a combination of her experience dealing with fisheries and the aim to provide a healthy and convenient fish supplement for busy parents. 

Wen’s Whitebait Powder specialises in whitebait powder, which is ground whitebait that can used to supplement our daily nutritional requirements. Its newly launched product is the Crunchy Whitebait, a healthy snack that’s baked and unsalted. 

Quick Facts

  • Wen’s is the only food powder company that has control over its source as it harvests whitebait from Wen’s family-owned fisheries in Senayang, Riau Islands in Indonesia
  • Only one ingredient – whitebait. As Wen’s has no added seasoning or preservatives, it can be safely added into food for babies 6 months and up
  • Whitebait is not ikan bilis – whitebait is fish fry that can be eaten whole (Wen’s uses herring) and ikan bilis are anchovies which must be gutted before consumption
  • Wen’s is processed and packed at its SFA-certified food factory 
  • “Fresh” whitebait sold in the local wet markets with a whitish appearance actually contain a lot of sodium due to the preservation process of salting, drying and freezing. At Wen’s, salting and de-salting is done within hours to maintain maximum freshness.
  • Fresh guarantee – made fresh with whitebait imported weekly

Process

Wen’s has documented the journey from fishery-to-fork in a video for everyone to have a clearer understanding of what a pack of whitebait powder exactly contains. There is only one ingredient listed on the packaging – whitebait. 

Harvesting, salting & drying
– Catch is harvested from a kelong in the open waters 
– Catch is cooked in salted water for 3 minutes and left to dry. Small fishes must be salted to maintain freshness. 
– Fishes are sent to nearby Senayang to be sun-dried for half a day
– Whitebait is carefully separated from the other fishes by hand
– Whitebait is desalted by rinsing several times with warm water and a secret technique
– Rinsed whitebait is sun-dried for a day

Further processing
– Exported into Singapore for further processing at its SFA-certified food factory 
– Whitebait is baked for a few minutes 
– Ground, sieved and packed into tamper-proof packaging

Nutritional Value

The nutrition facts displayed by Wen’s Whitebait Powder have been tested and proven by a Singapore Accreditation Council approved laboratory. 

  • More DHA and essential minerals than formula milk 
    Wen’s Whitebait Powder has been tested to contain more DHA (2010mg vs 30mg/100g), calcium (1590mg vs 620mg/100g), magnesium (282mg vs 43mg/100g) and phosphorus (1400mg vs 390mg/100g) than X brand formula milk.
  • High in calcium
    Just one 2g serving fulfils 12% of the daily calcium requirements (260mg) of a 6-12 month old baby 
  • Contains essential minerals 
    Potassium – keeps muscles working right, keeps heartbeat regular
    Phosphorus – filters waste, repairs tissue and cells
    Fun fact: Phosphorus from animal origins are more easily absorbed by the body than phosphorus from plant origins
    Magnesium keeps muscles, bones and nerves healthy
    Zinc – regulates immune system
  • Low in sodium
    In every 2g serving, Wen’s Whitebait Powder has a negligible 0.007mg of sodium compared to a well-known ikan bilis seasoning powder sold commercially that contains a staggering 305mg of sodium! 
knorr ikan bilis

Texture, taste and Smell

Wen’s Whitebait Powder is marketed as a fish supplement especially suitable for babies older than six months old as well as pregnant women. It can be added to the meals of people who require soft diets to boost their calcium intake.

Appearance: Fine, sand-coloured powder
Taste: Not salty. No lingering after-taste. It may taste bland because adults have duller taste buds. Babies have extremely sensitive taste buds, therefore they do not require added salt, sugar or soy sauce in their meals. 
Smell: Light smell of the sea

Usage and Recommended Amount

Wen’s Whitebait Powder can be sprinkled on top of cooked food, mixed into soups or included into marinades. The simplest way is to add it to porridge or into fried rice. 

You can easily increase the nutritional content of the meals by adding a serving of Wen’s Whitebait Powder. There is a small wooden spoon provided for you to easily measure out one serving. 

The risk of over-consumption is low, as the limit is 80 grams (2g*40 scoops) of powder.

Commitment to Quality

Wen’s is committed to providing the best quality, and it’s not purely a marketing phrase that’s thrown around. 

They sent out samples of a mushroom powder which received favourable feedback but they decided against launching the product, simply because they have decided to focus on improving on the quality of their fishery and improve control on the source. 

Where to Purchase

Wen’s Whitebait Powder can be purchased directly from their online store, baby fairs that they participate in and in-store retailers in Singapore

Disclaimer

This is a paid collaboration with Wen’s Whitebait Powder. As such, care and caution has been taken to provide only factual information.