CLOSED: Busy Tables

It’s been 3 weeks since I’ve been with Elise 24/7. Being cooped up at home all day is mind-numbing. The purpose of being at home is to spend more time with her but it’s important to make sure that she gets to learn or experience something new each week. I’ve heard about Busy Tables from the October moms, who’ve brought their little ones there a few times before. I finally brought her there this week!

Located at Rochester Mall, it’s a 5 minute brisk walk or a 10 minute stroll from Buona Vista MRT. The layout of the mall makes it challenging for a directionally-challenged person like me so just take the lift up to the 3rd floor and you’ll find your way soon enough.

After Elise passed a simple temperature check, she was free to explore the place! Brightly lit and spacious, it’s a safe place for little children from 0 to 6 years old to roam around safely. Jeff, the owner of Busy Tables, told us that children of Elise’s age prefer to crawl around rather than sit down for activities due to their limited attention span.

It’s a pity because otherwise, she could try out Busy Cards, a set of mission cards with increasing levels and tiers for children to complete while utilising the resources there. If you have an older child, you can try it out with them!

Elise headed straight for the lightweight gigantic Lego-like plastic building blocks. It was part of the Construction Corner where there were little helmets for and building toys neatly separated into boxes for individual play.

The Reading Corner is well stocked with books for older children in the shelves for easy reach and interactive cloth books on top for the younger babies. There’re books from the Jellycat Soft Tails series, bilingual books and sound books.

The Tots Area had a house tent with two cushy armchairs for tots to relax. The playmats at this area were thicker to cushion falls for the toddlers. Along the wall, the shelves held toys suitable for babies 0 to 2. Surprisingly, the toys are still in great condition, which meant that previous users have been using them with care. There were toys from Fisher Price, V Tech and Leapfrog among other brands.

Beside the tent at the Sensory Area was a sand table filled with Bunchems. Apparently, the theme changes every few weeks. Elise spent a fair bit of time at this station, touching, prodding and scooping the balls into the bucket. This activity requires 100% adult supervision because I saw her munching on something and pried open her mouth to find a black Bunchem inside her mouth. -_- It also gets trapped in your hair, so please watch your kids at this station.

I was impressed by the thought and effort put into creating the Learning Resource Library. The library itself is divided into Lettering, Numeracy, Motor Skills and Problem Solving and arranged in terms of difficulty for children from ages 0 to 6! How thoughtful is that?! In each cubby hole are transclucent folders or boxes containing individual activities and ALL of them are neatly labelled!

I picked out a box from Motor Skills for kids aged 0 to 2. This set was a Vegetable Cutting Set where the parts were joined by magnets which had to be “cut” using a wooden knife. Elise decided to just pull them apart by brute force instead.

The Dark Room is a room with black walls and lightboxes. The lightboxes and plastic shapes allow children to learn about colour mixing and different shapes. There were also translucent stones which Elise decided to pop into her mouth as well… 🙁

 

 

 

Near the entrance are toys and activities which you can purchase home for your child. They have unpainted wooden toys which you can doodle on too.

Here’s the pricing for Busy Tables:

Busy Tables also offers a drop-off session where they keep your child entertained and educated for 1 to 3 hours and playgroup lessons! If only they had a centre near my place…

In summary, I would say that it is a place where a lot of thought is put into encouraging learning through play for children and is worth at least a visit there.

I saw this banner near the entrance. My Messy Box is a monthly subscription box which encourages messy play. Messy play allows children to develop their senses as they touch different textures and forms.

Busy Tables

35 Rochester Drive
Rochester Mall
#03-22
Singapore 138639

** GIVEAWAY **

Busy Tables has very kindly sponsored 5 passes to interested readers!
To take part in this giveaway, follow the steps below!

1. Like Busy Tables‘s Facebook Page
2. Like Bibimbubs‘s Facebook Page
3. Share this Facebook post (please set to ‘Public’ I can track your entry!)
4. Tag 3 mummy friends and leave a comment on the post telling me which corner appeals to you the most!

This giveaway ends 7th January 2017 🙂

** No monetary compensation was received for this review. 

The Results

What a difference a day makes. This photo was taken a day before we received the lab results from the hospital. I brought Elise downstairs for a walk around our neighbourhood. She has just began to walk unassisted and still very much prefers us to hold her hand.

“You come here, momma”

On Friday, we went to NUH to collect our lab results. Dr Ganga wasn’t in so we met Dr May who told us that the lab results were in and that there’s no evidence of remaining cancer which requires systemic chemotherapy. This is excellent news because it means that Elise doesn’t need to be hooked up to a machine to receive a 6 dose toxic cocktail which may cause long-term effects. We sort of knew already, because if the lab results showed a negative result, the doctor would have called us in much earlier to start treatment because cancer waits for no man.

I’m feeling a little incredulous. What are the odds that both Elise and I developed extremely rare cancers with an extremely high survival rate which only required surgery to cure? Both our cancers were contained and easily removed. I was advised to do systemic chemotherapy with a 30% possible relapse rate but I didn’t and it has been more than 5 years since my surgery.

When I had surgery, my surgeon passed me photos of the tumours. I briefly wondered where the photos were for Elise’s tumour then realised that it’s better that I not look at a photograph of my baby’s gouged out eyeball. 🙁

Would it be alright to say that both of us are lucky and got off relatively unscathed? I have a battle scar which resembles a C-section scar but my ovaries were saved and I conceived Elise. Elise lost an eye but she is already considered fortunate; children have lost their lives to Retinoblastoma. Elise will require constant check-ups to see if the cancer reoccurs in her good eye or elsewhere (oh my god, choy, touch all sorts of wood) but otherwise, she’s a-okay for now.

The nurse at Dr Ganga’s clinic has a daughter who got her prosthetic eye done at NUH and she explained the procedure to me. It sounds FREAKING painful. She says something will be injected into Elise’s remaining eye in order to create a mould for her prostheses. I’d better ask Dr Ganga what the exact procedure is like. Poor baby. ㅠ_ㅠ

The moment I received the news, I told the October moms and they were so so so happy. Some of us brought our babies for an impromptu play date at Gardens by the Bay. I packed sunglasses and dressed her in overalls because I thought it would be sweltering. The Flower Dome was entirely air conditioned and protected from the harsh elements. It’s basically like being in a ginormous terrarium.

The Christmas Wonderland theme is up. My eyes were on Elise so I couldn’t fully appreciate the environment. Actually, neither of us 5 mummies managed to do so because we were all chasing our bubs everywhere. Getting them to take a photo together was a test of skills. They sat still for a grand total of 2 seconds before crawling or walking away.

Elise walks with her hands up to balance herself. If she is distracted, she can walk many steps unassisted but when she is fully aware, she whines for me to pick her up and waddles like a robot.

It’s not that visible from this photograph, but her right eye has been fitted with a conformer. It has a black circle in the middle so if you stare carefully, it looks like she has a red eye. It’s actually her eye muscle behind the conformer. It does look obvious but works well as a temporary fit. Dr Ganga specially put in this conformer rather than the standard transparent conformer in. This way, we can all look at her in the face without having our hearts stabbed with pain each time.

“What’s that?”

The babies were fascinated with this kaleidoscope feature.

“OH NOOOOOOO!!!!!!! FIRE!!!!!!! RUN AWAY!!!!!!!!!!”

Noah noticed that Elise was more comfortable crawling around, so being a little gentleman, he dropped down and crawled around with her. Yes, we let our babies crawl on the dirty tiles and all we did after that was clean their hands and knees with wet wipes.

The current fascination of our 13/14 month olds: Wet wipes, tissue paper and cleaning surfaces.

“You have to reach your hand all the way to get to the dirty spots”

The past month has been traumatising for Elise. She’s blessed to have a bunch of friends who genuinely care about her health and well-being! 🙂 Buddies since womb service.

Realisations about Life with a Toddler

Elise is 13 months now and has graduated from being a baby to a toddler. She’s more assertive, mischievous, tries to push boundaries (because she doesn’t know what the boundaries are) and vocal. There’s a stark difference between parenting a baby and a toddler. It’s the next stage of our video game. I’ve come up with some realisations about this stage.

  1. Co-sleeping with a toddler = Toddler Taekwondo
    We have been co-sleeping with Elise ever since she was an infant. She sleeps in between us on a king-sized bed. For someone that little, she takes up way too much space. She does a 360 degree rotation and wriggles around to find her perfect spot. I’d be sleeping when I get whacked on the face with her arm. I’ve also woken up in the middle of the night to find her sleeping precariously at the edge of the bed where our feet are. We’re going to get a new mattress so we can kick her out of our bed and reclaim it.

    Pros:
    – Knowing your baby is right beside you
    – Being able to comfort her without having to get out of bed

  2. Cons:
    – Decreased sleep quality for everyone
    Dead bedroom
  3. Peaceful Toilet Time? Not happening anymore

    Elise has a new habit where she goes right up to the toilet door, repeatedly slams on it and yells at you to finish your business until you come out. Toddlers have no concept of privacy. This kid is determined.
  4. There are only very few baby items which are essential

    I went on overdrive when I was pregnant and by the time Elise was born, I had close to everything, plus a few toys which she will take a few years to grow into (wooden kitchen set, anyone?). It’s only when the first year is over that you realise what is necessary and what is rather useless.It’s also why when it comes to the subsequent kids, we only purchase the bare necessities (clothes, toiletries, bottles).

  5. Toddler Discipline should start early

    Elise had her first post-op playdate with her October buddies a few days ago. Elise kept touching Hana’s head and attempted to bite her, K wanted to play with Matty’s ride on scooter and Matty had to deal with sharing all his toys with his friends. They’re at the age where they haven’t completely grasped the concept of sharing yet, so we kept having to break up petty fights.
    Our babies were born into our world without knowing social norms and rules. That’s why we cannot expect toddlers to behave in-line with our cultures and guidelines. Instead, we need to guide them into finding proper ways to express themselves while being nice to others.

     As parents, we need to take charge of discipline at home rather than push the responsibility to others. We cannot expect schools, grandparents, nannies or domestic helpers to discipline our kids for us. The last thing I want is for Elise to grow up to become a self-entitled, arrogant brat.Discipline does not need to be terrifying for the child. “Don’t scold her, she’s still young” is NOT an excuse to back down on discipline for young toddlers. Every incident can be a teaching opportunity. I need to work on my tone though, because my dad says I don’t sound scary enough when I tell Elise”no”.

  6. Toddlers have an immense capability for learning

    Now that I’m no longer required to be present in the office daily, my role has switched from a FTWM to a WFHM. It appears to be a luxury, but all I can say is that each role comes with its own responsibilities and challenges. It’s my third week of spending 24/7 with Elise, and she surprises me at how fast she learns.After seeing her friends walk unassisted at the play date, she has started walking unassisted for more steps with confidence. Yesterday, she took her longest unassisted stride from the bedroom to the living room and when she realised that she did it, she had the biggest grin on her face.
    Just this morning, I realised there was a missing ball from her toy and questioned her “Where’s the ball?”. She crawled to a short drawer and peered below it. Sure enough, the missing ball was right under, out of her reach. She has better memory than me. She is fascinated by books and can be entertained for hours with the same few lift-the-flap books. My dad uses this to introduce new vocabulary to her.

    While she still speaks in her own language, she understands most instructions.Now is the best time to bring her out more so she can explore her interests, develop new abilities and learn through play before she begins formal education (10 years of hitting the books. I wonder if there’s a way out of typical Singapore education).I could plonk her in front of the television or entertain her with a tablet full of childrens’ programmes but doesn’t maximise her capabilities. I want to do more.Whoever said having a kid was easy?