Babying the Toddler

Not having a helper means that there is always laundry to be hung, folded or kept, dishes to be washed, floors to be mopped, babies to be fed and changed… the list never ends before it repeats itself. Some friends say they choose to work as a form of escape from their children. By staying home all day, I’m slowly propelling down the dark abyss of auntie-hood. I already use a giant claw clip for my hair and use a large reusable bag for shopping nearby. I haven’t ventured into wet markets yet – my mother used to bring me along to her marketing trips at the wet market and I hated how the place looked and smelled. I still patronise trusty NTUC for basic groceries and reduced-to-clear (half-price!) packaged red meat and vine tomatoes from Cold Storage when I feel slightly richer. It gives me a kick when I can prepare steak for less than $10 at home! 

#DayInALife of a work-from-home mom. 

I did something risky a few Saturdays ago when I was the only adult left at home with the two kids – I brought them out! Alone! My dad warned against it, but did I listen? I bundled both kids up and headed straight to the nearest mall… where the peak dinner crowd meant I had to wait for a table even at the least crowded restaurant. We got our table, I managed to finish my entire meal AND this cute photo of the babies! As a bonus, we even took a ZooMoov ride! I actually wanted to go sing after ZooMoov but that’s another adventure for another day.

This is how exciting my life has become. Success is not measured by sales figures or hitting KPIs but by how early both kids go to bed and stay asleep, whether the laundry is done and whether people buy stuff off my Carousell account. -_- 

A year has gone by since Elise had her eye removed due to retinoblastoma. Elise has been undergoing regular eye examinations once every few months, most times under IV sedation.
We were strongly advised by the geneticist to undergo genetic testing to determine the retinoblastoma risk for Elise and Emmett which stressed me out quite a bit since it cost close to $6,000  and was not eligible for subsidy nor was it claimable by insurance. If we didn’t do the test, both kids would be placed under high risk and Emmett would have to get his eyes checked as frequently as Elise does. 

I was undecided but when he went for his eye examination at about a month old and the nurses swaddled him to clamp his eyes open for the doctor, he screamed his lungs out in fear for the entire procedure. It was as if he was a little piglet getting slaughtered. After that day, I told the geneticist to proceed with the test for a chance that didi could be spared. The results came out and he is not at risk for retinoblastoma at all. Elise developed the tumour sporadically when she was still a fetus in the womb. 🙁 

A while after the recent eye examination to detect for new tumours, I received this email from the doctor that said “I took a picture of Elise’s socket after removing her prosthesis on Monday and sent it to Dr Ganga. He would like to see her in clinic. Would next week be ok for you?”. Alarm bells went off in my head because we don’t see the surgeon on a regular basis unless stuff goes wrong.  Anyhow, we went to the hospital last week not being able to do anything and spent the entire afternoon today trying to sedate her unsuccessfully for the procedure because she refused to swallow even a bit of the medicine. She fell asleep and I tried to remove her prosthetic eye – it took 3 people to do so. A nurse held onto her body, I held open her eyelids and another doctor suctioned the eye out. After that, it was as if she got energised and refused to fall back to sleep. Dr Ganga had wanted to sedate her so she wouldn’t “be traumatised” during the procedure, but it didn’t seem like she was going down. Eventually, I decided that I didn’t want to make another trip down and I was confident that it wouldn’t be that bad so I decided to go ahead with it. It took 3 grown adults to pin her down for the surgeon to do a check that lasted all of 5 seconds -_-||| 

Trying to latch her back to sleep. She’s without her prosthetic eye in this photo.

Dr Ganga says she has to do another operation because she has orbital implant exposure. She has to do a scleral patch graft to mend it as this is not something that will close up on its own without surgical intervention. I’m quite bummed about it because tissue is needed to cover the implant and it has to come from either a cadaver or from Elise‘s back or thigh. Dr Ganga cannot say for sure whether he needs to graft skin from Elise’s back until he removes the implant to check in the OT. 🙁

He also says that such a case happened years ago to blind parents whose daughter had BILATERAL retinoblastoma and they weren’t able to remove the prosthetic eye for frequent cleaning. How can I feel mopey when there’re so many other people in worse situations than us? In our case, we rarely remove her fake eye because it takes 3 grown adults to hold her down and also because I’m still not used to seeing her without her eye. I’ll get used to it soon…

Her father tried to tell her which colours to use but I don’t. At such a tender age, building up her confidence is more important than ensuring she colours within the lines or whether Pororo is blue or green. She takes colouring very seriously and in turn, I take pride in her doodling. 

I dislike the term “Terrible Twos”. It’s only terrible when parents don’t put in the effort to research and read up on child psychology and understand the underlying causes for “misbehaviour”. More often than not, they resort to time-outs, shouting and smacking their kids to shut them up. By doing so, they’ve missed an opportunity to connect with their child and transform such scenarios into happy encounters. Life is fleeting and I want to create more happy memories with my children WHILE ensuring that they don’t grow up to become spoilt brats. Is it possible? Absolutely. The next time you get angry at your toddler, please think of the mothers whose toddlers are in critical condition and may not make it back home and THINK if there is another way to discipline your toddler WITHOUT resorting to aggression. 



CLOSED: Sandy Dandy – Fun in the Sand

*UPDATED 22/4/2017*

We revisited Sandy Dandy yesterday with a new Korean friend I made. It has changed significantly since our last visit. The wooden caravan is the newest addition and some toys have been shifted in. The entrance is a bit too high for younger toddlers like Elise and she had to plonk the top half of her body on the floor before wriggling up. A step would help smaller kids get up and down easier.

The shelves have been decorated with items from All Things Felt (which are also for sale). The colourful felt ornaments add more vibrancy to the place. Handcrafted by underprivileged Nepalese women, every product you buy empowers them to continue creating crafts to support their families. There’re name banners (pre-order only), pen toppers, cot mobiles, bags and even rugs.

Elise with her oppa. He’s a well-mannered and slightly shy boy who took good care of Elise when they were playing together even though Elise couldn’t really reply to his questions. The see-saw is a new addition as well as it wasn’t there when we last visited.

In the sandpit. It was a Friday and the area was packed. Jennie says that it’s best to come on Wednesdays and Thursdays to avoid the crowd. In spite of the limited space, the kids found their own corner and did their own things. Other than another Korean boy who tried to snatch a toy from Elise, we didn’t notice any kid fighting or bad behaviour like pushing or taunting.

We spent about 3 hours there from 3pm to 6pm. The menu has been updated to include main dishes like chicken lasagne in addition to hot snacks (chicken nuggets, fries, wings, chicken sausages) which are all air-fried or microwaved.

Most parents left around 5pm, leaving the sandpit empty for us to enjoy. I’m glad they liked the place. You know how it’s like when you feel responsible for suggesting a venue to ensure a fun date? I had nothing to worry about because when we were walking out of the place, YJ (the little boy) kept telling his mother over and over that he wanted to go back to play. Overall, it’s a great place for some peace and quiet as you can sip on coffee or do your work whilst keeping an eye on your kid in the sandpit through the full length glass windows.

*ORIGINAL POST 7/4/2017*
Elise finally met up with her buddies Matty and Hana after a very long while. This time, they explored a newly opened indoor sand playground! 🙂 After a challenging lunch with the toddlers, we walked over to the Forum. Like most indoor playgrounds, there are temperature checks conducted upon arrival. We each received a guest card which was meant to record our purchases at the cafe so we only needed to pay all charges upon exit.

A mini play area with various toys for the kids to entertain themselves with. The toddlers spent a lot of time here before even venturing into the sandpit! I spoke with Jennie, the owner of Sand Dandy about how the idea was formed. She wanted a safe space with actual sand for children to play in. As a mother of two young children herself, she put extra thought into the design of the area, ensuring that it was safe enough. Most of the items are customised as she wanted the edges to be rounder to protect the children.

The empty shelves on the side will eventually be stocked with handmade felt toys crafted by disadvantaged women. Jennie was approached by various baby product distributors but chose to showcase something less generic yet suitable for children instead.
Ample seating space with benches and tables. The space is open for event bookings as well, so you can consider holding your kid’s birthday or full month over here.
Spot the bouncy castle at the back of the cafe? Elise wailed the moment she saw it so no go. We did spot a few other children using it though!  The cafe stocks a wide variety of desserts like cake pops, push pop cakes, jelly cakes and pies in addition to hot snacks which are only either air-fried or microwaved. They order their supplies from a local baker and currently do not make desserts in store.

A jelly cake, icing cookie and Pokemon chocolate cupcake. The cupcake was a bit too dry and crumbly for my liking but the jelly cup suited my tastebuds.
There’s no attached bathroom, but there’s a baby room for diaper changes with an armchair for nursing in privacy. I felt this was quite a thoughtful idea because not all indoor playgrounds have such a facility. It’s still quite bare and work-in-progress at the moment, but Jennie is doing most of the work herself! It’s a commendable effort.
Our kids, still stuck at the kiddy play area.

This Grow’n’up slide is about the same height as the one we have at home but is steeper so the kids swoosh down fast! I wish I got this instead of my boring slow slide. Thankfully, the kids mostly played by themselves and we only had to break up one fight between Matty and Elise at the end.

The highlight of Sandy Dandy – the sand pit! The wooden boat and lifeguard post with slide is also custom-made so you won’t find it elsewhere. Occupying an entire shop unit of space, the sand pit contains play sand from Mothercare and near the front, kinetic sand. The sand is sooooooooooooooooooooo soft, it’s like being at the beach except you’re likelier to touch a sand toy instead of a used cigarette butt or plastic bag. No bugs over here too!
It was a therapeutic experience for me. We’ve been to playgrounds which use cassia seeds in place of sand and while those weren’t too bad as well, nothing beats an actual sandpit. I used to make sand cakes at the playground with sticks for candles as a kid. Except now with kinetic sand, you can make your cake and CUT IT! The front part near the entrance is packed with kinetic sand and the play sand fills the rest of the pit, so it’s not exactly a mixture.
Sand is flipped every 3 days and 100kg of new sand is added monthly as part of maintenance. If your kid soils the sand, take note that you’ll have to pay for sand replacement! The sand toys are santised daily too.
Her thoughtfulness extends to the quality of sand toys used in the play area. Most of the toys are made in Germany at a higher cost than usual and while she did buy some from Taobao, she refused to use those which did not pass her mom-standards. No flimsy plasticky toys over here!
Sandy Dandy provides little jumpsuits to prevent sand from getting into clothes and diapers. There is no extra cost to use the jumpsuits and it is not compulsory to wear them either; it’s up to you! We put the jumpsuits on for them and led them in. The jumpsuits did keep a lot of sand out from their clothes! There are also brushes at the entrance to brush your feet with.
“Momma can we go in already -_-“
Our little minions treading the sand.
Matty, having had his confidence boosted by all his MyGym lessons, clambered up the steps all by himself! On a big-kid slide!
Go Matty!!!
I’ve brought Elise to the beach a few times, but haven’t sat her down on the sand proper so this was her first time. She seemed to like it and used the tiniest shovel ever to fill up her mold. Yes, she ate sand as well. *shrugs* It’ll all come out I guess. 肮脏吃,肮脏大. The last I read, sand has anti-bacterial qualities… Sand play is a great sensory experience for young children. Instead of hard ground, they get to feel the softness of sand beneath their feet.
It was a great play date and new experience for the kids.  There is unlimited playtime on weekdays and it only costs $15.50 (kids below 24m) to let the kids use the facilities for the entire day. :O On weekends, playtime is limited to 2 hours. I see myself bringing Elise back again. I loved sitting in the sand and it was total heaven when the kids were captivated enough to play by themselves without bugging us. Best.


Sandy Dandy is giving away prizes of 5 play passes and 5 1-free-hour passes for weekend play to a total of 10 readers!

From now till 2nd May, just:

1. Like Bibimbubs & Sandy Dandy on Facebook and Instagram @bibimbubsblog, @sandydandysg

2. Like & Share this Facebook post (set to “Public), tag any parent(s) who may be interested 🙂

Sandy Dandy

583 Orchard Road
#02-33 Forum The Shopping Mall
Singapore 238884 

Highlights info row image +65 6734 6806

Highlights info row image Weekdays 10:00 – 19:00, Weekends 10:00 – 20:00

** Not a paid review. We all paid full price for the play session. All opinions are of my own.