Tuesday, 31 May 2016

A big step towards Inclusion, beginning with our young

Last month, Lien Foundation commissioned a study to find out if parents support the idea of inclusive education.

The findings showed that although 71% supported the idea of inclusive education and 69% believed in the benefits of inclusive education, only 53% said they are comfortable with their child being classmates with someone with special needs.

And interestingly, just 1 in 10 said they felt certain how to interact with children with special needs.
Photo credit: Straits Times online
Kate had a special needs child in her class when she was 2. Their class size was really small with 2 teachers to 6 students.

Her teacher was relating to me that initially, when Kate saw the boy slowly inching his way to get to a book, toy or work, she would move faster than him and get it before he did.

She would give a smug look like, "Beat you to it!"

For Kate, being the youngest of 6, that was an achievement because she always lost out to her older siblings.

Instead if chiding Kate, her teacher gently explained that her classmate is physically weaker than she is and she should be thankful for what she has, and in turn be more understanding and help him whenever she can.

The teacher was proud to say that once that was explained to her, Kate understood and never rushed for the same toy henceforth.

When they sit at the reading corner together and he gradually leans and falls onto her shoulder, she will not push him away but tries to accommodate him. She became protective of him, like a big sister.

Young children are naturally non-judgemental, compassionate and altruistic yet it needs to be nurtured.

Unfortunately at times, the adults display negative modelling out of ignorance. Only when there is understanding, can there be acceptance and inclusion.

I remember one of the first activities we had to do as occupational therapy undergrads was to sit in a wheelchair and navigate the huge and bumpy campus.

It put us in the shoes of those who are wheel-chair bound, and we were the ones who had to face the subtle looks from our peers. From that experience, we began to gain an awareness of the challenges that faced them.

It is indeed wonderful that Lien Foundation will be developing the first inclusive preschool in Singapore, together with the Asian Women's Welfare Association, and that it is already over-subscribed. I was excited to read from their press release that:

There will also be a fascinating playground with an elevated tree-house that is fully accessible by wheelchair, and a sensory garden for water and sand play which will be open to the public after school hours and during school holidays.

The preschool will be one of the iconic developments within the Integrated Community Space at Redhill. It will not only serve the special needs community, but also children and families living in the vicinity. We are creating opportunities for our children to experience for themselves and learn from young that we can build an inclusive society where we appreciate each other's abilities.

It is human nature to shun that which we can't comprehend.

For when we are able to see that we are not the same but the same, to love, regardless, our society will be a better place for all.

Kate has been privileged to have the opportunity to have her eyes and heart opened.

~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Friday, 27 May 2016

Brand New Grand Copthorne Waterfront - Integrated Dining Destination

We had the privilege of being invited to the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel's media event and were the first to get a sneak peek of their fabulous new space.

After a $17 million makeover which started in November 2015, the hotel is set to wow its guest with a spanking new lobby and a brand new integrated dining destination.

The vibrant and eclectic concept which embodies the best of the East and West is a feast for the senses. Oriental and Western elements are reflected through the decor, lighting, furniture and choice art pieces.
Photo credit: Grand Copthorne
The lobby area comprises four new F&B outlets including Food CapitalGrissiniTempo, and Secret Chat.

Food Capital, an all-day dining buffet restaurant is set to open its doors to the public on 2 June 2016. We had a taste of what would be offered from their interactive open kitchens and were impressed.

The kaleidoscope of tastes, wide range of cuisines and exquisite presentations made for a gastronomical dining experience.
Roasted lamb loin
Shrimp with marinated feta
Assortment of sushi
Gorgeous desserts
There was a spectacular International spread of seafood, western, Asian and Indian delights to cater to the different tastebuds of both the adults and children.

The kids were drawn to the live pasta station, sushi counter, cold-cuts corner and freshly fried tempura station, gleefully helping themselves to numerous portions.

When it came to the desserts and sweets, they were over the moon. Every morsel was elaborately crafted and some looked too pretty to be eaten.

Add to that the dazzling ambience and great music spun by the resident deejay, everyone was in a terrific mood to enjoy the rest of the evening.

Not only were the teens delighted at the Instagram-worthy buffet spread, they disappeared for a while taking selfies around the lobby.
Grand Copthorne Integrated Dining
The colourful decor and spaciousness of the restaurant easily makes this a family-friendly dining option. Kate was having such a swell time that she broke into a dance upon hearing a poplar track.
Grand Copthorne Waterfront Buffet
Photo Credit: Grand Copthorne
Situated in the centre of the spacious lobby is Tempo, a dynamic bar with a mixologist crafting adventurous concoctions such as #LOCOTEMPO 61, deconstructed chendol with pandan infused rum. Tempo will be launched on 2 June, along with Food Capital.

The young ones were not forgotten and had their share of non-alcoholic drinks in cool-looking water bottles to keep them happy.

Photo credit: Grand Copthorne
On the other side of the lobby stands Grissini, a contemporary Southern Italian restaurant focusing on premium meats and seafood along with a twist on classic favourites.

Guests can look forward to their Antipasti Bar, Premium Meats & Seafood, Wood-fired Oven Pizzas and fine wines following their launch on 11 June 2016.
Grissini Bar seating
Secret Chat, a patisserie for special moments, will be unveiled in the third quarter of the year.

We had a truly unforgettable evening and each time I mention that we are going out for dinner, Kate asks ever so hopefully, "Is it to that nice hotel?"


Read our review of their excellent and kid-friendly Borderless Sunday Brunch.


Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
392 Havelock Road
Singapore 169663
Tel: 67330880



Disclaimer: We were invited to The Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel's media event. All opinions are my own.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Thankful for... both sides of the family

I love that we live next door to my sister-in-law. And that she can cook, and bake… haha, that's besides the point.

Kate can just pop over for lunch every day after school, and when they take their kids out, they simply holler over the wall and ask who wants to tag along.

So glad to be relieved of those full-on outings like taking them to the zoo (for the 100th time), science centre or night safari, yet my younger kids get an opportunity to go.

My other sis-in-law also lives close by, and #4 plays with her younger cousins quite often. Yesterday was the first time Kate joined them to take the MRT into town and #4 did a great job taking care of her.

On my own side of the family, my 6 kids have been the only grandchildren all these years.

Finally, finally, my brother and sis-in-law had their first child. They come over every weekend and Kate always looks forward to their visits.
Big sis
My other sis-in-law also had her first baby last year and Kate is so fortunate to have several cousins around her age. Sadly, that is something my older kids have always wished for but will never have.

Kate loves taking care of her little cousins and calls them her 'babies'. Although sometimes, she doesn't quite do a good job.
Dominoes
Such a blessing to have harmony in the family, and it is something that should never be taken for granted.

I've learn a lot from the hubs side about living with a kampung spirit.

Thankful for so much support and thankful that our lives are enriched by one another.



"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has" - Epictetus

Thankful… for the hub's cooking
Thankful… for our helper
Thankful… for my family
Thankful… for my mum-in-law


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Monday, 16 May 2016

Kate's antics: An ice-cream to make your day

I haven't posted any of Kate's antics in a really long time!

Have been busy with other 'more important' things that I've forgotten to watch out for the little things in life, let myself go, and laugh with abandon.

A simple thing like savouring a good ol' fashioned ice-cream can bring so much joy.

It takes a little child to put things in perspective, doesn't it?
Ooh, looks yummilicious
Let me give it a lick..
Woah! Super c-o-l-d!
Just kidding...
She's at the age where she's soaking up everything like a sponge, especially from her 5 older siblings and their friends who come over to our place frequently, and constantly surprises us with the things she says and does.
Cheek to cheek smiles
Many of the friends I have known through my children have kids the same age as my 3 older teens and we feel the yearning of the "Empty Hands". They haven't quite flown the nest, but want their space.

We no longer have to feed them, change their diapers nor carry them till our backs break.

But we miss their chubby arms around our necks and their cheeky faces looking up earnestly at us.

When they are little, we can't wait for them to grow up so our job will be less tiresome. And when they grow up, we wish they were cute and little again.

The irony of it.

So.

Hug your little ones more often.

Hold your tongue and listen to what they have to say.

For the day will be gone too soon.

And you would wish you had held them more, nagged at them less, and found time to laugh with them a lot more.

It is not too late.




More of Kate's antics:

Nice warm drink
Meow…
The long slope
Santa on a Buggy


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Monday, 9 May 2016

Juice Cleanse with Antidote

I've been meaning to eat healthier and gradually change our family's diet to a more nutritious one, but somehow that has always been pushed to the back burner.

When Antidote contacted me about sponsoring their 3-Day juice cleanse, I was going to pass it up because I've been really busy and didn't want to add too many reviews on my plate at the moment.

However I thought of #1, knowing that she regularly does her own cold-pressed juices. I showed her the website and her enthusiasm was greater than I expected. I agreed to it, on condition that she handled the photos.
Looks refreshing
Seeing how excited she was, I took a better look at their website.

During the period of juice cleansing, your digestive system will be given a rest, enabling your body to go into detox mode naturally while flooding it with vitamins and minerals that it needs to thrive. Your cells will focus on repairing other cells, tissues and organs, and eliminating foreign toxins and the natural metabolic wastes our body produces by itself.

Our Fresh Start programme helps to jumpstart our body, detoxify your cells and get rid of harmful toxins that have built up in our bodies over time.


Sounds like what I needed!
Antidote Advanced Cleanse
#1 immediately chose the Fresh Start Level 3 cleanse, which is for those who have cleansed before and love the taste of greens.

The ingredients are clearly labeled at the back. For example,

Mont Blanc (Anti-inflammation): Apple, Jap Cucumber, Celery, Lemon.

Angel Falls (Liver cleanse): Carrot, Orange, Beet, Lemon, Ginger, Coconut oil, Rosemary.

I didn't mention it to #2 and #3 as I thought they might be a little too young for this, at 16 and 14 respectively.

However, when they overheard our conversation they wanted in on it as well. I was rather sceptical and asked them if they really understood what we were doing.

Me: You wouldn't be able to eat for 3 days you know. Just drink 6 bottles of juice throughout the day.

Teens: We know what a detox is, mum. Can? Please...

So, I ended up doing my first juice cleanse with my 3 teenagers!
Antidote Intermediate Cleanse
In preparation for the cleanse, we were given a list of what to eat more of and what to avoid to ease the body into the cleanse to avoid strong detox symptoms.

I was surprised that the 3 of them preferred to come home and have salad topped with grains like buckwheat and quinoa instead of grabbing fast food with their classmates on the way home from school.

I got into the swing of things and switched to healthy salads for breakfast instead of the usual bacon and eggs.

The 2 of them chose Fresh Start Level 2 cleanse, which is for those who eat a fair amount of green vegetables, but still want to achieve optimum health.

They brought their juices to school in cooler bags and several of their classmates tried it, and wanted to buy them as well, until they found out that one bottle of juice costs about $14.
Antidote Beginner Cleanse
I chose Level 1 as I love my meat and all manner of "unhealthy" foods and decided not to overdo things. Notice the brighter colours of the juices as compared to Level 3, which has more vegetables.

The Fresh Start Level 1 is for those who are new to juice cleansing, or have not been eating enough greens over the years and arrant used to the taste of vegetables. This selection of juices are smoother and tastier, so that beginners will find them easier to drink.

I was a little apprehensive as to what I would do if I felt really hungry, and wondered if I would faint halfway as I went about my busy day.

Turns out, I was full consuming so much liquid that I didn't feel all that hungry. Besides the 6 bottles of juices per day, we were encouraged to drink up to 3 litres of water everyday and decaf herbal tea to stay hydrated.

I checked in with the girls throughout the day, to see if they were feeling ok and reminded them to drink more water. We laughed about which juices were harder to drink and which ones were actually quite yummy.
A la carte
So as not to leave the little ones out, the lovely people at Antidote sent over some juices for Kate and the other 2 kids to try.

It was refreshing to have cold juices ready in the fridge especially on a hot afternoon.

Kate liked all of it, but the other 2 preferred the Atlantic (energy boost) and K2 (promotes strong bones).
Thirst quencher
At the end of the 3 days, I felt such a sense of achievement. I DID IT! I'm glad it was a 3-day cleanse. I don't think I could have held out much longer.

Juice cleansing is done by replacing your meals with bottles of organic, cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices. Each bottle of cold-pressed juice you receive is made with approximately 1kg worth of organic fruits and vegetables that contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that aids in nourishment and detoxification.

Ah, that explains why the bottles are so expensive.
Salad staples
What we got out of the juice cleanse was not only resetting our system with a good flush, but we became more aware of what we were eating and have decided to replace our lunches with wholesome salads whenever possible.

I used to prepare salads for #1 quite a lot last year, but stopped as she was the only one eating it. Now that the 4 of us are committed to a healthier diet, I'm going to start whipping up salads again!
Toss and go
Sane tip:
  • Do it together with family members or colleagues. The moral support really helps and it is way more fun.
  • Avoid delicious smells. I visited a friend and her helper was cooking curry. That almost threw me off the detox!
  • Ensure enough space in your fridge for the bottles.
  • Have easy access to the toilet.
Save tip: Antidote is offering my dear readers a 15% off, coupon code MummyWee. Valid till 10 June 2016.

Happy juice cleansing!

Antidote
www.antidote.sg

Disclaimer: We were sponsored the juice cleanse programme by Antidote. All opinions are my own.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Friday, 6 May 2016

Discipline tip #11: Who has the energy to discipline our kids?

When I dropped Kate off at school, she was more clingy than usual and wanted me to stay.

Ms S, the teacher who taught her last year, called me aside and told me about a little incident that happened the day before.

Ms S was walking past the children when she heard Kate saying to her classmates, "You all better put the books properly back on the shelves, if not teacher will put you on the thinking chair."

(I can just imagine a tiny little Miss Bossy wagging her fingers at her bigger friends.)

The other kids looked worried and started packing up the reading corner.
Uh-oh. Who's naughty?
Ms S pulled her aside and asked her what did she say to her friends.

"Nothing", came the immediate reply.

Nobody gets punished because of a slightly messy reading corner, and Kate was aware of that.

"Nothing? You sure? What did you say to your friends?"

"Nothing", and she looked away.

If Kate had simply explained what had happened, that would have been the end of it.


However, she knew she did something wrong, and decided to lie and cover it up.

After pressing her repeatedly, Kate said that she wanted the corner to be tidy.

Ms S spent the next few minutes, or however long it must have taken, to get Kate to admit her mistake, before teaching her that it is wrong to scare her friends with untruths, and that she should not lie when being questioned, but to own up to it and apologise.

Some might say it is just a small matter.

It was an incident that could have been ignored.

After all, Ms S was on her way out as she had finished teaching her class for the day.

She did not need to make the extra effort to pull Kate aside to discipline her.

As parents, we know how draining it is to correct kids and it takes a lot of patience. We have our excuses - a bad day at work, a multitude of worries bothering us, or simply being too exhausted juggling between work and family.

Kate wasn't even her current student.

Yet, Ms S was committed to her calling as an educator. To raise the next generation of children with right morals values.

For every time when we allow a transgression to go unchecked, we have failed them.

For every time when we do not hold our children to higher standards, we have failed them.

And when we start to see bigger issues in future, we wonder how that happened and what went wrong.

The more I am aware,

The more I have grown as a parent,

The more I can see how I fail as a parent.

Sometimes, I wonder.

Is it really their fault? Or mostly mine?

After recounting the whole incident, Ms S awaited my reaction.

Nope, I was not defensive.

I did not make excuses for Kate.

I did not doubt Ms S nor think that she was making a mountain out of a molehill.

After so many kids, I have gone past such myopic responses.

Instead, I was worried.

"Oh dear. For the 1 time that you catch her, there may be 9 other times she's gone unchecked."

I can just imagine this little imp, with all her tricks up her sleeves.

And she's only 3.

Ms S burst out laughing, "I'm sure you can take it. She's your 6th."



Other discipline tips (which I've learnt after having 5 kids):

Tip #8: What do you do when your 2-year old lies?
Tip #9: When the gramps can't say 'no'
Tip #10: 6 Tips to stop tantrums in toddlers


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Glamping in Bintan @ The Canopi

We went glamping (glamorous camping) at this newly opened resort in Bintan and the kids loved the place so much that they are already asking to go back.

It felt like we were entering a make-believe land, a Smurf village of sorts.

The wow factor is definitely there, and everything looks picture-perfect.

However, operationally, they do not seem ready although they have been running for 9 months.

Here are some tips so that you go prepared and will be able to make the most of your holiday.
Glamping - glamorous camping
From Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, it took us an hour to reach Bintan. Guests of The Canopi are ushered through the express lane and it was a short 5 minute ride to our resort.

Once we alighted from the shuttle bus and stepped into the lobby, this magnificent view awaited us.

"This is the largest swimming pool I have ever seen!" exclaimed #5.
The Lagoon
The lagoon stretched as far as the kids could see.

Right in the middle is the wake boarding section, which is run by a Singaporean.

The rest of the water and land activities are situated at the far end of the lagoon.
Little smurfette
We got the keys to our room and the kids couldn't wait to dump their stuff before heading out to do the activities.

They oohed and aahed about everything and loved the safari themed rooms. All in high spirits as though they had stepped into magical land.

Tip: There are no phones in the rooms, so you either have to walk to the lobby reception for any requests, or you can WhatsApp the number that is given when you checked-in.

Also do note that there is no mini bar, thus no fridge to chill anything you might need to chill.
#5 called it his fort
Some examples of our requests, to manage your expectations:

Bedroom slippers, please. Sorry, we don't provide.
Hand towels? Sorry, ran out.
A glass of beer? Sorry, machine broken.

The tent floor is really rough so pack bedroom slippers along if necessary. Or perhaps that's what the cute little 'well' outside each tent is for!

To wash everyone's feet AND slippers so you can wear them inside the tent. Ok, maybe it's just me who has sensitive feet, but it felt like I was walking on woven rope.

The kids quickly changed into their swim gear and headed towards the water sports centre. After realising that they had to walk one big round, they decided to swim across instead.

Thank goodness I brought Kate's pram along, because she could not swim across and it was taking her a long time to walk such a long distance.
$9 per  hour
There are a lot of activities for the kids. They started with the Water Sports Park which has giant trampolines, slides and obstacles.

Kate did not join them but was content to play with her pool toys.

The kids enjoyed the water park so much that they went again the next day. If the kids are young, they need to be accompanied by an adult.
Bumper boat - 15 min
They also had lots of fun in this Motorised Bumper Boat, with water guns to spray one another. It can go quite fast, and #5 loved spinning it around like those dizzy tea cups at theme parks!
Kayaking
Both single and double kayaks are available and it was rather idyllic kayaking around the lagoon.

The Land Sports Centre is situated right behind the water sports and it is open to public as well. As we were there over the weekend, it was very crowded with locals, especially on Sunday.

The kids were disappointed that they did not manage to do any of the land activities.

The electric scooters were all rented out, and we were told that the ATV bike adventure only commenced at 3pm. When we went over at 3pm, they told us that it was over-subscribed.
Wake-boarding
This is a nice place to learn wake-boarding and the kids were able to stand on the first few tries. #1 even managed to turn successfully!

There were several groups awaiting their turn and as most people paid for the 1 hour session, and with 2 cable lines, it was quite a wait.

If we ever do return, it will definitely be on a weekday.
Chilling
The resort has 1 giant float, which was anchored right in front of our tent.

The younger kids woke up at 7am and after breakfast, they relaxed here while waiting for the older girls to get ready to start the other activities together.
Getting around
After a few times of walking round and round under the scorching sun to get to the activities, we decided to call for a buggy.

There is Wifi throughout the resort and you can WhatsApp the reception for a buggy but they have only 2 or 3 serving all the guests so you might have to wait.

Tip: Don't forget to bring hats, sunscreen and goggles as there isn't any gift/merchandise shop.
One and only restaurant
The biggest bugbear is the lack of food options at the resort, and the fact that it is not cheap.

There is only one restaurant to serve the entire resort. No beach front cafes, no bars, no convenience stores.

There is a little kiosk right at the far end of the lagoon (at the land sports centre) selling a small assortment of drinks and ice cream.

Breakfast: The buffet breakfast was included in our stay, but the spread was very basic. It also took a long time for them to replenish the food when the crowds came in.

Lunch: We ate here again to save time, but the standard was generally below average. The only items which were slightly better were the pizzas, spaghetti bolognese and mee/nasi goreng. Rather expensive at $20 each for a simple lunch with drinks.

Dinner: We decided to venture out to one of the several kelongs around the resort. It was quite an experience for the kids, to take a powerboat out to the kelong, however the food was average. We ordered the set menu, which came up to $20 per person.
Dinner at Kelong
If you have ample time, getting out of the resort for good nasi padang or Thai food would be a much better option.

Tip: Pack along biscuits, snacks and mineral water. Or why not go all out and bring tinned food, cup noodles and portable stoves and have a picnic under the stars! I'm sure the kids would love the novelty of that.
Right in front of our door step
Choice of tents:

We booked the Lagoon View tents, which was great because of the convenience. The kids found it simply amazing to open their front door and almost literally step out into the water.

I loved the convenience as the kids could easily nip back in to use the toilets and I could still be in the room with Kate while she napped, while keeping an eye on the older kids.

However, it was really noisy with the music blasting the whole time, and if you have little children who are easily awoken, a better option would be the Safari tents at the back which are away from the lagoon.

If you are going with several families, it would be nice to book the Safari tents as they are clustered around a central pavilion and the kids can play together in a safe space while the adults sit around and chill, or prepare a BYO alfresco dinner under the stars.

We found the Jacuzzi tents a tad strange, as people were soaking in these little jacuzzis at their doorway in full view of everyone walking past to get to their Safari tents.

I was woken up in the middle of the night and sat outside my tent for awhile.

The utter silence, and fairy lights twinkling over the vast lagoon made the place feel rather mystical. Just an hour's ferry ride away from home yet it felt like we were in a distant land.
Bintan Resort Ferries
The ferry ride turned out better than the kids expected as there was a deli (hotdogs, muffins, chips, cup noodles) and Madagascar 2 was being screened, so the hour passed quickly enough.
Fun times
All in all, it was a perfect holiday for us (the kids got over their disappointment with the land activities pretty quickly) as our friends who were there a day earlier pre-empted us and we were prepared.

I'm sure the kids would hold fond memories of this spectacular resort for a long time to come.

The Canopi

Treasure Bay Bintan
Lagoi
Bintan Island
Indonesia
www.adventureglamping.com


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-43179904-2', 'mummywee.blogspot.com'); ga('send', 'pageview');