2016-08-17

Book review: "Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds" (2009 revised edition, by David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken)

**I originally wrote this for BAMBI News (April 2016)**

Wondering how to help your children with a transition to a new country? Want to find out why your expat children are behaving the way they are? Looking for tools to manage different issues arising from a global nomad lifestyle? This book is an essential read to all expat parents.

It’s been a few years since I first heard of “Third Culture Kids” (TCK). Having grown up shuttling between two countries, it was eye-opening as an adult to finally understand that my identity of being neither here nor there had a name, and that here was a tribe that I actually belonged to.

Even if you’re not a TCK yourself, Pollock and Van Reken’s Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, regarded as one of the definitive texts on TCKs, is a must-read for BAMBI members who are parents to TCKs; it gives us clues and advice on understanding and supporting our TCK children as they develop their sense of self in this wide world.

The term “TCK” was originally coined by researchers John and Ruth Useem in the 1950s, and is now typically used to define:

[A] person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents' culture. The TCK builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. (Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds. David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken. 1999, 2001, 2009.)

Pollock and Van Reken describe the characteristics commonly seen in TCKs, such as an expanded worldview, adaptability, language and cross-cultural skills, as well as the not-so-positive restlessness and rootlessness, confused loyalties, and a lack of a true cultural balance that TCKs struggle through.

Living in an environment where mobility is a given, what I found most interesting was the authors' guidance on how to help our TCKs get through the inevitable grief of parting, as they or their friends move away from their latest post. While moving away is never easy, Pollock and Van Reken reassure us that we can help manage the transition by first allowing ourselves and our children to go through proper closure. The authors summarize this stage as “building a RAFT”:

Reconciliation
Don’t leave a place without resolving interpersonal conflicts. Without doing so, it will be very hard to have real closure from moving away. “Bitterness is never healthy for anyone; the old discontentment can interfere with starting new relationships; and if we ever move back to this same place and have to face these people again, it will be much harder to resolve the issues then.”

Affirmation
Acknowledge our relationships with the people in the location we’re about to leave. It’s an important part of closure to let them know that we respect and appreciate them. This could include things like giving drawings or notes or little gifts to those people who mattered to you and your family.

Farewells
“Saying goodbye to people, places, pets, and possessions in culturally and age-appropriate ways is important if we don’t want to have deep regrets later.” Make sure you schedule enough time to say these farewells--these are rites of passage that give “us markers for remembering meaningful places and people and directly addressing the fact that we are saying farewell.”

In the case of possessions, of course we can’t take everything that is important to us, but if we can help our children identify what are the sacred objects “that help connect one part of a global nomad’s life to the next”, that can not only aid in their closure but also help give them a sense of security once the move to the new place takes place.

Think destination
As we say our farewells, we should also think realistically about our destinations, and to review all available resources that may help us deal with potential issues. For children, it can help to look at maps, pictures of the next house or school, etc., to mentally prepare for the move. The key is not to idealize or expect too much from the move, and also not expect too little--gauging what resources are available so that we can make use of them can help with the adjustment process.

The book goes on to discuss further stages of the moving process. Other subjects covered in the book include how to help our children develop a solid sense of self as a TCK, and things to be aware of as parents of TCKs, such as delayed adolescence.

All in all, I found Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds to be chock-full of detailed, on-the-dot descriptions of the TCK experience, and of practical advice on how to help TCKs make full use of the advantages their experiences bring and not letting those become a source of trauma. It’s a must-read for all TCKs and their parents, not to mention educators and anyone else who come into daily contact with TCKs!


Book details
Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds
2009 revised edition
by David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken


2016-02-12

Loy Krathong: Thailand’s Festival of Lights! (from BAMBI News magazine, Nov 2015)

An article I wrote for BAMBI News (Nov 2015), with inputs on the myths from my friend, SC.
(Photos are different from those published in the magazine.)

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Loy Krathong is a well-loved Thai festival that takes place on the evening of the full moon in the 12th month of the traditional Thai lunar calendar. This year it falls on the 25th of November. The festival is marked by the floating (‘loy’) of ‘krathongs’ down a river or khlong, or nowadays, on lakes and ponds. Up in the northern and northeastern regions, fire lanterns are released up into the night skies as well, making for a peaceful-yet-spectacular festival for the eyes and spirit. The ceremony marks a way for people to show respect and gratitude to the Goddess of Water, to symbolically let go of sins, negative thoughts and misfortune, and to pray for good luck.

Various legends and beliefs surround the festival’s origins, which comes during rice-harvesting time and the end of the rainy season. A popular story attributes the custom to a court lady of the Sukhothai kingdom, Nang Noppamas, from over 700 years ago. She is said to have created the krathong and presented it to the king to float--which explains the proliferation of Nang Noppamas beauty pageants as part of the community celebrations. Other theories link Loy Krathong to Brahman and Buddhist faiths, but regardless of its origins, the custom is generally accepted as an ancient one.

The krathongs are traditionally made of banana leaves, the bark of a banana tree or spider lily plants; modern-day krathongs can also be made of bread or styrofoam. Inside are placed offerings of food, betel nuts, flowers, candles, three sticks of incense, and coins. People light the candles and incense, lift the krathong up to the forehead or, if sharing it with someone else, just hold onto it together, fill it with their prayers, and then gently release the krathong into the water. On a river, one can watch until one’s krathong fades out of sight--if the candle stays alight until the krathong disappears, it means a year of good luck(1).

In the past when it was more common for people to place coins in the krathongs, enterprising swimmers would hide patiently in the water to collect those coins. Nowadays fewer people put in coins, so these swimmers adapted themselves and switched to collecting pretty krathongs from the river instead, polishing/re-dressing them a bit to give them a new fresh look, and reselling them.

Sadly, the impact of the festival isn’t all good: in 2014, Bangkok city hall counted 982,064 krathongs in the morning-after cleanup, up 120,000 from 2013.(2) Not only is the sheer volume of trash clogging the rivers in the aftermath an environmental concern, but this was compounded by the rise of styrofoam’s popularity in decades past as a cheap and easy-to-manipulate material. In 2002, the then-governor of Bangkok sparked an argument on whether styrofoam or biodegradable materials were preferred, arguing that styrofoam was easier to collect afterwards and that biodegradable materials would sink and dirty the water!(3) Luckily, there is better awareness now of choosing biodegradable materials over styrofoam, which is more in keeping with the spirit of the krathongs as an apology to the Water Goddess for polluting her waters.

With the warm lights in the soft darkness of night, Loy Krathong is understandably one of the most romantic festivals in Thailand. In the old days, such community festivities provided young men and women opportunities to meet and find love. Even today, myths about krathongs and love are still going strong: in Bangkok, for example, it’s said that if any dating couple go to float krathong together at Chulalongkorn University’s main pond, they would break up, but singles who go there alone will find someone soon. (Admittedly, this urban myth is already a bit dated and is treated more like a joke nowadays.) In the old days, a couple would float his/her own individual krathong, and if the two krathongs floated downstream together, it was interpreted as a sign that their love would be a happy one. If the krathong float apart from each other, it was a sign that the couple would break up. The modern-day solution is ‘one couple, one krathong’ -- the couple floats one krathong to ensure that no separation would be incurred in any circumstances!

These days, the ‘festive’ aspect of the holiday tends to take center-stage, with fireworks and flying fire lanterns (by the way, in 2014, the flying of fire lanterns in 13 districts around the two Bangkok airports was banned for air traffic safety reasons, and it’s expected that this ban will continue for 2015), loud beauty pageants, as well as non-stop playing of the ‘loy-loy-loy krathong’ song over loudspeakers (plus my kids singing it for a good month afterwards until they replace it with Christmas songs...). If one can remember to take a step back from all the noise, Loy Krathong is a peaceful, meditative celebration. It’s a perfect time to reflect upon one’s life, and to quietly appreciate one’s blessings.



Where to Celebrate:
  • Anywhere with a body of water is game! If you have small children, your pool (if you have one) might be a safe choice. Main parks such as Lumpini, Chatuchak, Santichaiprakarn and Benjakiti are expected to host official celebrations, and the main pool at Chulalongkorn University is always a popular site. You can also go to boat piers and other sites along the Chaophraya River, but do be careful: the piers can get overcrowded, and it can be hair-raising to watch people--including kids--leaning over the edge in order to place their krathong gently on the water. 
  • Outside of Bangkok, Sukhothai is a popular destination to enjoy the event, as well as Chiang Mai, where Loy Krathong coincides with the northern Lanna festival of Yi Peng. 
  • If you really want to go environmentally-friendly, you can float your virtual krathong! Look for the ‘Loy Krathong’ app (iTunes) or try the online site, http://loykratong.kapook.com/


References
  1. This last myth is from: http://www.bangkok.com/whats-on-events/loy-krathong.htm
  2. 7 November 2014. “The morning after: 1 million krathong end up Bangkok garbage”, Coconuts Bangkok. Available online: http://bangkok.coconuts.co/2014/11/07/one-million-krathong-floated-and-ended-bangkok-garbage (accessed 30 September 2015). 
  3. 9 November 2014. “From 2002: Foam is better than biodegradable for Loy Krathong”, 2bangkok.com. Available online: http://2bangkok.com/from-2002-foam-is-better-than-biodegradable-for-loy-krathong.html (accessed 30 September 2015). 

2016-02-07

Favourite crafts & stationery supplies stores in BKK

One of my favourite Facebook groups is called "Creative Play in BKK". The member moms are absolutely amazing in their creativity and resourcefulness, and the best part of this group is that the members share tips and advice on where the materials can be sourced locally.

A couple of shops keep getting recommended/mentioned by the resourceful and inspirational moms in this group, so I put together a list for easy (?) reference. (Hence, quotation marks here indicate what moms have said in the group.)

(Oh, I didn't put in B2S, as I can't imagine anyone having difficulties finding that in Bangkok, but that's also a popular source.)


Disclaimer: Please note that I haven't personally been to all these places and claim no accuracy to the content, although I present them here in good faith. Where possible, I've checked with the store websites; the operating hours are culled from online sources, but may not be 100% correct. Also, what may have been available in one shop one day may be gone the next...so do keep that in mind!



** Suksapan Panit, a.k.a., “The Pink Store”**
One of the best-supplied and inexpensive stationary and school supplies store in Bangkok. They have anything from the regular stationery goods and art supplies, to educational toys for younger school children, educational posters and foam shapes, sporting goods, some sewing and crafting goods, and ‘science’ supplies including borax and water beads.
Locations: There are multiple locations around town, including near National Stadium (close to BTS), Ratchadamnoen Klang (in front of Democracy Monument), and Ladphrao. Sadly, the popular Ekkamai store has been closed since a fire in 2015. The store is generally well-known among Thais too, if you need to ask for directions/take a taxi, although probably not as “Pink Store” :)
Hours: Mon-Sat, 9am-5pm (check each branch; some may close earlier)


** Somjai **
Another popular arts supply store. Items bought here by members include tissue paper and other types of paper, and general arts supplies like paints.
Location: Multiple locations. I confess I can’t read the maps on their website (click on the tab with the heart picture for the maps), but there’s one store in Chamjuree Square (connected to MRT Samyan), on the 3rd floor. There seems to be another in Wannasorn Tower (near BTS Phayathai, on the corner of Phayathai and Sri Ayutthaya roads), and on Tri Phet Rd. (near the Old Siam Plaza & Pahurat), and according to a FB page, there may be one in Siam Square (in the Siamkit Building, between Siam Square Sois 5, 6, & 7)--would be great if anyone can confirm!
Hours: Varies by branch; according to Somjai’s website, Chamjuree Square: Mon-Sun, 10am-8pm; Siam Square & Wannasorn Tower branches: Mon-Fri, 11am-7pm; Sat-Sun, 8am-6pm.


** Daiso **
Recently they started selling felt! Good inexpensive source for many things, including glitter glue, origami, pipe cleaners, magnets, etc.
Locations: Multiple branches.


For contact paper: B2S, Suksapan Panit, and other stationery stores have it in sheets of ‘sticker paper’. Look for the stacks of large paper; the sticker paper comes in many colors and has a backing that comes off.


For tissue paper: Somjai, “a little shop opposite villa market Sukhumvit 33”, and JJ Mall (basement, across from Swensen’s) have been mentioned.


** Tang Hua Sen **
Huge shop of all things a crafty mother may need or want: “Felt, pipe cleaners, sequins, all the sewing and quilting materials you could imagine, all sorts of material by the meter, hundredfold ribbons by the meter, knitting supplies, ropes and chains, elastic cord, waxed cord for beading, googly eyes of every shape and size, millions of buttons.”
Locations: One branch on the Thonburi side of town, and another in Banglumpoo (tip from a mom: “For the Bang Lam Phoo branch, you can park at the ChanaSongKram Temple on the opposite. The parking fee is B20/hr”).



FABRICS & SEWING MATERIALS - OTHER STORES
Fabric shop, corner of Asok intersection (southwest corner, same side as the Sheraton Grande). Moms have mentioned buying tulle and felt there.


Haberdashery shop, near Asok BTS (along the road from the fabric shop).


Rani, 1st floor, The Old Siam Plaza (near Pahurat). They had tulle. ‘Some of the employees speak English and were very helpful.’


Talat Pahurat (Little India), 2nd floor. Go up a defunct escalator, turn right and go to the end of the corridor, for yards and yards of felt at around B65/meter (denser felt for B90/m).


Sampeng Lane: Many many shops, for fabrics, buttons, ribbons, googly eyes, etc. etc. etc. See Jill’s Quilt Site (https://bkkquilt.com/sampeng/) for a map of some shops there.


Two shops opposite Big C, BTS Saphan Kwai: recommended for a ‘huge selection of ribbons, buttons,fabric, wool and all things sewing’.


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p.s. Oh wow, how timely :) BKK Kids also just posted a list of Where to Get Craft Supplies in Bangkok! (12 Feb 2016)

2015-10-14

breastfeeding gear essentials (from BAMBI News, May 2015)

I wrote this article for BAMBI News (May 2015), and am re-posting here in case it helps anyone else!

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Breastfeeding is as ancient as human existence, but the modern nursing mom has access to many useful things to help her and her baby master this art-form. Aside from a baby and boobs, here are some breastfeeding essentials!


Nursing bra
A good nursing bra can provide you with necessary support and help ensure that the baby can get access to them, fast! Make sure you get a good, comfortable fit--a tight bra can make it easier for you to get clogged ducts or mastitis--and try to stick to breathable materials. You might also consider having a nighttime bra.


Some tips in choosing a nursing bra:


  • Flaps should be easily opened with one hand. If you can refasten them with one hand, that’s even better. Remember, your other arm will be holding a hungry baby. For discreet nursing in public, choose a bra with fasteners that you can open without looking at them.
  • The bra should support the breast from beneath even when the cup is open. This makes feeding more comfortable and reclosing the bra less of a struggle.
  • Avoid bras that open completely at the front for a feeding. You will have a hard time wrestling your breasts back into place when you are done nursing. (Source: Ask Dr. Sears)


My friends have recommended this one (and I now own one and can attest to its wonderful support and comfort!), despite the hefty price tag. There is a matching nursing tank too. Available at Naturally BeBe (฿2,800 for the The Essential Embrace Nursing Bra).


Nursing pads
With nursing pads, you can walk around confidently without worries of wet patches suddenly appearing on your shirt, especially during those first few months. There are disposable and washable/reusable types, although the reusable ones may not provide as much absorbency. Many brands are available in supermarkets, department stores, and online (e.g., Tesco Lotus, Lazada, Best Buy in Thailand). (Confession: around the house, I just used cloth diapers stuffed into my bra. If you are a super-heavy wetter and the commercial pads are not sufficient, I have read about some moms using maxi pads instead!)


Lanolin
Lanolin is derived from sheep’s wool and using a little bit of medical-grade purified lanolin on your nipples is considered safe for nursing babies. It has helped many a mom heal from chafed and cracked nipples, and I use it as a moisture shield to help prevent eczema on the nips.


Medela Purelan 100 (1.3 oz.) available for ฿590 in department stores and online.


Nursing pillow
Being able to nurse in a strain-free position is essential--you are going to have to keep the position for a while, multiple times a day--and a good nursing pillow can go a long way to help keep that baby placed just-so. Look for a pillow that is firm enough (soft ones will sag, thus defeating the purpose of the pillow), and will stay put around your body.


The popular Boppy and My Brest Friend were both the top choices in the 2015 Baby Center Moms’ Picks.



A popular choice among moms, it provides just the right amount of support, and can also be used to prop up the baby in semi-reclined or sitting position. Original style is around US$40. The Boppy Two-Sided Nursing Pillow, a newer design, is half-moon shaped and comes with a waist strap (US$45).


I swear by this pillow; it has saved me so much neck, shoulder, back, and arm pain! It is ugly as heck but super-functional, with lumbar support (US$44).


You also want to make sure you have a comfortable place to sit to nurse: some mamas love having a rocking chair/glider. Whatever the chair, make sure the seat is not so deep or soft that you cannot get out of it with a (sleeping) baby in your arms! A footrest is also a good idea, to help ease any strain on your back.


Thermogel pads
There will be times when it will be a huge comfort to warm or cool your breasts, whether to encourage production and let-down, or to deal with engorgement or clogged ducts. Using heating/chill gel pads makes this easy. A DIY alternative to heating pads: put some uncooked rice into two layers of socks tied shut, heat it in the microwave and use.


Breastfeeding app
For those of us who love our smartphones, a breastfeeding app can help the sleep-deprived mamas remember when and which side she last nursed.


As recommended by BAMBI’s Technology Mama (see BAMBI News, February 2015 issue for the low-down).


It has a clean interface, simple widgets, ability to export/import data, and will chart the data into handy graphs. Free on Google Play for tracking breastfeeding; add-ons can be purchased to track sleeping, supplementary feeding, pumping, and custom events.


For nursing in public:
Nursing cover
No matter where you are, a nursing cover can help you feed your baby discreetly. Alternatives to the popular apron-shaped covers include poncho types, and scarves (you can search for DIY instructions online to make a simple scarf-like cover).


A local brand, Double Monkeys has cotton nursing covers in both apron- (฿890) and poncho-styles (฿1,090), available at Paragon and various Central branches, Kiddy Seasons, O’Leaf, B9, and Tiny Tots. Also in organic cotton (original: ฿1,090; poncho: ฿1,290).


Actually, I never had a use for my cover (not Double Monkeys, to be clear), maybe because it was too soft and I could not see my baby at all and he lashed around so much that the cover never stayed in place. But dressing to nurse was important. Hence:


Nursing tops/dresses
You want to balance accessibility to the boobs with discreet-nursing-ability when out and about, and nursing tops/dresses can help. Alternatively, my preferred style was to wear a nursing bra and tank under a regular shirt. When I pulled my shirt up to nurse, the tank would keep my lower body covered. When travelling to cold climates, nursing PJs were great in keeping one nice and warm while only the essential bits were out in the cold!


Some suggested shops to check out in Bangkok for nursing wear include: H&M, Mothercare, Belli Belly, My Bebespa, and Lady Bila.


Boob Beanie
OK, this probably does not qualify as a nursing ‘essential’, but I had to include it here for a good laugh: the Boob Beanie was ‘developed in Australia by a breastfeeding mum who was sick of being judged for feeding her son in public’ (www.boobbeanie.com). Available from the official site for AUS$17.95 (around ฿460), or you can crochet one yourself!




If you are intending to pump:
Pump
If you are planning to occasionally pump, a manual hand-pump should do the trick. On the other hand, if you will be pumping regularly, the electric pump will come in full use. I had the good luck to inherit an electric pump for my third child--and I cannot believe how much easier it is!


US$250 on Amazon /  ฿15,890 on NomMae online shop (www.nommaeshop.com)




Breastmilk storage bags
Do not forget these if you are going to pump! There are many brands you can choose from, including Pigeon and Medela, available at department stores and online shops.




...And the most important thing for those of you in Bangkok: go to the Breastfeeding Cafe on Thursday mornings 10am-12pm! See www.bambiweb.org for details; there is a lactation consultant on site and you can commiserate with other breastfeeding moms.

Happy nursing, Supermoms!

2009-10-15

what was useful to prepare for the baby's arrival

This is part of an email that I sent to an expecting friend, in hopes that she might find it helpful. Since we're in Thailand, it assumes a warm climate for the newborn :)

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Aside from the big pieces, like the cot, stroller & car seat, and changing table (we got a dresser for it, and it's soooooo nice to have a place you can change the baby without bending down), here are things that we have/found useful:

Baby clothes
  • 5-6 'underclothes' for newborns were enough in those first few months. I preferred the type that opens up in the front (with ties or snaps), rather than onesies that require the shirt to come over the baby's head. Snaps on the bottom are really really useful for diaper changes, and I didn't really find pull-on pants all that useful until our baby started to be able to stand long enough for me to pull the pants on/off.
  • 1-2 sets of newborn clothes that could be worn when going out.
  • Get more clothes for 3-6 months from the start. Babies outgrow the newborn stuff so quickly.
  • Sleeping bag: We finally got one, and it's brilliant. It totally alleviates my fears of the baby suffocating in his blankets, and of course protects him from the cold air-con. In Bangkok, I saw some on sale at Emporium; we got ours at IKEA.
  • Small blankets: Very useful for when we are out and about, or for nap time. In the beginning, we used the cotton ones as swaddling cloths as well.
  • PJs: We only started using PJs when our son was about 6 months old, mainly to try to get him on a bed-time routine.

Slings/baby carriers
Slings are all the vogue, it seems, but we had a Baby Bjorn baby carrier. It was good because it distributed the weight of the baby on both shoulders and seemed to provide the baby some support, but I found it a bit of a pain to put on.

If there's a next time, I'd be interested in an ERGO Carrier, as those seem to distribute the weight on the hips as well--a major shortcoming of the Baby Bjorn--and provide better spinal support for the baby.

[UPDATE: Well, we were lucky to have had 2 more 'next times' and the ERGO is a lifesaver. Our favourite carrier, hands down! Soft carriers are awesome; they free up your hands and distribute the weight of the baby on the hips, and both shoulders. I tried slings too, but I already had lower-back aches and the sling wasn't too great for that, esp with a 10+kg baby.]

In any case, we kept the carrying time to a minimum because it was simply too hot!

Slings seem much simpler to use and my brother loved his for his son. Actually, now I would like to have one just to help me carry my 24-lb son for short distances, like to the car. And I really want to try it for breastfeeding. [UPDATE: On this point, my ringsling was helpful for nursing in public. I liked that it helped alleviate the strain on my arms, and it provided nice cover.]


Milk & stuff
  • Breast pump: I have a hand-pump, which works fine, but if you're going back to work and pumping regularly, it's probably worth getting a battery-operated one at least. [UPDATE: I inherited an electric pump for my 3rd baby, and it was amazing! Highly-recommended, if you can afford it!] Nice if it comes as a set in a cooler bag, for easy portability.
  • Breastmilk freezer bags
  • Breast pads
  • Microwave sterilizer for bottles & breast pump, etc. It's a must!
  • Bottles, of course. But our son didn't like drinking from the bottle, so I have no idea how many one should have... Get a bottle cleaning brush, too, those are handy.
  • Breastfeeding pillow. Before I got MyBrestFriend, I was in constant pain. This pillow saved me! I also wish I could've gotten a little footrest.


Bath time
  • Baby bath: We had a very plain basin-like tub, but in Japan, we rented one with a drain on the bottom (easy to let water out), and a little ledge?, where the baby's bottom can rest. That made a serious difference!
  • 1-2 bath towels. In general, having extra towels and blankets can be very useful, aside from bathtime.
  • Nail clippers. I prefer the scissor type; the regular nail clippers scare the heck out of me!
  • Thermometer: we got one that you measure the temperature in the ear, and which takes a second.

Other stuff
  • Cotton "burp" cloths: You can't have enough of them :) I like these big gauzy cloths, rather than the small, handkerchief-sized ones...but you never know what will come in handy. [UPDATE: Actually, ditch the regular 'burp cloths'--get a bunch of cloth diapers (flats) instead! They absorb a lot more and are super handy. Even when they're old and tattered, you can use them as rags.]
  • Baby monitor: It's a bit pricey, but it was fantastic to have the AngelCare monitor that not only passes on sound, but tells us if the baby's breathing. A friend gave us their old one, and it's quite amazing what ease of mind it gives us. We also have a regular one, which we take on trips.

Diapers
  • Don't get too many of newborn size, as you don't know how big your baby will be upon arrival and how quickly he may outgrow them. Those with 'pee indicators' are awesome (lines in the front that change color when the baby has peed), and I like those with gathers on the top of the backside, to prevent any poo leakage.
  • Baby wipes: For the first few months, we just wet cotton pads (the square ones were great) with plain water to clean baby's bum, but baby wipes were of course handy when on the road. Larger wipes are easier to use, especially for poo!
  • Diaper bag: There are a lot of cute ones out there, so it's a perfect item for the gift registry :) They should have plenty of pockets, easy to wash and waterproof...which I would imagine most are.
  • Portable diaper-changing pad: I got one that you can stick a diaper & wipes into, and which folds up. I saw some cute ones online in the US and some of them come with the diaper bag. Very handy.
Oh, and it's great to have breastfeeding PJs for yourself--you can feed the baby with minimum fuss in the middle of the night.

---

2009-10-13

what's in a mommy bag?

Our current 'mommy bag' is a meeting bag that I got at some workshop a few years ago.

It's amazingly unattractive...but surprisingly functional, which sadly gives me no excuse for getting something cuter.


What is in our diaper bag? At 8-months, here's our list:

  • Diaper changing pad. It's also soooooooooooooo unattractive!! I simply don't understand why the heck they couldn't have produced some in prettier colors or something (well, maybe black was the only ones that made it out to Thailand...and even these were on sale at Central because I guess not many people bought them). But it's very functional and totally worth having.
  • 3-4 disposable diapers. We use cloth at home, but disposables on the road.
  • 1 pack of baby wipes
  • 1 change of clothes for the baby
  • 1 pair of socks and pants, in case we end up in a freezing cold mall or shop.
  • 2 burp cloths (I like the large cotton ones made from gauzy material)
  • 1-2 toys (a rattle, teething ring, stuffed animal...)
  • 1 light cotton blanket
  • 1 spoon & bib for eating solids. The baby's meal goes in a separate cooler bag, which is a bit bulky.
  • A few breast pads
  • Cloth shopping bag...just in case!
  • Breastfeeding cape...but actually, I never really liked it so stopped carrying it altogether.

Features that I would love in a mommy bag:
  • Lots of pockets inside & out. Mesh pockets on the inside is nice.
  • Insulated pockets, to put my son's food in.
  • An outside pocket for my stuff, like keys, wallet, mobile phone, etc.
  • Comes with diaper changing pad.
  • Lighter colored inner lining (when it's black, it's hard to see what's inside).
  • Not too deep (again, it would be hard to see what's inside if it were too deep).

Having browsed around, the one that I'm drooling for now are Ju-Ju-Be's Be All (for daily use) or Be Prepared (for longer trips).



So cute! ♥♥♥



Of course, these don't come all that cheap.

My husband snorted when I told him the price... :p

2008-06-18

only large quantities of alcohol allowed

The sign at the checkout of Tops Supermarket says:

PLEASE NOTE TO COMPLY WITH NATIONAL LAW,
Everyday from 9.00 am - 11.00 am and 2.00 pm - 5.00 pm, Central Food Retail, Tops Market, Tops Super and Tops Daily will temporarily cease all sales of alcoholic beverages except for quantities of 10 liters or more which are exempt from these restrictions and may be purchased at all times by contacting the Customer Service Counter.

Nice to know that the law to restrict alcohol consumption is in fact to discourage too small quantities of alcohol consumption!

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