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Perth Day One To Three

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Taking the midnight flight….

It is a 3.5-hour drive to our accomodation for the first three days, and Hubby is our only driver, so we take a break at the biggest free entry playground in Australia!

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Apple Fun Park at Donnybrook. It’s a big lovely playground, but so sunny at 9am!

Our home for the next three days is Pemberton Farm Chalets. We choose the four-bedroom chalet as there are seven of us including my parents-in-law. It is spacious and comes with a fully-equipped kitchen. But there is only one bathroom.

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It is actually brighter than it looks in the photo

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The kids spend most of their time drawing and reading at the dining table since we don’t switch on the tv anyway.

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Our 8-seater : )

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The farm has animals of course but it is not a working farm, so there are not that many animals.

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There is supposed to be a feeding session in the morning, but we didn’t see anyone around when we came out at the stated time. Can feed the animals on our own anytime though.

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The chalets shown here are the 2-bedroom ones, right in front of the pasture. Our chalet is more secluded, a few minutes’ stroll away.

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On Day 2, we visited the Gloucester Tree.

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The Cascades. Nice place but not spectacular…

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Lunch at Hidden River Estate Winery

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Many sheep outside the winery

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The Ngs 😀

We have a very leisurely itinerary, so it’s a good thing the farm has quite a few things to entertain the kids.

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Day 3 We took the Pemberton Tram through the forest

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Lunch at Lavender and Berry Farm. We choose to dine outdoors to enjoy the scenery while the kids play.

Hmmm, does our trip sound a bit boring so far? Sigh…. ya, indeed it is not very exciting. Anyway I shall do up the posts for the remaining days before I pen down some of my thoughts on the trip.

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Holiday At Redang!

A couple of weeks ago, we made a trip to the Malaysian island of Redang. I suggested this place after reading this blog post.

We booked our coach tickets with Konsortium as recommended by SAys! Happy Mums, and were prepared for the ten-hour journey. Really on the dot, coach departed from Golden Mile at 9.30pm, and dropped us off at the jetty at Terengganu at 7.30am.

The problem was, the ferry transferring us to the Redang Kalong Resort would only leave at 10.30am! There was nobody else around except the souvenir stalls owners, so at first we were not even sure whether we were waiting at the right place. (There were quite a few jetties in the area serving different resorts.)

 

Only one shed for all the passengers… It was very sunny and hot

  

But got souvenir stalls selling interesting cute stuff!

  

Our jetty, which turned out to be NOT beside the shed where we waited

 
 

Refugees…..

  

Finally onboard!


 We knew that this resort was meant more for divers, so we were prepared for it to be basic and simple. We had a seaview quad room, nothing to shout about, it’s similar to the other divers’ resorts I have been to.(yes, I am an Advanced Diver! But no more chance to go diving since kids.)

[Actually, I have an issue with the resort’s claim of “5-star sleeping experience at 1-star price“….. I didn’t feel there was anything 5-star at all.)

 

Where we arrived at the resort

  

Simple beach, quite a long stretch


My favorite part about our 3-night stay here, is that as our room is so close to the beach and the resort is so small, it was very safe to let the kids leave the room and hang out downstairs on their own. (Just for a short while of course, eg when they had finished changing their clothes and I was changing. Not like we adults took a nap in the room and let the kids run loose ok :P)

Sometimes they searched for and stalked the chickens roaming around, sometimes they hung out at the hammocks and sun loungers.

 

My beach boy : )

  

The beach is right in front, but there’s a 1-meter drop


 

Hanging out with cousin in front of the seaview triple rooms

The package includes four meals a day and twice-daily snorkeling. The food was satisfactory and filling. We only went for two snorkeling trips as we preferred to take it easy especially with kids. We spent the whole day outdoors, hardly stepping into our room after stepping out for breakfast around 7.30am. (The kids changed clothes at the balcony outside the room :P)
 

Happy water babies!

 

We brought along a life vest for Meimei and snorkeling sets for the boys. But the resort’s life jacket is actually small enough for her. They also provide snorkeling sets small enough for my skinny 5-year-old and a bit meaty 4-year-old. Need not bring along our own equipment after all! 

They are so brave! Some apprehension at first, then all 3 like bobbing up and down on the sea (except when seawater got into their eyes oops)

This girl is too cool for words….. the small one heehee

Actually, Kor Kor is the only one who really snorkels lah

All in all, it is a relaxing family trip where we get to spend time with my siblings (we played majong every night!) and the cousins get to play together. My kids clocked 33 hours outdoor time over the three days! 

I like that we did not have to waste time waiting or traveling around once we reached the resort. Nothing much to do, not much choices, also means we make do with simple pleasures. But honestly, I would not choose the same place in hindsight. While the 10-hour coach ride was manageable, I couldn’t stand the 3 hours just standing around doing nothing while waiting for our ferry transfer. At least we were comfortable in the coach, with proper seats and aircon. Would I recommend this resort? Only if you manage to find a coach which arrives at the jetty closer to 10am!

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In Defence of Cry-It-Out

Quite often, I come across articles condemning the CIO method of sleep training, usually links posted on facebook. Seriously, with three kids and a firm confidence that CIO is the right thing for my children (in hindsight!), I can’t be bothered to even comment on those links anymore. One man’s meat is another’s poison, to each his own, and all that.

Sure, I have no doubt that non-CIO methods can be just as good, if not better than CIO. How can letting a baby cry and cry be good anyway? Who cares about a baby being independent anyway. I am just quite sick of those articles implying that mothers who do CIO are lousy mothers.

And what’s not mentioned in those articles is the opportunity cost for the rest of the family. And I don’t mean the mother. It is obvious that the welfare of the mother is of little importance in comparison to the baby, not going to argue with that. And ya, it’s not just about the baby and the mother.

The other children

So, when the mother is doing her best to soothe the baby to sleep, what happens to the older siblings? I guess they will either be playing on their own… or being taken care of by another adult (maid?)…. or maybe the TV or smartphone is babysitting them. Baby gets mummy’s loving attention and time – good for him, perhaps not so good for his siblings.

Or what happens if the older sibling is still young enough to need a nap? And to need the mother to soothe him to sleep as well? I don’t know how the mother is going to juggle that. Maybe end up neither child get to nap at the time that he should nap? Or get the amount of sleep they need?

The baby’s father

Baby sharing the matrimonial bed. Hmm. Or perhaps the husband doesn’t even get to sleep in the bed anymore.

The mother

OK, even though nobody cares about the mother’s well-being, I still must mention this. It might not matter that the mother is exhausted and stressed – that’s the price for having a baby what, how can let the baby cry just so that the mother can rest, no way. But the quality of her relationships with the whole family will probably be adversely affected when her fatigue makes her impatient, or just no energy to play with the other kids, ya?

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I know there are mothers out there who seem to be able to do it all – multiple kids, homeschool, outings, fun activites, no maid, cooks, does all the housework, takes care of all the kids herself, and does NOT use CIO. But but but, I am sure there’s some compromise somewhere. It is just not possible to really do it all.

If not for CIO, I would not able to homeschool my children. I would not be able to manage taking care of my three kids without a helper, be it family or hired help. Since I really want to homeschool, I would really really hate it if I had to send the older kids off to school just so I could take care of the baby, and I would feel it was really really unfair to them.

I did CIO for my first child even though I only had to take care of one then, because I knew there would soon be a younger sibling (before I got pregnant). We had planned to have a second child soon, and I needed to think for the near future. (I started calling Kor Kor ‘Kor Kor’ when he was three months old.) I did CIO for my third child even though there would be no more younger ones, because I was already taking care of three young children then. (In all my plans, a maid was never in the picture.)

Not everyone want to homeschool, so most people won’t be bothered about sending the older kids to school. There is nothing wrong with not homeschooling anyway. My point is, other than whether it’s good for the new baby, there are many many other factors to consider. Is it good for the old(er) baby? Is it good for the father? Is it good for the mother? Different priorities for everyone, just remember to consider the whole family!

By the way, I don’t mean to say I first tried CIO because I only considered the welfare of my husband and children. I wasn’t so noble. I tried it because back then, I was feeling so tired and frustrated and stressed and helpless. Other than knowing I must not start co-sleeping if I wanted to take care of my second child on my own in future, the other sleep training methods we tried had failed, namely by schedule and pick up put down.

Frankly speaking, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for mothers to do CIO just so they can have more rest. Even if it’s the only reason for you wanting to sleep train your baby. No need to feel guilty. Happy mother, happy baby. Happy mother, happy family. Happy wife, happy husband. So go ahead, no need to justify your decision!

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Why I Am Stopping At Three

So that I won’t have to change the name of my blog!

Kidding, of course, just kidding.

Why am I even thinking of having one more baby?

  1. Want a sister for Meimei. A sister is surely the best friend that one can have, especially when they are close in age.
  2. Meimei is such a sweet girl that I think she would be perfect as an elder sister.
  3. I am too free.
  4. I must be crazy!

I was actually really quite tempted to try to persuade Hubby to have one more child. With already three kids, I think one more or ten more (haha) won’t make much a difference to whether I can cope. Especially given my parenting style – sleep train the kids, teach them to eat by themselves, let them walk by themselves (instead of carrying them), etc. It’s give and take of course, more siblings to play with but less individual time with parents.

[Sidenote: Some people might say, already so little individual time now, cannot reduce! I say, since already so little individual time, doesn’t make much of a difference to cut a bit more 😛 And don’t think that I get a lot of individual time with my kids since I am a sahm. Argh. NO. But that’s another story for another post.]

Finally, the thing that makes me come to a firm decision to stop at three…

Other than the obvious problem of it might NOT be a sister after all, I really can’t bear to make Meimei give up her current throne of being the youngest and the only princess, to become a middle child >.<

Not that I happily made Kor Kor give up his Only Child Throne, or Didi his Youngest Throne… it’s different as we PLANNED to have three kids. Or if the fourth were an accident.. But since we planned to have three, there would have to be a greater and very powerful motivation to go beyond. And in this case, the motivation is simply not enough to overcome the deterrent.

 

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Thankful Tuesdays: My Big-Hearted Firstborn

At the tender age of three and a half, Kor Kor became a big brother of two. When Didi came along, Kor Kor was only 18 months old. I guess it is common for parents to worry about the first child being jealous or acting out when there is a new baby. I was very fortunate that Kor Kor has never shown any unhappiness about having a new sibling… or two!

Since young, Kor Kor has always been very independent, able to play on his own for long periods without needing me near me. He could be alone in his room while I was in the kitchen. If not for his independence, I don’t think I could have coped alone taking care of two young children.

(The transition to three kids was actually not as stressful. Probably because I felt more experienced and confident (BRING IT ON!!), and because I knew the older two would have each other for company when I was busy with Meimei.)

There were occasions when Kor Kor refused to share his toys with other kids. Though I encouraged (and fervently hoped for) him to share, I was always consoled in my heart. Because I know he is willing to share his mummy! No matter how mischievous or bad-tempered he is towards me at times, I KNOW I am his most beloved. As long as he is generous enough to share his most beloved person with his siblings, who cares about material possessions!

(By the way, now I will not encourage him to share his toys if he doesn’t want to. Remember Renegade Rules?)

Sometimes when I am out with the three kids and need one hand to carry something and only have one free hand, I have to hold Didi’s hand while Kor Kor either walks by himself or holds Didi’s other hand. Kor Kor is always very OK with this, NEVER has he ever complained or shown any sign of unhappiness about this.

I am thankful that Kor Kor has been so kind and generous towards his younger siblings. It has made our lives very very much easier. When I am busy with one of the younger ones, at least I don’t have to worry about him.

I must remember not to take him for granted, and to constantly remind myself to take good care of his little boy’s tender heart. That even though he doesn’t mind sharing, I am still the one he loves and wants to be with (well, for the next 15 years at least, I hope). In the midst of the busy-ness of a mother of three, I must remember to spend time with my first baby, to cuddle and whisper sweet nothings to him. That even though he is my eldest, he is only four years old.

Actually, he recently suggested I have another baby.

Sorry, Baobei, mummy has to say NO!

My first baby and forever love!

My first baby and forever love!

Linking up with Mum in the making:

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I Am A KiaSi Mum

Not scared of losing, it’s literally scared of dying… A few weeks ago my friends and I were planning an overnight trip to Johor Bahru. I was quite concerned about whether it would be safe, but my worries were laid to rest when my friends told me there was a hotel connected to a shopping mall, and we would only have to journey from Johor customs to the hotel, and back the following day.

Then, a few days before the trip, my friends suggested going to another mall first before proceeding to the hotel. Alarm bells went off in my head. Their concerns that just one mall might not be enough to satisfy our shopping urges were valid enough (it’s a shopping trip!), but I felt worried all over again. I guess this might be one of the perils of living in an extremely safe country like Singapore – everywhere else is not as safe!

I had to bring Meimei with me as she was not used to drinking milk from a bottle. If she got abducted or harmed in any way….

If I got killed, what would happen to my three children? While I knew they would still be adequately taken care of and much loved by their father and uncles and aunties and grandparents, they still wouldn’t be their mother. And it’s just not the same… I couldn’t risk letting my children grow up without their mother just because I wanted to have fun with my friends… The more I thought about it, the more scared I felt… The sinking feeling in my tummy… : (

So, two days before the trip, I decided I would not join my friends after all. But when I told them of my decision, they acceded to my preference to keep to the original plans. (Thank you very much!) Thus, in the end, I still got to go along : )

Before this, more than one of my close friends had mentioned that they found me to be more kiasi nowadays. It’s true – in my youth (ha) I had tried skydiving, scuba diving, trekking up Mt Kinabalu. Now? I am apprehensive even about holiday trips to other countries.

When will I be adventurous again? I guess when Meimei is 20 years old, maybe…

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Kor Kor is Four!

Last weekend, we celebrated Kor Kor’s fourth birthday with a simple family gathering at home. This was the first time we really celebrated for him, as he was too young to be aware it was his birthday or to ask for a cake or presents or party for the past three birthdays. This year, since he attended his cousin’s birthday celebrations in May, he had been waiting and waiting for November!

As expected, he requested for a Thomas birthday cake. After a bit of googling, we decided to order one from Polar Puffs. No fancy 3D cakes… He was happy with a 1D cake! And it was yummy too! Can’t remember the exact price (senile, I know, only less than a week!) but it was $70+ for a 2kg cake. Didi has already placed his order for a Percy cake, hee hee.

Didn’t do a very good job with the food this time – most were fried food (Thanks Airfryer!). But I am determined to do a better job for the next birthday celebration in May! Time to start searching for ideas and recipes! Meimei would be one year old by then.. so I should have more time to cook, right? One can always hope!

Felt so happy to see the boys so happy – Didi was happy too cos he got to eat and also play with all the presents which Kor Kor received! Dear Kor Kor, Mummy wishes you a happy and fun fifth year! I love you always, Baobei!