Thursday, August 11, 2016

The River is Calling: Checking Out River Safari

This is a super belated post. I meant to blog about our family holiday to River Safari in Singapore last year; however due to 1001 reasons, this post has yet to see the light in my blog until now. 

In September last year we went to Singapore with my parents and in-laws for sightseeing. On the first day of our trip, we checked out Singapore's awe-inspiring Gardens by the Bay. After exploring this award-winning horticultural attraction, I was simply dog-tired to do anything else in Singapore because 3 y/o Naomi then was too hyperactive and very difficult to handle. I even let go my desire to stuff my face with a huge bowl of Singapore Dry Yong Tau Foo with Bee Hoon which I craved for years. Furthermore, her stroller was left at home which caused unnecessary extra stress to the supposedly relaxing holiday. As such, right after we had our late lunch in one of Gardens by the Bay's restaurants, we decided to go back to Johor Bahru (JB) for dinner. As staying in a hotel in JB is much cheaper and it's quite convenient to travel from JB to Singapore by car and vice versa, we booked our hotel in JB. You can use HotelsCombined to compare and get the best hotel deals from all the top travel sites.

On the next morning, after having our breakfast in JB, we headed back to Singapore for our next little adventure in River Safari. I remember that morning I had body aches from running around and carrying a very active Energizer Bunny in Gardens by the Bay. I really think on top of keeping a packet of wet wipes, we should also throw Counterpain or Salonpas into our handbag when holidaying with toddler.

OTW to Singapore again.

We arrived at Singapore's River Safari at around 11am. Although River Safari is nestled in between the famous Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, I purposely didn't buy the multi-park tickets because I knew I would be exhausted after just visiting this river-themed wildlife park with Naomi. Singapore Zoo and Night Safari - next time OK

Hello again, Singapore!

Thank God, River Safari provides nice and sturdy strollers for rent at SGD 9 each. The stroller rental fee was rather expensive for us indeed (if you convert SGD to RM) but we rented one anyway. The stroller we rented was truly our lifesaver of the day. What would we do without you, dearest stroller? 

Little tourist.

River Safari is one of the world's largest repositories of river dwelling animals. Not only visitors can experience close encounters with aquatic inhabitants from iconic rivers around the world, we could also discover the terrestrial animals surrounding these rivers.

Our journey in River Safari began with Mississippi River's walk-through exhibits which house the unusual spatula-snouted Mississippi paddlefish and the alligator gar.

Let's start!

Fun Fact #1: Alligator gar is a prehistoric-looking river monster that has been around for 100 million years. 

The ancient fish: Alligator Gar.

Then, we continued our walk to see some of the Mekong River's largest fish. 

Sweating Naomi was sweating.

Fun Fact #2: Do you know that the giant freshwater stingray was thought to be a myth until two decades ago? No? Me neither.. Until I read about it in River Safari's brochure. 

After checking out the unique collections from this river-themed zoo, we said "Ni Hao!" to Singapore's very own giant pandas in the Giant Panda Forest. We literally took our sweet time here because we were too engrossed viewing the pandas and taking photos with them. Also, we purposely chilled around the Pandas' exhibit because the area is air-conditioned. It's so shiok to relax in an air-conditioned space on a very hot day.

Not sure this was Kai Kai or Jia Jia.

Fun Fact #3: Pandas can live up to 30 years in safe places like zoos.

To me, this zone is more like a place where the main characters of Kung Fu Panda came into life. We briefly met Po and Master Shifu look-alikes here. 

Master Shifu? Is it you?

Fun Fact #4: Red Panda is more closely related to raccoon and weasel rather than giant panda.

When my Panda eyes were not so severe.

Next, we saw a locally-born polar bear swimming in his exhibit that's built to resemble the Arctic Habitat.

Inuka, the star of the Frozen Tundra.

Done feasting our eyes with some of the World's colorful, endangered and largest river creatures, we took a delightful cruise along the Upper Seletar Reservoir to spot some wildlife animals like giraffe, elephants and many more.

Me and my Dad: While waiting for our boat ride.

The guided cruise was a 15 minutes boat ride and somehow I enjoyed it very much. Naomi was too young to be interested or recognize many animals by name then. Needless to say, she was not too amused with the boat ride. But we were! In fact, my Mom took quite a number of photos when we were on the cruise. 

I love cruising on a boat.

I actually also planned to take the boat ride for the Amazon River Quest but last year Naomi was too short to take the ride so we had to scrap this idea and just enjoyed the River Safari Cruise. 

Giraffe spotted.

Before we called it a day, we spent nearly half an hour observing manatees and other enormous fish such as the giant catfish and arapaima swimming inside the World's largest freshwater aquarium. 

The graceful swimmer.

There's something about manatees that was so captivating to us. My Dad, who normally just admires captive animals in less than a minute, stood in front of this huge aquarium maybe for five minutes mesmerizing the manatees. As expected, Naomi could not care less with these marine mammals, desperately wanted to get out of her stroller then got real busy running around in front of the massive fish tank.

 I used to believe they were mermaids. LOL.

Fun Fact #5: Manatees are herbivores and like to graze on the sea floor and feed on sea grass. Hence, they are sometimes called sea cows.

Just before we left River Safari I remember passing by the giant river otters but was too tired by that time so I didn't take any proper photos of them.

Cute magnet souvenirs that my husband bought.

That's all about our day trip to River Safari. Overall, we had a good time in River Safari and I definitely recommend you to visit this place with your kids if you have the chance. Going forward, I aim to bring my kids to visit Singapore Zoo and Night Safari when Baby #3 is older.

Singapore's River Safari
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826
Single Ticket Rate: SGD 30 (adult) and SGD 20 (child)
Opening Hours:10am - 7pm daily

Friday, August 5, 2016

Things My Kid Says #3

Naomi is turning 4 next month and she is indeed a very chatty and bubbly little girl. However, she is actually quite a temperamental and impatient kid too given that she is evidently a very structured and perfectionist Virgo child. I guess sooner or later my husband and I will need to start reading stuff like "Taming Perfectionism in Children" or "Helping Your Perfectionist Kid Find Balance".


Nowadays, Naomi can understand a lot of things including our instructions, sing a number of nursery songs, and loves to express her feelings through words more. Naomi has excellent memory and her vocabulary in three languages has definitely improved tremendously of late (sometimes she surprises us with her new lines!).

1. Bake the Cake

Last Sunday evening, I was baking some cupcakes in hurry. I was rushing in completing my bakes because it was almost dinner time and Brennan was crying. Sadly, Naomi who always gets very happy every time I bake didn't get the chance to be involved in my baking session last week because I just wanted to get the cake batter done ASAP and pop the cupcakes in the oven.

πŸ’: Naomi, you go play with Papa, please. Mommy is busy now.
πŸ‘§: No, I don't want.

By this time, she already dragged the dining table chair next to me so she could she what I was doing in the kitchen. She followed me wherever I went in the kitchen. When I ignored her, she started grabbing random things on the kitchen's counter-top and playing with the kitchen's cabinets' doors. She even put the cake batter that I accidentally dropped on the kitchen's counter-top into her mouth. Gah.

My kepo gal.

I was so engrossed placing some cake batter into the cupcake tins real quickly and didn't really bother Naomi who was chirping next to me.

All of sudden, she gazed at me and softly told me this.

πŸ‘§: I love you, Mommy.
πŸ’: *I froze, intently looked back at her and... was speechless*

Hashtag of the day: #heartmelt 

2. Harry or Heli?

My husband was on Harry Potter marathon for almost a week a couple weeks back. Naomi was obviously not interested with movies like this because she only loves watching cartoons. However, she was with us in the room, playing with her Lego and other toys, when we were watching Harry Potter 1 all the way to 7B.

One evening when she just came back from day care, she was playing with her Lego in the living room. I sat down with her to see what she was doing.

πŸ‘§: *Showing me her Lego bricks* Mommy, you see.
πŸ’: Yes? What is it?
πŸ‘§: He-li-po-te.
πŸ’: Huh? What?
πŸ‘§: He-li. Po-te.
πŸ’: What?? Why are you suddenly saying Harry Potter? There is no Harry Potter Lego here.
πŸ‘§: No, you see. He-li-po-te.
πŸ’: *Silent for few minutes while trying to think* Ahhhh... Helicopter, you mean. Yes, yes.. Helicopter!
πŸ‘§: He-li-ko-te. *pointing at the Helicopter building instructions paper*

Naomi indeed has a set of Lego bricks that she can turn into a small green helicopter. She was referring to that. Apparently.

3. Shut up, Baby!

Two nights ago, Naomi was chilling in our bed. She was watching Oggy and the Cockroaches before she slept.

Her brother happened to be so awake and cried loudly. My husband tried to console him but this little man was inconsolable. His cry went from loud to very loud within seconds and it's somewhat annoying.

Naomi the Big Sis.

Naomi turned her head to her baby brother, walked towards him and bent in front of Baby Brennan before she told him this:

πŸ‘§: STOP!

πŸ‘ΆπŸ»*stopped his crying fit, hyperventilated then stared at his big sister for a moment*

Done passing her very important message, Naomi walked away then continued watching her cartoons.

πŸ‘ΆπŸ»: WA WA WA WA... *carried on crying*

I suppose a kid as young as Naomi also knows the joy of watching her favorite cartoon peacefully, eh?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Day in My Life

I have been meaning to blog about a day in my life as a Mom but I delayed materializing this idea for yonks because I know this kind of post would require a lot of work e.g. jotting down each of my activity of the day and the time, taking photos of this and that, and so on.. Not to mention, living my actual life that day. But, #YOLO, right?

Here's the snippets of a typical weekday in my life as a Mom to a preschooler and a newborn.

Thursday, July 14th 2016

23.48 I nurse my little tyke who just wakes up from his sleep. After my baby is full, I play with Naomi for a while then also cut her long fingernails. Husband is already sound asleep by now.

When baby refuses to be put down.

Friday, July 15th 2016

01.00 Naomi finally falls asleep on her own after I tell her to go to sleep for 117 times.

02.00 Brennan goes back to sleep and I turn to bed too.

04.30 I hear a very familiar Neh Neh sound. My baby is awake. Feeding frenzy time.

07.00 My little human alarm rings so I bounce out my bed. It's time to feed my hungry baby then burp him.

07.45 At this hour, husband is already downstairs eating breakfast that he prepares on his own (he prepares mine too usually). Crap, baby vomits milk on my shoulder. I need to change my shirt.

08.00 Before heading out for work, my husband goes to our room to get the sleeping Naomi. This girl needs to go to school even when she is still sleepy. I try to go back to sleep because I am not done with my sleep yet.

09.00 Baby makes noises again. So fast, it's milk time again.

Believe me, this was a one off occurrence.

09.20 I am fully awake now. I brush my teeth, put my contact lenses on then wash Naomi's milk bottles from last night.

09.25 I go downstairs to refill my water tumbler, put the tiffin tins outside, cook rice and prepare breakfast.

09.30 I eat my breakfast. After I finish my breakfast, I do the dishes in the kitchen.

My quick breakfast.

09.43 After breakfast, it's always Chop! Chop! Curry Pop! No time to chill. I need to get going with the house chores before baby wakes up. Baby's clean laundry needs to be cleared and folded so I can wash and dry another load of dirty laundry.

These needs to be cleared and...

09.54 Just when I am about to fold baby's last shirt, I hear him screaming out loud. Alas, it calls for yet another nursing session. I love watching the TV shows like Shark Tank, America's Got Talents, Britain's Got Talent, X Factor and such on YouTube while nursing my baby. Breastfeeding a baby is all about happy thoughts, isn't it?

... Folded like this.

10.15 Baby seems to be fully awake now so I might as well bathe him.

His way of saying good morning to me.

10.28 Baby is now bathed.

One item in my to-do-list today is crossed.

10.30 I decide to vacuum my room because my room just gets dirty overnight. At the same time, I make a mental note that downstairs also needs some cleaning. While, baby is still happily viewing our bed room's white ceiling, I quickly run downstairs to dump the dirty laundry onto the washing machine. Man, it's going to be a lot of laundry to hang dry later... I fill our 15kg washing machine with dirty clothes to the brim. *sweating-like-a-pig*

7 weeks old: Baby can smile now.

11.00 I sneak in a quick shower. I feel a bit dizzy - it's not even lunch time yet and I only woke up like 2 hours ago?

11.50 My lunch is delivered. I always feel so famished around lunch time so I help myself a huge serving of rice for lunch while baby naps.

My most important fuel of the day.

12.05 Lunch is in my tummy now. While baby is still in Dreamland, I utilize this golden opportunity to hang the laundry dry.


12.20 Baby wakes up because he hears the minor noises I make while tidying up Naomi's toys in the living room (from the night before). Naomi always scatters all her toys in the living room after she comes home in the evening. Oh no, no no no.. Baby begins to cry inconsolably. I dread afternoons at times because baby tends to cry badly for hours during these hours and refuses to nap. I try to console my crying baby for 45 minutes then turn to some colic drops. Brennan is on poop strike again so he usually fusses a lot because his stomach is gassy.

This is just half of the daily mess that Naomi makes with her toys. 
Usually, she also pours the whole content of that blue bag.

13.20 The general rule of thumb for mother is to nap when the baby naps. I try to do that every single time. However, once I drift off to sleep in the afternoon, Brennan wakes up .. It's a never ending nursing and rocking business with him. Seriously. A high-needs newborn, you say?

Can you just stop crying and nap now?

15.15 I manage to get a nap but baby naps on my chest the whole time so I wake up with body aches instead of feeling on top of the world after an hour of afternoon nap in a sitting position.

Managed to coax him to nap.

16.30 Milk buffet is open again for my one and only customer.

16.51 I scramble to vacuum clean my living room, dining area and kitchen downstairs.

17.04 The hunger pangs hit me so I make myself some hot drink for my afternoon tea time. I gorge my food and drink real fast because the baby wails. He demands to be carried again.

Tea time!

17.20 I buckle the baby up in the baby car seat, get myself into the car and drive to fetch Naomi from Day Care.

OK, let's go and get Naomi home.

17.35 Home safe with two kiddos then feed Naomi her dinner.

The big one is back with me.

17.45 Naomi eats very little dinner. Maybe she doesn't like the dishes of the day. Critter #1 is fed and it's time to feed Critter #2.

18.07 The littlest one dozes off again after nursing. What now? Ah, the big one requests for milk. I run to our room upstairs to make Naomi's milk. After I hand the milk bottle to Naomi, I go to the kitchen and wash some dishes.

Milk after dinner.

18.30 Naomi's mouth is itchy and she searches for snacks high and low around the house. I give her a sausage and a handful of sunflower seeds to munch on while watching cartoon on Astro. These snacks should keep her busy for at least 20 minutes.

So happy eating junk food.

19.00 Husband is home (YAY!) and dinner is here. Not even halfway through eating my dinner, Brennan cries for the Nth time today. I briefly nurse baby to calm him down and so I can continue eat my dinner peacefully.

19.30 I pass the baby to my husband then go upstairs to brush my teeth and shower. Naomi also wants to shower again so I help her.

19.42 As part of my bed time rituals for Brennan, I wipe his face, hands and legs with warm wet cloth then change him to his pajamas. In return, he throws me a crying fit that warrants another nursing session.

19.52 I take my contact lenses off then give Naomi her cough syrup. I am drop dead tired now and feel like having a short nap. No way to watch TV or turn my laptop on and update my blog at this point of time. Instead, I attempt to get some shut eye while the little man is asleep and Naomi plays Lego with her Dad. Man, it's so hard to fall into a deep sleep with so much loud noises in the room (read: Naomi's screams and meltdowns). Naomi also speaks very loudly at home as it were she can only get her important messages across to us IF she communicates in blaring volume. She commonly speaks in her normal voice volume when she talks to her plush toys, Lego creations or herself. You don't say.

22.10 I am all ears when I sleep. I jump out of my bed when I hear Brennan lets out his little cries because he is hungry again.

22.52 I go downstairs to eat some supper alone before my graveyard shift commences.

Here's to another long night ahead!

23.05 My night duty is officially on. I don't know when I get to crawl to bed later tonight - my little boss decides.

That's all - my day as a SAHM of two children, with no domestic helper around.

I don't know what you feel after you finish reading this post but I supposed you'd either feel exhausted or bored? Haha. Anyway, this is my life now. A little mundane and crazy busy (non-stop, to be specific) indeed but that's fine.

OK, I need to go back to tending my baby and finish some house chores now.