Parenting hacks

Parenting hacks. Is there such a thing?

After 4 kids, I can only say we managed, day by day. From infant to toddlers to Primary school and teenagers. Try not to think too far ahead because we sometimes cannot even see beyond the week :p

Brawling, wailing, falling sick and total meltdown. Peace at home does not always exist and is considered a luxury 🙂

The best advice we can give to new parents is take it easy, chill.  No matter what we do, some folks would still like to judge (let them, strangers’ words hold no meaning for us)

Do not get us wrong, we were always worried with our No 1, but with more experience, we learn to let go, and enjoy the moments. (an excuse to indicate we relax our standards for subsequent kids :p )
Lee Boon Wee

If the utensils are filling up and if the laundry are piling up, take a deep breath, eat an ice cream and chill for 2 minutes.

Handle one thing at a time. Somehow, everything will work out, ALWAYs.

Give the kids some credit, they are always more resilient and resourceful (and crafty) than we adults would belief. We tend to believe that there are helpless little bundles, and proceed to cuddle and spoon feed them all the way.

Some challenges and falls will make them grow faster, and hopefully more resilient.

parenting hacks
parenting hacks

I would like to believe that my kids are generally ok. They are mischievous, they often rebel and they still make us parents suffer headache and heart pain. But we know all these are growing up phases, and kids might not even comprehend their actions yet.

It is not bochap (nonchalant), but we parents need to learn to let go. If we pursue every minute details and micro-manage, we only end up stressing ourselves.

Sometimes, we need to balance between Control (parents’ sanity) and Freedom (to let the child grow and be more independent). Just like fishing or flying a kite, tension and release (repeat).

Easier said than done, as kids always Game our “parenting tricks”, and we sometimes suspect their mission is to drive parents up the wall!

Mommy Mengchoo is a full-time homemaker. Sounds nice, but she actually works 7 x 24, with no off-in-lieu nor bonus!

Besides her official title as “Mum”, Mengchoo moonlights as a cook, a helper, a teacher, driver,  and Google.

Kids will always take turn to interrogate ask :
-Mommy, where is my bag?
-Mommy, how do I do this?
-Can you teach me modelling (not cat walk but the Maths concept)
-Mommy, why cockroach can fly?
Mommy, why you are not working, like Daddy?

Of course, we will always encourage the kids to Google for answer first. The idea is to be self reliant, and along the way pickup positive traits like “Initiative and Resourcefulness”.

Fortunately, poor Mommy has Taobao and Korean dramas to de-stress.
Fellow Dads can try to be a stay-at-home-Dad for 3D2N to experience and APPRECIATE our MRS multi-tasking skills! I struggled when Mrs went Bangkok…. (read my old SAHD blog post)

Sometimes, I feel so guilty when I request to make love .

Looking at her sleeping like a baby (and sometimes snoring), slumber dreamland is the only time for her to recover and recharge, her own “me time”. She would be so tired at the end of the day, and sleep is the only thing on her mind, not crazy Sex. When she is awake, her thoughts are 99.5% about the kids’ welfare (as do most Moms).

Darling, I am not good at expressing myself.

But the family would not be stable without your loving care (includes discipline and nagging too). The kids might not appreciate our intention now, but I strongly believe their characters have a good foundation (I hope) .

 

We captured the kids childhood through our blog and photos.
We are just like any families out there.
There will be squabbles and disagreements between family members.

Although our Facebook and Instagram only show Fun Loving photos, that does not mean everything is chirpy at home.
True is, 家家有本难念的经 (literally every home has a hard-to-decipher Scripture), every home will have to manage their own harmony and challenges.

We are still family at the end of the day and must Love and support each other.

If you ask me and Mrs 10 years ago what we expect from Family life.

We will tell you we would love to have a few kids.
Her wish is to be a home-maker.
.. but having four kids was never in the plan.

If you ask us whether we would like to have multiple kids again, me and Mrs will give a resounding YES 🙂

Back to the first question, are there Parenting hacks?
Yes, but not all might be applicable.

The most effective “parenting hacks” is the one when a couple Works as a Team.

 

 

 

Sky Mirror in Malaysia is SUPER FUN

Have you heard of Sky Mirror 天空之镜 before?  This exotic term is new to me too, but Google and IG hashtags provided some Fun clues 🙂

From Day 1, another term Blue Tears (蓝眼泪) was also new to me. It goes to show Malaysia has many more corners for us to explore and hike.

Continuing Day 2 of my solo trip with Boon Yee (read about Day 1 Broga Hill), we headed to the town of Bagan Datoh (Kuala Selangor). The small jetty near our chalet is called “Kampung Sungai Burung” (GPS 3.976111, 100.707292).

You only need to know that Sky Mirror was the best activity in our itinerary, and it it is FUN for both kids and adults. The two videos in blog below are enough to send my family there again.

No 1 Activity : Posing with your reflection is seriously Fun, anything Goes!

Sky Mirror photos
Sky Mirror photos

Look at our Instagram video and you will know how much FUN we had in 2.5 hours! There are many hermit crabs running around too 🙂

 

Looking at the map below for reference, Sky Mirror (estimated GPS 4.020000, 100.718333) is about 20 minutes boat ride North from our chalet (9 Island Travel Agency), or South of Pangkor Island (point 4).

Sky mirror map

Qiong(1) Ah! Our 20 minutes boat ride was filled with anticipation. Those who need extra adrenaline can opt to sit in the front row (bow). Kids could not wait to jump off the boat.

Fourth image credit Adventures Village

Sky Mirror sandbank was our playground, leave your inhibitions behind and just have FUN. No need to be shy as everyone will be trying to post Cute or Epic :p

There is a sense of Freedom on the temporary island. The sandbank is only exposed during low tide (on certain days), do check with travel agency for best timing to visit.

catching Hermit crabs Malaysia

Before we reach the sandbank, I hinted to Yee we are visiting a “swimming-pool” in the middle of Strait of Malacca :p

 

We heard the entire sandbank could be as big as 100 football fields! Where do you wish to run again haha?

More camera tricks 🙂

You just need some creative juices and reflection to snap the best shot. If you are clueless on how to pose, just Google for examples 🙂

You will not go wrong with Instagram Boomerangs ( my favourite 天空之镜 pose, but it is Bolivia’s salt lake)


3 images above credit Adventures Village

 

 

No 2 Activity at Sky Mirror is digging for your own lunch! Although kids would argue that this is the best activity!

It was a challenge to see who can fill up their basket with lala first. You will see small crabs, hermits and all sorts of shells in our collection, but we only harvested the lala for lunch.

The mud is soft and therapeutic and after catching the first shell, there was no stopping!

Image credit Adventures Village

 

Sky Mirror’s fun experience went beyond my expectation. Boon Yee was reluctant to leave the “island” too.

Not listing mud spa as Activity 3 as no one cake their face with the black mineral :p (Sashimi is out too)

 

Back at the jetty, souvenirs for you and me, we would recommend the prawn crackers.

You can buy relatively new camping tents too ! We heard 500 tents need to be sold due to closure of Pulau Sembilan, you can Google “Pulau Sembilan camping”. A huge loss for travel agency, a steal for the adventurers 🙂

 

Remember the lala which kids were busy digging earlier. Just tell the chef your table number 🙂

 

Look at the tantalising seafood platter! We were all hungry after a Morning of Fun!

Video (YouTube link) : Check out our second Sky Mirror video below

Tips  (Day 1 itinerary here):

-Walk barefoot
-Leave your heavy bags in room or boat. Just bring water, suntan lotion and camera

-Do check with travel agency (ours was 9 Island) for best time to visit (I would rate their customer friendly attitude 4/5)

-Plan for minimum two hours on the sandbank

-We did not see anyone swimming, I guess lala harvesting and photo sessions are enough to keep everyone entertained

*Wear your Brightest clothes for best effects. Do not place your barang barang infront of you during the shoot, unless it is a photo prop

*Taking photos with reflection is a skill. You need to find “still” water for best reflection. You need to avoid photo bombs (there could be 100 visitors on the island!)

-Travel agency will provide the colourful props, windmills, umbrellas, Sky Mirror sign etc
-Kids life jackets are available

**Check out Broga hill and Bagan Datoh Day One and Two photos on our Facebook album. FUN is guaranteed!

-Our “2D2N Malaysia Unlimited” trip was booked with Meetup Group “Adventures Unlimited”, itinerary here . Join the Village (Facebook group) to link up with like-minded kakis

-Check out some other bonding activities with my kids.
Boon Kang 3D2N (Farm at Koref), Taman Negara with Boon Wee, 2D2N Broga Hill and Sky Mirror with Boon Yee

天空之镜 we miss you !

ps.. There are actually two Sky Mirrors in Malaysia. We went to the one at Bagan Datoh. Google 天空之镜 Sasaran (Kuala Selangor) for the other site (refer map above, it is located South of Sekinchan #point 5).

 

 

Father’s Day thoughts, and Dad fears

Dad Fears, who says a Dad cannot be afraid?

Parents are always worried and concerned about kids’ welfare and development. Parenting is an ongoing Marathon, and there are always new chores and worries. (Argh more white hairs spotted!)

Besides Love, Fun and Laughter, Disappointments and heart-aches are part of the parenting package. ( The Mrs had it worse, she is a full-time housewife) 

Although some societies might expect guys to be the breadwinner, or to be macho and tough, But we Fathers will have our weak moments too. Even when we want to be our kids’ Superheroes, we are only humans and can be fragile.

Parenting expectations
Parenting expectations

I have been a Father for 14 years, and yet the kids never fail to Shock and Awe me. They keep on adding spices (sugar, chili, pepper etc) to my parenting journey, life would be pretty bland without the little ones.

Do not get me wrong, I would not change anything to savour the joy, pride and happiness of Fatherhood. I would continue to beam with kids’ milestones.

Me and Mengchoo’s lives would be incomplete without the kids. But if you ask the darn kids, their Perspectives will always be 180 degrees different :p

Father’s Day is just around the corner. Kids should know that their Dads (and parents) will have Fears too, and everyone will handle fear differently.

1. Some of my Dad Fears.

-Fear of height (including high elements and roller coaster)
-Health concerns, am I able to take care of my family?
-Am I providing enough for the family?
-Fear of unknowns
-Fear of things which are beyond my control

To give an analogy of Dad Fears, Fear was always staring at me when I was preparing for my first Marathon! Yet, I preservered and completed a milestone. (to challenge myself, I have signed up for another 42km in Dec 2017)

It is ok to be afraid, but do not let fear paralyse us.

Overcome your fear and you will be ready to face the next challenge in life.

2) Unknowns, expectations, and parenting wishlist
-Do our kids understand that family is always behind them?
-Am I living up to kids and family’s expectations?

Do the kids know that we parents love them unconditionally?

Or do the kids only lament “Lack of Freedom“, because of embargo on addictions like Whatsapp, Youtube and games?

-Is our parenting style conveying the intended message across?
-Are our kids independent, resourceful and resilient enough to face their own challenges?
-Will they grow up to be responsible adults?

How will they grade my parenting efforts? Band 1, 2 or 3 :p

The only legacy which I wish to impress upon the kids, siblings must take care of each other. With parents’ best intentions, we can never guarantee everything will turn out fine (que Lee Family’s 38 Oxley Road saga).

Siblings for Life

To my kids, you can always trust me to act in your best interest, even though I am confiscating your Xbox again :p

To my Darling, thank you for being the reliable pillar to keep our family strong. You are my best partner in parenting.

To all the Fathers out there, soldier on and Happy Father’s Day.

Dads need not shoulder everything ourselves, it is perfectly ok to experience Dad Fears at times.

 

 

Daddy Matters campaign #ShitDadHears

Daddy Matters have a series (hashtag #ShitDadHears) , highlighting society’s discrimination for involved Dads. Headover to fb.com/DaddyMatters

We all hope our kids will one day appreciate our efforts 🙂