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The best childhood starts with GROW

Before I became a mom, I didn’t think I’d be spending this much time planning for my kids’ meals and worrying about whether they got enough nutrition + energy for the day. I need to think about how much they’re eating, what they’re eating, and how much this all costs, because feeding 5 kids can be quite a challenge.

Truett used to be a picky eater as a baby, but he has grown up to be a very adventurous eater and I love it. I’ll be enjoying some smoked beef short ribs or kurobuta pork with miso and he’ll come up next to me like “wow that looks delicious!” and I’ll laugh because just a few years ago, I’ll try to offer him a bite of my food and he’ll scrunch up his face like I’m making him eat prison food. He’s now my designated food assistant. On weekend mornings, Tru gets up and takes breakfast orders from the smaller kids, then makes them all queue up for their orders, it’s so adorable.

Perhaps due to the extra responsibilities, Tru is constantly hungry so I need to ensure I keep him fuelled for the day. This boy eats all the time and he’s usually asking me questions like “mom, is there a snack? What are we having for dinner? FOOOODDD, MORE FOOOOOOOOOODDDDD!!” In between meals, there’s milk to save the day.

GROW School contains all-rounded nutrition with a combination of 26 vitamins and minerals, DHA, Choline, Taurine and Prebiotics to support active school-going kids. It’s great that GROW is more nutritious than regular fresh milk, and the convenient ready-to-drink packs make it super easy to bring along to school as a quick boost for the day.

Kirsten is my designated Hayley-whisperer and all round handy helper who does everything at home on top of all her school activities. On an average school day, she’s in school from 7 in the morning till about 2pm. When she’s back, she has her lunch, does her homework, packs her stuff for the next day and spends what’s left of her afternoon hanging out with her favourite baby. In her own words, “it’s exhausting!” and I fully agree. I try to make it easier by cheering her on (not particularly helpful) and making sure she’s getting all the nutrition she needs (way more helpful).

I also pack GROW ready-to-drink milk for her snack time in school, which gives her a nutrition boost to stay energetic till she gets home. Then at night, she drinks a glass of GROW School milk before bed. With GROW being certified as a Healthier Choice milk for school-going kids, I feel better knowing that she’s getting the nutrition she needs to keep up her energy levels for a looooong day in school. I’m glad I have one less thing to worry about. With GROW, she can fulfill her nutrition and energy needs for school, play, and growth.

Finn is in a bit of a transitional phase. He’s 60% big kid and wants to be exactly like Tru to do all the big kid things, but there’s still the baby part of him that I’m happy to hang on to for as long as I can.

During our trip to Iceland last December, he was so happy about having short days because it would get dark at 4.30pm and that meant plenty of time for game night. We had the most epic 3-hour monopoly sessions in the hotel lounge and there would be other guests hovering around to watch the game. There was this group of Korean ladies watching us play with such enthusiasm that I wanted to ask them to join in. Then after game night, Finn would be my baby again, asking for me to cuddle him in bed and YES PLEASE!! There’s nothing I love more than offering my cuddle services.

The baby part of him also still enjoys his milk every night. Now that he’s in Primary 1, we’ve got a deal where he takes his milk from a regular cup every alternate night, but when he gets to drift off to sleep while drinking his favourite GROW Preschool milk from his favourite sippy cup, he’s the happiest boy in the world. This makes me the happiest mom because I know it’s a great source of nutrition to help my not-so-baby keep up his energy levels for school and other activities.

I’m pleased to announce Theo is still the best eater among all the kids and I’m pretty sure he’s getting all the nutrition he needs. :) Today, he just came up to me and said, “Hey mom!! If you have anything like super yummy food, you can give it to me” and I was like “Whenever I have super yummy food, you’re the first person I think of!! But give me 20 minutes, we’ll be having lunch in just a bit” and he positively beamed before running off to play.

We try to make sure all the kids have a healthy, balanced diet, but with Theo, it’s more about cutting down on sugar and snacks since he enjoys tomatoes just as much as a pack of gummies. One of the things that is sure to put a smile on his face is GROW Preschool, which he declared to be “very delicious!!” I’m glad he’s drinking milk that is 25% lower in sugar and 25% higher in calcium than other fresh milk, making it the healthier choice.

We were in Disneyland Hong Kong with the two babies last month and as a special treat, we brought some GROW ready-to-drink packs along for Theo. These are so convenient to bring along to the theme park and Theo was super thrilled to be enjoying his milk while walking down Disneyland main street.

Baby Hayley will forever be my baby and I’m just enjoying babying her for as long as she wants me to. The big kids are back in school and I’ve got another year with this baby before she joins them in school. Part of being a mom is wanting to give the best to our kids and I’ve learnt that best does not necessarily mean the most expensive. Especially with 5 kids, I’ve gotten pretty good at identifying great quality products at a fab price. Like when it comes to formula milk, I’ve learned that having more DHA in a tin doesn’t mean it’s better. What’s most important is how much DHA gets absorbed by the baby.

Studies have shown that formulas with no palm oil have better DHA absorption – clinical tests showed 6.5 times lower DHA loss through stools! So, less loss means more DHA is absorbed by your little one. No palm oil formulations also improve calcium absorption, bone mineral content and bone mineral density.

This baby drinks GROW Stage 3 milk before bed (and nap) every day and once she’s done, she will hold out her cup and ask in the sweetest voice “More milky, please??” I’ll be like “you just finished a whole cup, I think we’re done, baby” and she’ll do her “PLEASE?? SMALL TINY ONLY…” and eventually, I’ll cave and she will cheer like it’s a huge victory.

It’s great that GROW Stage 3 has a formulation with no palm oil, and it provides all-rounded nutrition including DHA for brain development, calcium for growth with strong bones and iron for immunity. A new discovery that I found is that the type of fats used in formula can affect the type and texture of stools your baby passes. So, mummies, instead of just looking out for the amount of DHA in formula, also take note of fat blends because they can help to support better absorption of DHA.

Find out more about the absorption benefits of formulas with no palm oil. Request for your free 900g tin of GROW today.

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GROW grows with my kids, offering them the all-rounded nutrition they need at each stage of their growing-up years. As an added bonus for a mom with 5 kids, GROW provides high-quality nutrition at an affordable price. This gives me the best value when it comes to nutrition compared to other fresh milk.

Get this savvy deal and apply my promo code, ‘GROW5D’ when you checkout to get a 5% off on your next purchase.

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No more post holiday laundry blues

Okay, here’s something you need to know about travelling with 4 kids – the post holiday laundry situation is pretty epic. The husband knows that I’m borderline obsessive about clean laundry when we travel but despite my best efforts, we come home with suitcases filled with clothes that belong to a toxic disposal site because 1. kids are so gross and 2. no, seriously, kids are SO GROSS.

Take for example, this lovely day we spent at heckscher playground in central park. The kids had the best time, running around and climbing rocks and I was trying my best to be encouraging of their fun exploits even though the rational part of my mom brain was telling me to put an end to this madness before somebody ends up destroying their stylish #ootds.

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Sure enough, shortly after this video was taken, Theo tripped and fell face first into a puddle of slushy black mud. Thankfully, he wasn’t hurt but his ego was a little bruised because his face, arms, and the entire front side of his body was covered in this thick, black, gooey mud; it was everywhere. I tried not to laugh as I picked him up gently and tried to hug this angry, screamy little golliwog at arm’s length without getting my own clothes stained. He was like “HELPPPP!! EWWWW WHAT IS THIS??? HUG ME PROPERLY MOMMMMM IT’S NOT FUNNY STOP LAUGHING AND HELP ME NOWWWWWW!!

After the shock wore off and he started feeling better, I had to figure out how to get this ridiculous mess cleaned up.

I decided on baby wipes to clean up his face and hands (success!), and then more wipes to wipe down the mud stains on his clothes (also a perfect opportunity to question my life choices) but it seemed to be making the stains worse (what is this super stainy toxic black mud made of??). Eventually, I just stuffed the whole disgusting lump into double bagged ziplocks, to be sorted out after we got home. That’s a problem future me would have to deal with.

I’d love to say that this was an unfortunate one-off incident but sadly, I cannot. It’s like my kids have this special ability to attract all manner of grossness to their body + clothes. They would rub the side of their nice down jackets against the subway elevators in New York (I had a small cardiac arrest the first time it happened, but by day 5, I was like “you know what, rub away guys. I’m immune to this sight now.“) or they would sit right smack on a glob of what looks suspiciously like spit/phlegm/mucus on a bench without even looking or they would attempt to make snow/grass angels on semi moist grass (I mean, WHY??) before rolling around some more for good measure.

Towards the end of the trip, all of their coats were so disgusting, I had to keep making excuses to not touch them or be in their immediate vicinity all day.

Eventually we got back home and I felt a little ill as I looked the pile of laundry I had to get through. I also found the black lump of grossness I had tucked away into the ziplock bag and forgotten about (Merry Christmas to me!!). I momentarily thought about setting the whole thing on fire and being done with it, but then I decided to be a responsible adult and passing it on to the laundry/dry cleaning professionals.

***

Fast forward a week and I’m glad to say that this whole process of getting all the laundry done was such a breeze. It took me like 3 minutes to put in an order for dry cleaning via the Honestbee app and everything was picked up within the day, then delivered back to my house all nice and clean 48 hours later (the fastest turnaround in the market).

I didn’t have high hopes that Theo’s jacket could be salvaged but just look at this beautiful specimen of cleanliness.

All the other coats came back spotless and smelling so fresh and nice after getting some first class dry cleaning treatment from Honestbee laundry.

I used to have to lug all my jackets to my dry cleaner lady and then go back to pick everything up 2 months later because I would forget and the stub would be in my wallet judging me until the lady calls me and tells me that all my stuff is taking up too much space in her shop and I’ll have to eventually go get them.

This new process is so much better and it’s not cost-prohibitive either because the prices on Honestbee laundry are very competitive, plus you can get an extra $15 off with min purchase of $25 using the promo code “15WASH. This code is valid until 31 Mar 2018 and is only for first time users.

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Squirrel Away Your Cash With UOB Stash

The other day, I was asking the kids to guess how much it would cost to raise a child and they thought for a moment before Truett said, “Um5,000?

Not even close,” I told them.

30,000?” Kirsten suggested.

More. A lot more.

Finn decided to go with all of the numbers. “I know!! 100 million gazillion thousand billion!

Hahahaha, I like the enthusiasm but no, not that much.

When I eventually told them each kid would cost an estimated $500,000, they were incredulous, like “WHATTT??? And you still have so many babies??!!! WHY?? THEN HOW???

Before I got to the “then how” part, I had to explain to them that as with most things in life, we jumped headfirst into this whole having babies situation without really thinking about how much it would cost or how were going to come up with it. We just happened to really like babies and after we had our first one, we thought he was ridiculous adorable so we went and had another 4 more.

Yeah, and that’s the story of how you wake up one day to find out that you now have to pay for 5 of these very expensive tiny humans.

They started to look very worried so I told them that the $500,000 is just a suggested amount and it’s entirely possible to be perfectly happy with much less. Besides, we would have the next decade or so to figure it out. “Don’t worry! Worst case scenario, we’ll just have to eat less food and you guys will have to start getting a job during your school holidays,” I added, helpfully.

I don’t think it made them feel any better.

It’s a good thing that these days, Truett has learnt not to take me seriously all the time, so he was like “You’re kidding, right? Aiya, mom is just kidding, we’ll have food to eat lah. They have a plan or something.

And he’s right, because here’s the good news: you don’t need to have gold bars stashed away somewhere to have 5 kids (or even 1). All you need is smart financial management.

What kind of smart financial management? I’m glad you asked. Here are some basic steps to get you started:

1. Build a stash of savings

Step one is to make savings a regular habit. It’s great to save a lot all at once, but there’s a case to be made for developing the habit of stashing away some savings every month, even if it seems like a small amount.

That’s because when you add all those small amounts together, you get a decently sized amount and if you keep at it, soon enough, you’ll have a nice big amount, that’s how math works.

We’ve been trying to teach this to Truett and Kirsten since they started Primary School and I think they generally understand how important it is. Whether they’ve been consistently successful at it is um, debatable. In fact, Tru was just trying to pitch me the idea that he should have a 50-cent increase in his pocket money for Primary 4 next year.

I was like, “You need a 25% increase?? WHY?? What are you planning to buy with it?” and he immediately said “Oh, so that I can save more.”

Well played.

2. Stash those savings in the right place

Now that you’ve accumulated a nice little stash, the next thing is to make sire that you put it in the right place.

Okay, enter the new UOB Stash Account®, a bank account that makes your savings work harder for you. I’ve just signed up for it and here’s how it works. Earn up to 1% p.a.1 interest on your Monthly Average Balance (MAB) when you: a) maintain or increase your MAB compared to the previous month and b) maintain a MAB above S$10,000. That’s about 15 times* the interest you’d be earning in your basic savings account.

3. Have access to those savings just in case

With kids, you’re always one emergency away from burning a hole in your pocket. Flu season can quickly escalate into bronchiolitis and a hospital stay, an afternoon at the playground can turn into somebody’s fractured arm, and at any given point, somebody will probably need new glasses, new shoes, new school bags, which can all add up.

With the UOB Stash Account®, there’s no lock in period so you’ll have quick access to your savings if you ever need it. You just need to make sure to top it back upto enjoy bonus interest.

***

Setting aside a stash of savings for the kids is one of the most important decisions we’ve made as parents. Not only does it give us a headstart in being prepared for the future, we hope that they’ll also grow up adopting this habit of saving.

As an added bonus, earn 1.2% p.a. on your savings for the month of November if you sign up now here.

But wait, there’s more! UOB is having a special promo for the festive season:

//If you are a new UOB customer, get an extra $80 cash credit when you apply for your UOB Stash Account. Sign up now here.

//Terms and conditions apply.

1Maximum effective interest rate (EIR) on the UOB Stash Account® is 0.83% p.a. (at S$100,000 Monthly Average Balance) or 0.65% p.a. (at S$50,000 Monthly Average Balance), provided that: (a) the customer maintains a Monthly Average Balance above S$10,000; (b) the customer’s Monthly Average Balance for the present calendar month is equal to or more than the Monthly Average Balance for the preceding calendar month; and (c) the Monthly Average Balance which is eligible to earn Bonus Interest is capped at S$100,000. UOB Stash Account® Terms and Conditions apply
*This calculation is based on a UOB Stash Account® holder with an initial deposit of S$80,000 and who maintains a Monthly Average Balance of at least S$80,000 for 12 months. Total interest earned will be up to 1.00% p.a., 15 times that of a normal savings account earning an interest rate of 0.05% p.a. This calculation is for illustrative purposes only and is not a representation, warranty or assurance of the actual interest credited. “Monthly Average Balance” is the summation of each day-end balance in the UOB Stash Account® for each calendar month, divided by the number of calendar days for that month.
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Keeping it clean

I didn’t use to be this way but with 5 kids at home, I’ve become the kind of person who is borderline obsessive about cleanliness. The husband will tell you that it’s not my natural inclination to be bothered by dirt or disorder but one of the lessons I’ve learnt over the years is that a clean home keeps the illnesses at bay and also, it makes for a far more pleasant environment to live in.

Why? Kids are super gross germ machines who wouldn’t think twice about ingesting week-old crumbs that they picked from behind the sofa. Crumbs that are covered in dust and hairballs and maybe even bugs.

They will cough straight into the back of your throat if you happen to be going in for a kiss at an inopportune time.

They will smear their giant snot bubbles all over their own face with their grubby fingers, then use those same fingers to wipe the floor, followed by their siblings’ nostrils.

My kids are always one snot smear away from a full blown illness, and the moment one of them falls ill, it immediately sets off a chain reaction of sick babies and adults around here. Which is guaranteed to result in a very bad quality of life for me.

One time a few years back, the kids had a terrible bout of stomach flu (which is the worst of all the minor illnesses) and they were all taking turns to throw up everywhere. For a week, it was a blur of cleaning up toddler diarrhoea and puke, and just as I thought that we had finally turned the corner, it got me too. It was agony – I remember crouching in pain next to the toilet bowl for hours thinking I was about to die. I was ready to gather my children next to my deathbed to deliver my final words. I also remember thinking that if I had done a better job at getting rid of these nasty germs, I would not be in this state.

While I can’t make my kids any less of a germ generator, I can make sure our home is a difficult place for dirt and bacteria to have a party.

***

When it comes to cleaning, my philosophy is to make it as quick and painless as possible without compromising on effectiveness. Basically something that works with minimal fuss and maximum efficiency because ain’t nobody got time to be spending hours on cleaning everyday.

Also, all the kids have to pull their weight in helping out with the cleaning at home so it’s a bonus that these are things that they can all do.

Here’s a list of things we do every day to keep the germs away.

1. Clean the floor every morning.

After vacuuming, we give the floor a thorough mop using Magiclean Floor Cleaner every morning. It’s a mystery to me how sticky stains will appear at various spots on the floor and you know what, I don’t even want to know what they are caused by. It’s like living in a house with invisible elves except instead of cleaning up, they just leave me little presents of dirt and stains.

Magician Floor Cleaner effectively removes sticky patches/oil stains and dries quickly without leaving any residue. More importantly, it kills 99.9% bacteria, working on even the microscopic level to keep the floor clean and bacteria-free. We typically for for a Fresh Floral scent, but there are 5 other fragrances (Fresh Lemon, Aromatic Lavender, Refreshing Green Apple, Flower Bliss, Minty Cool) to choose from.

2. Clean the floor some more. 

Did you think this was a one time a day thing? Nuh uh. Floor cleaning happens after every meal and snack time because somebody will almost always accidentally spill chocolate milk on the floor or smear milo into the grout like it’s an artistic masterpiece.

Instead of having to mop up 4-5 times a day, we use the Magiclean Wiper Mop and wet sheets for quick cleaning up with hassle free preparation. It is just as effective in eliminating 99.9% bacteria to remove dirt and stains. The 2.8cm thin mop head reaches narrow spaces effortlessly and maneuvers easily around corners, making spilled beverages mop up quick and easy. This is available in 3 scents – Fresh Mint, Relaxing Jasmine, Happy Rose.

This is baby Theo showing off his cleaning skills. The stick is adjustable so we made it shorter to match his height!

3. Clean surfaces. 

What kind of surfaces, you ask? All kinds. Dining table, chairs, high chairs, benches, bumper mats, toys – as long as my kids come into contact with these surfaces, we have to clean them. With these surfaces, the important thing is to avoid harsh chemicals that may be toxic for the baby, but at the same time, we can’t just use a cloth with water because it isn’t good enough to remove stains + bacteria.

We use the Magiclean Natural Plant-based Surface Cleaner (a new limited edition item that has just hit the stores this month!), which is made from 100% naturally-derived cleaning agents, making it gentle and safe to use on dining surfaces and surfaces of baby items. It’s so easy to use that the kids can help with the wipe down. They just give it a quick spritz and wipe over with a cleaning cloth.

4. Clean other fabric-ky surfaces. 

For fabric surfaces that can’t be cleaned with the surface cleaner, there’s Magiclean Fabric Freshener to get the job done. We use this on the sofa, fabric chairs, baby bedding, car seats and fabric toys. It is able to penetrate deeply into fabric fibres to kill 99% flu virus and bacteria, as well as remove funky odour with natural deodorising extracts.

There was a point a few years ago where we were hitting one bout of illness after another and it was just a non-stop nightmare of sick, sniffly babies. It’s been really nice having the kids all healthy and happy, and as a bonus, the house has been super clean.

**Magiclean’s range of products are available in hyper/supermarkets. Check out the website for more information.

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Moms are pretty rad

All moms have a superpower. It’s like gummy beary juice or Asterix’s magic potion. The moment you become a mom, you have access to a special ability, a turbo beast mode that lets you do things for your kids that you would normally never be able to do.

Backing it up a little, I was always fond of kids even before I had any of my own – I’d offer to babysit for friends, make googly eyes at random strangers’ offspring, volunteer to help at Sunday school every week – but it was always a play-for-a-while-and-give-it-back type of situation. Once the kids got grouchy or whiny or annoying, I’d be like “okayyy, play time is over, I think it’s time to hand you back to your mommy, here we go!!” and I’d return to doing whatever leisurely activity I fancied.

Then I had my own kids and everything changed. There was no one to hand off my grouchy, whiny babies to; and I didn’t want to either. I now had babies I wanted to spend every moment with, to clean their massive blowout poops, to hug them when they’re having a horrid day, and to sit with them all night when they’re unwell.

I’d fight a bear for them or step in front of a train to save them without even thinking twice, no question about it.

One of the hardest things to deal with as a new mom was the exhaustion. According to science, after a solid month without sleep + a screaming baby, you will lose your mind. And while it is true that I was 97% insane during those initial months of each of my 5 babies, I somehow managed to dig deep and power through. It would be 4am and after having gotten out of bed for 27 times that night, I’d take one look at my adorable baby and somehow I would find the strength to get up for round number 28 to hold her and whisper sweet nothings.

I’ve also gotten stronger after having kids. I’ve got all the gym time I need right here with these 5. I mean, who needs dumbells when I’m lifting 10kg weights for hours a day. Which is not to say that I’m Hercules because every time I’m carrying this baby, my brain is yelling at me to drop her so this sharp, shooting pain in my busted shoulder would stop. The husband is like “I don’t know how you can carry this baby all day, I can’t feel my arms after 20 minutes” and I’ll be like “yeah, but I’m brutally strong” but the truth is that it’s just sheer mommy willpower that intercepts the pain receptors in my brain and blocks it with images of this face. And how about those thighs? Can we just take a moment to marvel at those thunder thighs? Those thighs are legit.

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There’s also the irresistible need to give them the best that I possibly can. When Truett was born, I started to measure the value of things by cans of formula. I’d look at a fancy new pair of shoes and decide not to buy it because this was 3 cans of formula for my baby. Yes, I did consider switching him to a cheaper formula but I couldn’t do it because suddenly, splurging on stuff for myself just didn’t matter so much anymore. I would mull over a $40 pair of jeans for weeks but think nothing about dropping $62 for a kg of Atlantic black cod for the kids.

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I think this is one of the reasons why we are fans of Pursoft products. Not only are they superior in quality (strong, yet soft and gentle), they get why moms do what we do and they help make the journey easier.

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If you haven’t tried it, Pursoft 3ply tissue is thick and strong enough to clean up spills and messes, while the 100% virgin pulp ensures the softest touch with every use. Plus it’s free from optical brightening agents, making it suitable for infants.

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How adorable is this new Chocolate Rain packaging? Featuring whimsical day and night designs, which fit nicely at home.

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There’s now a new soft pack version of their facial boxes, which is compact and convenient for taking along when we’re out and about.

It’s great for using in the car – we have one within easy reach from the driver’s seat at all times, and one more next to the kids at the back. They call it their emergency stash corner.

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Pursoft is offering free travel pack samples and an introductory offer price on the new Chocolate Rain Designs and soft packs for the entire month of May. Visit the website here to get the complimentary samples and head over to Fairprice Online for the special offer prices.

And check out Pursoft’s Mother’s day video!! :)

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Milky Milk Milk

So here’s a fun fact: my kids love milk. They usually have it for breakfast, before bed, and sometimes as a snack in the middle of the day. I’m like constantly restocking on milk and every time I have to do a grocery run, I feel ridiculous buying this much milk but this is what comes of having 5 kids.

Although I don’t mind because when they’re in the mood for a delicious beverage, milk is a great option. Why? There’s calcium for healthy bones and teeth, vitamin D for more bone health, protein for strong muscles, and vitamins A & B for healthy eyes. And did I mention delicious? I get why the kids absolutely need to drink their milk every night – a glass of milk before bed is one of the underrated joys of life; it makes my tummy very happy when I go to bed.

We don’t do carbonated soft drinks, or cordials or even sweet juices around here so besides water, the only other thing they drink regularly is milk.

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In addition to fresh milk, the big kids have started drinking Dutch Lady Milky Milk. Every morning, they grab one pack to bring along to school for snack time, and these 125ml packs are the perfect size for a mid-morning pre-lunch snack. What’s even better is knowing that Dutch Lady Choc and Strawberry carry the Healthier Choice Logo awarded by the Health Promotion Board.

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Also, how cute are these Disney Frozen designs? Of all the three flavours, chocolate is usually the first to get snapped up.

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There’s also a Marvel superhero version that’s pretty rad.

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Some days, they ask for a snack and a pack of milk so that they can have a mini picnic outdoors while they read their Calvin and Hobbes.

Look at these guys. As Truett would say, “ahhh, this is the life.

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//Dutch Lady is the Official Sponsor for The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice and they’re here to bring you some super fun surprises. Just purchase 2 blisters of Dutch Lady Milky Marvel or Frozen 125ml x 4s and stand a chance to win tickets and skating passes for an exclusive meet and greet! :) Check out the Dutch Lady website for more information!

If you haven’t been to Disney on Ice, it’s a real treat for the whole family. It’s DISNEY. ON ICE. Sometimes when you take two awesome things and smoosh them together, you get something extra special, which is exactly what you get here.

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Head over to Dutch Lady for more information.

*It’s $2.50 for each blister of 125ml x 4s and you can get them from all major supermarket and hypermarket chains. 

**Dutch Lady has something really cool for all Motherinc readers! On top of their instore lucky draw contest, they are giving you guys an additional chance to win 4 x Cat 1 Disney On Ice tickets. Just send a photo of your valid receipt to dutchlady.sg@frieslandcampina.com with your address, name and contact number and quote ‘motherinc’ for a chance to win 4 x Cat 1 Disney On Ice tickets. 

You are still eligible for the instore lucky draw contest as long as you send in the completed entry form with the original valid receipt.

***

UPDATE:

Congrats to Dawn Pang for winning the Disney on Ice Tickets (x4). The tickets will be mailed out to you this week. Hope you enjoy the show!

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More than one kind of smart

When I first had kids, I was convinced that I’d be relaxed about academics. I would foster the love for learning by MAKING IT FUN! We would enjoy learning! It would be easy!!

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Then they started Primary School and everything changed because suddenly, there were all these tests and assessments and they came home with grades that induced a mild panic attack.

3/10 for spelling, check. 1/8 for 听写, check. 5/30 for Chinese mid year paper, welcome-to-reality check. Apparently this was the 2nd worst grade in the entire school, and while I was going through the paper with Truett, I tried to be all encouraging, like “Let’s start with the ones you got right…um, not bad, you got these 5 correct” and he sheepishly admitted, “Actually I just anyhowly guess the answers, so lucky right, got 5 correct marks for free.

After some extensive deep breathing, I discovered a tiger mom side of me I never knew existed. The Make-Learning-Fun philosophy was immediately replaced by Go-Write-5-Pages-Of-Chinese-Words.

I realised that it’s hard to be relaxed when my kids come home with terrible grades because I belong to a generation that’s conditioned to equate good grades with success in life. Back in my time, there was no Joseph Schooling to blaze a path for aspiring sportsmen, or a Priscilla Shunmugam (founder and designer of womenswear label Ong Shunmugam), or a Royston Tan (acclaimed Singapore filmmaker), or even a Tan Min-Liang (founder of gaming company, Razer Inc). It was all about “study hard and do well in school = a successful life”.

I’m trying to strike a balance with this because these days, we know better. IQ and book smarts are not the only indicators of a child’s ability and being awful at certain subjects is not the end of the world. It just means that they’re good at other areas, so as parents, our job is to help them identify their strengths and develop the areas that they’re talented at.

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So you want to nurture your child’s talents? Where do you even start with this?

Step 1 is figuring out exactly what these talents are.

Apart from observing their interests and inclinations, there are several aptitude assessment tools available, such as MIDAS™ (Multiple Intelligences Developmental Scales). Based on Harvard professor, Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, MIDAS™ is an assessment to help identify a child’s smarts from as early as 3 years old. Comprising 27 simple questions, this questionnaire will give you an indication of the areas they’re good at. You may answer it based on your observations of your child or if your child is old enough (e.g. 7 years old and above), he/she may answer it on their own.

The 8 different types of smarts include Word Smart, Body Smart, Logic Smart, Music Smart, Nature Smart, People Smart, Picture Smart, and Self Smart.

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I got Truett, Kirsten and Finn to try the MIDAS™ test and it’s fascinating to see how different they are.

Truett

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I’m not at all surprised that Tru ranks high on Logic Smart. He loves figuring out how things work, taking stuff apart and fixing them up again, playing games like Minecraft, working on experiments, that sort of thing. He’s that kid who will try to figure out how a magic trick works during a magic show.

Right now, his dream job is to be a freestyle Lego builder or a professional gamer. He’s all “But I don’t need to know Chinese to do these things” and I’m like “Well, there might be a new Chinese computer game in the future and then you’ll thank me.

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Kirsten

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Kirsten is pretty much an all rounder who’s decently good in most areas. She enjoys reading, art, music, dance, gaming, and even sports. I suppose this means that she probably won’t have any difficulty finding something that she loves and is good at eventually.

I was a little surprised about the Nature Smart bit, but now that I think about it, she does love flowers and she’s always trying to like grow stuff like tao geh (beansprouts) at home. This is good to know – we’ll spend some time learning about nature and watching Nat Geo during the holidays.

 

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Finn

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Finn is a classic Picture Smart kid. Since he was little, he’s loved puzzles and pictures. He’s got a great eye for photography, colours and visual aesthetics, often telling me what looks nice and what doesn’t (and he’s spot on too!). I can just imagine him as a dreamy hipster type photographer/filmmaker/artist with skinny jeans and backcombed floppy hair.

That or he’ll join Kirsten in her plant growing business.

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While it looks like none of my kids are going to be a rock star or an olympic medalist, this is an excellent start in helping them to figure out what they might enjoy doing when they grow up. Maybe one of them will invent something really cool, or write a New York Times bestseller, or y’know, grow plants.

Finding out their inclinations early gives them a valuable head start in pursuing these areas while they’re still young because it takes hours and hours of practice in order to get really good at something.

Which is not to say that academics aren’t important because they still need to learn important lessons like cultivating a good work ethic, applying themselves by working hard, and developing tenacity. So there will still be quite a lot of Chinese writing and assessment books in their immediate future, but at the same time, we’ll also be working hard on their other smarts.

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And if it turns out that despite their best efforts, they’re terrible at certain subjects, that’s ok because there are other stuff that they’re really good at. They’re going to be ok. :)

Interested to discover the type of intelligence that your child has? Of course you are. Head on over to UOB KidSmart to try the MIDAS™ profile.