MS. ULB

a Mother in Search of the Unbearable Lightness of Being


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Future World: Where Art Meets Science

We finally got round to visiting Future World, a new permanent exhibit at Artscience Museum Marina Bay Sands, after seeing so many photos of it from fellow mamas on our instagram feed.

Opened on 12 March 2016, this indoor digital playground features 15 enthralling digital art installations by a team of digital creatives and professionals from teamLab, a Tokyo-based organisation. The interactive displays are categorized into four main themes – Nature, Town, Park, and Space.

Nature
Look who’s afraid of the dark, even with all the luminous flowers and butterflies glowing so brightly in that space.
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We hurried past the 100 Years Sea Animation Diorama to avoid a potential meltdown, went up a flight of steps and slid right down to Town.

Town
Sketch town, the place that scans your personalized 2-D pictures and transforms them to 3-D animated objects on screen. 2-D pictures drawn can also be printed out as 3-D paper crafts to be assembled into one-of-a-kind 3-D models. We didn’t have a chance to create a take-home souvenir as Olive was too fascinated by another installation.
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There she was, at the Media Block Chair installation, moving blocks and hiding behind them. When you connect one cube to another, the colour changes just as it should when 2 colours are mixed. Put red and yellow together, and tadaaa! You get orange. IMG_4340

Park
We spent most of our time in the Park section. Throwing the light balls around to alter their colours and create sounds.
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Attempting the hopscotch where we ran or walked but never hopped.IMG_4397

Personalizing our own sea creatures to be scanned and sent to the digital Aquarium. Oska and I were having a showdown to see who was more creative, while Olive was drawing and messing with the crayons mostly.

Spot Olive’s swordfish with her real name on it!IMG_4442

Story of the Time When Gods Were Everywhere was one of my favorite installations where a touch of a hieroglyphic symbol would make it evolve into an image the symbol represents. This installation reminded me of Disney’s “Brother Bear” where the characters each received an animal totem that symbolizes a trait they had to find in themselves e.g. wolf of wisdom, bear of love, before they could proclaim themselves as real men. Olive was so fascinated by how the images transformed and grew by the touch of her hands. So was I! Couldn’t count the number of times I went “Ooooooh an elephant! Ahhhhhhh the wolf! Wowwww, look the eagle is flying! Look, look, look, the tree is growing!”IMG_4415

Space
A walk through the stunning Crystal Universe before we left the place. Interstellar much? Except I would very much prefer to be trapped in this tesseract than the one in the movie.
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Future World at Artscience Museum is definitely a place we will visit again! Great space for both kids and adults alike. I can’t even decide who enjoyed the experience more. Olive or me? Quite possibly me.

Check out the Future World website for more information on opening hours and ticketing prices.

Also, just how convenient was it that The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands is right next to the Artscience Museum? Bank-breaking-ly pocket-emptying-ly convenient. Shopaholics and doting parents beware!


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Miniapolis @ Plaza Indonesia

What do we do when Olive turned another month old? Skip her usual gym class for some free play of course!

We were late for gym class due to the ever nasty traffic in Jakarta so I made a spontaneous decision for Olive to just skip all the potential classes we could attend that day, and trade them for some free play at Miniapolis instead.

This indoor play park on the 3rd floor of Plaza Indonesia consists of 5 main attractions:

1. Zee & Milo’s Hideout
A double storey tree house with a centre stage, a slide, a play space with spongy lego-inspired and wooden blocks surrounded by balancing beams, and a colour-changing ball pit.

Olive trying out the balancing beam and messing with some bricks.

Olive in the ball pit, again the safest place for toddlers.IMG_3505

Olive on the 2nd level of the treehouse.IMG_3591

This tree house is recommended for children above 5 years of age and we can see why. The ladders, steps, and platforms up to the 2nd floor were pretty steep for Olive. Most of the areas were also not padded.IMG_3586

2. Mr Crick’s Express
An indoor trackless train ride.

3. Carlo Carousel
The carousel that Olive said “No!” to many times, possibly because she did not see anyone else enjoying the ride, plus it was mostly stationary.
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4. Wish Garden
Another play space with slides and see saws, more suitable for toddlers but closed for renovation when we were there. Honestly, I am not sure if there will still be a Wish Garden because Rockstar gym will be taking over the space where Wish Garden was at.

5. Doodles
A creative playspace where art workshops and classes are held. We will try to participate in a class next time if we chance upon any.

Admission feesIMG_3443

Address & Contact
Plaza Indonesia Level 3
Jl. MH. Thamrin No. 28 – 30,
Jakarta Pusat
P:+6221 2992 0000 ext.53129

On weekdays where we went, I could count the number of children at Miniapolis with one hand. Most times, the train and the carousel were not operating. The other Miniapolis branch in Jakarta, Kelapa Gading Mall has apparently closed down beginning of this year.

We probably will not be visiting Miniapolis anytime soon really because it is not the most toddler-friendly, but I certainly hope that they will reinvent their space, make it more enticing for a wider age group and keep their business sustainable. Plaza Indonesia is one of our go-to malls so an exciting but safe play space would be ideal, especially if us parents decide we want shop or dine in peace without our kid in tow.


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No Palate for Colours

By 17 months, Olive was able to recite her numbers from 1 to 10 and a little more, in 3 different languages, and also a third of the alphabets but colours aren’t quite her thing yet. When asked the colour of an object, Olive’s favourite answer is blue, sometimes purple.

So I tried a little colour-sorting activity with her. Drew some boxes and labelled each box a different colour so that we could place objects we find in the house in their corresponding colours.

Looks like fun?

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Nope, not at all for her. She got bored real quick and made her point by introducing other play activities for us instead, all the time pretending that this DIY activity sheet was covered by an invisibility cloak.

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Olive 1 : Mama 0

Looks like mama has to come up with better ideas.


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Tamani Kids Kafe

Olive and I went for our 2nd not-so-blind date in Indonesia with a fellow Instagram mother of 2 children at Tamani Kids Kafe, a café and indoor playground in one place.

We were supposed to go there for our first play date with another Instagram mother of 1, but changed our meeting place last minute as Tamani Kids closes on Mondays and Tuesdays.

It was a great place for me to “dump” Olive at the well netted and padded play space, watched over by our super helper, while I indulge in some ‘me time’ with mama Indah. One thing I constantly crave for being a SAHM is to have proper face-to-face conversations with people, adult people. While days of monologues are almost over ever since Olive entered toddlerhood, interacting with a kid, albeit interesting and rewarding, can also be pretty repetitive and draining.

Case in point:
“Olive, do you want to nap?” “No!”
“Do you want to sleep now so we can go out and play later?” “No!”
“Do you want some milk first?” “Milk milk! Milk milk!”
“Can we go to bed now?” “No! Mama, draw draw see?” (Olive pronounces ‘please’ as ‘see’)
“Let’s sleep first and we will draw later, ok?” “No! No! No! Draw draw! Draw draw!”
This conversation can go on and on and on, but I’m sure you get the drift.

It doesn’t help that I am based elsewhere, away from most of my friends and family. Many times, I resort to sharing news articles in whatsapp group chats in hope of discussions and debates on some current affairs. Other times, I simply beg ask them to talk to me about anything under the sun and stimulate me intellectually before I lose my mind. Yes I’m so desperate for adult conversations that I’m not a tad bit embarrassed to say it out loud. So my dear friends, if you happen to read this, you know what to do uh!

Sorry I digressed. Where was I? Oh yes, Tamani kids, awesome place to catch up with friends while leaving your kids at the adjacent play space from where you can steal glances at every now and then. They have a pretty extensive menu for adults and kids both and the food is pretty decent.

Ticketing counter, dining area & play space

Entrance fee: Weekdays Wed & Thu Rp48k per child; Weekends Fri to Sun Rp58k per child. Comes with free soft serve ice cream. Accompanying adults need not pay since you will most definitely be ordering food and drinks at the café anyway.

Address: Jl. Kemang Raya, No. 5 – A, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia
Location is not accurate on google maps so search KindyROO Kemang instead and you will find the place faster. We drove round and round Kemang like headless chickens for a good 30min with bad traffic.

Contact: +62 21 7196256

Note: Bring socks. Call to check if the place is closed for private events. It’s a pretty popular place for kids’ birthday celebrations.

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We had to leave Tamani Kids by 2pm due to a private event.

 

More photos of the Indoor playground

Olive and her play mate, Elijah. Most times they were running in different directions.

Olive being a monkey, tackling slopes and bridges on her own.

When in doubt, always head to the ball pit and dunk your children there. That’s probably the safest place for smaller children.

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Olive at 17 months small, going on 18.


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Go! Wet or Go Home

It has been more than a year since I have relocated to Indonesia. I spent the first 9 months trying to adapt to an entirely new lifestyle, from a FTWM (Full Time Working Mum) to PTWM (Part Time Working Mum) to a SAHM (Stay At Home Mum). And from Singapore, a country of comfort and convenience to a suburb off Jakarta city centre where the infrastructure is pretty basic. Friends back in Singapore either thought that I was crazy or applauded me for my “bravery”. Even my Indonesian friends, most of whom are abroad or back in Indonesia from their overseas stints, were shocked to hear where I am based at.

As much as I pride myself as being adaptable and resilient, this life-changing experience did take its toll on me. I don’t even remember how many times I almost treaded on the line of depression but I just kept on reminding myself to snap out of it, man up, and deal with the circumstances. I was constantly urging, almost threatening Oska to go on a holiday because I knew that was the only way I could keep my sanity. Travel makes me happy. Being out there everywhere makes me happy. Even when I was back in Singapore, I jumped at every opportunity to be elsewhere through internships, working overseas, and of course through traveling. That was probably one of the reasons why I decided to take the leap and relocate to Indonesia anyway. Such irony.

My breakthrough came in December 2015 which coincided with not one, but two overseas trips. It was no coincidence though. The trips healed me, energised me, and gave me space and time to reflect. As dramatic as it sounds, I could finally breathe. I was finally at peace with myself.

So now that I’m back, the ‘me’ who is ready for more challenges ahead, and the ‘me’ who is willing to start from zero countless times has decided to go on a mission to conquer Jakarta and beyond. Since we will be based here for a good part of our lives, I am going to make the best of our time here. I intend to start off by checking out all the fun places in and around Jakarta with Olive and document our experiences here on this blog.

Mission is underway, so let me first introduce you to our favourite weekend hangout at Go! Wet Water Adventure Park.

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Are you ready for some water play?

Go! Wet Water Adventure Park
Go! Wet is a fairly new water theme park opened in February 2015, boasting 6 water slides up to 12 meters in height, 2 water playgrounds for kids big and small, a wave pool, a lazy river pool, and a normal pool just to hang around. The waterpark is spacious and clean, and suitable for all ages. We have been there thrice so far, and Olive’s first visit was at 9 months small.

Address: Grand Wisata Bekasi, Jl. Southern Boulevard Kav. 1
Opening hours: Weekdays 10am-8pm; Weekends & Public Holidays 9am-8pm

Entrance & Ticketing 

Remember to check out the GO! Wet website for on-going promotions. They collaborate with various banks (e.g. Bank Mandiri, BCA) and mobile operators (e.g. Telkomsel) to offer some superb deals. There is also a shop next to the entrance in case you forget some swimming essentials like swimsuit, floats etc.IMG_2243

Food Court
Meals are easily settled at the food  court within the compound and our go-to stall is Old Town. We usually pack lunch for Olive because the food choices aren’t the most healthy or suitable for toddlers.
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Locker/Shower/Toilet
Our first stop is always to the rental counter at the entrance of the lockers and toilets, where we could rent a gazebo at Rp150.000.
IMG_2087I would highly recommend securing a gazebo so that you can (1) store your belongings in, provided you have someone to help watch over them, (2) get a nice shaded space all to yourself, (3) eat and laze in.

Go! Boomer, Go! Round!, Go! Fun, Go! Play, Go! Spray
Water playground for younger children with several sliding attractions around and a water bucket that dumps water once it is filled to the brim. With the 30cm water depth in this area, Olive was able to walk around and explore without being held on to, under our watchful eyes.IMG_2177IMG_2178

Go! Splash
An even bigger water playground for older children with tunnels, taller slides, and another giant water bucket. We brought Olive on the slides here when she was 1 year and 1 month old and our little brave-heart loved it. It was thrilling even for Oska and I as the slides were fast and we had to protect her from banging her head on the sides as we wound down the course.IMG_2193

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Hello! Are you convinced enough to join me yet?

Go! Wave
Every time the siren sounds, most people would grab the tubes and rush to the wave pool  to experience the waves. This is probably the best time to try out the mega slides as the queues will be shorter with people flocking to the wave pool instead.
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Go! Lazy
Oska’s favourite attraction has got to be the lazy river pool where he could laze on a float and be carried away slowly by the undercurrents. The only grouse I had was that this lazy pool did not have sufficient shade so we would burn under the scorching sun while meandering along the “river”. But really, nothing could stop us from relaxing in the river pool.IMG_2184

Go! Fast, Go! Speed, Go! Sprint, Go! Flash
4 mega waterslides up to 12 meters in height. Pretty fun but sliding down the closed tracks in total darkness gave me headaches.IMG_2189

Go! Twist and Go! Spin
Go! Twist is the yellow slide where you will end up spinning around a giant water funnel before crashing into the pool. Go! spin is the purple python-shaped slide which requires 3 persons to be on a raft. Lucky for Oska and I, we managed to convince a lone ranger to take the slide with us. Turns out, 3 was a good crowd after all.

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Go! Sport
Just a pool to chill in, with more shade than the other pools.IMG_2191

Some tips: Bring sunblock, lots of it. Wear rash guards to protect yourselves from the sun. Bring floats for babies/toddlers. Life jackets are provided for free. Bring your shower essentials (towels, shampoo, soap etc.).
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Look who had the most fun!

Time to Go! Wet if you haven’t already done so! We will definitely be back as often as we can.


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First Love

Dad·dy
/ˈdadē/

noun

informal
noun: daddy; plural noun: daddies
  1. a daughter’s first love.
    Daddy-daughter love

    Olive & Oska on 27th Mar 2016.


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A Wean-Win Situation

So I have finally decided to wean Olive off the boobs after 16 months.

I was doing 3 direct latches a day, once when she wakes in the morning, once midday before her nap, and the last one at night before she sleeps.

Weaning Week 1
First week of weaning, I dropped Olive’s afternoon feed and this was how she fared on the first day (7th Mar 2016):

Week 1 was a trying week, both emotional and literally. We tried quite a few brands of formula milk like S26, Friso, Naan, and finally emerged the winning formula, Similac. Olive missed a couple of afternoon naps that week because my boobs doubled up as binkies, so no binky, no sleep! By day 4, I broke down and teared up along with Olive who sobbed herself into slumber.

Weaning Week 2
By day 8, Olive had grown accustomed to Similac, so I dropped her morning feed. She didn’t mind it a bit. I, on the other hand, was still heartbroken and battled the desire to just flash the boob to nurse her. My frustration was noticed by Oska who asked me, “you are jealous of the formula, right?” Spot on, Mister! And damn you third-party Similac, with your oh-so-sweet taste. Imma bitchslap the powder out of your pretentious looking tin! There, I got it out of my chest. I know I sound crazy but our breastfeeding journey had been nothing short of amazing, making it really hard to part with. As usual, Olive outdid me with her adaptability. This is her doing the huzzah on day 8 (14th Mar 2016) of weaning:

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Little Miss Adaptable and her airport fashion: Headband from H&M, Tutu dress from Bonds, Shoes from Converse.

Weaning Week 3
By day 14, I had stopped the night feed. Dropping the night feed was as tough as week 1 of weaning because Olive relied heavily on night latches to go to sleep. She would pull up my shirt, pull down my collar, burrow her head into my chest, toss and turn over my body countless times for 30 minutes to an hour before finally drifting off to sleep. I gave in to her a couple of times that week when no amount of fussing could wear her out.

Week 3 was less emotional but physically uncomfortable for me as I had to deal with a few bouts of engorgement. Thankfully they were quite quickly resolved by some ruthless hand-squeezing of the boobies. I chose not to use the breast pump as I did not want the milk supply to keep up with the demand from using the pump.  It also helped that our weaning process was gradual and not done cold turkey, so both Olive and I had time to adjust.

Alas, we concluded our breastfeeding journey officially by day 17. Our new night-time routine now involves her lying on top of me, requesting for “Rock-a-bye baby” and “Twinkle twinkle little star” to be sung repeatedly, and calling out to me in the sweetest voice ever so often, just to make sure I don’t fall asleep before her.

“Mama, mummy, mimi, mama, mummy, mimi,” a thousand times over. These words I will never tire of hearing.

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Successfully weaned Olive doing the hooray again.

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Thank you Olive, for creating a rather painless wean-win situation together with your mama-mummy-mimi.