MS. ULB

a Mother in Search of the Unbearable Lightness of Being


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Olive’s Finger Painted Masterpiece

Take a piece of paper, draw some branches, get your little one to dip their fingers in some paint, and paint away!


And there you have it! Our masterpiece, the ‘Hanami’.IMG_7863

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Proud of her work.

If you look at the artwork closely, you would notice 2 styles of painting. The neat and structured, almost boring thumb-printing by me, and the uninhibited generous strokes by Olive which brought this cherry blossom tree painting to life.

As astoundingly beautiful as cherry blossoms are, their peak of bloom lasts only about a week. Life is fleeting. Life’s too short for us to be confined by a perceived set of rules, norms, and structures. Through this activity, I was reminded by Olive not to be neat and structured. But to be messy and bold. To think out of the box like I used to.

I remembered the time when my favorite high school teacher did an activity with the class. She started by asking the class to draw a box, followed by some other objects. At the end of the exercise, when everyone revealed their drawings, only one other classmate and I, out of thirty over students, drew fancy boxes that weren’t in the shape of a square. When our teacher asked who drew their boxes as squares, I was beaming inside knowing that I did not fall into the “trap” of what she had intended to prove i.e. most of us not being able to think out of the box. Who says a box has to be a square?

Life’s also too short for us too contemplate and hesitate over things we want to do but are scared of doing. It is too short for us to worry over problems that aren’t really problems, especially first world problems. Here’s hoping that Olive and I will learn to seize and enjoy every fleeting moment, and make them count. And I hope I will be able to inspire her to live a lot, laugh a lot, and to love a whole lot more!

 


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Chipmunks Playland @ Kota Kasablanka

Over the long weekend with 2 days of public holidays on the 5th and 6th of May, Oska and I brought Olive out every day to explore more of Jakarta.

We wanted to check out Ancol Dreamland but we got too intimidated by the maddening crowd. Parking was a problem and when we drove past the beach, we saw that every inch of it was covered by people. Oska drove off without any hesitation and we ended up indoors at Kota Kasablanca mall for Chipmunks Playland, a New Zealand-based indoor playground, instead.

Entrance & Pricing
Chipmunks Playland is recommended for kids from ages 0 to 12 years old. The play area is one of the biggest, if not the biggest we have been to in Jakarta so far, well furnished with a wide array of playground equipment.IMG_6467

Ticket pricing as such:IMG_6470

Stroller parking and shoe shelves right when you enter. As with most indoor playgrounds, socks are required. I have already built the habit of packing a couple pairs of socks into the diaper bag for both Olive and I because more often than not, they come in handy. But if forgotten, socks can be purchased at the ticketing counter for Rp15,000 or less. Alternatively, just buy a nice and comfy pair from the shops in the mall, one that you will wear again.IMG_6472

Toddler Area
There is a toddler area catered for children under 5, featuring make-believe playhouses, an inflatable boat ride, a mini carousel, a merry-go-round, a ball pit, and climbing and sliding obstacles. Olive, 18 months small, spent most of her time in this area.

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Olive on the merry-go-round, where she sneakily did her big business at.

Obstacle Course
There is an obstacle course across the main hall meant for bigger kids.
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Ball Blasters & Climbing Tunnel
More climbing tunnels meant for bigger kids surrounding a ball blasting arena.

Wave Slides
3 wave slides with a slower orange track.

Bouncy Castle and Inflatable Slides
2 inflatable playground equipment, one for smaller kids and the other giant inflatable slide for bigger children.

Trampoline
The trampolines, cleverly positioned by the entrance, to draw passersby’s attention to the playland.
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Kids Activity Corner
Ain’t nobody got time for that! Seriously, between climbing, jumping, sliding and clay modeling or coloring, most kids would choose the former.
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Games Room
Ain’t nobody got time for this either! IMG_6539

Center Stage
For events and performances.
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Party Rooms
Party rooms for rent.IMG_6534

Charlie’s Café and Dining/Rest Area
Always convenient to have hot food and beverages sold within the play area. There are also toilets and a nursing room within this play space.IMG_6540IMG_6508

Olive giving high fives to show how much she enjoyed the place. She played so much that she concussed within seconds of lying down on the stroller. Nap time with no fuss.  Now imagine me punching my fist in the air saying “YES!” IMG_6521

Address:
Chipmunks Playland and Café
Kota Kasablanka, Lantai 2, Unit 206, Jl. Casablanca Raya, Kav. 88, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta
Phone:(021) 29465012
Opening hours: 10am-10pm daily


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Cinemaxx Junior – Cinema for Kids

Cinema for kids? Say what??? Yes! There’s a cinema specially designed for kids here in Indonesia.

Cinemaxx, a Lippo Group cinema chain, launched Indonesia’s first cinema for children on 14 March 2016 in Maxxbox Lippo Village shopping mall. Cinemaxx Junior is an innovative cinema-and-indoor-playground-in-one entertainment space that allows children to catch a movie, and at the same time have the freedom to move around, socialise and play all while the movie is screening.

Cinemaxx @ Maxxbox Lippo Village
Boasts 3 types of cinemas, Cinemaxx Gold, Cinemaxx Ultra X D, Cinemaxx Junior and an arcade, Maxx Games. Oska and I frequent the Cinemaxx Gold in another location closer to home because it really is such a luxury to catch a movie on lavish recliner seats, complete with pillows and blankets, and food and drinks served right to our seats. Best part is, a gold class movie ticket here in Indonesia costs Rp60,000 to Rp90,000 i.e. not more than 10sgd whereas an equivalent gold class movie ticket back in Singapore would set us back by 29sgd to 39sgd weekdays- or weekends-depending. And yes, the gold class experience here is also cheaper than the regular movie tickets back in Singapore! At this price, I can watch even the trashiest of movies whenever I feel like it.

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Cinemaxx at Maxxbox Lippo Village mall.

Not exactly sure what Ultra X D has to offer but we will try out soon enough.IMG_5972

Cinemaxx Junior
The showtimes for movies at Cinemaxx Junior are set an hour earlier so that the children can enter to play at the indoor playground prior to watching a movie. For example, if you book the ticket for the 4pm showtime, that will be the stipulated time for entry into the play zone, but the movie will only start screening at 5pm. Great way to control the crowd and yet allow sufficient time for kids to enjoy the indoor playground.
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Cinemaxx Junior – Indoor Playground
A 2-storey play space right next to the movie theatre.IMG_5979

Featuring a flying fox, climbing “trees” and a trampoline.

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Mini hammocks, chalk-board/magnetic wall, and more climbing features on the 2nd floor.IMG_6220IMG_6222

Kids toilet and the cleanest, most welcoming nursing room I have come across in Indonesia so far.

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Wouldn’t mind a poop situation with a changing room like that. Thank God!IMG_6212

Cinemaxx Junior – Movie Theatre
Tube slides and ball pits right when you enter the movie theatre. You can slide down into the movie theatre in style. IMG_6095IMG_6102

Separate ball pit for toddlers. Very well thought out, especially with all the big kids going bonkers at the tube slides and crashing into the main ball pit.IMG_6103

Olive enjoying the ball pit, as always.

Movie-goers can choose from a variety of seat types – sofa beds, cinema seats, loungers, and beanbags, currently priced at Rp100,000 per seat and Rp200,000 for a sofa bed that seats 2 adults.

Seat Layout

Screenshot from Cinemaxx website.

I would recommend the bean bag seats for novelty and sofa beds for extra comfort.  IMG_6157IMG_6160 IMG_6201

Olive’s first movie experience at 18 months small! Cinemaxx Junior is recommended for children between the ages of 3 to 10 years but if your toddler is ready, go ahead and let them enjoy the experience. Most children would be on the move anyway and nobody would bat an eye because that is precisely why parents bring their kids there. To drain their kids’ energy that is, while they enjoy the movie or fall asleep. I spotted many fathers getting their shut eye in the theatre.

The littlest movie-goer and her first taste of popcorn.

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Lazy bums chilling on the bean bags.

Olive was more engrossed in the commercials and trailers than the actual movie. The only movie available that afternoon was “Ratchet & Clank”, not quite suitable for Olive so we left midway and headed for the playground instead.

Here’s a video of Olive watching the “Finding Dory” movie trailer, with a snack in her hand, crossing legs all. She actually understood what was going on and was shaking her head when one of the characters said, “Are you crazy? It’s too dangerous!”

There was even a souvenir given to kids upon leaving the movie theatre. Which kid doesn’t like a little surprise gift? Even the big kid in me was pleasantly surprised.IMG_7674

Maxx Games
We also brought Olive to the arcade where they had some games for smaller kids.

Olive’s first arcade game with Oska.IMG_5986

And 2nd arcade game with me. Clearly, she preferred cars to horses.IMG_6001

Can’t wait to bring Olive to Cinemaxx Junior again! For a better, more educational movie next. Hopefully they will open another theatre for kids in a more centralised and accessible location soon.

MaxxBox Lippo Kawaraci Address:
Jl. Boulevard Jend. Sudirman No. 1110, Lippo Village 1200, Kec. Kelapa Dua, Banten, Indonesia
Phone: +62 21 29171888

 


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Every Day is Mother’s Day

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So we all know how kids learn by imitating the people around them. Increasingly so, whenever I look at Olive, I find a mini me or a mini Oska staring right back at me. She copies our every move, every facial expression, and the way we speak, so quickly that even our bad habits we don’t want her to learn gets picked up by her readily. Having to model our best behaviors all the time when we are around Olive is no mean feat. And I have to admit that sometimes my subconscious gets the better of me or I simply slip up because my brain just does not have the capacity to be on its toes for all of Olive’s waking hours.

Mimicry is such a powerful tool that helps our children develop a vast array of abilities and skills. I make use of “mimicry” a lot whenever I want to get Olive to learn something new or do something she might be apprehensive about. I hug, pet, and touch all kinds of animals and insects, sing and dance myself silly, take on all sorts of rides and obstacle courses at play spaces or amusement parks, jump, roll, climb, and engage in different sports and activities, run into crashing waves and huge falling water buckets, etc. etc. etc. First name Mama, middle name Maniac. Yup, that’s me.

So this Mother’s Day, 8th May 2016, Olive and I went swimming. She recently developed a dislike for water running down her face so I tried to convince her that it was OK by putting my head under a water fountain. Immediately, she cried out “No! Mama! No!” and wiped the water off my face with her tiny little hand, afraid that the water might sting my eyes like it did hers. I cleared the lump in my throat and said to her, ” It’s OK baby. Thank you for being so sweet. Mama loves you.”

With Olive around, and with her little acts of kindness and sweetness, every day is more special than a set date we call Mother’s Day.

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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.