MS. ULB

a Mother in Search of the Unbearable Lightness of Being


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Koh Samui with a Toddler

Olive’s +66 trip at 16 months small

Travel period: 18 Feb to 22 Feb 2016 (4 nights)

Weather: Tropical climate, year-round summer with temperatures averaging at 30°c.

Stay: Nikki Beach, Lipa Noi, west coast of Koh Samui.

Eat: Anything and everything since Olive has reached toddlerhood.

Moving around: We took the taxi to and from the hotel. We were total beach bums this holiday and didn’t move around much. Our main purpose for the trip was to attend a wedding so no research was done at all. Zero, zilch, nada! If we weren’t sleeping, we were either by or in the pool, or by the beach or in the sea.

Staying connected: We purchased pre-paid sim cards at the airport.

Useful Information (since I cannot provide you with much)Koh Samui with Kids: Your Ultimate Guide

Best part about not doing any research or planning for a holiday is the dolce far niente. Yes to the unbearable lightness of being and ultimate nua-ing (i.e. lazing around in Singlish)! I could do this all day, everyday. Will let the pictures do most of the talking.

Itinerary:
18.02.16 Thu Day 1: Checked in to Nikki Beach Resort. Eat. Swim. Dance. Repeat.

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Olive’s 26th flight out @ 16 months small.

19.02.16 Fri Day 2: Eat. Swim. Play. Dance. Sleep. Repeat. And of course attending our dear friend’s wedding at Ban Suriya, a 6 bedrooms villa by the beach.

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Ready to bum around all day! Hip hip hurray!

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Olive loves the sea as much as I do, maybe even more. Can’t wait to go scuba with this kid!

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Olive’s first destination wedding!

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Olive with the gorgeous flower girl and page boy.

20.02.16 Sat Day 3: Eat. Swim. Play. Dance. Sleep. Repeat. Plus a recovery BBQ party.

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Olive making friends wherever she goes.

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The little animal whisperer.

A short story: If the goodness of one’s character can be gauged by his/her love and compassion for animals, then there’s no doubt that Olive has a heart of gold. I was observing Olive play with 2 older boys and a cat. The witty boys were role-playing and named Olive Obi-Wan Kebaby, and the cat was Catlo Ren. I watched Olive interact with the Catlo Ren, whose ears were wounded, red, and raw. She tilted her head side to side, observing Catlo Ren so intently, and petted him on his back in the gentlest manner. It was as though she knew he needed a little more tender loving care. Moments like this are so special and memorable, especially so when I get that warm fuzzy feeling. I sure hope Olive will continue to love and care for animals the way she does now.

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The little coconut head enjoying her coconut.

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Shots please?

21.02.16 Sun Day 4: Eat. Swim. Play. Dance. Sleep. Repeat.

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Fambam!

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Olive just wants to eat.

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The one and only time we tried to get out of the resort for dinner at a nearby restaurant. BUT…

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this happened. Olive ran into the sea the minute we walked on the beach. We ended up in the sea, by the beach, in the pool, and had dinner by the pool instead.

Documenting a conversation with a stranger who came back to shore from a dip in the sea.
Stranger: Excuse me, do you speak English?
Oska: Yes.
Stranger: I’m drunk but my psychic ability only comes when I’m high. She (referring to Olive) is very smart and knows exactly what she wants.
Oska: Er…ok.
Stranger: Just let her do what she wants and be what she wants to be. She’s a smart one.

So the Oracle has spoken. Imagine if the stranger dished out a less than ideal prophecy instead!

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Sunset walk.

22.02.16 Mon Day 5: And we’re out! IMG_8290


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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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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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Diamond Valley Railway fun

Oh what fun it is to ride on a miniature train!

So glad we made a pit stop at Diamond Valley Railway from Great Ocean Road to Yarra Valley. We only managed one ride in a slight drizzle before it started raining, and what a memorable ride it was. Just look at the glee on Olive’s face!

There weren’t many people when we were there due to bad weather, just two other families with kids. One boy in particular seemed to have taken more than 10 rides, and exasperated ticket-buying Dad had to play tug of war every time his boy got off the train. Mom was just going with the flow, accepting her fate as train ride buddy. So kid won. Every. Single. Time. Until rain came and saved the parents’ day. The end. Now let’s wait and see how Oska and I manage Olive’s toddlerhood.

If you are travelling in Melbourne with kids or if you are a railfan, I would highly recommend making a trip there.

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Running Times: Sundays only 11am-5pm
Tickets: AUD3 per passenger per ride; free for children under 2
Location: Eltham Lower Park, Eltham Victoria 3095

Interestingly, this railway is staffed by volunteers only. Those we met all looked like Santa Clauses in different shape and sizes, who were taking a break in summer by doing some volunteer work. They were friendly and informative, and chatted with us while we waited for our mini train ride to commence.

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The look on Olive’s face when she spotted the train! Oooooh!


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#Apparentlykid

Apparently, I am in love with this kid.

#Apparentlykid, Noah Ritter, got on The Ellen Show, shot his first ever commercial, and it doesn’t seem like the interviews are going end. Seriously, this kid is super funny.


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I like to move it, move it.

Olive is at her most active in week 31. I have felt fetal hiccups for four consecutive days now. She has lessened her yoga moves and is now trying to be a hip hop dancer or MMA fighter.

It’s amazing how every single effortless belly movement, that may be uncomfortable, still makes me feel so at ease.

By the way, in case you are put off by the dark vertical line right across my belly button, that’s the linea nigra. Another ugly stripe earned due to the pregnancy hormones, but perfectly normal and should fade away after birth.