Jun 15, 2018

Being a Dad or a Father: What's the Difference?

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With Father's Day around the corner, it got me thinking:

What is the difference between being a Father and a Dad?

Both titles may mean the same thing on surface - Both Father and Dad go to work to provide for their families. Both of them play, talk and discipline their kids. Both of them bring their families out to the malls, parks and try their best to bring them on holiday trips.

But yet, there is a difference... because if Dad and Father were the same, why then bother with separate words?

Personally, the word "Father" sounds more formal and serious. When you fill out a form, it is always "Father’s Name' or if a kid gets in trouble, it is always "Wait till your father gets home”. In fact, the term describes more of a biological role than a relationship. Fathers need only contribute the biological components necessary to produce the child.

A father doesn’t need to be present to have a child.

A father doesn’t need to be present to be a father.

Dad (or Papa), on the other hand, conjures up the element of fun. Being a dad means being in a relationship that spans time. Being a dad is a position of responsibility, one who is the role model and contributes to the life, growth and feelings of his child. Being a dad means being there for them, in good and bad times, physically and spiritually and even beyond in memories.


Because anyone can be a father.

But being a Dad?

One can only truly become a dad with years and years of hard work, commitment, sacrifice, love and action.

For me, even before I assumed the title of ‘Dad’, I had resolved to be there for my children wherever and whenever I could. From diaper-changing, bathing to playing and putting them to sleep, I was there. And I can tell you it was well worth it for sure.

I still recall the time when I had asked a then 5-year-old Ale to practice writing her numbers and while she did complete her task, she gave me an added bonus.


Obviously, she did not have to practice anymore after that. Heh.

Of course, life does change after children but I have found that the delight that comes with being a Dad to three monkies far outweigh the sacrifices. The first time they grab my finger, smile at me, take the first step, say the first word and then “I love you,” write their name, go to school, sing the alphabet, use the potty and many, many others. If someone were to tell me before the birth of my children that I would willingly change clothes for Barbie, serve tea to Hello Kitty, Dora and my daughter, I would have LOL-ed.

Today, I do all of that willingly because I am a Dad.


Because being a Dad enriches me, and makes me learn something new every day…even those from my own monkies.

When I hear music I love, I self-consciously sit still to listen as I will probably be too embarrassed should I go out of tune, or rhythm should I sing and dance. My monkies love to sing and boogie to the music, and even if they don't know the lyrics, they make up their own words.

When I see a puddle, I go around it. I see wet shoes and dirty carpets in my car. My monkies jump into it. They create splashes, get their shoes wet and squeal with laughter. Because it is harmless fun.

When I find empty cardboard boxes lying around in the storeroom, I see piles of junk and envision cockroaches having a field day scurrying through them. My monkies see tons of fantastic art and craft materials and celebrate these little things in life as the best days in their lives. Ever.

When I feel wind on my face, I feel it messing up my hair and making my eyes squint when I walk. My monkies close their eyes, spread their arms and fly with it.

When I see a pile of twigs lying in the park, I see ants, dirty hands and accidental poking of one's eyes. My monkies see swords, guns and other creative stuff one can only imagine.

When I hold my monkies' hands, usually it is because we are crossing the road or in a crowded place. My monkies simply long for the sense of comfort felt through the touch of someone's hand.


Truth is, I am often humbled by the lessons that my monkies dish out. They stop me in my tracks, make me appreciate the moments in life and remind me to embrace the relationships and all other blessings that come along with it.

So what does being a Dad mean to you?
To me, it is all of the following:

A Dad smiles in the face of adversity. Even though he hasn't put on his running shoes in years, let alone run 800m. Even though he will pant and run after you like a bumbling elephant past herds of children. Because you ask him to.


A Dad does not always know the best or the right way to do things. In fact, his way is downright embarrassing sometimes. But he is always there to figure it out together with you. Because you expect him to.


A Dad makes the difficult look so easy. He may be in pain or just plain wilting in the heat, but he will put on a facial expression that makes him look like the coolest and meanest cowboy on this planet. Because you inspire him to.


A Dad gives you a little push, picks you up when you are down and carries you up on his shoulders - despite his aching back. He is always there for you. Because you need him to.


A Dad wants other people to ask his child, “What on earth does your dad do for a living? How is it that he can be at school to watch you perform every time? How can he drop you off at school every day? How can he bring you out to places every weekend? Doesn’t he have to work?”


For the record, I do have to work.

But being a Dad is work too. It is hard work, but it is rewarding work.


Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there who get the job done, grit their teeth and wait till the kids are asleep to apply the Deep Heat cream.

You guys are awesome!


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Jun 13, 2018

Bring the Kids to Singapore's First Indoor Slackline Event in a Mall at HarbourFront Centre!

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Advertorial

We are halfway through the June School Holidays and hopefully, all of you have been having a blast!

You should have read my compilation of school holiday activities by now, which also consists of plenty of Meet & Greet shows happening around the shopping malls. Always good for parents with young kids BUT if you looking for something different to pique the interest of your kids, then I say HarbourFront Centre is THE place to bring them to these school holidays.

All because of this unique show called SLACKLINING.


Just what is Slacklining?

Slacklining can be described as walking, balancing or doing various tricks on a line tensioned between two anchors. It may seem similar to tightrope walking but the slackline is flat and broader. It is also tensioned less than tightropes so that it can stretch and bounce like a long and narrow trampoline.


Thanks to these features, the versatility is really high and slackline performers are not limited to just walking or balancing – you can perform a wide variety of tricks, jumps or bounces. It has many benefits and it is a great plaything for kids as well - yes, kids can get to try it too at HarbourFront Centre too. I will get to that in a bit.

First though, head down to HarbourFront Centre's Central Atrium from now until 17 June 2018 to catch all the exciting stunts and actions in Singapore’s first slackline event in a mall performed by world-class slackline champions at a 7m height!


International Slackline Performance Artistes include CARLOS NETO who began slacklining in May 2011 and had a great start when he won his first slackline Championship at Itacoatiara beach, Brazil in July 2011 and FILIP OLEKSIK whose first brush with the slackline happened in 2012 during his school holiday. He fell in love with the sport right away and is trained in both forms of the slackline - trickline and highline.


Together, they will be performing jaw-dropping "Tricks" Moves such as the Double-Knee-Drop-Turn, and a Butt Rest - ALL DONE 7 METERS ABOVE GROUND! You have to see it LIVE to believe it!



The performance is truly jaw-dropping, especially when the part when it takes place high above ground. And the stunts... OMG, I can't even bear to look!!!




The performances will be taking place daily from now until 17 June (except 11 Jun) with show timings at 1pm & 7pm on weekdays and 1pm, 3pm, 5pm & 7pm on weekends and public holidays. And yes, the shows are FREE FOR EVERYONE to enjoy!

Remember when I mentioned that everyone gets a chance to try out slacklining too?


Take part in the Slackline Dash Challenge - happening daily between 12pm and 8pm - and you may just win shopping vouchers with a total worth of $2,800! All you have to do is to spend a minimum spend of $30 to get one chance.




There are four age categories: 4-6 year olds, 7-10 year olds, 11-15 year olds and above 16 year olds. Be the top 5 fastest to dash across the slackline in your age category to win! The fastest wins $300 worth of vouchers, second receives $200 worth of vouchers while third and fourth/fifth gets $100 and $50 worth of vouchers respectively.

Good enough reason for me to try it out too! LOL.


DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY THE PHOTO. I fell immediately after this photo was snapped so slacklining is definitely not as easy as it looks!

A leaderboard will feature the fastest participants and their timings. Should the person on the leader board be replaced, he or she can spend again to participate. The more you spend the more chances you have! And psst... here's a tip, if you are a Friends of HFC cardmember, the first 30 to sign up the Level 1 Customer Service Counter gets one free attempt at the Slackline Dash Challenge!


The prizes do not stop there - Spend a minimum of $50 to stand a chance to win OSIM massage chairs with a total worth up to $10,000 in HarbourFront Centre's Lucky Draw (1 Jun to 8 Jul 2018)! Friends of HFC receive double chances!

But you have to be quick though. The Slackline performances end this Sunday (17 Jun) and after catching the show with the monkies, here are a few tips: Each performance is about 30 minutes including audience engagement. No spending is required to watch the performance and it can be observed from Level 1 to 3 at the Central Atrium.


GIVEAWAY!

HabrbourFront Centre are giving away 30 FREE Passes to my readers! All you have to do is to be the FIRST 30 to head down to the Customer Service Centre at HarbourFront Centre L1 and flash this blog post to redeem ONE FREE Pass!

Terms and Conditions:
- Passes are given out on a first-come-first-served basis
- While stocks last
- Free Pass is not exchangeable for cash
- Limited to one FREE Pass per reader

Happy Holidays!


Useful Information

Slackline Performance
Dates: Now until 17 Jun 2018 (No shows on 11 Jun)
Timings: Weekdays - 1pm & 7pm | Weekends & PH - 1pm, 3pm, 5pm & 7pm
Venue: Central Atrium, HarbourFront Centre
FREE Admission

Slickline Dash Challenge
Dates: Now until 17 Jun 2018 (except 11 Jun)
Timings: 12pm - 8pm
Venue: Central Atrium, HarbourFront Centre
*Spend $30 to redeem one chance (Max of 2 same-day receipts & max of 4 redemptions per shopper per day)

For more information, visit harbourfrontcentre.com.sg



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Jun 11, 2018

Gain Absolute Power over your Kids' Smartphones with the Tittle for Parents (MUAHAHA!)

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Advertorial

If your kids have their own mobile phones, you do not need me to tell you that there are many days in a week, or even a month, when conflicts arise due to the usage and time spent on their mobile devices.

I feel you.


So I shall cut to the chase and let you in on a great parental control app I discovered a few weeks ago. And I shall be honest about it - when I was first approached to review this app, my first thought was, "Why not? I will try it out but I am pretty certain that I will probably delete this app after a few weeks because it will outlive its usefulness by then".

Boy, I was so wrong.

Today, the app is still going strong in my phone and I am still using it every day to track both Ash's and Ayd's - Ale doesn't have a phone yet - mobile usage activity. In fact, I have introduced it to some of my friends and they have already been using it too!


Name of the app? Tittle.


Available on Android and iOS, Tittle is the parental control app which I never knew I needed but it has turned out to be possibly the biggest saviour for me when it comes to managing both Ash's and Ayd's screen times.

To put it simply, Tittle helps parents control and keep track of their children’s smartphones. Not only does the app aid me in curbing the boys' time on their phones, it also allows me to track their whereabouts as well as helping them navigate through the internet in a more effective manner. The latter is hugely important because you know, everything from good to bad is lurking online nowadays.


So yes, Tittle is occupying the prime spot on my phone's first page and here are the reasons why:

Easy to set up

To set up Tittle, you will have to download the app onto TWO (or more if you have more than 1 child) mobile phones - your phone and your child's phone. Open the app on both phones and pair the two devices together by scanning the QR code shown in your device’s app. And you are all set!



App Access
*Feature is limited in iOS devices

Tittle gives you the ability to view ALL of your kids' apps on their smartphones and control them too. No more tucking away an app in an obscure folder on the phone - Parents will be able to know every single app on the child's phone.


More importantly, you have the power to block access to various apps and browsers at your discretion. Let's say you want to prevent your children from using Instagram and YouTube during weekdays, you can block the respective apps from loading with just a click each. Better yet, you can disable access to all apps for all child devices with just one click!

App Activity
*Feature exclusive to Android devices

Tittle gets even more powerful as it allows you to see your children’s app activity on their smartphones. You can easily monitor which apps your kids have downloaded as well as the apps they have deleted too!


It even gives updates on the apps that have been updated in the store. Oh yes, rest assured they can not delete the Tittle app from their smartphone. Heh.

App Usage
*Feature exclusive to Android devices

This feature allows parents to check the amount of time their child spends on each mobile app. Very useful if you need solid proof to back up your claim that your child is spending way too much time on Fortnite or YouTube!


Data Usage
*Feature exclusive to Android devices

The vastness of the internet is a very powerful thing. In fact, it is so powerful that my monkies can sometimes spend hours and hours trawling the web for information, articles and videos. Who watches TV these days? And sometimes, they can get so engrossed in using their devices that they forget to switch to WiFi... which is bad news for my wallet!


With the Tittle app, I can set a daily/weekly/monthly data limit so that the kids’ data usage can be monitored remotely. The data on Tittle gets updated every 15 minutes, giving us a good sense of the consumption and is a good feature to have.


Schedule


We all need some order in our lives and ditto for kids. While the wifey and I employ a strict 'No phones after 9pm rule', I admit that screen time is harder to manage in the day time when they are in school or at home while we are still at work.

Again, Tittle is a lifesaver when it comes to managing how much time my kids are spending on smartphones. All I have to do is to create multiple time block schedules - adding a To-Do activity list for a particular day AND managing the apps that are accessible to them during that time.


Before a schedule starts, they will receive a notification from Tittle that the schedule will begin in 10 mins time, and to save whatever they are working on. Therein lies the beauty of the Tittle app - it encourages communication between parent and child and is not solely based on a one-sided control. Through the introduction of schedules, the app helps to set boundaries that the kids must adhere to but yet empowers them to be responsible enough to complete the activities before access to the phone is granted.


Location and Geofencing

With Ash being in Secondary School this year, the frequency of him hanging out with his friends after school will increase. So it is extremely useful that Tittle is able to track a child's location as well. Great if your kids travel to and from school on their own, or even when they are out with their friends.


Even if the child’s device loses connection or goes into sleep mode, you will receive an app notification too. In the Location screen, the marker will turn grey and the ‘Last Seen’ address will be displayed instead.

Besides location tracking, Tittle also offers a Geofencing option where you can set boundaries using specific addresses or Google landmarks. It's like having your child tell you that he/she is going to a friend's house in Punggol. You can set up to 2km boundary radius from that friend's house location and should your child enter or leave that area, you will receive notification alerts. Pretty useful!

Web Tracking

The internet is one huge Pandora box. That I think all of us can agree.

Older kids may be more discerning (hopefully) but what about younger kids? Even though Ale does not a have a phone yet, she is also spending more time on the internet these days as she uses her brothers' phones sometimes .And for a 7-year-old, parental guidance on the internet is absolutely necessary.

Monitoring and blocking what they access in a web browser is vital and thankfully, Tittle has a feature for that too.


Kids will be able to access a custom web browser within the Tittle app on their phone (which means you have to disable all other web browsers to 'force' them to use it). But the advantage in doing so is being able to review your child’s website history with the custom browser, and safeguard them from inappropriate content (such as violent, gambling or adult websites) by blocking these URLs. One nifty feature is you can also view and block websites that were blocked by others.

Tasks

Now this is one of my fave feature of the lot. Parents can create daily or recurring tasks for their kids via the app. You can set goals, due dates and rewards to motivate them.


This is how it will look like on the child's phone:


And thanks to the in-built messaging tool, parent and child can communicate through messages within the specific task.


Task completed? All you have to do is to acknowledge it on the app!




Multi-Access

Manage and control all your child devices via multiple parent access. So even if you are overseas for work, you can still have peace of mind.

What all of the above means is Tittle is highly mobile and convenient. I can access Tittle anytime and anywhere - with just one click.

Just one caveat though - due to various limitations of the iOS in Apple's iPhones, Android phones are recommended as the preferred devices for kids in order for all the features that I mentioned above to work effectively.

After using it for close to one month, I have to say Tittle is THE best app in its class if you are looking to control your kids' smartphones. And this is coming from a parent who has tried a number of parental control apps over the years.


Controlling a child's phone no doubt is great... especially if the child is still young. But with Tittle, I find that the objective is not that of cutting down the screen time (it does help too). Rather, it is more about helping the child manage screen time well and aiding him or her in using it right.

I am able to see the apps Ash and Ayd are using and downloading, how long they are using the phone, block access to the phone or certain apps at various times, set tasks and track their current location. All these with just a few taps and swipes of the Tittle app on my phone.

Okay okay, so the app is super good BUT HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Well, you better believe it - TITTLE IS AVAILABLE FOR A FREE TRIAL PERIOD OF 14 DAYS!

All of the features that I mentioned are included during the free trial period so no harm in trying Tittle out and judge for yourself if it is effective for you as it has been for me.

Absolute power? You got it.



For more information, visit tittleforparents.com


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