Oct 30, 2014

Celebrating Four

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Dear Ale,

Look what you did again, even after I warned you about it last year

You turn older today and by golly, it's already your 4th Birthday! You are growing up way so fast that I feel like I am missing the entire process... even though I am beside you the whole time. 


You have grown so much in these past twelve months. And I am so proud of the young lady you are turning out to be. You make you Mummy and me laugh all the time and you love to laugh with us. You bring a new aspect to our lives that we never knew could be so enriching.

Just a few weeks back when your Mummy had to work late on her computer, you told her that you would accompany her in the living room by sleeping on the sofa.

And when I get home from work, you run to the door shouting "Papa, Papa!" and hug my fat thighs, my heart melts every single time. How much longer are you going to keep doing that? I don't have the answer, but you can be sure that I will be savoring every minute of it until you decide it's uncool to do so.


Can I tell you a secret too?

I actually love that you have that little bit of a Diva streak in you. Not so much when you are screaming at me, but when you out your foot down sometimes and are not afraid to have an opinion of your own. But you certainly deserve a prize for listening more to me and your Mummy too, and learning to have fun in the most creative ways I have ever seen.

Because quite simply, you make us smile when we are in the worst of moods.


As you continue take control of your life, it is sometimes hard for us to watch you grow. Just the thought of you moving further away from a toddler brings a tear to my eye. Yes, Daddies do cry.

But whatever happens, I just want you to know that from the minute you were born, I was proud to be your Daddy and nothing will ever, ever change my love for you.

Happy 4th Birthday, Diva.


Still a die-hard fan of yours,

Daddy


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Oct 29, 2014

Why Won't My Kid Sleep?

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It didn't happen with the 2 boys but with Ale, it has become somewhat of a daily tedious routine. All because she is the undisputed queen of bedtime stalling tactics. Whether she's still bouncing off walls or genuinely tired, she still refuses to go to sleep come bedtime. So more often than not, the wifey or me ends up falling asleep on the bed before she does!

But to be honest, even though it takes a crazily long time to get through all of her delay tactics, I do have to give credit when it is due - top marks for the sheer creative excuses that she comes up with every single night. Enough excuses to even fill up a BINGO card.

So go ahead, download the BINGO card that I have created below and use it to strike off any excuse that your child comes up with when it is time for bed. Connect 5 in a row horizontally, vertically or diagonally to win. 

What's the prize, you ask? How about knowing that you are not alone in this exasperating journey called Parenthood.


In case you are wondering, YES these are actual excuses that Ale had uttered when she does not want to go to bed. *wail*

So... how many can you identify with?


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Oct 27, 2014

Brothers & Sister

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If Ash and Ayd had a dollar every time a stranger asks whether they are twins, their piggy banks would be clinking full of coins by now. But until now, I still cannot see the resemblance. 

Perhaps it is the way they go about doing things together that make it seem that they have been inseparable since birth. As long as Ayd has been in this world, his older brother has been beside him every inch of the way. He simply knows no other life than that with Ash. . 

Whenever Ayd needs help with something, he goes right to Ash. When Ayd hits a roadblock in constructing his LEGO sets, Ash will be the one he actively seeks for assistance. When Ash first entered Primary School, Ayd was in K2. For the first quarter of that year, Ayd was extremely susceptible to mood swings and emotional outbursts in school. When we had a talk with him, he admitted that he felt a little lost and helpless without his elder brother in Kindergarten.

Of course, as much as they are close and great playmates together, they are as different as they can be when it comes to their characters. For one, Ash is definitely the more athletic one. He loves outdoor activities, better yet if they involve lots of climbing, jumping and tumbling. He picks up sports pretty fast, and loves it best when I play wrestling with him every other time.

Ayd, on the other hand, doesn't quite possess the athletic streak like his older brother. I remember a few years back when the wifey was teaching the 2 boys how to do a forward roll on the mattress. Ash got it almost instantaneously. As for Ayd, he took a grand total of 2 nights to finally master it.

At least he had the determination to accomplish it no matter what. And this is what sets Ayd apart from Ash - resilience. Of the two, Ayd is the one who tends to follow through whatever task he is given, no matter how long it takes.

Throw their little sister into the mix though, and I think their differences almost always evaporate immediately. Yes, Ale is their common enemy who is bent on causing great disturbance and distress when she is in one of her Diva moods.


But that’s not to say they loathe her... even though I have to keep them from killing each other on some days.

I guess at the end of the day, they are a bit like those siblings from The Simpsons - Bart, Lisa and Maggie. For all the fights and squabbles that those three get into for the past 25 years - yes, The Simpsons has been on air for that long! - shared love, commitment, and connection are the most important forces holding a family together. They stick, no matter what. 

And it is these forces that make these three monkies such a joy to be with, and heartwarming to call them mine.


Even though one of them inadvertently always tries to sabotage whenever I try to snap a good photo.


And if you are a fan of The Simpsons, you can deck the kids out in the new Simpsons' collection from FOX Kids & Baby! Apart from the two tees that Ash and Ayd wore in the photos above, check out the other cool designs HERE.

What's more, stand to win FOX Kids & Baby apparel worth $50 simply by snapping a photo of your kids with anything Simpsons related and uploading it to Instagram! Just remember to include the hastags #FOXSimpsons & #foxfashionsg too. It does not matter if it is a costume or toy, as long as it is related to the Simpsons they all count! Need inspiration? See HERE. Three winners will be picked, so start snapping!


To keep updated with the latest news and promotions from FOX Kids & Baby, follow them on Facebook.


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Oct 25, 2014

Getting Waxed at Madame Tussauds Singapore

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Media Invite

I have a confession to make: I have never had any desire to go to a Madame Tussauds Museum. Granted that I have been to my fair share of museums in Singapore and other countries, but I have never gave the wax attraction more than a quick gloss over Total tourist trap, is all I ever thought.

Well, all I needed was Bruce Lee's flying kick to awaken me to all the fun that a Madame Tussauds Museum can bring. Wacky poses included.


Officially opening its doors TODAY (25 October 2014) at Imbiah Lookout on Sentosa, Madame Tussauds Singapore is split into different themed sections such as World Leaders, TV, Film, Sport, Music, as well as A-List Party.

Since it was the entire Cheekiemonkie family's first time visiting Madame Tussauds, we did not really know what to expect... except that it houses more than 60 wax figures of internationally known personalities. Some were expectantly unfamiliar to the boys, but they had a thrill in identifying those that they recognised.

Like Yusof bin Ishak, Singapore's first president, who Ayd proudly exclaimed, "Hey, that's the man in our money!"


No prizes for guessing what sort of royalty that Ale haboured a desire to be then.

One thing that I did not expect was the huge amount of interactivity that one can enjoy with the wax figures. Unlike most museums have 'DO NOT TOUCH' signs plastered all over, visitors to Madame Tussauds are encouraged to interact with the figures.


Yes, go ahead and touch every wax figure. Trade punches with Muhammad Ali, don some yellow boots just like Phua Chu Kang, or rock on with Taylor Swift - this is probably the closest we ever got to touching them, touching their clothes, and even touching their skin!


Speaking of skin, can I just say the wax figures are amazingly detailed and realistic???


How realistic? Not only is everything modeled proportionally, even the armpit hair is not excluded!


The props provided at the various areas within the museum were a huge plus. It definitely made the experience much more interactive and fun because after all, one can only take so many selfies with people who do not move a muscle. 

But with the props, it made the photo-taking a much livelier affair.


And if you know Ayd, he is one who treats the art of acting really seriously.


Way tooooo seriously.


Ditto for me... if only Madonna's most famous piece of apparel could fit me.


So thanks to the various hands-on costumes, props and equipment, the monkies were kept busy and of course this made my task of photographing them a tad easier.


I reckon Ayd was the one who clearly enjoyed himself most of the lot, as he treated the was figures in the museum like they were in the Trickeye Museum!


See what I mean?


The only area where the monkies got a little bored was in the A-List Party zone which had Hollywood celebrities mulling about in an elegant room: Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, etc. Basically it is just famous people in fancy clothes, which did not really appeal to the monkies.


But overall, the visit was a lot of fun and I’m glad we finally viewed the wax figures at a Madame Tussauds Museum. One particular interesting zone was the one where we were shown how a wax figure was brought to life - from its skeleton to the plastering of the wax and other facial features.


Oh and in a world's first, Madame Tussauds Singapore is the only one to feature a water boat ride. Called ‘Spirit of Singapore’, the four-minute long boat ride takes visitors on a journey, celebrating the iconic sights of Singapore from Marina Bay Sands to the Singapore Flyer, Botanical Gardens and the F1 night race. 


The props truly upped the fun factor a notch, which gave us the perfect excuse to immerse ourselves into the scenes of movies and world of sports, jam out with famous artistes, and even play dress up.


After all, someone has got to pose and look silly for the camera other than the stiffs at the wax museum, no?


Useful Information

Madame Tussauds Singapore
Images of Singapore, Imbiah Lookout
40 Imbiah Rd, Sentosa
Singapore 099700
Opening Hours: 10am to 9pm daily (Last Admission at 7.30pm)
Tickets: Adults S$30 | Senior Citizens (>60) S$27 | Children (3-12) S$20
*Online Ticket Prices: Adults S$26 | Senior Citizens (>60) S$23 | Children (3-12) S$16
Website: www.madametussauds.com/Singapore/


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Oct 23, 2014

A TV that is Smarter than Smart

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It's getting increasingly hard to buy a non-smart television these days. The norm for televisions these days seems to be the ability to go beyond watching usual TV shows - whether they offer one-touch access to apps, surf the web and stream internet videos from the comfort of one's sofa. Popularly known as Smart TVs, televisions have certainly come a long way since the days of black and white shows.

But not all Smart TVs are created equal and with Toshiba's newly launched TV with Android L54 series, it looks set to the leader in the field of Smart TVs.


First things first, the Toshiba L5450 series is one lean machine, and comes packed with a suite of innovative features such as CEVO Engine Premium, Intelligent Scene Optimiser and new eco-friendly initiatives essential for bringing home viewers closer to professional theatre experience on a larger screen.


More importantly though, it has the honour of being the FIRST digital TV with Android in Asia so what this means is one will be able to enjoy abundance of Apps with the sustainable Android open platform.


Think having an Android phablet or tablet, but on a much much much larger scale! Not only will there be thousands of apps available for download from the Google Play Store, watching online movies and music videos, browsing the web and playing online games will never be the same again.

Yes, even viewing Word documents, spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations on the TV.


And speaking of playing games, I had the opportunity to try out a game app that was downloaded from the Google Play Store. I had initially wondered if the graphics would suffer as a result of the huge screen size but as things turned out, my gaming experience on the big screen was anything but disappointing.


Oh, and did I mention that the L54 series is also capable of supporting external game pads for playing Android games? No additional drivers are needed to make the controllers work, I was told.

Just like any device that runs on Android, one will be able to customize the home screen with “live wall paper” - think swimming kois - and drag & drop widgets too.


Web browsing is also a cinch, with the option adding instant bookmarks to the home screen a breezy affair.


The great thing about Toshiba's TV with Android L54 series is everyone in the family will be able to personalize their apps and settings by logging into their individual user accounts. Even an Android tablet cannot do that!

One of the great advantages that Toshiba's L54 has over its competitors is the presence of far more onboard memory within the TV. Other brands' Smarts TVs typically come with less than 1GB of memory space, leaving inadequate free space for the download of desired apps. Toshiba's L54 contains more that twice of the memory space, which essentially translates to being able to download more apps for the family.


Love singing? The Toshiba L54 is able to fulfill your karaoke cravings by turning YouTube music videos into karaoke soundtracks with its “Audio Source Filtering”. Don't ask me how it is done, but all I know that you will be able to block out the lyrics of the music video while keeping the music in the background.


The first thing that came to my mind when I saw this feature was that of Ale singing 'Let It Go'... on Repeat mode.

All in, my first impression of Toshiba's TV with Android L54 series is that everything is beautifully simple. Whether it is web-browsing, watching online videos or playing games, the interface is as easy to use and intuitive as one can get... all because it is run on the familiar Android platform.


The downside? It may be tough to wrestle that remote away from every one else in the family!


Check out all the cool stuff the Toshiba TV with Android L54 series can do in the video below!



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Oct 22, 2014

What is your Parenting Superpower?

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I think you should know this by now - Parenting requires a superhuman level of effort.

It can be like facing the villains from the Marvel AND DC universe all at once or having to take down the entire army of foot soldiers (and Shredder). Because I have often wondered where my kids get their paranormal strength, screaming fits and energy from. But yet, we parents also have abilities to combat these super villains.


True, we parents have not benefited from being bitten by radioactive spiders, or being the last son of Krypton but that is not to say we do not have power.  On the contrary, our dormant superhero genes are awakened the moment our child is born. Come to think of it, my own mother had the “eyes in the back of her head” superpower when I was growing up.

So yes, there are many other types of parenting superpowers out there. Which parenting superhero are you?

1. Super Hearing. We can hear the slightest cry when we are showering in the bathroom, or even if they were on the 20th floor of a high-rise building. Of course, that would also mean we can pick up the slightest of sounds when the baby stirs in the middle of the night. Luckily for us Dads, we do not seem to have this superpower.

2. Superhuman Agility.  It only takes one time stepping on a LEGO brick or Hot Wheels toy car before we learn how to navigate through the toys on the floor.

3. Telepathy. There is a mental connection between parent and child. It usually involves the child stealing a fear from the parent, and implementing it with brutal accuracy. How else will we know that our child is going to wake up the moment we sit down for a rest, or whine about wanting a Princess Elsa doll while walking through Toys ‘R’ Us?

4. Spider Sense. Just like Spider-man, our sense of danger usually tinkles when we already know that our child will spill his drink a split second before the hand swipes the cup. Or when the kids have been quiet for far too long.

5. Super Smell. We can smell the first wafts of whatever that comes out of our kids’ bottoms, even when they are a few metres away.

6. Healing Touch. When our child wakes up in the middle of the night crying and complaining of pains in the body, we do the magic healing rub on him and get him back to bed quickly enough. All these, without having to fully awaken ourselves.

7. Sonic Booms.  A single yell of “Go to Bed NOW!” or “STOP it right NOW!” is enough to make everyone stop dead in their tracks, and the children cower in fear.

8. Mind control. Just the widening of the eyes will be able to convey the message of  “Just wait til we get home” and in some cases, powerful enough to our kids stop whatever wrongs they are doing.

9. Teleportation. Scrambling to three different schools to drop off the kids,  including peeling off that clingy toddler and running for our lives, and still be at work by 9am with a coffee in hand. How do we do it? There can only be one reason.

10. Super Strength. Step aside, Hulk. Carrying 2 sleeping kids while pushing another pram after a day out at Disneyland back to the hotel has got to count for something.

So, what is your Superpower?


---

This article first appeared on Maybe Baby Singapore, as part of my monthly contributions to the website.


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Oct 20, 2014

Organic Milk Goodness in a Tablet

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Did you know that when it comes to our children's health, building healthy bones by adopting healthy nutritional and lifestyle habits early in childhood is paramount in preventing osteoporosis and fractures later in life?

The bone mass attained in childhood and adolescence is an important determinant of lifelong skeletal health, so neglecting bone health is far more likely to lead to brittle bones. All the more important to form good bone health habits from a young age then! And the two most important lifelong bone health habits to encourage now are proper nutrition and plenty of physical activity.

So what of us parents, who are already in our late twenties and thirties? The hard truth is that as our bones reach maximum density at the age of 30, we start to lose bone mass at a faster rate. Lack of proper calcium supplementation can lead to diseases such as osteoporosis, hypertension, arthritis, and even rickets. These conditions are real and can affect everyone from the very young to the old, and even the seemingly healthy.

And as much as we would like to be eating for healthy bones - which means getting plenty of foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D - this can sometimes be difficult due to our hectic lifestyles. This is where supplementation, particularly from natural food sources, is beneficial.


Omical is the only organic milk supplement in the market and might be the closest-to-natural way to top up our daily calcium levels. Most of the other calcium supplements that are made of calcium carbonate, lactate or gluconate are derived from sources such as crushed up rocks, shells and bones, which carry potential contamination with toxic substances like lead or mercury. *shudder*

And this is where Omical is different - it is derived from pure milk, the first and most natural, wholesome form of calcium that allows optimal absorption compared to other supplements.

In fact, Omical is certified to be free from antibiotics, pesticide residues, dioxins, artificial colour, gluten and preservatives, INCLUDING a lab test by HSA confirming that Omical has no traces of lead, mercury, and arsenic. Which makes it safe for everyone, including children!


The convenient thing about Omical is not only is it a calcium supplement, it contains other key components like magnesium, vitamin D, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc and copper - minerals that are combined to be
closest to human bones, ensuring optimal bone health.


Each tablet contains 250mg of elemental calcium per tablet, which is easy to swallow and free of any smells or after-taste. The recommended dosage is two tablets one to two times a day, or as directed by your physician.


All the calcium content and its advantages are good but for me, the main selling point of popping Omical tablets into my mouth daily can be attributed to one benefit: I am able to get my calcium intake minus the fat!

Because dairy products can also be high in saturated fat and if you know me, that is a luxury I can ill afford. So with Omical, it is able to help me meet your calcium needs in a safe and convenient manner. Even better for those who are lactose intolerant, which effectively rules out the consumption of milk. Omical is also safe for this group of people!


With Omical having the best absorption with mineral ratio closest to the human bone, it is NOT only a calcium supplement but a milk mineral complex as well. Because nothing beats consuming something that is derived from pure milk AND getting all the nutrients from milk, but WITHOUT the fat, steroids, antibiotics and hormones.

[GIVEAWAY!]

But don’t take my word for it – try it out for yourself! Omical is giving 10 of our cheekiemonkie readers the chance to receive some samples just by filling up the form below.



Or better yet, how about winning a full-sized bottle of Omical? I have FIVE to give away! To take part, just answer this simple question:

How is Omical different from other calcium supplements?

Leave your answer either in the comments section of this post, or in the corresponding Facebook post HERE.

The giveaway is open to residents in Singapore, and closes on 31 Oct 2014. Good luck on winning the samples and the full-sized bottle!


Omical is available at pharmacies like Watsons, Guardian, Unity as well as OG and hospital pharmacies. For more information on Omical, visit www.omical.com.sg.


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