Review: Child Safety Seat Belt Positioning Pad

I don’t know about your kids but mine absolutely hates a car seat. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that they have never gotten used to one before since we only purchased a car slightly over a year ago. It’s also because we never did manage to secure the car seat to the car. It just slides around no matter whether we strapped this way or that. And because we didn’t know how the kids will take to the car seat, we bought one to try and another booster seat. But the boys just end up fighting over who gets what, depending on how best I sugar coated each apparatus to entice them.

Eventually I gave up.

So for a period of time, we went without any seats. Will I get the traffic police knocking on my doors soon? The boys were simply buckled in like an adult and if the strap was in the way, it was simply arranged to the back. Not a very safe option I know. Hence I am always driving with this trepidation in my heart.

So imagine my excitement when I discovered the child safety belt positioning pad!  Check out the merchant’s pictures below.

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This seat belt adjuster provides proper placement of the safety belt and makes for a more comfortable and safer ride. The product hails from south korea and its made of air mesh fabric so it doesn’t pile on the heat. This is a plus for my kids who are very finicky about staying cool. It’s also been crash tested and proven to work for adults.

To use,

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I purchased the aforementioned product for about SGD $11. Then, I discovered another version of this car seat positioning pad which was just selling for about SGD $7 during a time sale on Qoo10 website. Unlike the former, this one has 4 buttons instead of one (see merchant’s picture below.)

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So instead of sliding the seat belt through the positioning pad, I simply unbutton this new pad and lay it flat against my child’s abdomen. Then, I will buckle the seat belt for my boy in the usual way. After careful placement of the seat belt within the pad, I will button the solitary button and eventually the other three buttons in a row (see picture below).

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Compared to the former, it is way easier for me. The former usually require me to pull more of the seat belt first so that I can get a decent length into the positioning pad. Thereafter I needed to do some fine tuning to get it into the correct position on my son’s body. It does take some awkward bending over and in the first couple of tries, I felt so tired from the stretching and bending. It did get better with more practice.

Version II is also made of the same air mesh material on the outside with 100% polyester on the inside. It is available in 4 colours instead of 2 for the former.

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So, what about my kids’ review?

Xmm is three years old and about 96 cm in height. This is him with version II.

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This is how version I looks like on him. The shoulder strap cuts too close to his neck hence it ended up like this.

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Xxm is about 110 cm tall. He is also very fond of his positioning pad, so much so he will remind me to put it on for him.

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I guess the other plus point is its portability.  If you happen to travel with your kids on a friend’s or relative’s car, you can easily bring this along instead of a car seat.

Due to my short stature, this positioning pad works great for me as well. The merchant has recommended that it is suitable for children, adults and pregnant women.

At least for now, we are travelling safer than before. Well behaved and cooperative kids makes for a safer and more pleasant ride.

Try one and let me know what you think.

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Creating a Mini-garden

A terrarium is a self-contained mini ecosystem that requires minimal care. It is fun to make and makes wonderful gifts.

A terrarium is an excellent learning tool for children. According to Terrarium Man, there are three lessons that children can gleaned from creating a terrarium, namely;

▪ Stewardship of the earth
▪ Life cycle of the plants
▪ Interconnectivity of ecosystems

Let Xxm show you how to create your own terrarium.

1. Using any container which you can easily recycle from your home, lay a layer of gravel or stones at the bottom of the terrarium. This serves to provide drainage for the water in the terrarium.
2. Next, layer charcoal onto the gravel. Charcoal gets rid of any odour or smell and keeps the air fresh. Hence this is needed only if you are making a closed terrarium.
3. Dried moss is laid on the charcoal. This prevents the soil from settling down into the gravel.
If you are working with young kids like Xxm or Xmm, you may like to prepack the materials in small bags like shown.

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4. The next layer is normal potting soil mix. Create a wide hole in the middle for your plants.
5. Put your plants into the hole and cover the soil and arrange the plants. Ensure all roots are covered.
6. For the finishing touch, add decorative pebbles on top of the soil.
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Xxm is arranging the pebbles with a chopstick.
7. Add about a tablespoon of water to the base of the plants. Cover the lid and there you have it! Your personal terrarium.

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You can decorate the bottle and add cute embellishments together with the plants like this one I made for my husband at the Little Green Pot Terrarium Workshop. I highly recommend this workshop. All materials are provided and the instructor delivers with knowledge and love for his plants. It is also very competitively priced.

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This activity is best enjoyed together with your loved ones. Hope you like it!

A Simple Chinese New Year Craft

The boys have been stricken with a horrid viral infection since last Tuesday. I was not spared either. Chinese New Year preparations have taken a standstill. By a stroke of ingenuity, I thought of a simple craft to keep the boys entertained, retain my rest and decorate the house for the new year.

What you will need:
▪ Straws
▪ Glue
▪ Scissors
▪ Coloured paper
▪ Marker

1. Xxm and Xmm practiced their cutting skills by snipping the straws lengthwise. It proved difficult for them because the straw was rather firm but Xxm managed it eventually. It was great seeing him exercise better hand control. Xmm needed assistance.
2. Write a “福” which meant prosperity on each coloured paper.
3. Slather on the glue and stick the straws away.

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They really enjoyed this craft and here are pictures of the end product.

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May you enjoy bountiful prosperity too!

Chinese Zodiac Printables

Chinese New Year 2014 is fast approaching in approximately two weeks time. 31st January and 1st February to be exact. This year, I decided to share with the boys the origins of the Chinese Zodiac. I got Xxm to help create the backdrop while I worked on the story props. And this is our final product.

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Then I got all excited and carried away and created a Chinese Zodiac printable pack suitable for preschoolers. In it, you will find activities such as Chinese and English word recognition, patterning, graphing and more. Here is a little preview.

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Please click on this link to download the files. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Speaking The Right Love Language

Events in my life never fail to amaze me with their coincidence to issues that matter close to my heart. As such, I am a firm believer of “Everything happening for a reason.”

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Of late, there is a feeling of restlessness within me. I am fully aware that I have been neglecting my relationship with Meow as another aspect of my life had been drawing the life out of me. Words were left unspoken and issues were simply buried under the covers. Meow’s way of coping or rather loving me was to unassumingly take on from where I dropped off at home. Much as I appreciated him for his efforts, I was not comforted and could not find peace within myself. Increasingly, resentment sets in. Self doubt and exasperation in quick succession.

It was a stroke of luck and opportunity that I chanced upon a talk – Speaking The Right Love Language at the national library last weekend. I was there, revising for an upcoming examination. Attending the talk was the best thing that happened to me that day.

The talk was part of the marriage preparation course conducted by Touch Community for soon-to-be couples or newly weds. There were about 20 participants, in their 30s to 60s. Couples made up half the numbers, the rest were alone like me. One couple was in their 60s and I thought it was simply beautiful for them to still explore new ways of loving one another. The premise of the talk was to improve communication between couples which is the reason why many marriages fail according to the presenter Mr. Goh who is a marriage counsellor.

During the presentation, he spoke off the five love languages which are five ways to express and experience love. The love languages are namely:

Words of affirmation
• Said or written expressions of love and encouragement

Quality time
• Values intimate moments with your loved ones

Receiving of gifts
• Likes little surprises

Acts of service
• Off-loading your loved one
• E.g. making a cup of coffee for your spouse who values acts of services

Touch
• Feels loved with physical acts of intimacy

The talk was an eureka moment for me as I recalled how Meow typically expresses his love for me. My primary love language is quality time, followed by acts of services. Meow chooses to express his love for me through sweet nothings and gentle caresses. Back then when I did not know better, I felt that he was flippant with his words and I felt incapacitated by his sudden hugs or caresses. I disliked the interruption. Meow used to joke that he enjoys irritating me.

After attending the talk, I realised it is crucial that both parties understand each other’s primary love language to better meet each other’s needs. I for one, does not say the three sacred words easily. Having known that words of affirmation ranks high on Meow’s charts, I shall be more generous with the term. I also made known my primary love language to Meow so that the next time I asked for time out with him, he will not suggest bringing the boys along or scheduling errands to run.

This is indeed a valuable talk which is definitely worth attending. Attendance is free and moreover, you will receive a love kit with 101 ideas for you and your spouse to rekindle the spark you once had. Some of my favourite ideas include:
• Listen to each other’s heartbeat
• Refill your spouse’s cup before it is empty
• Go out for the evening and tell people you are on your honeymoon

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Read about the 5 love languages @

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Dr. Gary Chapman

Determine your primary love language by answering the questions @ http://www.5lovelanguages.com

This theory can also be applied to a parent-child relationship.

Hope you have fun exploring you and your loved ones love language. Do not let your love transpire!

One Wet Day

The month of November is especially wet. Torrential rain beat down on my windscreen as I made my way home. It was one of those days where a minute out in the rain will drench you from top to toe. As I drove into the tunnel leading to the expressway, I passed by a group of motorcyclists seeking refuge from the rain. I reminded myself that this was precisely the reason why I never took up riding.

Somehow today I took a second glance at the motorcyclists. Perhaps it was because I was driving very slowly. Or perhaps it was due to the lack of scenery in the tunnel. Just today, for some reason I allowed my eyes to linger a little while longer on these lonesome motorists.

Something caught my attention. These motorists didn’t seem perturbed by their situation. Many were just sitting there, staring out into the sky. There was no telling when the rain would stop. For this brief moment, life has come to a standstill for them.

It suddenly dawned on me the true reason why I didn’t like riding. Yes, there was the issue of the weather elements. However, the real reason is that I cannot cope with unexpected changes in my plans.

It has been ages since life has come to a halt for me. The last time was probably in 2006 when I visited Xinjiang, China. Time had flown by the last 6 years as I worked to build up my family and complete my studies. Indeed this was a trying period as my vulnerability is exposed time and again.

Perhaps it’s time I pick up riding. Time spent mulling under the bridge might teach me a thing or two about taking life easy.  My life is definitely full right now, but the lid on it should be removed for the exuberance of life to be experienced again.

Our First Life Lesson

The boys and I were out window shopping one day. In their usual free spirited self, they were running ahead of me, all the time laughing and entertaining themselves. It was a rare opportunity for me as well to catch up on the latest trends and happenings in the city. I walked through the mall like a prowling tiger. Eyes darting left and right, quickly sieving out the things that interest me and actively scanning the labels to get a quick idea of the product. The corners of my eyes were also used to map out the location of my two misfits. I dare say there weren’t any blind spots in my field of vision. My ears have probably grown bigger too since becoming a mum. I could always make out the direction of my boys’ ultrasonic cries from a distance. It was coming from Xxm who had lost me in his field of vision. I am quickly reminded of how he is so alike his father, a bat so blind that they cannot see this beautiful vision before them.  Ahem…..

Suddenly, it dawned on me that I had never taught the boys how to handle such a situation. Honestly I really do not know the S.O.P for it myself. They are too young to remember my number and knowing them, they will be momentarily incapacitated. I needed an action plan to deliver their lives’ very first important lesson. There it comes again, the cries of my eldest seeking for me again. This time, I grabbed hold of him and said to him, “if you cannot find mummy again, hold didi’s (Xmm) hands and do not run about. I will come and look for you.”

I wasn’t sure if my instructions were understood. I needed to know if the boys could really handle the situation if it arises. I wasn’t leaving it to chances. So to verify, I decided to give the boys a test. I distracted them and proceeded to hide myself behind a pillar. I spied their two little bodies from afar, my heart pounding like the flutter of a butterfly’s wings. What if they decided to run in two opposite directions to look for me? What will I do then? Many thoughts and possibilities raced through my head. And then the moment came……

The little one was first to notice that I was gone. Xxm was alerted and both were asking each other, “where’s mummy?” There was a passerby next to them who simply looked on bewildered. My heart panicked as I watched the grown man helpless in that situation. What’s more my two young kids? Xmm then decided to try seeking for me. Instantaneously Xxm shot his hand out and grabbed hold of his younger brother. For the record, he hates holding hands with his brother. He held it firm and both boys just started yelling for me. It was too much for me to bear and I quickly reappeared from behind the pillar. I reassured them and praised their behaviour, especially that of Xxm. I reminded them again of my instructions and soon it was all merry again.

The incident took no more than 2 minutes. As I reflected upon this, I decided that I needed to train them more. I needed to know how they would react with the passage of time. Would they still stay together? Would Xxm break down to a point that he wouldn’t be able to cope with the situation? Would Xmm be able to watch out for his older brother since he is the one with a stronger character?  I contemplated to repeat my experiment again, to test their reactions so that I can teach them the most appropriate response. Sounds easy, but it requires a great deal of strengthening on my part first.

As of now, I have not repeated this incident again. However, I am beginning to see more of such scenes.

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