Our quick getaway with a 6 month old brought us through the streets, malls, trains, taxis and buses in Hong Kong! If you have not read about our time at Disneyland Hong Kong, read it here!
It was one of the most memorable trips because we had to overcome some CRAZY CRYING on our first night. We fed Matthias as usual and pat him in our arms until he fell asleep. Everything was completely normal. The moment we put him down on the bed, he SCREAMED like the world was about to end. This went on for 3 entire hours. We were exhausted and confused. What is wrong?!
It was much later that we realise, the bedsheets in the hotel felt COLD on his skin when we placed him down. We solved the problem by warming the bed (Papa the heater) and his muslin swaddle cloth on the bed. Phew! We finally got some sleep.
BAM!!!!! Cue *Baby screaming. He usually didn't move in his sleep but somehow Matthias fell off the hotel bed. He slept on a separate bed so we shifted the entire bed mattress onto the floor for him. It was too much drama in a night, we got him into long sleeves and pants the following night.
#Lesson learnt: Make sure the bed isn't too cold + Make sure the mattress is on the floor if there is no cot provided!
We spent the remaining time strolling along the busy streets of Hong Kong and went window shopping. Taking public transport was a breeze because people were really nice and gave up their seats to us! The carrier was a lifesaver because we were not affected by stairs or the need to find an escalator. Do avoid travelling during the peak hours if you don't like crowds. It can get quite crowded especially along the MTR Tsuen Wan line.
My favourite part was walking along the promenade of the Victoria Harbour! The breeze was nice and cold. Debra and Matthias weren't too keen about the cold air though. Do cover up if you are hanging around the harbour when it is windy.
Who says short trips cannot be fun? Our first day in Disneyland was enchanting! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves just being away from work and exploring a different city. (Other than the part we took 3 hours to figure out the bed was too cold for Matthias...)
If you enjoyed this post do check out:
New Zealand Adventures here
Falling in Love in London series here
4pm flights booked, 6pm luggage packed, 10pm arrived at the Airport Lounge sipping a drink and waiting to get to the gate for our flight to Hong Kong for quick getaway.
We checked in early so that we could request for bulkhead seats and a bassinet to put Matthias in. We timed Matthias' feed so that he was drinking as the plane took off to help with the pressure in the ear. He slept most of the way and woke us up in the funniest way ever. Our little 6 month old rascal turned over to the bulkhead wall and pressed the in-flight entertainment screen. It lit up the dark cabin and into our faces. It is amazing how kids don't need a lesson on operating touch screens!
We got to Hong Kong and stayed in the Airport hotel for convenience sake. The next morning, we took a taxi to Disneyland because we were quite tired from the night flight. Debra carried Matthias in our Babybjörn WE carrier most of the trip. We decided not to bring our bulky pram because we knew that it would be a challenge to navigate Hong Kong's MTR train stations and compact streets.
Springtime temperature was between 22-24 degrees Celsius and it was AMAZING! That is 10 degrees off the year round heat in Singapore.
We arrived at Disneyland close to noon time and went about collecting our tickets. To get discounts and avoid the queues, do book your tickets online before hand!
Our mission for that day was to avoid queues and enjoy rides we could take as a family. We got to enjoy a shootout at the Toy Story to infinity and beyond ride...a slow boat ride through "its a small world" and I think we enjoyed the live theatre show and parade the most. It was almost magical like we were reliving our childhood!
Understandably, we had a few "pit-stop" moments when we had to feed and change Matthias. He was mostly well-behaved because the weather was nice and he slept a lot. This trip felt a little different because we had to slow down a little and see less. I would say that we still got to enjoy the essence of the Disney magic at the park despite having a 6 month old baby with us.
Our craziest road trip to Phuket gave us confidence and experience to conquer trips like this! We would say that being flexible is the most important thing about travelling with kids. Children are extremely adaptable and can adjust to new environments quickly. Sometimes we just worry too much about everything and that takes the fun and adventure out of our lives! It doesn't have to be this way.
Lastly, don't forget to visit the gift shop in Disneyland Hong Kong. It is so fluffy, I am gonna die!!!
More to follow with part 2....
We recently wrote a post about "How to give your child the best head start in life" and shortly after, I read an article on The Straits Times titled "Relax, why turn childhood into a race for results?". I realised that although my post was about encouraging parents to read to their children, the title somewhat reflects a certain desire to race ahead of others.
"Enjoyment is the inner fuel that fires a man or woman's desire to keep learning. So it's best not to extinguish that flame early in life by pushing children to produce immediate results."
This particular sentence in the article is both encouraging and refreshing given how the "kiasu" mindset (an irrational fear of losing out) is prevalent in Singaporean society. How often do we hear children or even teachers promote the enjoyment or love for learning?
So what can be done you may ask...I think we should first talk about what we can stop doing to prevent destroying their love for learning.
1. Send them to a myriad of enrichment, tuition and extra lessons from a very young age.
Push them to the point of exhaustion and exasperation. Learning becomes a chore and they will lose interest.
2. Constantly tell them how much they are falling behind and losing out. Although having good results can improve your chances at landing a good job, young children are not able to fully understand or internalise this. They will lose hope. They will hate learning.
3. Force them to focus on certain disciplines that you deem more lucrative or important. This is the fastest way down the slippery slope. Children won't love to learn something because it pays them well 20 years from now. (We don't even know what pays 20 years from now...)
I am so thankful that my parents never forced me to attend so many lessons or choose only the "science stream" for the sake of securing a job. They have always inculcated in me the virtue of doing my best in everything I undertake. They gave me space to grow my interest in reading, literature, writing and eventually teaching. I still love reading and writing not because it earns me anything but simply because I enjoy it.
What are your thoughts?
I was doing the dishes and listening to some relaxing jazz music...and apparently that made me contemplate on my mortality. I wondered, if I died, what would my young son remember about me? (Gwyn is probably too young to remember)
It is so important to number our days and contemplate our mortality in our busy busy lives. It helps us reflect on what is the most important things in life. What are we living for? Are we living with regrets?
I decided to ask him this question: "Matt, if papa died today, what would you remember most about us?" I asked him the same question about mama too.
What he said humbled and inspired me. It wasn't about earning money or buying him toys. It isn't even the holidays we have been on together. It isn't any of things we work so hard for that stays in a child's memory of you.
For papa, he said he would remember the times I was with him in his bedroom playing together. He would also remember the times we went on supply runs/running errands together.
For mama, he said he would remember her preparing his learning materials and teaching him how to do his favourite worksheets. (Yes, he asks for worksheets!)
I'm humbled because it is so easy to lose direction and focus. It is so easy to be bogged down by work, finances, the daily grind and storms that life throws at you. At the end of the day, it is that human connection we have with our children that they remember.
Some people say...the things people remember about you are those that matter most to them. What would your child remember about you?
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We would be LIARS if we told you it is possible to have NO mess or fuss at meal times. Children need time to learn and develop they psychomotor skills. At some point ALL children will also start to go "NOOOOO! I DON"T WANT TO EAT THAT!!!!!"
You can however get less mess and fuss. (Already sounds like a good deal!)
Be prepared with the right hacks, tools and attitude!
#How to get less fuss
DON'T get into a power struggle with your kids at meal times.
DO negotiate a deal instead i.e If you finish your food in 15 minutes, you can get a nice drink, 10 minutes at the playground or 5 minutes extra TV time
DON'T insist on forcing your kids to eat the veggies that make them nauseous
DO find another way of incorporating the veggies into your dishes, or flavouring it differently i.e make veggie nuggets, veggie tempura or veggie sushi!
DON'T be away from the table or glued to your device
DO eat together and make meal times a positive experience! Be involved! You can have a challenge to see who finishes their veggies first, who will finish with a cleaner plate/table and finally win the reward of an ice-cream or a healthy treat!
#How to get less mess
1. Make sure your child is sitting at a comfortable height if you are sharing a table with them
-get a highchair or stack the chairs if you can't find one
2. Ensure they have cutlery that is suitable for them
-You can buy kid sized cutlery easily from any baby shops.
-Get a plastic/silicone bib to protect the clothes.
-From experience, larger bowls are way better than plates at containing mess!
3. MAKE SURE THE FOOD IS BITE SIZED! Cut the noodles into shorter strands, make sure the meat and veggies are in small chewable pieces.
-Portable food scissors are very helpful for this purpose.
-Dish out small portions at a time
4. Less mess doesn't mean no mess so have wet wipes ready at all times!
Lastly, you can finally say goodbye to spills when your child is drinking from a tetra pack with this HACK! Sometimes kid do get overly excited and squeeze the packet too hard and will end up having the drink all over themselves. This has been a sanity-saver for us!
Step 1: Pull out the top two folds of the packet
Step 2: Stuff the straw in for them
Step 3: Get your child to hold the folds
Step 4: Drink away!
Cheers to more happy meal times!
Are you a busy mom or dad? Too tired to cook?
Check out our very own easy, tasty and quick Bibimbap recipe here!
Feeling like a bad parent for feeding your child McDonald's? Read more about it here!
Vincent & Debra Kwan, Founders of Hiro & Jack and stay-at-home parents with the odd life.