Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday with my boys

Is it because of my confinement, or is the weather really hot?
Anyhow, some bubbly bath is the highlight of the morning for my boys.

Are you ready to beat the heat?

I didn't teach this.

My punk baby!

I didn't think I could love any other child as much as I do Adam.
But now, I know I can.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My brood :)

Still can't quite believe that I can proudly say "my brood" now. What a surreal feeling, this Mom-of-two thing :)

I'm very proud of Adam. He has wowed me again, when I least expected it.

"What is this Mummy? Is it a doll? A puppy?"

Adam is very protective of Ashton, although he displays jealousy sometimes.
For eg. When the helper gets close to the baby, he will tell her to go away, in a very protective, authoritative way.
Last evening I was holding Ashton and telling him to wake up otherwise if he is wide awake at night I will smack his bum.
Adam heard me and he cried, telling me, "Mummy don't beat Didi." Such a sweet child!
By the way, our helper the clucky mother hen has been found to be a bit obsessive at the moment. She has been noticed to be staring at the baby many a time.
Not in a "icy cold murderous look" way, but just... staring.
In the mornings, I ask her to put Ashton in his rocker in the balcony to get some sun (for his jaundice), when I wake up an hour later, she is still sitting beside the rocker and doing nothing but staring at Ashton.
In the middle of the night, when Ashton cries for milk, she will wake up and ask me if she can feed the baby. This morning, she actually suggested that I let the baby sleep with her. I asked her why would I want to do that? Her reason was so that I could rest at night. I then told her that I can rest in the day if I'm tired but she has to work, so she'd better get her proper sleep at night.
She later reasoned that since I'm "not breastfeeding at night, can let her sleep with the baby". Making a bottle or two in the middle of the night doesn't mean I'm not breastfeeding at night, and what kind of audacity is that to suggest I let my baby sleep with her?

I told my MIL, Aunt LY and Hubs about it and they found it bizarre too.
My MIL told me that sometimes when we do not notice, our helper will kiss Ashton.
What???!! I told my MIL to please tell her off the next time she catches her doing that.
In my household, no kissing or sharing food with my children! They are my babies and Hubs & I kiss them all the time, the thought that we could have been unknowingly ingesting her saliva makes me want to throw up!!

My Aunt asked if it's because she misses her son and is therefore treating my baby this way?
Am I being over-sensitive? Or is my helper going overboard in her displays of affection to my children?

My head might explode.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ashton Tan Tian Yang says Hi to all

24 August 2012
This is the day I was scheduled for my Elective Csect because I'm 2 days away from my EDD (26 Aug 2012) and still no signs of Ashton coming out.
I had to be admitted to Mt Alvernia Hosp by 5.30AM because my op was listed early: 7.30AM.

On 23rd August night, I couldn't sleep a wink. I was just too nervous. I waited and watched the clock. Hours passed, still no signs of labour. I'm gonna be "cut up" again like last time. I drifted slowly into Dreamland.
24 Aug 2012, 4.00AM: I woke up to the alarm after just 2 hours of sleep. Oh no... D-day is here. I woke Hubby up, we picked up my hospital bag and made our way to MAH.

5.30AM: I was in the ward getting dressed in OT gown and getting my vital signs taken, and did the necessary. The nurse fleeted me with Enema and this is sooooo uncomfy, I felt like I was having the runs and sat on the royal throne for 15 min!

7.00AM: The OT staff came to wheel me off, with my excited Hubby all ready and eager to see his newborn.

The squirmy newborn is out!

Ashton says Hello Daddy.

By the 1st day of posting up his photo on my FB page, Ashton has garnered 65 Likes and 62 comments!

My cousin and my niece visiting.

My Mum is a proud Grandma once more.

A familiar routine which was once a distant memory has re-entered my life.

My brood. Adam is happily painting after he came home from school and a blissful Ashton in Lalaland.

On the Hospital stay:
Armed with my experience 3 yrs ago, this time I'm taking things really slowly. I didn't ask for Ashton to room in, instead, I had him sent back to the nursery and the nurses and Lactation consultant were the ones who kept wheeling him back to my room and urging me to breastfeed.
Hahahah this is because once you've been there, done that, you will know the hospital stay is probably your best vacation in a long long while, compared to what's waiting for you at home.
Sure, there's no place like home. But at the hospital, you get 24/7 nursing care, you get food served to you and all your needs attended to.
Best of all, I asked Hubby not to lodge with me so I could for the first time in 9 mths, sleep peacefully, alone. No snoring. No night-wakes to soothe nightmares/thunder scares.
It was just pure bliss.
On my first night home, I told Andy that I wish to extend my hospital stay for another week and I don't want to be hooked on the breast-pump and a latching baby all the time. To which, he promptly replied, "Sure. Then pay me back for the AVENT Electric Pump which I bought you".

On confinement and the new addition:
I have Dwi and my MIL helping me out so all I do is eat, sleep, nurse. Repeat 500 times.
In the day, after Hubby has left for work and the baby is sleeping, I feel so quiet and alone. Of course I'm not entirely alone, but I wonder how I still feel so lonely. Maybe this whole Mom of Two business hasn't really sank in yet and everything feels so surreal.
I also haven't bathed and washed my hair in 4 days. I wonder how long I can hold out.
And also, peeing and pooing the first week of your C-sect can kill you. I actually teared when I sat in the toilet pooing the first time.

Meanwhile, my MIL and Dwi have transformed into clucky Mother hens who keep hovering around Ashton and cooing, talking, tongue-clicking to him. With Adam, I was the possessive mother, insisting on doing all the baby care myself and religiously pumped, latched, washed, sterilised etc. Now, I'm just totally laid back and enjoying my confinement because this is my last confinement, no matter what Andy thinks, and I'd better make the best out of it.

On Big Brother Adam:
How shall I put it? Hmm. Adam is suffering from the typical First Child Syndrome.
He is demanding and attention-seeking and wants to be in the limelight all the time.
He gets upset if we are not quick to notice his little achievements and triumphs. Boy he just takes up so much of my energy.
He is also sometimes jealous of Ashton. When Ashton is sleeping on the sofa, he wants to sit in the exact spot, so we move Ashton to the rocker. Once his bum hits the rocker, First Child reacts by jumping up and racing to the rocker as well.
With my Csect wound, I cannot carry Adam and he seems upset about it, no matter how many times I've showed him my wound dressing.
Still, I can cuddle him when I'm sitting on my bed and him standing at the edge, and that familiar body-to-body contact feels great. I do miss my tyrant First Child.
We've been totally tolerant and understanding of his jealousy to Ashton. After all, how can we expect him to love somebody he doesn't even know?
Adam, we still love you even if you think otherwise. Even if you are a PITA sometimes.
Yes, Daddy, Mummy and the whole village who's raising you at some point or other loves you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

One of Murphy's Laws of Parenting

One of Murphy's laws of Parenting:
The day your helper is off is when your child decides to throw up all over himself, and the back of the car.

Dwi had the day-off on Hari Raya.
Thus for the first time in 2 months, we were back at those "helpless" times.
Had to do all the bending/ picking/ keeping/ cleaning/ washing all over again.
Luckily it was soon time to get out of the house for lunch and Andy's haircut.

By 6pm, I hadn't rested all day (being close to 40-weeks pregnant), and Adam & I had walked loads. From Wisma to Taka Kinokuniya where he sat down to read books. When books lost their appeal, we headed to Taka's Craziest Toy Sale then back to Wisma again with all the shopping bags (I was alone with Adam cos Andy went for his haircut).
On the way home, he threw up and I had to clean up puke in the car (with help of Andy), and clean up after the toddler.
As if that's not enough, when it was bath time, Adam decided to spray jets of water all over the floor (outside the bathroom, no less) creating a mini flood (ponding) in the walkway down the hall.
Even more cleaning.

So how did I handle the situation ?
Extremely well, I should say.
I screamed at him at the top of my lungs till my voice was hoarse and blood shot to my temples. I then hosed him down mercilessly to quickly get bath-time over and didnt care if shampoo or water got into his eyes. As a result, I had a toddler crying hysterically and a husband who was extremely quiet.
Andy graciously took over the scary duty of child-minding so I could go hide and smoke some weed.
At night the good husband rubbed moisturizer on my tired aching feet.

Granted, Adam was rather well-behaved today. He held onto my hand throughout the whole Toy sale & waited patiently at the crazy queue for payment.

It was totally wrong of me to snap at him. I later kissed him & we were friends again (he let me play with his Thomas train set).

Good lordy, being a Mummy is the toughest job in the whole wide world.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Adam's first fishing experience

It was the beginning of a long weekend (Hair Raya) so on Saturday we brought our little munchkin to Angler's Paradise in Punggol and let Adam do some longkang fishing while Andy and his friend Raymond fished in the real pond.

After an hour of catching longkang fish, Adam decided to join Andy at the big pond.
My son is taking after my husband in more ways than I can imagine.
Whether I like it or not, I now have a miniature version of my annoying Husband running around.

Like father, like son.

Uncle Raymond (Daddy's friend)

We are gonna give these fishes a new home! Adam caught about 5 or 6, the rest were caught by our helper Dwi.
(I hope Adam doesn't start asking for more pets for the next 5 yrs at least, because I suspect I'm gonna be the one to do everything from procurement to disposal of the dead bodies.
As it is now, the household inventory is at [soon-to-be] 2 kids, 1 dog and 12 kois. It should be sufficient for a long long time.)

At first when we were handed this small tank and net, I was thinking, it's Ok, the waddling pond is too big and fishes swim too quickly. If we don't get any catch we will just buy him a terrapin instead so as not to disappoint the poor kid on his 1st fishing experience.
But by the time the hour is up, we caught so many! Ok, credit goes to our helper for her agile kampong skills and also to Adam for his perserverance which resulted in catching a few fishes himself :)
Me? I cheered him along the side of the pond like a very sexy (39-weeks pregnant) cheerleader, clapping and Yay-ing! and the occasional jumping.
Andy and Raymond? Zero catches for the day. I told Andy we should do prawning next time.

Adam wins his Daddy hands-down!

I'm 39-weeks now. but nothing is happening on the labour forefront.
Went for my weekly checkup and everything seemed fine. Just. No. Action.
The only exciting thing happening all week was when I felt a bad cramp which resulted in a (big) bowel movement.

Since I cannot be induced due to my previous C-sect, we have scheduled for another C-sect, for next week. I'll be 40-weeks by then and my baby still doesn't wanna come out!
Adam was straight-forward. At his own preferred timing, my waters broke, he was breech, I had to have an Emergency Csect. That was it.

No wonder they say every pregnancy and each child is different. I couldn't agree more.

I may be the dumbest Mom

The other night while reading a Dinosaur book to Adam, he popped a classic w- question:

Adam: Mummy where do dinosaurs come from?

Me: They hatched from dinosaur eggs.

Adam: where do the dinosaur eggs come from?

Me: I don't know. Go ask Daddy.
(This has become my favourite response when I dont have answers. Push everything to the other DNA-contributor. Muahahahaha~ Which is also why I suspect my son thinks I'm dumb. Why does Mummy always say I-dunch-know?)

Why has no one ever warned me how tiring talking to a toddler may be?
Because one needs to actually pause & think of answers. And damn, some questions are tough.
I'd be happier to answer "Where do babies come from".
I have anticipated and prepared several text-book answers to this, but Dinosaurs? Seriously?

All people said was - don't worry it will only get better.
Not true.
I like infants the best. The more they grow, the lesser I like them (half kidding).
The sleep-wake-poop cycle is actually the best time in motherhood. If ima do it all over again, ima pop a champagne and enjoy my moment in the bath-tub while the baby is still a non-talking and non-moving, er, baby.
When these poop-machines start flipping/crawling/grabbing you will battle them for 20 mins just to wipe a slimy bum & put a clean diaper on.
When they start cruising & walking? You will need eyes at the back of your heads. And preferably you have 8 arms too, like an octopus, to better block/reach out/ grab/ shield/ catch with.
Then it won't be long before these little cutesy-pants start running, and once they start, running will be their only mode of transport on land. And likely yours too.
When they start talking, conversations go off like these:

Mummy I'm going to eat my booger
Mummy I want to pee in the pond.
Mummy where are we going?
Mummy why do we need to eat?
Mummy what are we eating?
Mummy who is calling you on your handphone?
Mummy what is she telling you about?

One fine day, they grow up too quickly & rather than worshipping you, they suddenly think that you embarrass them.
They won't hold your hand or kiss you no more.
You think back and wonder why in the world you wished they grew up quickly.
Maybe then it'll be my turn to pester him with my w- questions.

Adam why do I adore you so much?
Adam why do you grow up so fast?
Adam will you love Mummy forever?
Adam will you still hold my hand and kiss me when I'm old and frail?
Adam why do I love you so much?

Now, can anyone pray tell me, where on earth do Dinosaurs come from?

credit source: google images

Friday, August 17, 2012

Everyday Minerals makeup

Look what came for me in the mail today??

It's my EVERYDAY MINERALS Medium mini starter kit.
Other kits can be found here: EVERYDAY MINERALS STARTER KITS
I love receiving parcels and packages!

Love the neat little sack bag that housed all the goodies.
4 pots of Mineral foundation powder plus 1 flat-top Bamboo brush.

I have actually been using EDM makeup years ago when the Mineral makeup craze first started. But after a baby came along, I started being lazy and relied heavily on BB Creams. (One-cream does all, doesn't need any of those concealer-foundation-dusting-loose-powder steps)
Recently, my love for mineral makeup was rekindled again due to my pregnancy-induced hormonal changes and what-nots which made the BB cream quite thick and oily for my face.
Thus, my new (or old) mantra is "less is more". No more painting my face with BB creams.

I chose Medium kit because of my skin tone.

Why mineral makeup?
Mineral makeup is free from talc, fragrance, silicone and chemicals that cause irritation to the skin, thus making it hypoallergenic.

I always seek out organic and natural products, from food to hair & skincare, to makeup.
Everyday Minerals has proven to be very efficient in their service - of the many times I ordered from them in the past and again recently, I have not lost any parcels before and usually receive my items within 2-3 weeks.

It's high time to give my skin a much-needed rest and let it breathe again.

Skincare review: Hada Labo.

You know how the media always portrays Pregnancy - a woman looking adoringly at her baby bump, exuding an air of radiance and glow?
After being through TWO pregnancies myself, I can honestly tell you : Do not believe any of those bullsh*t.

Being pregnant has made me anything but.
My hair becomes wavy and curls funny, my face is a greasepan that may effectively trap small insects, I pop pimples like an angsty teenager, and my skin on other parts of my body has become dry and scaly. Most of my pre-pregnancy skincare regime do not work anymore.

Since I'm on home-rest till I deliver, I have a lot of spare time sitting around playing the "waiting game".
I hog the TV and computer, and start seeing ads on Hada Labo "Lock up an ocean" nano-technology moisturising lotion. I read some reviews on Makeupalley and was surprised that actually this brand has been around forever but I just never paid any attention to Drugstore brands.

Boredom and curiosity got the better of me and I decided to give it a go. For the uninitiated, you can request for free samples by clicking HERE and liking their Facebook page.
See the sample is actually in a nice bottle instead of satchet?? *thumbs up*

Alternatively, you may also buy them at all Watsons stores. I got mine from Watsons at Changi Terminal 3. Did I mention I love T3? Because of GST-free shopping. Heh. (Good thing I stay in the East).

I bought the Whitening version as well as the Sunblock.


Hyaluronic Acid Moisturising lotion:
Before I tried this product, I was using SK-II "miracle water" and L'Occitane moisturising cream. I always thought that you pay more, you get more. Moreover, I have sensitive skin with oily T-zone and chin, while my cheeks are very dry and sometimes peeling. Even though I have been using SK-II and L'Occitane for quite long, after every face wash my skin is back to the "peeling on cheeks but oily on T-zone" state.

However after using Hada Labo for just 2 days, my skin has become so supple and more importantly, NO more imbalanced dryness/oilyness. Even after washing my face, my cheeks are still supple and did not flake. And the milky colored lotion means it's lighter texture than creams and serums which make me break out in Singapore's humid weather. This product really lives up to its name. I'm impressed!

UV Moisturising milk SPF50 PA+++:
This is a small bottle with a ball-bearing inside and requires shaking, something like Sunplay's Sunblock.
When I first opened the packaging and saw that it requires shaking, and that the liquid is actually opaque white, I was quite skeptical because such products usually leave a white tint on my face.
But I used it nonetheless since I already paid for it anyway, and thought that if it doesn't work out I can always use it on my body.
I found that to my surprise just a very small half-pea-sized drop is sufficient to cover my entire face and it gets absorbed very quickly and leaves no trace of "white tint".

And the fact is that it offers me higher SPF protection than my Ocean Health Therapeutic sunblock which actually made my face feel a bit sticky after application due to its cream texture, for just a small fraction of the price.
A very hardworking 3-in-1 product: UV protection, Moisturiser, Makeup base.

This is my sans makeup face after applying lotion & UV milk on a cleansed face. Sorry for the quality because it was taken on my lousy phone therefore you can be sure it was not edited to blank out blemishes or zits.
Mums are busy Bees who need to be proficient in: Caring for self, caring for family, time management and budgeting.
Bottomline: we need products that are multi-taskers like ourselves and can do everything!


I have been religiously using Hada Labo products for 2 weeks now.
I'm highly impressed with Hada Labo because their products obviously exceeded my expectations of Drugstore skincare lines.
I will highly recommend Mummies to use Hada Labo products, because it is free of fragrance, mineral oil and colorant, and PH-balanced. Makes it safe even if you rub faces with your babies or if your kids plant sloppy kisses on your face :)
Best of all, you don't have to break an arm to be able to afford effective skincare.

Next I might want to try their cleanser ^o^

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sunday: Exploring the neighbourhood

Last Sunday was one of those perfect days - we brought Adam to Changi Terminal 3 for lunch and he finished his food without a fuss, behaved like a dream, and went home for a nap on auto-pilot.
When he awoke from his nap, the weather was beautiful so we went to the Playground and decided to take a stroll around the neighbourhood to explore.

My precous little Monkey

I don't know wassaup with his finger action poses, certainly wasn't from me! :D

Saw a lovely Sable-white Sheltie in one of the houses. Miss having a Sheltie! Super cute!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

New Mummy bag

Bought me a new bag not too long ago. Despite using it quite a lot and the fact that I don't baby my bags anymore simply because I have no time to, it has proved to me that it is worth every cent I pay for anything H.

It still holds up well even though I trash it around and am not very careful with it since there's always a pint-sized terror zipping around. And so far no stains or rubbing of the Clemence leather.

A busy Mummy definitely needs hands-free bags!

37W preggy

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I feel shitty

Since I am now full-term and can go into labour anytime, we have decided to let Adam sleep over at my MIL's so that we don't have to worry about the logistics problem should I need to go to the hospital at some odd hour.

Last night, Adam wanted to come home with us and wouldn't leave to go upstairs with my MIL, and I actually bribed him with $5 to go buy toys and promised him I'll see him the next day.

I feel like crap now. I bribed my son so that he won't go home with me.

Oh gosh Baby Buns, you'd better come out soon. Mummy & Daddy are getting quite impatient with this waiting game. Please come out asap so your kor kor can come home with us and we can all be together as a new family.

Monday, July 30, 2012

36 Weeks: what a swell time.

My firstborn came as a complete surprise.
Actually, it was more like a rude shock, which is an understatement. Andy & I were planning wedding venues & dates and I didn't even suspect I was knocked up. One morning, I just felt really exhausted & even threw up my sardine curry puffs. The company doctor diagnosed me as having "Gastroenteritis" and sent me home on 2 days' MC plus medication.
The first thing that crossed my mind was - Shit, I missed my period for 2 months and we DIDNT suspect that?! I took a pregnancy test to be sure, and in denial, I took another test.
It was sure as taxes and death.
I called up Andy & my galfriend crying. A baby was the last thing I hoped for. My married life is over before it even began.
I wasn't a child-person. In fact, I loved my freedom and shopping so much and was just about to venture into a new chapter called Marriage with the man I've been dating for 6yrs.
Having a baby certainly wasn't on my Married Life list. Not yet anyway. But it happened. And we were going to be parents *gulp*
Andy took the news better than I did. He was overjoyed and made an appointment for us to see a Obgyn. We went for the 1st scan and heard the heartbeat.
From then on, there was no turning back. Fast forward 3 yrs.

For Baby #2, it was a planned pregnancy. Andy was sure he wanted a 2nd baby but I kept putting it off and cited my part-time Nursing Degree as the excuse (remember I'm not so much a child-person & I was perfectly contented with the financial stability & undivided love that we could shower on Adam).
Alas I finally graduated from my 2-year course, armed with a Degree, a better job offer & fatter paycheck, (and plus the fact that I secretly yearned to smell a newborn again because I missed Adam's infancy), I caved in to Andy's wish to conceive again. It was perfect timing & all planned.


We recently went for my Week 36 checkup & my good Doctor passed me my admission letter to Mt Alvernia & asked if I've packed my hospital bag, and have we decided our birth plan - To try VBAC or Csect? Andy & I looked at eachother gobsmacked. I think I'll huff & I'll puff and I'll squeeze the baby out, does it sound like a solid birth plan??

Then I realized the hard truth - no amount of planning could ever prepare you for parenthood.

Parenthood is scary.
- It's about sleepless nights.
- Worrying about adequate milk supply/ proper latching techniques.
- Worrying about pooping too much/ too little.
- Putting someone else's fears & feelings before your own.
- Giving up buying that pair of Chanel shoes just so you can pay for something child-related, like Enrichment classes or a whole month's worth of milk powder & groceries.
- Cleaning up puke & curdled milk, and changing bedsheets at 2am because of a sick child and still struggling to work by 8am.
- Praying for peace and quiet but yet worrying when there's actual peace and quiet because your kid might be jamming his fingers in the sockets or busy doodling on your work documents.
- Going insane with that Barney song playing over and over on DVD.
- Getting extremely horrified at the wild toddler in the supermart who unfortunately belongs to you (I sometimes pretend I'm the Big Sister until I'm addressed as Mummy by that misbehaving toddler).

Suddenly, EVERYONE has an opinion on your pregnancy and child-rearing ways.
You know how those nosy pokers are ?
- If you're married they wanna know when you'll have a baby.
- When you have a baby they wanna know when you're having the next baby.
- And they also wanna know the genders & names.
- They offer you lots of unsolicited advice, even though the last time they were pregnant was at least 40 years ago.
- "If you have 2 boys nevermind can try for a girl for Number 3" (are you insane Aunty?!)
- "Are you going to breastfeed?" (What is it any of your business anyway unless you wanna help me breastfeed?)
- "You are so skinny and your Breastmilk looks diluted, are you sure you're feeding the baby enough?" That was what my MIL said to me. I simply asked her - did you breastfeed your 2 sons? To which she replied a 'No' & thankfully took the cue to shut the F up.
- "Why are you so insistent on breastfeeding? All 3 of you were formula-fed and still went to University." This came from my Mum and honestly if she weren't my mum, I would have stabbed her mouth with a fork. And stabbed her some more.
- "You should let the baby cry it out." This is the most Bullshit advice I ever heard. Babies want their basic needs met and crying is only communication they know. I can never cuddle my baby enough, and now he's a whooping 3 yr old who much prefers running around to cuddling in my arms. I'm glad I didn't buy that stupid advice. Whoever says that to me with Baby No 2 is gonna have me scream in their face.
- "You should let your child get used to eating some junk instead of organic food to build the immune system." So I have my own beliefs which may differ from yours and I really appreciate your kind advice but I think we are doing fine thankyouverymuch .

Of course there are the moments when my stinky 3 yr old promises to be good (even if only for a grand total of 5 min), and tells me he loves me, and the way he brushes hair off my face mimicking the way I do to his, telling me stories about how his day went at school at bedtime, and those precious moments that no amount of $$ can buy that only a parent could understand.
Makes me suffer selective memory-loss about the whole scary parenting affair.
I love you Adam Tan Tian Kai. Even if it's an emotional roller coaster ride every single day. You have no idea.

Our Maid agency

source: Google images

I received a few enquiries through the Blog comments and also from Facebook asking me maid-related questions, eg. which Agency I got my maid from, how much did we pay etc etc. so I decided to do a blog post on the Agency we chose, so as to minimise the inconvenience of readers having to email or private-message me on FB.

Before I go on, I would like to clarify that this post is not about advocating or lobbying for/against SAHMs/ FTWMs with helpers etc.

It was by chance and lots of Googling that I came across:
A. Pratama Employment Agency
Who to look for: Demond / Susan

Tel: 6297 6913
Office: Bukit Timah Shopping Centre (next to Beauty World) #02-45, 170 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 588179.
they open by appointment only as they are a husband-and-wife team, so please call to fix an appointment before you head down.
They do not advertise and prefer referrals by word-of-mouth so you may say Veron recommended you.

Our review:
Before we approached Desmond & Susan, I had called up several Big-name Maid agencies.
Most of them charged atrocious agency fees, and their maids came with loans of 6-8 months.

If you do the math, for eg. Agency fee $488 (cheapest I was quoted) + $400 (fresh maid w/o experience, 1 with experience could fetch $450) x 6 months upfront loan (the shortest loan quoted) = $2888 cash upfront to the Agency.
This is considering the cheapest possible option. Of course there are agencies who charged higher agent fees and/or longer maid loans. The longer the maid loan, the longer the maid has to work for you without a salary. Imagine working 8 months without getting paid.
And the amount above is only the Agency fee + maid loan.

Other costs incurred:
- Online Employer Orientation Program: a short course with quiz which is mandatory for all new first-time employers. $30.
- Maid insurance: Depending on the Insurance provider and the coverage, ranging from $280 - $310.

Total: easily $3300.

For us, we couldn't afford to pay the agency few thousands of dollars cash upfront before the maid even arrived in Singapore. Well we could, but we didn't want to. It just sounded like a big risky business and the agencies gave us the impression they were only interested in getting our $$.
Just think about it - What if we need to terminate her employment while still having an outstanding loan?!
So after finding out about Desmond & Susan, I called them and told them our situation - we have a 3 yr old and expecting another child soon, we need a helper to do mostly household chores & some babysitting when required.
Susan told us they deal mostly with Indonesian Transfer maids (who are mostly abused/ ran away from home/ worked for more than 1 household and found out by authorities/ rejected for whatever reasons) and asked me our requirements, which I stated as follows:
- Need to like working with children
- Responsible and mature, preferably already married with kid(s)
- Be able to speak both Bahasa & English (my MIL is Indonesian-Chinese but I can speak no Bahasa)
- Help with mainly housework and some babysitting
- We have a big dog who doesn't bite and she doesn't need to look after the dog

I called them on a Wednesday evening and our appointment was made that coming Saturday noon.
By Friday evening, Susan already SMSed me saying she has selected a few suitable candidates for us to interview when we go down. We were very impressed with her fast & prompt service.

When we went down, Desmond spent close to 2 hours explaining to us page-by-page the MOM requirements and the necessary 'admin' because Andy & I were first-timers and very blur. But they never lost their patience with us and made sure we understood what was expected.
In fact, we went down twice, a seperate time with my Mom and Adam to make sure they were both Ok with our shortlisted candidate. On both occasions, Desmond & Susan were very accomodating and Desmond even repeated all the T&C to my Mom.

Bottomline: Because our helper was a transfer maid with only 1-mth loan (out of goodwill to Desmond & Susan for helping her find re-employment), we only spent less than $1.5k in total for the Agency fee, Dwi's loan, Insurance etc, ie. Everything done under $1.5k and we got ourselves an experienced maid already available in Singapore ready to work for us and were provided excellent responsible service.

A further search revealed some reviews as follows:
source: KiasuParents forum


** Disclaimer: I will not hesitate to recommend Desmond & Susan to friends , relatives or anyone who asked me, but Maid agencies are like match-making companies. They help you find your "partner" but whether the "marriage" lasts is totally up to good faith and lots of luck.
Therefore, I wish you Best of luck if you're considering hiring help!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bye bye work. See you in December!

I'm officially not working as of last week. Been given Hospitalisation leave till I deliver, so basically everyday I'm just sitting around waiting for "it" to happen. I'm currently 35-weeks. If Baby #2 decides to come on Week 37 like Adam, then it won't be long from now. *jitters*

Meanwhile, it feels terrific having the housework taken care of by our helper. I feel less tired and happier, having more time to rest and simply do nothing since I've been working full-time all the way up till recently, and having to deal with an active 3 year-old.

We should be mostly settled for now. Andy decided last minute to get a playpen instead of fixing up Adam's old cot because our bedroom is obviously too tiny, so we went out to buy a Graco Pack & Play Barcelona bluegrass. We haven't got down to fixing it up yet but I reckon it's rather easy peasy.

I guess I'll just enjoy the good times before having to deal with night-feeds and diaper-changing all over again.

P.S. Last night, as Andy & I were preparing to leave for dinner, Adam suddenly declared that he was tired and wanted to sleep. What surprised me was that that was actually the 1st time he said he wants to sleep because all along using the Zzzz word is like taboo to him. We need to go through a routine of watching 1 or 2 iPad movies, drink milk then followed by sleep. So yesterday was like skipping 2 steps and going straight to bed. Makes me feel that my boy is all grown up now, having a mind of his own and deciding things for himself.
I'm proud of him but at the same time sad to let his baby side go!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Toys for ma boys

My boys bought new toys over the past week. For Adam, it's a Mini Cooper remote control car.
He's generally not known to be careful with toys. I certainly hope he will treat it with TLC and not let it perform stunts from heights - table tops, bay windows, sofa.

For Daddy A, it's an Osim Uphoria massager because he has been complaining of tired feet.
I wonder who's the pregnant one?

On a side note.... here's Mr Busybody helping me to lay out the SkipHop floor mat. Kids and dogs have a thing in common - they like to inspect any new purchases in your home.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Update: 2 weeks of having live-in help

So far, our entire household has been enjoying the help of a helper.
Life with a helper has become almost like a luxury. We wake up to a clean house, breakfast, and I have someone keeping tabs on the perishable supplies in the fridge.
We also recently had some friends over for a bbq & compared to the last BBQ we had, this time was such a breeze because we had extra help - with the food preparation, serving, scrubbing of grease etc.
As for all the horror stories we hear about maids, well, nobody is perfect. Dwi is not a Superwoman. She makes mistakes here & there , for eg. She didn't clip the Laundry with pegs & during a heavy rain some lightweight clothes got blown off onto our aircon latch. And some other things, but nothing too major that I can't live with.
As for the little master? He's still not taking to her, but it's not bothering me much because the extra pair of hands around the house frees up lots of quality time for me & Adam. No more wishing he could sleep/nap so that I can sneak in time for chores. I can now concentrate more of my time on playing or reading to Adam. It's a win-win.

Here're some tips I gathered from friends & colleagues which I thought might be useful for Moms considering hiring helpers:
- Provide specific & detailed House rules from the 1st day eg. No kissing & sharing food with children? No using of hp during work hours? What are work hours? In my home it's 6am - 10pm (if she finishes her chores fast she can retire to her room earlier) with rest breaks during the day.

- Color code your cloths. This is important so she knows not to mix the toilet-cleaning ones with dish washing ones.

- Be prepared to demonstrate and ask her to return-demo or repeat your instructions for the 1st time doing something. Eg making milk or using washing machine.

- Give her a daily, weekly & 2-weekly schedule so she knows what is expected of her

- I don't allow her to open my wardrobes. Instead, I ask her to keep the laundry in & I'll put them back myself. I don't want to have a chance to ever suspect her. It's to protect the interests of both parties.

- I keep her passport in a seperate home (with my Aunt LY) becos my ex-supervisor had a maid who took off to her own home country after stealing her own passport & $10k worth of jewelry

So far so good, Dwi hasn't resigned yet, which is a good sign I suppose.
And frankly, I can't be bothered to worry anymore. I'll just enjoy the happy moment while it lasts!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Last leg of pregnancy

I'm 32W+ now, and I'm feeling more tired than ever. I am on leave this week due to the arrival of the new maid, so I spend most of my time sleeping and just resting in bed.
My back and pelvis are in immense pain, to the point where sometimes when I'm getting up it just catches me by surprise, the kind of paralysing pain which makes me feel like my lower body and upper body are gonna fall apart.

I've not been very mobile, I can't walk too much now, and even walking from Tampines Interchange to Century Square requires so much effort and I feel the constant need to sit down.

As for preparation for the baby's coming, well I've been far more relaxed this time. Or is it because my mind is willing but the body is not? I haven't packed my hospital bag yet, but good news is I managed to buy Adam's present (from his sibling), and also a button-down night dress for the hospital stay.

How's the Hubby prepared for the birth? I would say he's feeling very "pregnant" as well. These days he is always complaining of tiredness and goes to bed early.
And he's not talking coherently at times. For example we were discussing about Adam's birth and he asked me "Was Adam induced?" I was like "Are you nuts? He broke the water bag and when we reached hospital, they inserted a urine catheter for me and wheeled me off to OT already. Where were you?? Abducted by aliens?"

Ok. That's it for now. I'm feeling tired. Again. I need to go take a power-nap before picking Adam up from school. Ciao.