“PEM confinement review – Confinement nanny recommendation

On 24th June, our bundle of joy was born!

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Three days old

When you have just undergone the birth of a tiny human (especially since you grew this human from just a zygote for nine months), your body needs plenty of time and rest to recover. During this period, confinement is crucial and a confinement nanny is a godsend.

During my first confinement ( after Le was born), I did not fully comprehend the importance of rest despite being reminded repeatedly to do so (by my then-nanny). It took me forever to recover and I felt repercussions in my body long after. This time round, I vowed to myself that I am going to rest all I can.

I engaged PEM confinement nannies for both my confinements. I have heard too many nightmares about freelance nannies going MIA or having nasty habits that I thought going through an agency would be the safest bet. With PEM, I never have to worry about my nanny not showing up or having a nanny whose personality clashes with mine (you are allowed to switch nannies should your first one be unsatisfactory). With my previous experience with PEM two years ago being extremely pleasant, it was a no brainer.

This is my PEM confinement review for this round.

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Everyone is dressed up for the full month party!

I got Auntie Ying (Number 661) as my nanny this time. She got down to work quickly upon reaching, making red date tea and preparing for the meals to come. She was extremely organised and efficient! By the end of the first day, she had also completed all the basic housekeeping and discussed with us the arrangements for our second born, Xin. First impression counts and she definitely nailed it.

For the next few weeks, Auntie Ying proved to be very adaptable and fitted into our household well. She respected our schedule and worked around it. For instance, since Le’s bedtime is at 7 pm (and I would be in the room with him reading books till 8 plus), she would have our dinner ready by 6 so that I may eat first.

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Don’t mind having this mee sua for breakfast every day!
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Sliced ginger is a common ingredient in many dishes. I like!
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Bonus points for the effort that goes into garnishing the dishes

She also whipped up the most amazing Chinese confinement food customised to our palate (we requested for less salt), all of which were garnished as if they were served in a restaurant. We could tell she was passionate about cooking and it always made her happy that we wiped the plates clean!

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Le taking a peek at his new sister

My priority this time was to focus on transitioning Le and she was able to support me in my goal. For instance, I was adamant about continuing to be the one to send Le to school because I did not want him to think that mei mei is stealing my attention from him. Since Day One after my discharge, I was already out and about, something stricter nannies might frown upon. Auntie Ying, on the other hand, was completely understanding, and she kept reminding me to rest each time I got home. If I was nursing Xin in the middle of the night and Le cried for Mama in the bedroom, she would rush to take over Xin from me (sometimes she might have to ‘top up’ the feed because Xin was not done nursing) so that I could tend to Le immediately. I really appreciate Auntie Ying’s open-mindedness.

Armed with many years of experience, Auntie Ying also kept reassuring me that Le’s (mis)behaviour was normal and that he simply needed time. She shared with me the cases she had been through and reminded me to be patient. In a period when fatigue and hormones can be overwhelming, Auntie Ying’s optimism and encouragement was much needed.

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To avoid nipple confusion, Xin was cup-fed most of the time as she kept falling asleep at the boob.
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Getting some sun therapy for her jaundice
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Bathing a newborn is no easy feat

We gave Auntie Ying much autonomy in caring for Xin as we busied ourselves with Le. Even so, Auntie Ying was meticulous and kept us updated on her feeds, sleeping patterns and bowel movements. This made me a wee bit better since I had not been able to be with Xin as much as I would like. Not to mention she was such a pro at cup-feeding! After my experience with Le’s nipple confusion, I was strict with my no-bottle rule which she respected and agreed with. She did suggest giving Xin a bottle a day starting from the third week. We took up her suggestion and now Xin could both latch and bottle-feed!

Auntie Ying was also very pro-breastfeeding, with Xin’s best interests in mind. While we supplemented with formula for the first two weeks, Xin became on total breastmilk eventually. With Auntie Ying’s guidance, I even managed to keep a small back-up stash of breastmilk in my freezer!

Nearing the end of my confinement, both K and I felt that we were not ready to take on both kids on our own, and we extended Auntie Ying for another month! It was the best decision ever.

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Auntie Ying making sure Xin was comfortable throughout the full month party.

Over the eight weeks spent with Auntie Ying, we established a close bond. We often strike up candid conversations on quiet afternoons after Le has left for school and Xin was down for her nap, talking about her own family, my pregnancy experience, about working mothers, kitchenware recommendations and just about anything under the sun. Auntie Ying gave me much advice but was never intrusive. It feels almost natural that she was living in our home.

Le loves Auntie Ying too as she made him pancakes and sandwiches, something we were too lazy to do ourselves and had never done so. Whenever she made me red bean soup, she would leave a small bowl aside for him too. Her initiative to interact with Le warmed my heart. In fact, Le started addressing us as a family of five!

At the end of eight weeks, I remember Auntie Ying telling me it had been a long time since she carried such a weighty baby since confinements usually last only a month. She was beaming with pride as she said that.

It was such a mishmash of emotions in the period leading up to Auntie Ying’s departure. While we were worried how the dynamics of the household would change, we were also excited to take on our new roles proper and foster an even deeper bond with our daughter. I knew I would miss the companionship and the luxury of having chores done without lifting a finger, but I also looked forward to reorganising the home and spending long moments cradling Xin in my arms, looking into her eyes.

The day after Auntie Ying left, she texted me (we exchange contacts) to check me how Xin had been the night before. She had told me she was worried about leaving because Xin had just had her vaccination and might be fussier than usual, but I certainly had not expected her to reach out to me! We still chat every now and then. I would send her updated photos of Le and Xin, to which she always return a voice message. I could always sense the genuine concern she has for our family in her voice.

I don’t think any amount of words can sufficiently express my gratitude towards PEM, and especially towards Auntie Ying for her care and support during my confinement. If I were to have a third kid, I would definitely love to have her with us again! But for now, if anyone needs a recommendation on confinement nannies I highly HIGHLY recommend Auntie Ying (Number 661) from PEM. I have nothing but good praises for her, and I’m sure anyone will too!

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Thankful for Auntie Ying!

PEM Confinement Nanny Agency
Tel: 6293 9249
Email : sales@pemconfinement.com
Enquire now.

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Books VS Phones

K and I have always had a strict no screen-time policy when it comes to Le. That means, no handphones, no iPads, no computers, no TVs. We did not like the idea of a young child being glued to these gadgets and having no interest in the real world out there. We often relished in our childhood days when we would go to the playground every evening and come home all sweaty and sometimes bruised. Those were good days filled with shared laughter and a pretty intense workout (especially the game of catching!!).

Determined to have Le lead a similar childhood, we occupied Le with toys and books instead since the day we was born. Over the months, we have amassed a large collection of educational toys (it’s so rewarding watching his psychomotor skills improve day after day!!) and books of various genres and languages.

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It was apparent that our efforts paid off when Le chooses a book and bring it to us to read to him. He does this over and over again, and soon, we end up reading five to six books at a go! He enjoys mimicking the pictures in the books, like holding up his hands if the boy in the book is holding up his, or showing me how to brush his teeth if the girl in the book is brushing hers. So, so adorable!

Le’s favorites are always the audio books; those with buttons that you could press to play a sound or a song. I love them too because it really trains their concentration (to aim for the little button) and it appeals to their sense of hearing as well! The touchy-feely kind of books come in a close second; the textures really piques his interest! My personal favorites are the Chinese books. Since Le is taken care of by our parents when we are at work, these Chinese books come in especially handy since they are not proficient in English. I really like that the grandparents could be involved in educational activities with Le too as I did not want Le to associate reading with mummy and papa, and play with the grandparents.

Audio books and Chinese books of great content and quality are hard to come by, but the Owl Readers Club stocks lots of them! Le has so many books from the Owl Readers Club which he so dearly love. He lugs them everywhere!

The Owl Readers Club is a passionate believer of cultivating good reading habits since young. They carry a wide selection of carefully curated books for children at every age, at very reasonable prices; you will definitely be spoilt for choice. If you are unsure of what to get, leave them a message and they will even give you some suggestions!

Among his books from the Owl Readers Club, he is the most fond of these two!

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Right: 《翻翻发声书·我身边的声音:自然和动物》

Left: 《翻翻发声书·我身边的声音:城市和生活》

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These books come with lift-the-flap features! For the 自然和动物, lifting the flap reveals a photo of the animal in real life. I thought that was very useful in helping Le associate the animals in the pictures and in reality (because children books are so imaginative these days they can look very different).

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I rely on these books a lot to keep Le in his car seat. For someone who absolutely abhors the car seat, I am surprised he was so easily distracted by these books while we buckle him up. He then proceeds to press the different buttons, sometimes turning the page and flipping the flaps, for the whole of the car journey.

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Look at Le go. He looks so serious in all the pictures but I swear he loves these books. He could press at them for hours.

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I highly encourage throwing a child a book instead of a phone! Sometimes I find it is more of an excuse for the parents than the child when a phone is passed to the young one. It can be very tempting but remember reading to your child is a two-way bonding activity whereas screen time is more often than one one-way. This can have an impact on your child’s ability to interact and socialize.

To start, definitely check out the Owl Readers Club for quality books that can capture your child’s attention no less than a phone! And don’t forget to quote <lele10> for 10% off the English and Hua Recommended Chinese Collection!

Happy reading!

Chemical Peel + Q-Switch Laser Treatment with Dr Rachel Ho at La Clinic

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Skincare has always been a huge part of my life. I declared myself to be a skincare junkie when I was a mere teenager, frequenting the pharmacies after school in search of the next cleanser or moisturiser that I could call my holy grail. I switched from product to product, always buying into the latest trend and promises. Because I am blessed with generally clear skin, I could never quite pinpoint which was working and which wasn’t.

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Now that I am older and facing more pertinent skincare issues (*cough* aging *cough*), I find myself navigating towards skincare treatments that are more scientific and backed with reliable evidence. I also stick to the same regime to reap maximum benefits from it.

Starting last September, I have had the honour of seeing Dr Rachel Ho, aesthetic doctor of La Clinic @ Paragon Medical. Seeing that my skin was generally clear, save for blackheads on my nose and some pigmentation on my cheeks, she recommended a chemical peel + Q-switch laser treatment for me.

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Glycolic acid 35% was chosen for my chemical peel.
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A neutralizing cream is applied after the peel.

Laser? Peel? Ooo boy, sounds terrifying and intriguing at the same time! Am I finally going to attain that flawless, no makeup no filter, I-woke-up-like-this skin?

I don’t know about you but I get extremely restless if I had to stay still for long periods of time. So, it certainly is good news that the entire session (cleansing of face, peel + laser treatment, and application of moisturiser and sunscreen) took only around 20 minutes. They don’t call it the lunchtime treatment for naught!

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Dr Rachel Ho performing the laser treatment, focusing on the pigmentation on my cheeks.

A moisturizer and sunscreen is applied after the treatments.

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Immediately after the treatments, the skin appears a little pink. This usually fades within an hour.

I have called for some questions on my IG stories, and I will be trying my best to answer them below:

Do you usually have to wait long for an appointment?

No. Dr Rachel Ho is very accommodating and very punctual. I usually arrange for my appointment a week before. When I arrive at the clinic, I am always quickly attended to by the receptionist, and then brought into the treatment room. I never had to wait for more than ten minutes.

What’s the recommended frequency?

I was suggested to go for monthly treatments but I must admit I haven’t been the most compliant client. Over the past nine months, I have only had four sessions. I think it really depends on your condition and what you want to treatment. Dr Ho would be able to advise you better on this.

I do know that Q-switch laser treatments should not be done more frequently than once monthly as it can lead to side effects like hypopigmentation (white spots). So if your doctor advises you to go for frequently laser treatments, stay away!

Is there a specific skin type it is most suited for, or not suited for?

(I posted this question to Dr Ho because I didn’t think I was the best person to answer this.) The treatment is very safe when performed by qualified doctors, and it is suitable for a wide range of skin types, including normal skin and acne. It is perhaps not so suitable if a person is having a herpes infection, or dermatitis.

I must add that I have rather sensitive skin, and I have no problems with this treatment.

Is it painful?

The peel stings, but not to the point where I’d call it painful.  My skin is apparently quite reactive (it turns pink almost immediately), so a neutralizer is usually applied soon after, within minutes. I know this because Dr Ho would explain to me what is happening and what she is going to do at each step, which I really appreciate.

The laser, on the other hand, takes a longer time to execute. Before starting, Dr Ho will do a patch test on a small area of the face to make sure the intensity is tolerable for the person. If you have done IPL before, it felt exactly like that. The laser feels like little flicks of rubber band on the skin. Not the most comfortable feeling for sure. But hey, all in the name of beauty right?

Does it help with pigmentation?

Yes, Q-switch laser targets pigmentation very effectively. The pigments absorb the wavelengths and breaks up into fragments, which are removed by our body via lymphatic drainage.

Depending on the severity and nature of your pigmentation, it may take anywhere from a single session to a few sessions to clear.

What’s the downtime, if any?

None, for me, really. There’s a tinge of pinkness to my skin right after, which gradually fades within an hour. You can apply makeup immediately after, but I like to go sans makeup after each session to evaluate and admire the results. I respond very well to this treatment and my face always gets this ridiculous glow right after.

Does the effects last?

In my case, the glow lasts around 3-4 days, with it being at it most glowy state on the first day. My skin remains clear generally.

And we have reached the most asked question of all – what’s the cost? 

First-time trials with Dr Ho at La Clinic is priced at S$250. They do have packages as well, but rest assured you will not be experiencing any pushy salesperson at the clinic. Of course, for the most accurate and updated pricing, please call La Clinic at 6235 4040.

I hope my post has been useful for those who had been considering chemical peels or Q-switch laser treatments! If you have any more questions on this, feel free to reach out to me or make an appointment with Dr Rachel Ho!

La Clinic
290 Orchard Road, #08-01/02
Paragon Medical Centre
Singapore 238859
Tel: 6235 4040

 

Balloon Heart

Late last night, K and I had a long talk about expectations. I felt so tired going through touchy topics and treading on thin ice with my words. I felt my heart deflate whenever we disagreed. At the end of discussion, what was left of my heart was a flaccid piece, holding nothing.

Then morning came, like a fresh sheet of paper waiting to be written on. I checked my phone – it is the seventh today. How many months has it been? Eighty! We have been together eighty whole months. We have been through tougher times than this. We have proved our resilience time and time again. Surely it isn’t going to change now?

And so, my heart inflates again. It swells with pride, love, and confidence that we would pull through as one, stronger and better than ever.

Because we always have.

Valentine’s

It’s Valentine’s Day and K showed up unexpectedly at my dispensary, presenting me with a bouquet of red roses and an embarrassed grin. I can’t remember the last time he did something like this. He certainly caught me off-guard.

It has been hard finding time for each other these days. We are almost always together physically, but I must admit – it hasn’t been easy connecting with each other, especially with a baby around. Don’t get me wrong – Le is a wonderful darling. But this piece of writing is about us, not about him. Some days, I really just want the day to be about us, and not about him.

There are so many things going on in our lives right now, and our minds has been filled to the brim. There is always something to be done from day till night; dishes to be washed, clothes to be hung, plants to be watered, bed to be made, Le to be entertained. By the time the home is (sufficiently) clean and Le is sound asleep, our lids are heavy, our bones ache, and our brains are screaming in overdrive. We settle ourselves on the couch together (if we are lucky Le does not wake soon after we put him in bed), lemming for a (couple of) beer and some silence to catch our breath amidst this crazy non-stop schedule. Even the sound of television can be overwhelming at this point.

Just.

Stop.

I remember myself thinking.

Stop and breathe. Stop and take a good look at each other. Stop and talk. Stop and connect. Stop and give a genuine compliment.

I miss our drunk, intimate nights out, when we had a drop too much and we did silly things like buy another bottle of wine and sit outside a closed cafe to continue our conversation. We could talk and talk and talk. The topics were endless. We never wanted the night to end then.

These days, I find myself wishing for the night to end, so that I can crawl into bed and shut myself off from everything. Just me, K, and Le under the sheets; nothing else. These days, we enjoy each other’s company in a different way. In a quiet way.

So, for all of the above, I appreciate K for his efforts, even though I found it odd that he picked out a bouquet of such dated colours (red roses wrapped in indigo paper. I’m sorry but he usually has remarkable taste). I appreciate him for keeping me in mind, and for going the extra mile (quite literally) to hand-deliver me the bouquet. We had KFC that evening. After our meal, we were deciding between going home to our son, or catching up on the Lunar New Year shopping (before all shops close for the holidays). We picked the latter. We also held hands and shared many kisses.

We are both exhausted parents, struggling to spend some quality time together. Date nights take on a new form. Simplicity does it. And with that, I am very grateful.