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.

Bedtime

It is impossible to creep into bed silently; the creaks would never go past Le’s young ears unnoticed. Are babies’ senses of hearing all so sharp?

At midnight, as I prepare myself for bed, Le starts to rouse from his sleep. He grunts and begins to turn his head from side to side furiously, in search of something to suckle on. When he realizes there are none, his soft whining grows into loud cries.

I sigh and got out of the bed that hasn’t even warmed to my body. Has it only been twenty weeks with this lil’ milk monster? I can’t remember a time before he exists anymore. How does a full night’s sleep even feel like?

I lie down next to Le and pretend to ignore him. He responds by flailing his tiny arms and turning his tiny body to face me. “Hi,” I greet him. He flashes his megawatt smile. “Why are you not sleeping?” I speak in a hushed tone.

Le’s impatience is second to none, a trait I constantly mock his daddy for. Within seconds, a sulk takes over his smile and crying ensues again.

“Okay, okay…” I give in and lift my shirt to reveal my glorious boob, well, at least to him. The lil’ milk monster attacks it with immaculate precision immediately.

I stroke his tiny face and kiss his tiny head. “Good night my milk monster,” I whisper, before drifting off to my sleep.