Booked

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A book I've wanted to own over the past month or so.

We bought it. Finally.

Most people would’ve come across the What To Expect book series when expecting a baby, but for us, it was only when an ex-colleague of mine passed me a second hand copy of What To Expect: The First Year that we had a firsthand exposure to how these books were like.

And I must say, we were very impressed with how helpful it was and how thoroughly it covered issues we faced in the first year of Jamie’s life. So much so that I was keen to get the continuation book shown above.

Unlike the one written for the first year, this one doesn’t go month by month, but takes a more topical approach. That was a bit disappointing for me, since I liked the excitement of having new material to digest every month.

But I suppose it’s better the way it is since every child experiences a different order of development etc from here onwards. Not so straightforward and predictable as it was in the first year.

Anyhow, I’m excited about reading through the book. So far whatever I’ve read seems like fair comment and carries a well balanced view. If it interests you, you might want to check it out too.

Just sharing my happiness lah. Hehe. Not an ad or sponsored post or anything. Just glad to have help on hand. We need as much as we can in these early years.

Wear and share

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Carry of the week: Robin's Hip Carry.

If you aren’t already on the Malaysian Babywearers Facebook group then you should be. Especially right now as we’re in the midst of a 30 Weeks, 30 Carries Wrap Challenge.

At the moment, we’ve moved along through 9 weeks and the carry of the week this round is Robin’s Hip Carry (above pic). It’s really much easier learning up the various carries when you know you’ve got a whole lot of other people doing it together with you. I nailed this one down on the first try.

The way it’s done on the group is that you’re supposed to try the carry (video instructional links usually provided) and to then snap a picture of yourself and baby in that carry and to post it as a comment on the original Facebook post. It’s quite fun, trust me.

Here’s the full list of wrap carry styles we’ll be working through. Please do join us ūüôā

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Babywearing: My journey

Babywearing has been such a significant part of my foray into motherhood.
It was exactly a week ago that we had The Malaysian Babywearers’ International Babywearing Week 2015 event in PJ which both Hosanna and I attended with our families.

The event has refueled my passion for babywearing and as a result, I have been watching tutorial videos on YouTube about babywearing once more and have plucked up the courage to try new feats with my existing gear.

So I figured it would be a good time as any for me to share a little about my babywearing journey so far.

What it’s about

Here’s a quick lowdown for the uninitiated. Babywearing refers to the act of carrying your baby through the aid of various gear such as slings, wraps and so forth.  It’s viewed as one of the common practices of those who adopt attachment parenting.

It’s not really a new concept, especially here in Asia, but a certain set of standards and practices for babywearing have been developed and are currently used worldwide.

For example, baby carriers that are used for babywearing typically need to conform to guidelines such as being ergonomic in nature.

The proper practice of babywearing also requires a parent to adhere to specific criteria in order to ensure the safety of the child while being worn. A commonly used acronym, TICKS, helps to summarise the principles that babywearers are advised to keep in mind.

How I got into the scene

To be honest, I never really intended to make a hobby/interest out of babywearing.

I just thought it would be a nifty thing to have the option of carrying my baby in some kind of gear that would allow me to jaga the wellbeing of my back and arms a little more (I have a medical history of a slipped disc and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my left hand).

So, not long after Jamie and I were discharged from the hospital following his delivery, Deric and I found ourselves in a shop in TTDI called Fabulous Mom one day mulling over a suitable baby carrier for Jamie.

At that time, I already had my heart set on owning a stretchy wrap such as the Moby Wrap or Boba Wrap because I had tried one out at a baby expo while I was still pregnant with Jamie and thought that it looked like a feasible option.

But unfortunately for me (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the salesgirl at Fabulous Mom decided to ask me how I had delivered Jamie. When I told her it was by an emergency C section, she advised me not to take a stretchy wrap because it would need to be tied around my waist and might get in the way of my wound site and cause discomfort.

It was disheartening for me to hear this as this was the baby carrier I had wanted to own all along. However, I was still very much in pain from the after effects of surgery so I decided to go along with her advice.

As an alternative, she suggested that I consider either a baby pouch or a ring sling. I chose to go for a ring sling.

I figured that since it only cost RM100+, if I later on discovered that using it just wasn’t the thing for me, I would not feel so bad as not that much money had been forked out for it as compared to if I had bought a soft structured carrier (SSC) up front which would require us to spend several hundreds at one go.

So that is how it all started out for me.

How I fared

Initially, I was really discouraged because I found it so hard to get Jamie to be comfortable in the ring sling. Getting him into it would often involve him struggling, fussing or crying. I also faced challenges in grasping the concept of how to securely put him in it without having to worry about him falling out.

Well, I eventually overcame these initial issues and in the process, discovered that there were so many other baby carrier options out there. I felt keen on trying them out, so gradually I bought other items to add to my stash.

Here’s a picture of my current collection:

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Clockwise from left: Klik-A-Gift ring sling, Lennylamb Paradiso baby size soft structured carrier (SSC), chequered home sewn cloth given to me by church member, Sukkiri ring sling and Daeisu Bougainvillea woven wrap size 5.
It isn’t much and it isn’t too fancy compared to what other avid babywearers out there own, I’m sure. But I love each of these carriers and see a different value and purpose for each of them.

For example, my Sukkiri ring sling is made out of mesh material, and works well for Jamie at home where we hardly switch on the air cond. He sweats a lot in our tropical Malaysian weather, so it’s great to be able to keep that to a minimum with ring slings like the Sukkiri.

Meanwhile, the Klik-A-Gift ring sling that I have is made of cotton material with padded shoulder as well as edges to make it comfy for both the adult wearer and the baby. It’s hot for Jamie to use at home, but works well for use indoors in buildings that are air conditioned such as malls.

So both ring slings serve a purpose, depending on where I am and what my needs are.

In the meantime, a lady from my church passed me a hand sewn cloth as a gift which she said would be useful for me to carry Jamie around at home. I think not all babywearing advocates would agree to the method of carrying she taught me for use with this cloth, but nevertheless I do still use it with Jamie to help take the weight of my arms when doing short carries around the home with him.

As for my venture into the world of SSCs, it came about because by Jamie’s third month, he transformed into this really active tot who would lean in all sorts of directions while being adjusted into the ring sling, making it really hard for me to wear him in it. He also developed this habit of biting the rings.

I took these problems I faced in babywearing Jamie to a local Facebook babywearing group that I was a member of and part of the advice I got in response was to consider an SSC that was made out of fabric that is cooling for Jamie.

Hence, I did another round of research and was really drawn to the Lennylamb range of carriers. I was a bit hesitant to purchase their SSCs as I wanted to try them before doing so but their products were hard to find in physical stores.

I was blessed, however, through the discovery of a weekend bazaar showcasing baby products that was about to take place. I attended that event with Hosanna and it was there that I first laid eyes on a Lennylamb Paradiso baby carrier, which was a wrap conversion SSC (WCSSC) with a cotton-bamboo blend.

It was so soft in its texture that I fell in love with it almost right away and before leaving the bazaar, had already purchased the WCSSC.

Last but not least, I really wanted to go the wrapping route, since that had been my intention from the very early days of my interest in babywearing.

As I did more online research on it, I realised that it would be better to get a woven wrap than a stretchy wrap as the former could be used up till Jamie’s toddler days and beyond. In contrast, the stretchy wrap had a more limited time frame for use due to its weight supporting capacity.

Woven wraps, I found out, are really expensive, despite being just a long piece of cloth. While I was preparing to buy a second hand one via Facebook, I stumbled upon a local brand that sells woven wraps which was known as Daeisu.

I ended up going with purchasing a wrap from this Malaysian setup, since I like supporting local brands, and I am in favour of the fact that Daeisu kept their products within a really affordable range for Malaysians unlike other similar manufacturers that are based here.

More tales to come 

Since the time I first started out in babywearing up until now, I’ve learned lots about this wonderful parenting lifestyle. It’s really too much to elaborate on in just one post alone, so in the future, I will work on writing separate posts to share what I know about each type of baby carrier that I’ve tried in the hopes that it will help some of you readers out there.

Meantime, if babywearing has sparked your interest, check out the links below.

Well, I hope you find babywearing as fun as I have. I look forward to telling you more about my babywearing journey in future posts. But meanwhile, please feel free to share your own experiences in the comments section.

Babywearing International: Has an extensive glossary of babywearing terms for you to read and get acquainted with. Also contains tips on how to choose a baby carrier and resources that explain how to use each one.

School of Babywearing: Has a downloadable babywearing guide PDF file that you can refer to.

Malaysian Babywearers (Facebook group): Go here to meet other passionate Malaysian babywearers. You can also troubleshoot your babywearing woes by posting photos to the group and seeking advice. Admins will typically respond, if not anyone else.

Malaysian Babywearers DIY Advice and Support (Facebook group): The group to be in if you want to learn how to make your own baby carriers. I have yet to try this, but remain interested in doing so at some point in the future, if time and resources permit.

Malaysian Babywearers FSOT and Rental (Facebook group): You can learn a lot about the various brands of baby carriers out there by joining this group. And you can, of course, rent or purchase second hand any carriers that interest you.

Children have rights, too!

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Children can exercise their right to free speech, too.

We were strolling in The School @ Jaya One on Malaysia Day, when a huge mural on the wall caught our attention. The “Speaker’s Corner” signage was massive, but¬†the cute cartoon mural underneath hinted that it was anything but a political space.

We decided to take a closer look. We discovered that there were a series of murals in The School, to highlight children’s rights.

Each poster represented one theme taken from the Convention for the Rights of The Child (CRC), which is an international humanitarian instrument to protect and safeguard children. This year marks the 20th year since Malaysia ratified the CRC.

The brightly-colored posters are brilliantly done by the lecturers and students from IACT, which as its campus in Jaya One. Kudos to them for taking the effort to be part of raising awareness for children’s rights.

The first poster we saw had children dressed up in various occupations, standing on top of a “book flower”. The caption in the corner says:

Article 28 

You have the right to a good quality education. You should be encouraged to go to school to the highest level you can.

Wow, that is an important right for children all over the world! I immediately think about Malala Yousafzai, the young Nobel Prize laureate who was shot by the Taliban for campaigning to allow girls to go to school. She is now a fierce advocate and travels the world to spread the message that education is the key to transforming societies.

When we think of human rights, we do not automatically think about children. But they are a group that need protection and security, since they are often vulnerable and unable to protect themselves. (Think child abuse, child marriages, discrimination or poor living conditions for children worldwide, particularly those living as refugees or in war-torn countries).

Here are some of the posters we documented, plus the explanations.

 IMG_20150916_160408Article 12

You have the right to give your opinion, and for adults to listen and take it seriously.

 


 

IMG_20150916_160346Article 8

You have the right to an identity – an official record of who you are. No one should take this away from you.


IMG_20150916_160329 Article 19

You have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, in body or mind.


 


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You have the right to be alive.


 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20150916_160601Article 9

You have the right to live with your parent(s), unless it is bad for you. You have the right to live with a family who cares for you.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20150916_160505Article 5

Your family has the responsibility to help you learn to exercise your rights, and to ensure that your rights are protected.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Article 24 

You have the right to the best healthcare possible, safe water to drink, nutritious food, a clean and safe environment, and information to help you stay well.

IMG_20150916_160536Article 10

If you live in a different country than your parents, you have the right to be together in the same place.


 

 

IMG_20150916_160637Article 15

You have the right to choose your own friends and join or set up groups, as long as it isn’t harmful to others.


 

 

 

 

Article 29

Your education should help you use and develop your talents and abilities. It should also help you learn to live peacefully, protect the environment and respect other people.

It’s so important that children’s rights are not ignored. They are the best investment a country can make for its future.

Read more about 20 years of the CRC in Malaysia here.
Read about Jaya One’s previous campaigns for child rights (2014 collaboration with Unicef) ¬†and Unicef’s My Promise to Children campaign.

On RJ’s bookshelf / September 2015 / 4 months +

20150908200412There’s nothing quite like the fresh scent of ink on paper and the rough caress of your finger turning a page. Old-fashioned books seem almost a novelty in this digital age, but as far as children are concerned, my bibliophile husband and I agree – print trumps pixels, every time.

There are many reasons to read to your child, not least being the sheer pleasure of curling up with a good book and a snuggly warm body to enjoy audible literature. At this stage, RJ is more interested in swiping at the pages and stuffing the book corners into her mouth. But she’ll get the hang of it soon enough.

I was surprised by the ingenuity of children’s books nowadays. It’s a new breed of board books with sticky tabs, magnets, stickers, pop-ups and other fancy bells and whistles. Heck, I’m practically buying them for myself, not baby!

Here’s three of RJ’s current favorite books.

20150908062618 (2) Curious George: My Growing World

A real gem we found at the Big Bad Wolf book fair, this board book folds out to become a measuring chart AND a story book. It even has a helpful record section to keep track of baby’s growth. Of course, i’m a sucker for such multi-tasking items. RJ’s favorite part of this book is the mirror, which she spends incessant time gazing at everyday.

I had to fold it up because it's too long to fit into the shot
I had to fold it up because it’s too long to fit into the shot
Cute stickers and a Record section to track baby's growth. I'm sold!
Cute stickers and a nifty Record section to track baby’s growth. I’m sold!

20150908062614 (1)¬†Mother Goose’s Nursery Rhymes

We scored this classic for cheap, there seem to be many variants popping up at various books sales in KL (Book Excess, Times, MPH). I chose this version because I liked that there were some rarer rhymes inside.

The box set comes with three illustrated books inside: playtime rhymes, bedtime rhymes, and action rhymes. Each page has vibrant drawings that bring the classic nursery rhymes to life.

The bedtime rhymes group together a few simple favorites with good rhyme and metre to lull your little one into slumber. Playtime rhymes are more fun and the action rhymes have some instructions included so you and your child can act them out.

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Expect to see old ones like “ring a ring of roses”, “row, row, row your boat”, and “pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been”? There are some really odd ones which I’ve never heard before. Here’s one I really liked from the book, which almost seem like a tongue-twister.

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[ Aside: I’ve come to realise the violence, misogyny, racism, social segregation, etc in fairy tales and nursery rhymes, something I never noticed before. Still, I think i’ll let RJ read the stories and make up her own mind about it. ]

20150908062619 Animals Go

Of course, which baby’s childhood isn’t full of safari animals? Our venerable soft toy collection is practically a mini zoo (well, only 4 animals counts as mini, right?) and we had once thought of a gender-neutral animal-themed nursery back in the hazy days of early pregnancy.

RJ loves this book chiefly because the animals have 3D ridges for her to run her curious little fingers over. The high contrast in the colors and large, quirky illustrations are great to hold the little one’s attention. Each page has a close-up detail shot as well as a portrait with a verb describing the animal.

RJ's favorite page - the ladybug (or do you call it ladybird?)
RJ’s favorite page – the ladybug (or do you call it ladybird?)
My favorite page is this gorgeous peacock. Eye-popping details on the fan.
My favorite page is this gorgeous peacock. Eye-popping details on the fan.

Showing these animals to RJ is one of our ways to teach her about nature, a topic close to our hearts.

Since Daniel’s degree is in ecology and biodiversity, we often talk to RJ about animals, plants, and the ecosystem. During our evening walks, he would point out shrubs to her, let her feel the texture of the leaves, and explain about the process of photosynthesis.

When she’s bigger, we’ll let her collect the leaves and paste them in a scrapbook. She can write their names like a proper¬†field experiment. Can’t wait for RJ to be old enough to read more interesting books. We hope she’ll grow up to love books as much as we do. Until then, we’ll keep reading to her. (Sometimes, even an Ikea catalogue will do…)

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Will post more about other books that we purchased for RJ, in the meantime, here’s some book-related links:

What are some of your children’s favorite books? Share with us.