Monday, November 30, 2009

Buying Books for Juan Or (Again!) at the Big Bad Wolf Books Warehouse Sale

Today, Mommy made a trip to the Big Bad Wolf Books Warehouse Sale at the Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya. This was Mommy's first trip there on the 5th day of the sale. Why only go on the 5th day? Because Mommy has heard stories about the extremely big turnout (and crowd!) on the first day itself (and the subsequent days throughout the long weekend), and Mommy no longer has the energy to be one among the crowd.

Although Big Bad Wolf had just opened for the day, there were quite a large number of people there already, but not crowded though. This time, book arrangement was organized into categories such as children, self-help, novels and business (unlike last time where there was no such indication). The magazine section was sort of independent (even though it is still under Big Bad Wolf's jurisdiction) where you will have to pay for it first before taking it with you as you continue to browse the book section. Magazines of Year 2009 are sold at RM5 and Year 2008 at RM3. Paperback novels are sold at RM8, some hardcover ones even at RM5!

As for children section, Mommy guessed most of the good baby/toddler/young children books were all taken up already. What was left were mostly books for older children (ages 8-16) sold for RM8 per book. The only baby/toddler books left were some tab board books sold at RM5 per book, but Mommy didn't buy them because Juan Or already has lots of board books at home. There was also a set of bilingual (English-Chinese) picture dictionary/vocabulary books for young children (ages 4-8) sold for RM3 per book (very cheap!), to which Mommy bought everything in that series. Mommy also saw two books sold at RM2 each which are more like social studies text books for Singaporean school children. Mommy was very tempted to buy them because of the nice presentation, beautiful and sharp photographs, the level of English is very suitable for upper primary school children and the contents serve as good general knowledge about Singapore, but Mommy finally decided against buying them as they are not too relevant for Juan Or now or even in the future because the facts in them may be obsolete by the time Juan Or is ready to read them!

Now, what's missing this time? Mommy can't see any cheap colouring books on sale this time. The only colouring book (coupled with an activity pad) sold was Uncle Horton's (those Dr. Seuss type of series) at RM10, which is not very cheap. Last time, Mommy saw Open Season colouring book sold for RM2, Open Season full colour story book for very young children sold at RM2 and some cartoon/movie character annual book (hardcover) sold at RM5. But this time, the Pokemon annual book which Mommy saw also in last time's sale is sold at RM8 instead! This time, Mommy also can't see any parenting books on sale, but Mommy could be wrong because Mommy didn't have much time to browse thoroughly. As for children's hardcover books, Big Bad Wolf is selling them for RM8 each - reasonably cheap, though not the cheapest Mommy has ever encountered (the cheapest was Crescent Warehouse Sale at RM3 per book).

Here's what Mommy bought for Juan Or (purchases are in view of usage in another 8 to 10 years ahead...hehehehe!):

Mickey and Minnie Mouse vibrating plush toys-cum-cloth books, each for RM8. These are the last units that Mommy managed to grab.

Each at RM3.

These 8 thin books are sold in a set for RM8 (in other words, RM1 per book). The contents are simple stories in large print for very young readers.

Each at RM8, all are hardcover books except for 'Good English'. The 'Anita Cooking With Love' title is for Mommy, all others are for Juan Or.

'The Scientist' and 'Scientific American' imported magazines (left side top and bottom) for Mommy's reading, each at RM5, books at right side are for Juan Or. Top right is RM5, and bottom right are RM1 each.

Updates on Child Nutrition and Health Seminar (Part 4)

This is a continuation from the previous parts: Parts 1, 2 and 3.

3. 3rd speaker - Associate Professor Dr. Zalilah Mohd. Shariff (Head of the Dept. of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Putra Malaysia, Malaysia) on "Parental Feeding Styles and Child Nutritional Status - What Do We Know?" Dr. Zalilah shared about how the development of young children's eating behaviour is mostly influenced by parents because parents are children's most immediate environment. And it is this environment provided by parents (i.e., the parental feeding styles) that may impact children's energy, nutrient intakes and consequently their weight. Research on parental feeding styles and their relation to children nutritional status can help in developing appropriate strategies to modify ineffective parental feeding styles and to promote more adaptive feeding styles. Some interesting points mentioned during her talk:

  • How do parents influence their children's diet? They are through (i) availability and access to food; (ii) own eating style; (iii) food modelling; (iv) mealtime behaviour; (v) meal structure; (vi) nutrition knowledge; (vii) food socialization behaviour; and (viii) feeding practices.
  • The 5 main classes of parental feeding practices are: (i) restriction i.e., limit child's intake or access to the food; (ii) pressure i.e., increase child's food intake; (iii) monitoring i.e., keep track of food consumed by child; (iv) emotional i.e., food given to comfort child; and (v) instrumental i.e., food given as reward.
  • Parenting styles, however, can be classified into 5 types, according to Baumrind (1967, 1971): (i) authoritative (high in both control and warmth); (ii) authoritarian (high in control but low in warmth); (iii) permissive (low in control but high in warmth); (iv) indulgent (low in control but high in warmth); and (v) neglect (low in both control and warmth).
  • Parenting actually has no direct correlation to children's weight. It is only through the genes that it is directly correlated.
  • Galloway et al. (2006) found that children who received less pressure to eat would eat more when they are pressured, and that children tend to give negative responses when pressured to eat.
  • Another study found that the more you restrict snack food, the more likely the child will eat it behind your back!
  • Higher parental pressure to eat is more likely to result in food pickiness.
  • Parental pressure to eat is inversely associated with child's weight (so does that explain why the more Mommy wants Juan Or to drink milk, the more underweight he becomes!?)
  • Restrictive feeding is positively linked to child's weight.
  • An observation on cultural difference in feeding practices: Aussie parents tend to be more restrictive than Hispanic and African American parents.
  • There is no known differential feeding practices between boys and girls.
  • Dr. Zalilah urged parents to not to focus on 'WHAT' to feed children, instead they should focus on 'HOW' to feed children.
  • Although parents do their responsibilities by selecting and buying food , preparing and presenting food for their children in the best way possible and doing things like that, however, at the end of the day, it is still the child's responsibility to decide how much to eat and whether to eat or not! (Hint: so we as parents should not feel too disheartened or guilty when we have tried all we can to get our children to eat, yet in the end, they didn't eat! ^ ^)

Stay tuned for Part 5!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Juan Or's Home-made Baby Walker

Actually, Mommy never thought about this before but after seeing Juan Or doing it, then only did it strike Mommy's mind about this baby product:

(picture courtesy of Pram Centre)

Mommy has never really thought of this baby product to be useful. To Mommy, the main thing is for the baby or toddler to push the toy as he/she walks. And of course to add more functionality to the product, the manufacturer adds buttons and levers and keys to spice things up for the baby/toddler. Of late, Mommy noticed Juan Or making use of chairs to push here and there. That was how Mommy realized that such product is made to imitate such typical toddler actions. The only difference is that the product makes the whole thing look more baby-friendly and nice whereas the 'home-made' version doesn't look nice and can even appear to be 'dangerous' in the eyes of super-protective parents/care-givers.

Here's Juan Or's home-made version of baby walker:

Juan Or has also come up with the 'terbalik' (opposite) version as well!

So, Mommy's conclusion is: Children's imagination is limitless. Anything can be made into a toy (which can be dangerous sometimes!) and adults often make use of children's imaginative ideas to come up with new baby products/toys and make money from them! ^ ^

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trip to Seremban Lake Garden

On the Sunday that has just passed, Juan Or's sleeping and waking time-table became a little different, so by 8am plus, Juan Or was all set to go for outing (the norm is that Juan Or is only ready by near 10am). Because the time was still early (which is rare nowadays), Papa and Mommy decided to take a joyride trip to Seremban (so that the trip is sufficiently long without stopping to enable Juan Or to have a good nap in the car). So along the way, Juan Or slept for 50 minutes, then woke up and by then, we had reached Mantin (we took the old road). Actually, the thought of going to Seremban Lake Garden was Mommy's spontaneous idea upon reaching Seremban. Originally we didn't plan to stop anywhere in Seremban except for lunch in a restaurant! So finally, we reached the Seremban Lake Garden and Mommy found the garden to be more beautiful than the park at Bukit Jalil (except for one dilapidated spectator sitting place) . Here are some snapshots capturing Juan Or enjoying himself there:

A portion of the garden leading to the fountain.

Juan Or at the fountain area and Papa was busy taking photos of Juan Or (while Mommy was doing the same also.)

This naughty little Juan Or loves to play with water!

Walking with Papa.

Juan Or was caught rubbing his hands onto the wet and dirty concrete garden bench. "Juan Or, are you trying to help the Seremban town council do some clean-up job!?"

The more Mommy said no to Juan Or for rubbing his hands on the dirty surface, the more Juan Or wanted to do on purpose! Mommy's teaser boy!

Another scene of the garden.

Father and son.

Another scene of the garden, this time with a shaded bridge going across the lake.

Juan Or was caught in the act of trying to pluck the leaves of the decorative plants alongside the bridge.

Another father and son scene. Juan Or was seen walking around happily on the bridge.

Juan Or was looking up at Mommy as Mommy was snapping this photo.

After spending about 40 minutes at the garden, Papa and Mommy decided to go to the restaurant for lunch (although it was only about 11.20 am), about just in time before Juan Or was expected to become sleepy again. So we headed to Sikamat (a mukim in Seremban) for Restaurant Min San (this restaurant has been frequented ages ago by Papa's side of family whenever visiting relatives in Seremban).

Min San Restaurant

This was how Juan Or occupied himself while waiting for food - by biting on the sauce plate!

Here's what Papa ordered:

Pork in don't-know-what sauce

Prawn (medium-sized) in curry with lemony taste.

Sweet potato leaves in sambal belacan (has pieces of pork lard in it).

How about the price? Very cheap, only RM29.10! Prawn dish was RM12, pork was RM8, vegetable was RM5, the rest were 2 plates of rice and a teapot of Chinese tea. No tax or service charge involved. Taste-wise? Moderate to good.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Updates on Child Nutrition and Health Seminar (Part 3)

This is the continuation of a previous blogpost.

2. 2nd speaker - Prof. Dr. Khor Geok Lin (Dept. of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UPM) on "Socioeconomic Disparities in Childhood Malnutrition". Prof. Dr. Khor shared about statistics of child hunger, malnutrition, underweight, mortality (death), and obesity. Here are some interesting statistical facts:

  • Where child hunger in Asia is concerned, Bangladesh tops the list and surprisingly, Malaysia has the lowest (but Mommy didn't see Singapore in the list at all!).
  • Three-fourth of the world's underweight and stunted children in the world actually live in Asia. Being underweight is a high risk for young children. South-east Asia has the highest prevalence of underweight children below 5 years old, and Latin America and Caribbean Islands has the lowest. Within South-east Asia itself, Malaysia has the lowest prevalence of underweight children and Timor Leste the highest.
  • In terms of child death before the age of 5 years (in Asia), Singapore has the lowest and Myanmar the highest. China and Malaysia have low prevalence.
  • Rural children are twice as likely as urban children to be underweight. In Malaysia, among children below 18 years old, the prevalence of underweight is lowest in both Penang and Selangor (in fact, much lower than the national average), and Sabah is the highest (in fact, much higher than the national average).
  • As for the prevalence of overweight children below 18 years old in Malaysia, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka are among the highest and Sabah is the lowest.
  • It is found that child obesity is more prevalent among the lower socioeconomic group.
  • Adequate nutrition before and during pregnancy and the first 6 months of life is critical to a child.
  • Among the determinants to reduce child malnutrition, women's education actually contributes the most.
  • Prof. Dr. Khor also brought up the issue of health inequality in the Internet. She pointed out the trend that health websites are mostly written at a level understandable to high school up to graduate level readers. Thus, the lower level group is at the most disadvantaged in accessing health information from such websites.

Stay tuned for the gist of the next speakers.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Free Drypers Drypantz is Finally Here!

Remember how Mommy got the Drypers Drypantz form which requires Mommy to introduce people to the product in order to get some free Drypantz? Well, late this evening, Mommy finally received the free Drypers Drypantz via the post! Mommy last sent the entry forms somewhere in September and it took 2 months to arrive. Another thing is that the Mommy requested for size L, but instead SCA Hygiene gave size M. So that night itself, Mommy used it on Juan Or before Juan Or grows out of it! Turned out to be just fitting for Juan Or. Anytime soon Juan Or won't be able to fit in it already.

When Mommy took out the Drypantz packages from the envelope and placed them on the floor (because Mommy was sitting on the floor that time), Juan Or immediately came over and purposely stepped over the packaging. Mommy guessed the diapers and the packaging itself must have felt spongy and soft such that Juan Or found it fun and amusing to step over several times!

(Juan Or caught in the act!)

Compilation of Fun Tools (and Links) for Kids to Learn Science and Maths

Not too long ago, a lady by the name Adrienne Carlson brought to Mommy's attention (via email) about her website which has a compilation of 100 fun online tools and links for kids to learn science and maths. So Mommy visited the URL page she gave and indeed, Mommy found the webpage to be a good (and interesting!) one-stop centre for links to fun activities, interactive games, printables, newsletters, how-to articles written with the children audience in mind, fun science projects, science-related jokes and riddles, fun online science episodes and many more. The title of the webpage is "100 Tools to Make Your Kids Maths and Science Stars", and Mommy has also included a link to the same webpage at the right hand panel under the category "Fun Stuff for Kids to Do!" by the title "100 Fun Tools for Learning Science and Maths" for everyone's convenience. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Updates on Child Nutrition and Health Seminar (Part 2)

Remember how Mommy mentioned about registering to attend a seminar on updates on child health and nutrition in UPM? Well, Mommy attended this seminar on 10th November 2009 and would like to share some interesting information with fellow parent bloggers. But first, before Mommy goes into the hard facts of the seminar, let's see some photos taken that day:

(The Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia, where the seminar was held.)

(A bunting of the seminar. See the tables and chairs with skirting in the background? That's for the tea breaks and lunch provided for free during the seminar!)

(The official opening ceremony of the seminar.)

(Associate Professor Dr. Pantipa Chatchatee from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, conducting her opening address on "Child Nutrition and Immunity".)

(Here are the 'goodies' in the seminar bag given out to participants: EnfaMama, EnfaGrow and EnfaKid free sample sachets, a Mead Johnson ballpen and seminar tag.)

(The seminar materials that were also included in the seminar bag: clockwise from top left - Sustagen cardboard folder, fullscap paper for jotting down notes, leaflets on EnfaGrow and Sustagen, and the seminar programme and abstract book.)

(And finally after finishing the seminar, Mommy received a certificate of participation!)

OK, here are the things Mommy wants to share with fellow parent bloggers/readers and of course, Mommy tries to minimize the usage of scientific terms for the benefit of the general audience:
  1. 1st speaker - Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pantipa Chatchatee (Head Division of Allergy & Immunology, Dept. of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand) on "Child Nutrition and Immunity". Dr. Pantipa shared about how nutrition can affect child's immune system in many ways and that the interrelationship between nutrition, immune functions and inflammation can be targeted for health promotion and disease prevention. Some interesting points mentioned during her talk:
  • Imbalance in fatty acids may drive certain immune cells towards the inflammatory direction, so you will see more allergic reactions.
  • When mom consumes fish oil regularly during pregnancy, the baby will have less allergy problems because more DHA equals to less inflammation, BUT excessive DHA can disturb the blood clotting process, more so during childbirth.
  • The function of immunity is not only to fight against foreign matters, but also to tolerate foreign matters found in food, self, environmental components and other bacteria living together in our body. It is the imbalance between fighting and tolerating that causes allergic and inflammatory problems. The T-regulatory cells are the ones in charge of controlling this balance. The development of tolerance actually starts prenatally.
  • You are what you eat! Immunity starts from the gut! Dr. Pantipa cited one experiment done on newborn mouse. The newborn mouse was subjected to sterile environment since birth, that is, sterile food, sterile water, sterile living condition and the likes. Of course, the baby mouse grew up and then scientist started exposing it to normal living conditions and the mouse got sick easily. So the lesson learnt is that you need some 'dirty' living conditions and exposure to germs so that your immune system gets the necessary 'practice' or stimulation to fend off infections.
  • Dr. Pantipa also mentioned about the increasing prevalence of allergy in nowadays society. The issues that she highlighted were: (1) Is our environment becoming more toxic? (2) Or is the population becoming more and more susceptible?

Mommy will have to stop here now because Mommy will need to go fetch Juan Or back from the babysitter's house. So stay tuned for more posts after this where Mommy will share the main points picked out from subsequent speakers (there were 10 speakers in all).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"I Feed You, But You Don't Need to Feed Me!"

This is really an outdated post, thanks to Mommy's crazily busy schedule for the past weeks. It happened almost 2 weeks ago. Juan Or's cousin sister, Juan Juan who is about 8 months older than Juan Or, was around in Grandma's house for quite some time already. Later on, when Mommy came back from work, Mommy picked Juan Or from babysitter's house as well. Juan Or, upon seeing Juan Juan enjoying a small plate of muruku (actually, this muruku was given by one of Mommy's chemistry class student in conjunction with Deepavali), came to join her as well. He sat directly opposite her and started taking the muruku, piece by piece, and fed muruku into her mouth! Don't know whether Juan Or was being generous, or he was simply finding it fun to feed food into other's mouth (but Mommy thinks it's probably the latter because Juan Or likes to shove leftover food that he can't finish into Mommy's mouth)! Juan Juan was also very sporting to eat what was fed to her, and seeing her enthusiasm to eat whatever he fed her, Juan Or kept on putting muruku into her mouth! Here are a series of snapshots of the feeding action.

After Juan Or was done with feeding Juan Juan, Juan Or climbed onto a sofa to relax and watch television. And Mommy can't help snapping more photos of this little boy concentrating on watching the television.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Seminar on Child Nutrition and Health

Mommy got this interesting announcement from a colleague yesterday. She got the invitation to this talk because she is in the field of Health and Nutrition (she is one of the lecturers in the Food Science and Nutrition programme). According to her (and the invitation card), this talk is free-of-charge and anybody can attend it. And the topics sound very interesting to Mommy. Here are the details:

Theme: Updates on Child Nutrition and Health

Date: 10th November 2009

Venue: Main Lecture Hall, Dewan Kuliah Utama, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Putra Malaysia.

Time: 8.30 am - 5.30 pm

Deadline to RSVP: 30th October 2009

Who to RSVP to: Chin Yit Siew (
Yap Su Ling (

Organizers: UPM and Mead Johnson Nutrition

Topics that will be covered:
  • Child Nutrition and Immunity

  • Socioeconomic Disparities in Childhood Malnutrition

  • Parental Feeding Practices and Nutritional Status - What Do We Know?

  • Micronutrients and Cognitive Development in Young Children

  • Fatty Acids and Children's Health

  • WHO Growth Standards 2006: What Does It Measure?

  • Assessing Physical Activity of Children: What's New?

  • A Practical Approach in Managing Childhoon Obesity

  • Cow Milk Protein Allergy: A Clinician's Perspective

  • Nutrition Interventions for Young Children: The Way Forward

By the way, Mommy only RSVPed on 2nd November 2009, which is already past the RSVP deadline, but luckily they still accepted because Mommy received a confirmation email from Ms. Yap Su Ling. So if you are interested to attend, you can still try to RSVP.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Yay! Juan Or's Videoblog Won Something!

Yay! The DiGi's "Pimp My Broadband" Contest results are out! And much to Mommy's surprise, it is the videoblog that won something rather than the photoblog. In Mommy's opinion, the content of the photoblog is better and funnier than the videoblog.....but, ah, never mind, at least something is won - a free 3-month DiGi's broadband subscription - better than nothing at all! However, Mommy suspects DiGi probably made sure that no one participant gets two prizes. So considering that the number of photoblog entries way exceeds that of the videoblogs, and putting into consideration some participants who gave good photoblog entries, but never submitted a videoblog, so DiGi must have done some justice to all the deserving ones so that all gets to enjoy the free 3-month broadband. Thanks to DiGi and thanks to all of Mommy's blog readers who painstakingly spent some time to give thumbs-up to vote for Mommy's entries. Mommy knows that Mommy had been quite 'irritating' by bombarding the Facebook almost everyday with Mommy's microblog by asking friends to vote. Sorry about that, no choice, but Mommy really want to win something. So a BIG THANK YOU to all of you who have contributed in some way or other to make this winning a reality!

Juan Or and the Shape-sorting Toy (Part 2)

(Juan Or is picking a shape out.)

(Juan Or is happily fitting a shape in.)

(Juan Or is making another try on another shape.)

("Eh....why cannot go in one!?")

Remember how Mommy wrote before about how Juan Or would always pick out only the round and oval shapes to be put into their respective holes? Well, this time (actually about 2 weeks ago!) Juan Or is already able to comprehend more variety of shapes and how they fit in into their respective hole shapes. Of course, once in a while, Juan Or did get one or two shapes fitted into the wrong hole, but most of them were correctly put. But one thing sure for sure about Juan Or is that he is impatient in orientating the shape until it fits into the hole! With just one or two turning steps and if the shape still can't get into the hole (the shape is already correctly befitting the hole!), Juan Or will start fretting! What an impatient boy!