2012 So Far…

February 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm

One and the half month is over for 2012. What has been happening here? All I can say is BEEZEE.

Zaria goes to kindergarten in the morning. Zara goes to school in the afternoon.

We have carpool arrangement for Zaria, so Daddy sends 3 mornings a week, and I pick up 2 afternoon a week. The rest, my neighbor handles.

With Zara, unlike last year, there’s no carpool arrangement. I do the sending and picking up myself.

Extra-classes and Tutoring.
The girls have a couple of activities and classes lined up for them.

Zaria – Swimming, Art & Craft, Mandarin, Yamaha,

Zara – Swimming, Art & Craft, Mandarin, Piano, Speech & Drama, English, Bahasa Malaysia.

Besides Swimming and Art & Craft where the girls attend together; and Bahasa Malaysia where the tutor comes to the house; the rest are different classes, different timing and guess who has to do the chauffeuring?

How many trips in and out do I have to make? And I wonder how come the mother ends up doing all the driving even though she has to work too!

Jelly has left for good on Sunday, after working with us for 5yrs.

Kind of miss the ‘piling-palang’ noise she made at home, and her loud bossy voice. She’s actually an OK helper, just stubborn and have an attitude. Trustworthy and no-nonsense is her plus points.

Our replacement was supposed to arrive a day after Jelly left. But just like all the con-artist Agents who over commit and under deliver, the paper work was not completed on time, and God knows when it’ll be done and the new helper will arrive.

We’re estimating 2 to 3 weeks maidless period. Zaria is now sent to my MIL’s place after school (take a wild guess who sends here there and who picks her up?), just so all the little ‘unplanned’ demands she has will not interrupt my work schedule or meetings.

So here is the work from home mum with a full time job, who’s also a full time driver, and now a full time maid all roll into one. I’m so not going to be born as a female next life!

And who says I’m so lucky to be able to work from home?

Sugar In Your Growing Up Milk III

January 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm

The videos that I shared in my previous posts were all from Experts who shared their opinions on sugar in Growing Up Milk (GUMP). I watched a couple of them when I was waiting in Mediklinik TTDI Jaya via the Queue Channel.

Thanks to technology, we can find all the related videos on youtube as well.

These videos are mainly trying to educate us as consumers on added sugars in GUMP, and asked us to make informed decision when it comes to choosing the right GUMP for our kids. You should definitely take a look at these if you are interested in doing what is right for your children when choosing their GUMP.

Here is a print ad from MOH (Ministry of Health) that was in the papers which also talked about similar points mentioned in the video.

MOH Print Add

Two very interesting points that I picked up from this MOH print ad are:

As per Malaysian labeling guidelines, all sugars are declared as part of carbohydrate, which includes sugar, sugar-rich ingredients and digestible glucose chains (e.g. sucrose, corn syrup, glucose syrup and maltodextrin) – all declared as “Carbohydrate’ in the Nutrition Information Penal)

1) Added sugars can have many different names. Corn syrup solids, glucose syrup solids and sucrose are all added sugars.

2) Be aware that products claiming “no added sucrose” or “sucrose free” could still contain other types of added sugars.

Not to offend any brands of GUMP, but now, when you next pick up a pack of GUMP, be informed that even the MOH says that corn syrup solids, sucrose and glucose syrup solids are added sugars. What does this mean for some of the GUMPS that have made certain claims about their formulations?

MOH also says ‘no sucrose’ doesn’t necessary mean ‘no added sugars’. What does this mean for certain GUMP that has this claim on their packaging?

So far in the market as far as I can tell, Anmum Essential is the only growing up milk powder that really has no added sugars.

Do make informed decision on your next purchase of GUMP.

Sugars In Your Growing Up Milk II

December 27, 2011 at 8:35 pm

To supplement my earlier post, I have a few Videos to share from the experts who recently visited Malaysia discussing the disadvantages of added sugars in GUM (growing up milk).

Professor Peter S.W. Davies

Here is his 1st video

It’s a myth where parents assume children need a lot of added sugars for energy and growth. In fact any form of added sugar (Corn syrup solids, glucose syrup solids and sucrose) when consumed by a child, those extra calories may simply convert to excessive body fats and may contribute towards later overweight and obesity.

Here is his 2nd video

As a guideline, the World Health Organisation say we should keep added sugar intakes to less than 10% of our total calorie intake. So for a growing up milk for a 2 to 3 year old child, that’s not really many calories to put aside for added sugar – only 150Kcal or less than 7 teaspoon per day maximum.

Dr John Monro

Here is his 1st video

There’s natural sugar level (lactose) of 11g-12g per serving in children’s milk, anything above this can be considered added sugars.
Do check the ingredient list for added sugar ingredients.

Here is his 2nd video

The nutritional definition of sugars represents more than just mono- and disaccharides because the body digests and metabolises things like corn syrup solids and glucose syrup solids just like sugars and they give rise to sugars immediately in the body.
Added sugars include Corn syrup and glucose syrup solids.
To give yourself a guide to the amount of added sugar, look at ‘carbohydrate per serve’ in a growing up milk powder.

Here is his 3rd video

He reiterated the fact that looking at ‘carbohydrate per serve’ is a good to give us a guide to the amount of added sugars in a growing up milk powder. Anything higher than 11-12g for ‘carbohydrate per serve’ is added sugars.

In short, all these videos are asking you to learn to recognize the different names of added sugar, and make sure you are checking the nutrition information panel of the growing up milk you are buying.

Zaria The Bad Temper One

December 11, 2011 at 10:55 am

While playing building blocks at home, Zara smashed Zaria’s building, Zaria took a building block and then tossed it at Zara, hitting Zara at her forehead.
Zara came to me crying and told me what happened.
I asked Zaria to come out. As it’s not the first time she threw things at Zara, I picked up a huge piece of building block, and told her to teach her a lesson and let her have a taste of her own medicine, Zara will now toss the building block at her.
She had fear in a eyes (and surprise in Zara’s eyes), she immediately said, “But I was just about to say sorry to jiejie.”
I asked Zara if that’s good enough, Zara said, “She hasn’t even say it yet.”
Zaria replied, “I’m still thinking how to say it.” o.O”
I have to chip in, “Say it or you stand there and let jiejie toss the building block at you!”
Reluctantly, she shouted, “SORRY JIE!”
Zara replied, “That’s not the way to say sorry.”
I passed the building block from one hand to the other and waited for Zaria.
She took a deep breath then said nicely, “Sorry jie.”
I asked Zara, “Is that good enough?”
Zara replied, “Yes. That’s good enough.”

Sugar In Your Growing Up Milk

December 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm

The debate is still on. Is added sugars ok in growing up milk?

If you are still confused with fact of sugars in milk, I’d gotten some materials from some key opinion leaders on this topic. Let me share with you some points of what they said.

Dr John Monro from Plant & Food Research, New Zealand :
1) All sugars are sourced from plants except for lactose which are naturally present in milk

2) Added sugars (in milk powder) are mostly factory products of chemical and enzymatic starch digestion

3) All sugars and pre-sugars (carbohydrate) are rapidly converted to sugars in the body

4) And to sum it all, see the diagram below :
Carbo vs Sugar
(credit : Dr John Monro)

The child could be consuming a lot of *added sugars every day!

Professor Peter SW Davies from The University of Queensland :
1) In 2010, 43milion Preschool children are overweight or 92milion ‘at risk’ of overweight

2) If we lose the ability to ‘balance’ our intake and expenditure body weight can be lost or gained dramatically

3) WHO Recommendation on Nutrient Intake Goals
…………………………% of Total Energy
Fat —————————-15-30%
Protein ———————-10-15%
Carbohydrates———— 55-75%
Free/Added Sugars —– < 10% 5) Carbohydrates with nutritious value (you can find a whole list on the internet) : bread, banana, apple etc 6) Added sugars have NO nutritious value which is Empty Calories. Extra calories lead to weight gain, and is not required in a healthy diet. 7) So what can we do? Select wholesome natural food as source for carbohydrates; look out for *added sugars in processed foods. While we know that growing up milk has essential nutrients for growing up children (for their brain and physical development) , and contains more nutrient than a glass of fresh milk, what you can see from the above key opinion leaders is that, the excessive added sugars being added in is not needed in children’s growing up milk. So parents, when you are choosing your children’s growing up milk, do check the carbohydrate per serving found in the tin/pack of the milk. Remember, anything above 11-12g per serve is added sugars. *Added sugars come in the form of corn syrup solids, sucrose, glucose syrup solids, maltodextrin


August 12, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Kiasi (traditional Chinese: 驚死, 惊死, kiaⁿ-sí) is a Hokkien phrase, literally means afraid of death, to describe the attitude of being overly afraid or timid.


Since she was very young, Zara has already shown sign she’s very kiasi.
She’s afraid of the dark.
She’ll try to eat healthy so that she’ll not fall ill.

When she was 3+, she sometime had nightmare which woke her up in the middle of the night. Her nightly prayer during that time would include a line like “Jesus, please don’t let me have nightmare.” and she would ask me everynight, “Mum, will I have nightmare?”

She’s never been on a nebuliser, but had seen kids using it. When she’s not well, she will eat her medicine on a timely basis even though it’s extremely yucky. She will not touch cold drinks when she’s having the flu/cold/cough because I’d told her if she didn’t take care when she’s not well, she might need to use the nebuliser.

When she learnt about Hand Foot And Mouth Disease and H1N1 in school, she started checking her body frequently, and when there were ‘suspicious’ spots, she would ask worriedly, “Do I have Hand Foot and Mouth Disease.”; and when a stubborn cough or flu continued for a few days longer, she would ask, “Do I have H1N1?”

Early this year, she started having frequent nose bleed. A couple of times, it bled in the middle of the night, making everybody worry. I initially taught it was caused by extreme ‘heatiness’, so I told her to watch what she eats, and drinks more water.
Her prayer became “Jesus, please don’t let me have nosebleed.” and she would ask me everynight, “Mum, will I have nosebleed?”
She stopped having chocolate and deep fried food although those were her favourite (Even if you tempt her and placed them in front of her, she’ll just say, “No! After I’ll get nosebleed.”)
We eventually found out the reason for her nosebleed. She has extremely sensitive nose. No nose picking and no nose spray (anto-congestion nor salt-water spray) and that fixed the problem.
She’s back on her favourite food now.

She eats most vegetable although she may not like them just because they will make her healthy.
She makes sure her hands are clean before picking up anything to eat.

Recently, I started making homemade ice cream and told her that most ice cream sold had some sort of chemical or preservatives to make them last longer, so best for her to just stick to my ice cream. I shared with her as well some ice cream use artificial sweetener which may cause cancer.
So now her favourite question is, “Will I get cancer.” when she touches something which I told her might contain artificial flavouring or sweetener. o.O”

Sibling Rivalry – I’m Ugly

June 16, 2011 at 10:28 pm

One evening, while spending time with Zaria, she told me, “I wish I have face like jiejie.”
I asked her, “But why? Why do you want to have a face like jiejie?”
She replied, “Because I’m ugly.”
Shocked! I don’t know where she got that idea from. I asked, “Who said you are ugly. You are very pretty and cute.”
She said, “No, jiejie’s face is nice. Mine is not.
She didn’t look upset or anything, as though she’s just stating the fact.

Cute Zaria

I told her that she’s pretty too. Her face has a nice shape, she looks very sweet, her eyes are beautiful, and best of all, she has lips like Angelina Jolie.
She asked, “Who’s Angelina Jolie?”
I told her she’s an actress and very pretty, and they have similar lips.
She then further asked questions like, “She copied my lips?” “Is she sexy?”o.O”

And then, she didn’t talk about her face any more.

I’m not sure what made her think she’s ugly, is it comments from friends or family? I guess when you have 2 daughters, it’s natural for people to compare. So and so is prettier, so and so is taller or more slender or fatter.

I came from a family of 3 girls, and both my sisters were beautiful, and I got lots of negative (and insensitive) comments when compared with them. It did affect the self esteem, and I don’t want the same to happen to my girls.

So friends and family, if you see families with more than 1 child especially of the same sex, don’t do this sort of comparison. I too will try to be more sensitve towards my own children and others.

To me both of them are beautiful. How can she say she’s not beautiful?
Beautiful Zaria

Mum Vs Dad

May 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Zara and Daddy

Zara and Daddy falling asleep in the LRT

Here is a typical conversation you can hear when I’m doing revision with Zara.
“Are you paying attention or not Zara? Did you see what was the question?!”
“Can you write properly, they are different words, make sure there’s space, when it’s one word make sure the letters are together!”

Here is a typical conversation you can hear when Daddy is doing revision with Zara.
“Dad, don’t even say the ‘R’ word ok? I don’t want to hear it.”
“Dad, I’d done this so many times, did you pay attention to what revision you did last time or not?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I ‘play’ with the girls, normally we do building blocks, cooking (I’m always the customer so I can just sit there with my book while the girls served me), or beading together.

When Daddy ‘plays’ with the girls, he’ll be the horse they ride on, he’ll be dancing ballet with them (imagine 6feet tall and tippy toe-ing with his girls), or he’ll run after them when they cycle.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I’m the one tucking in the girls, if we started reading at 10:15pm, I’ll rush through the book, and by 10:30pm, lights out, girls sleep.

When Daddy is the one tucking in the girls, at 11pm when I peeped in, he’ll still be reading.
I tell him, “Hello, lights out by 10:30pm. They have to go to school tomorrow ok?”
He’ll reply, “But they are enjoying the book.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And this happen one day during breakfast.
Daddy having bread and jam and a cup of tea. He left his tea bag from his cup of tea on his plate.
When he wasn’t looking, Zara tore open the tea bag, sprinkled the wet tea dust on Daddy’s bread.
When Daddy bit into his bread, he spat everything out, and shouted for me to see what Zara did.
He then laughed and said, “You tricked me yeah?!!”
Then Zara, Zaria and him had a good laugh.
Imagine, if she did that on my bread….what’s going to happen?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So besides not knowing what time the girls have to go to bed, what time their school starts or ends, what activities happen on what day, what medicine they should be eating (if they fell ill), whose cup is whose, or whose toothbrush is whose, and besides occasionally being his girls’ Knight in Shining Armour;

Daddy is more fun and Mummy is uptight.

Take Note Of The Sugar Level In Your Kids’ Growing Up Milk

April 28, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Have you tried your children’s growing up milk? Are you like me who find growing up milk excessively sweet?

Recently, I saw in a message at the supermarket that we could be feeding our children up 13tsp of added sugar with their current growing up milk. So I picked up a sugar calculator, follow the instructions on it to cross check if is true.

The girls so far have taken 2 brands of growing up milk. First brand indicated I might be feeding 8~12tsp of additional sugar to my children, and another indicated I might be feeding 13~17tsp of additional sugar to my children! Shocking?

And here I am trying to control the girls’ excessive sugar intake (which I wrote about in an earlier post)

I have tasted the girls’ growing up milk before, and I thought it is too sweet. I thought it must have been intentionally sweetened so that it’ll be tasty enough to appeal to young children. However my girls like fresh milk too. Without the added sugar, they still love the creamy and milky taste (per how they describe it). I’m still letting them drink growing up milk though, because I want them to get all the added vitamins they’d included in growing up milk.

However, with this new information, I will try to find children growing up milk with no added sugars, or with less added sugar.

Read the label next time you pick up a tin or pack of growing up milk. Even though you can’t see all these common names of added sugar (i.e. corn syrup solid, sucrose & glucose syrup solid), check the Carbohydrate level with the sugar calculator. Use the sugar calculator to find out how much sugar you’ll be feeding your children additionally with the growing up milk you are about to purchase. I’m definitely going to do that.

The girls' growing up milk 1

The girls' growing up milk 2

Hyperopia And The Experience

April 19, 2011 at 5:49 pm

When your child does not squint, does not have cross eyes, does not complain about eyes being tired, does not show any inability to string beads, put details on drawing, does not complain about not able to see writings on the board or books, how would you know if her eyes have problem?

Zara's Artwork

Zara's Artwork

You don’t. Just like us.

I only realised something was not quite right, when Zara dashed towards a car one day in the park. She said it looked like her Daddy’s car, that was why she got so excited. Unfornately, it wasn’t her Daddy, and the car did not look anything like Daddy’s car, except it’s also a sedan. That day, when we walked back home, I decided to test her eyes by asking her to read out the number plates of cars parked along the road.

I have low astig power, and I could read them all without my glasses. Zaria had no problem chipping in with her answers. Zara said all she could see was lines, no letters nor numbers were visible to her. o.O”

We had an appointment made for her to see an eye specialist in Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital (THONEH) immediately.

5 minutes with the doctor, and she said yup, Zara has very high power and also astigmatism. She has not complained so far because the power on the left eye is lower, so the left eye is doing all the work. And because of that, her right eye has turned a bit lazy.

Next, we had her power checked (they had her eyes dilated with eye drops before checking).
Zara with Optometrist in THONEH

And then had a pair of glasses made for her in THONEH.

Daddy wasn’t with us, and when I told him about her power, what the doctor said; he said I wasn’t asking the right questions. o.O” What is Zara’s problem anyway, why is her power so high? So we thought a second opinion should be seeked, and we made another appointment in International Specialist Eyes Centre (ISEC). This time Daddy took time off to go with me.

At ISEC, she went straight to Optemetrist. Got her power checked the 2nd time (they too had her eyes dilated with eye drops before checking).
Zara with Optometrist in ISEC

Then we got to see the pediatric eye specialist, and here is his diagnosis. Zara has hyperopia. He did this drawing for us.
HyperopiaThe top showing a normal eye, where far objects are focussed on the retina (yellow colour), and near objects are focussed at the back of the retina. Our lens through relax accomodation, will make the focus of the near object be on the retina (As we age, our accomodation weakened, and hence we’ll need reading glasses).

Someone with hyperopia, will have far objects focussed behind the retina, and near objects even further away from the retina, so in this case, near or far objects are not clear to this person. Being a child, Zara has higher accomodation (up to 7 to 8 diopter), and hence, she can still focus and see things. Her left eyes which has lower power, is also doing most of the work, compensating the right eye. However, it has taken a toll on the right eye, and she has a bit of lazy eyes.

But anyway, we need to get her prescribed glasses, so that she does not tax her eyes trying to accomodate, and her lazy eyes will not worsen.

I asked the doctor, can Zara’s hyperopia caused by anything that we’d done? Too much TV/iPAD? Fringe too long (I get blamed for this)? Reading light not bright enough (and this)? Doctor reassured us it was nothing we’d done which could have caused this, it’s probably something she was born with. *Relief*

We went back to THONEH to get them to make the glasses according to ISEC’s prescription (which is +100 more on the right eye).

Glasses were collected after a week.
Zara's Glasses
Zara didn’t like it. She said everything looked blur to her. She could see better without the glasses.

You can imagine our frustration! After so much money and time spent, the problem was not resolved!

Daddy again took time off and brought Zara back to THONEH to complain. She got her eyes re-checked by another Optemetrist, this time without dilating the eyes. The power is +100 less than ISEC prescription for both eyes. According to this Optemetrist, it’s common after eye dilation, the power gets higher, some children are ok with that power, some are not. We had THONEH took back the 1st pair of glasses and made a new one using this new prescription.

So another week of wait and then last Saturday, we collected the new pair of glasses for her. She likes it, and said now everything looked magnified to her.

Obviously she chose the frame because of the cute designs (although I think half frames are so not practical for children). (See the snowman and the Christmas tree?)
Zara's Glasses

Zara's Glasses

This week was her first week in school with glasses. She said her friends, especially the boys, laughed at her. I’m blessed to have a daughter who’s so confident, she wasn’t upset by all the taunts. She told me when her boy friend laughed at her, she laughed back and told him, “哈!等下你也有啊! (Ha! Later you get it too!)”

Now if you are an optemetrist, or an eye doctor, or someone who’s familiar with hyperopia, can you tell me if Zara should be wearing her glasses just for reading? Or she should have her glasses on all the time (to see far and near)? Because I think there’s some contradiction we read on the internet. The ISEC pediatrict eye specialist said we should let her wear the glasses all the time though.

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