Daddy Matters A Lot to His Girls

Carol (not her real name) grew up as a young girl who always yearn for her father’s love. She will do anything to get her father’s attention and praise. But unfortunately, she didn’t get them a lot in her childhood.

Her father always spent his time watching TV when he got back from work. He never asked how she spent her day at home and seldom talked with her. And so…she grew up believing that her father did not love and care for her.

However, she never stopped trying to get her father’s attention. And soon enough she then learnt that her father will laughed at her when she did silly things, being playful and coquettish in front of him. And so…she did that a lot to get her father’s attention – for few seconds at least.

The problem then started when she grew into a teenager. Unconsciously, she talked and relate to all her male friends the way she acted in front of her Dad. She was flirtatious towards them and always try to get their approval and attention, which she never got from her father during her childhood.

There is a place in female soul reserved for fathers that will always yearn for affirmation, which unfortunately can’t be filled by mothers. I am not saying that mother’s role is not as important as father’s, they are just different.

H. Norman Wright wrote to his female reader in his book Always Daddy’s Girl, “Your relationship with your father was your critical initial interaction with the masculine gender. He was the first man whose attention you wanted to gain. He was the first man you flirted with, the first man to cuddle you and kiss you, the first man to prize you as a very special girl among all other girls. All of these experiences with your father were vital to the nurturing of the element which makes you different from him and all other men; your femininity. The fawning attention of a father for his daughter prepares her for her uniquely feminine role as a girlfriend, fiancee, and wife. 

If there was something lacking in your relationship with your father when you were a child, the development of your femininity suffered the most. Why? As a little girl, you by nature expressed all the budding traits of the feminine gender. If your father was emotionally or physically absent, or was harsh, rejecting or angry toward you, you automatically and subconsciously attached his disapproval to your femininity. You didn’t have the intellectual capacity to understand his rejection, nor did you have the inner defensive structure to insulate yourself against it. You simply and naively reasoned, “I want Daddy to like me; Daddy doesn’t like me this way I am; I will change the way I am so Daddy will like me.”

When a father does not value or respond to his daughter’s femininity, she is stunted in her development. When a daughter has little experience in delighting her father as a child, she is incomplete. She is left to discover her femininity for herself, often with tragic results in her relationships with men.” 

I believe that all fathers want to be a good father for their children, but sometimes the pressure of work and pace of living just make it difficult for them to remember what really matters in their lives. It happens to many of us. But it is never too late to get started and connected with the girls =)

Few tips for the daddies:

  1. Talk.
    All girls and women like to talk. When father talks to his daughter and ask her about anything, she knows that her father cares and love her. I know, this might sound weird for your male’s brain. But…just talk =P
  2. Touch.
    Girls like to be hugged, carried, and cuddled. They feel secure and protected when their fathers hold them. And honestly, I still feel good when my Dad give me a pad on my shoulder =)
  3. Time.
    Girls feel special when their fathers spend time with them. Go for a one-to-one date with them when it is possible. Bring them out, eat at their favorite food stall, and enjoy ice cream together. It will definitely be memorable for them.
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Tips to Make High-Domed and Moist Muffins

IMG_6058If you never turn on the oven, you are clueless about baking, and you think that you can’t bake anything nice, then you should give yourself a chance and try to bake muffins. Really! It is simple, mixer-less, and yummy =)

My first try baking muffins was about two years ago. It was all started when my cousin brought her home-made muffins to our house and everybody just loved them.

And somehow, I felt obliged to learn making one my own when I saw Alex happily finished one whole muffin, and also when hubby asked me (while he was eating his portion), “Dear, do you think that you can make these for us?”

TENG TENG TENG!!! Here come the challenge. And of course I had to say, “Mmm…maybe I shall give it a try.”

My first experiment with muffins was a failure, they were hard and flat. The second one was also a failure and the third one…was a failure too.

Errr…basically the whole family had no choice but to eat hard muffins for about two months. And of course, again and again, we blamed the oven and the recipe =P =D

422645_10150646409382999_576494973_nI then did some study and ‘research’ about muffins which I never thought that I ever need to, and experiment with some recipes. And one of our family’s favourite choice is double chocolate banana muffins, which I got the recipe from here.

Few reasons why I like to bake muffins:

  1. Only basic ingredients needed. 
  2. Dry ingredients can be prepared before hand. Normally I measure and mix all the dry ingredients 1-2 day before, kept them in an air tight container, and then use them the next day when the kids are having their nap.
  3. It is mixer-less, hence less things to wash and clean.
  4. Muffins can be frozen up to 1 month and can be heated up using microwave.
  5. The portion can be personalized according to your family member’s preference by using small muffins cups for toddlers and big muffin cups for the parents.

Few tips to make high-domed and moist muffins:

  1. Mix wet and dry ingredients separately. And make sure that the dry ingredients are well mixed using a whisk or fork before you mix them with the wet ingredients.
  2. Do not over mix the batter. Resist the temptation to stir or beat the batter until it is smooth and lump free. The final mix should be thick and lumpy. It should be spoonable, not pourable.
  3. Do not over fill the muffin cups. If you are using muffin cups, you just need to fill them up until 80% in order for them not to overflow. However, if you are using muffins tin, you can feel them up until 90%.
  4. Preheat the oven. It will make the batter less dense and sets the top crust quickly which allows the batter underneath to stay liquid, build up pressure and eventually burst up like a volcano. I usually preheat the oven for at least 15 minutes before I start putting in the muffins.
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Tips for Making Reading Fun for Preschoolers

IMG_5916One of the habits that hubby and I love to instill in our children’s life is reading. We started reading to Alex regularly when he was about 18 months old. I wished I could read to him earlier though, but I just could not do it.

I guess I was just too busy adapting with my new routines and house chores, and so reading to Alex was not in the top list of my priority.

But deep inside my heart, I always admire mothers who take time and effort to read to their babies even when they are still in the womb. Salute! =)

IMG_5886My early experiences reading to Alex was not like what I always imagine. Most of the time, I was ignored, dumped alone and left reading to myself. And if he is merciful enough, he’ll spare his 5 seconds for me, and there he goes again, doing his other activities that are much more fun to him.

I was worried at first. I thought that I have a hyperactive kid who HATES reading and have a very short concentration span. *kanciong/panic mode ON*

IMG_5908I asked around, looks for advises from other mummies, and join a short talk held by the National Library Board on how to instill reading habit in children and get some recommended books from them. Yes. I am that ‘kanciong’ hahaha

I am glad that I never stop reading to him no matter what. He is three years old now and he enjoys reading a lot. We visit library every week and we read 5 books daily. He can’t read by himself yet, I still read to him most of the time. But I do hope that he’ll cultivate this hobby for a long run and learn many more things through reading.

DSC02820Besides, I believe that reading aloud to him everyday will affect his brain’s development and benefit him in a long run. You can read here for more information on the importance of reading aloud to children. I find it really useful and concise.

As for Ella, she is encouraged to read whenever she sees her brother reads. It is one of the good things of being the second child, I must say. She likes the touch-and-feel books, especially the ones with many hairs and furs. And she also likes to play peek-a-boo while reading lift-the-flap books =)

Few tips that I learnt and would like to share with you for making reading more enjoyable for children:

  1. Prepare a conducive environment for the child. Turn off the TV and put other distractions or toys away.
  2. Cuddle and hold your child while you read. Let him/her sit on your lap, hold the book and help turn the pages.
  3. Choose books that are suitable for your child’s age and development stage, eg. cloth books for newborn, touch-and-feel books for 6 months old baby, lift-the-flap books for 1 year old child, etc.
  4. Follow the child’s interest. In Alex case, he was obsessed with balls when he was young, so we borrowed many books related to balls and many other round shaped objects (eg. planets, clocks, etc).
  5. Use your face, body, and voice to make reading fun. Use different voices for different characters, different tones and volumes for different scenarios or actions.
  6. Include some simple activities as you read. I let Alex hold an egg when we were reading about chicken egg, he played around with the globe when we were learning about the earth, and we looked for a bug when we were learning about ladybug.
  7. Keep your expectation low and keep cool when you are left alone reading to yourself. Do not raise your voice or get angry when your child choose to move on and do other activities, even when he only reads for 5 seconds. Because he might get the message that reading is not fun and stressful, which then makes him even more reluctant to read in the future.
  8. Be consistent. Make reading a part of every day activity.

You might want to check out this post that I wrote quite some time ago on developing a reading habit in children.

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Feed My Lambs

Today I would love to share one part of my favorite book with all of you, my fellow mothers. I actually wished to post it yesterday during Mother’s Day, but I was just too weak to do so because the whole family members were down with bad flu and cough. However, I am glad that I can write and share with you today. Hope it’ll bless and encourage some souls.

spiritual parenting“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.” John 21:15

Brothers and sisters, the work that you have to do for Jesus is in no sense for yourselves. You pupils (children) are not your children, but Christ’s. Let these lambs turn out what they may, the glory is to be to the Master and not to the servant.

The whole time spent, labor given, and energy put forth is, every particle of it, to overflow with the praise of Him whose lambs these are. 

Yet, while this is a self-denying occupation, it is sweetly honorable, too. We may attend to it feeling that it is one of the noblest forms of service. Jesus said, “My lambs…my sheep” (John 21:15-17). Think of them, and wonder that Jesus should commit them to us. 

Jesus did, in effect, say to Peter, “I love you so that I trust you with that which I purchased with My heart’s blood. The dearest thing I have in all the world is My flock. Simon, I have such confidence in you, I so wholly rely on your integrity as being a sincere lover of Me, that I make you a shepherd to My sheep. These are all I have on earth. I gave everything for them, even My life. Now, Simon, son of Jonas, take care of them for Me”. Oh, how tenderly Christ spoke to Peter.

The master motive of a good shepherd is love. We are to feed Christ’s lambs out of love. First, as a proof of love. “If you love Me, feed My lambs”. 

Next, as an inflowing of love. If you love Christ a little when you begin to do good, you will soon love Him more. Love loves until it loves no more; and it loves more until it loves still more; and it loves even more until it loves most of all. Then it is not satisfied, but aspires after enlargement of heart that it may copy yet more fully the perfect model of love in Christ Jesus, the Savior. 

So let us abide in this blessed service for Christ that it may be the delight of love, the very ocean in which love shall swim, the sunlight in which it shall bask. The recreation of a loving soul is working for Jesus Christ. Among the highest and most delicious forms of this heavenly recreation is the feeding of young Christians, endeavoring to build them up in knowledge and understanding, that they may become strong in Lord. 

(Spiritual Parenting, by C. H. Spurgeon)

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Fish Sautéed in Olive Oil with Fresh Tomatoes

IMG_7877In this post, I’ll share one recipe that I found online, which I think is perfect for a special occasion, and yet super duper easy to prepare.

You can find the recipe here.

I use toasted garlic bread and tomatoes as the side dishes. Give it a try =)

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Sausage and Bacon Baked Rice

Baked rice is one of the dishes that I often serve for gatherings at our place. The reason is because it is one kind of ‘self sufficient’ dish, which means that there are rice, meat, and vegetables in it, and therefore I do not need to cook few dishes to provide a well balance diet for my guests hohoho

Yes! It is just perfect for a busy lazy buzzy like me! =D

I’ve served baked rice for few occasions and apparently I’ve got few inputs from friends on how to improve my recipe. I must say that the first few rounds were actually quite lousy. ‘Phai seh…Phai seh’ =P

But thanks to my friends, now I have improved the recipe, and love to stick on this one =) However, if let’s say you follow my recipe and find something is still lacking, please drop me a message and I’ll be very happy to get feedback from you =)

Ingredient
(Serves 4-5)

  • 2 cup uncooked rice, washed
  • 30g butter (melted) 
  • 5 garlic cloves (peeled and crushed)
  • 200g broccoli florets, stem trimmed
  • 3 gourmet sausages (sliced thinly)
  • 200g bacon (sliced)
  • 6 tbsp corn nibblets
  • Japanese mayonnaise
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Salt & pepper

Direction: 

  • Stir fry the sausages and bacon. Set aside.
  • In the rice cooker pot, add melted butter, washed rice, water to cook rice (2.5 cup), garlic cloves, salt and black pepper to taste. Stir well.
  • Place the broccoli florets at the upper rack of the rice cooker, and cook/steam them together with the rice mixture prepared in step 1. If you don’t have an upper rack, you can steam them separately.
  • When the rice is cooked, mix and mash the steamed broccoli into the rice. Then add in the corn nibblets, stir-fried sausages and bacon, and 4 tbsp of shredded cheese. Mix everything well.
  • Portion out the rice into oven-safe baking dishes (you can also use disposable aluminium tray) until half the depth of the dish.
  • Smear some Japanese mayonnaise on top of the rice. Top with a layer of shredded cheese.
  • Baked in a pre-heated oven at 200C (392F) for about 20 minutes, or until all the cheese has melted and is very slightly browned.
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Tips on Breastfeeding

One of the things that really stressed me out when I first started my motherhood journey was breastfeeding. I can still remember vividly how hard I tried to hold my tears in the breastfeeding class on the first day of my hospitalization, when I just gave birth to Alex three years ago.

It was really hard and frustrating for me. Alex refused to latch on for three days and he slept most of the time. He practically had zero intake for three days. No breast milk, no formula, and no water. On the forth day, he started to have jaundice and became very sleepy.  Hubby and I had to wake him up for feeding every two hours. Sometimes, he was so sleepy and refused to wake up until we had to take off his clothes and splashed cold water on him. And it took two weeks for him to be able to breastfeed regularly.

I fully breastfed Alex for nine months. I wished I can breastfeed him longer, but unfortunately I had mastitis and was advised to stop breastfeeding by my gynecologist.

It was a journey full of challenges, but it was worth it, I must say. I hope that this sharing on breastfeeding will be useful and helpful for many mothers. And if you ever wonder why I wanted to breastfeed my children so badly, you can read my previous post, Why I Breastfeed My Children.

TIPS ON BREASTFEEDING

During Pregnancy

  • Read books or watch videos about breastfeeding, especially on how to latch on properly. With a proper latch on, it’ll help you avoid common problems like sore nipples, engorgement, and insufficient milk supply later on.
  • Start applying nipple cream to prevent dryness and itchiness.
  • You might want to stand by Fenugreek or Organic Mother’s Milk to increase breast milk production, if needed.

The 1st Hour

  • Nurse baby immediately after labor, when his rooting and sucking reflexes are very strong. Baby’s suckling can stimulate the flow of nutritious colostrum, which is packed with immunoglobulins, antibodies, protein, minerals, and vitamins.
  • “Place baby chest to chest, he recognizes you  through your smell and his instinct to suckle is stimulated.” Kang Phaik Gaik, senior parentcraft and lactation consultant at Mount Alvernia Hospital.

First 3 Days

  • Do not panic if your breasts aren’t brimming with milk during the first few days after delivery.
  • Nurse baby frequently, about 2-3 hourly to stimulate more milk flow. It is better to keep baby in your room on day time during hospitalization, so you can monitor his intake closely and wake him up if he sleeps more than 4 hours during the day.
  • Make sure that baby is latching on properly.  If you experience pain or discomfort throughout each feeding, it means that your baby latches on wrongly, sucking on your nipple without getting much of your areola in the mouth. In that case, do not be hesitate to stop the feeding session and re-position you baby, otherwise you’ll have sore and cracked nipples in no time.
  • Get as much as help from the hospital’s in-house lactation consultants, if you have any doubts or difficulties.

First To Third Month

  • Try to latch on directly in the first three months, so that you can establish a good supply of breast milk.
  • Baby may experience growth spurt around week 2, 3 and 6. Do not be alarm if he suddenly appear hungry and demand to be nursed every 1-2 hours.
  • Average nursing time can last from 30-45 minutes per session. If baby falls asleep during halfway feeding, gently wake him up by patting his chin or tickling his feet.
  • Even though it might sound impossible, try to get enough of rest/sleep, drink plenty of water/soup, and don’t get too stressed out because all these things will affect your milk production.
  • Signs of well-fed baby:
    1. Look content after feeding.
    2. Pass clear urine 6-8 times/day and loose stools 3-5 times/day after the first week.
    3. His stools change from black to greenish-yellowish color on 4th 0r 5th day.
    4. Gain 150g-200g each week by the end of Week 2. However, it is perfectly normal for babies to lose an average 7-8 percent of his birth weight in the first week.

Forth To Sixth Month

  • CONGRATULATION! You’ve made it so far =D
  • By now, baby is likely to be able to bring out milk faster and more efficiently. So do not be surprised if baby only breastfeed for 10-15 minutes per session.
  • Watch out for blocked ducts and mastitis, especially if you start pumping out milk because at the beginning, you may not be pumping out milk efficiently.
  • If you are going back to work, start getting used to the breast pump and introducing baby to the bottle a month before. You can consider to invest in a good electric breast pump.

Sixth to Twelve Month

  • Don’t be surprise if your milk supply drop at this stage. Baby might need less milk now because he starts taking solid.
  • Continue offering breast milk because it’ll help him to digest his food faster and provides nutritional support at this developmental stage.
  • If baby’s no longer interested in nursing, sneak breast milk into his food or cereal.

Common problems that may occur during breastfeeding:

  1. Sore and cracked nipples.
    • Apply nipple cream or breast milk on your nipples after breastfeeding, and air dry before you wear your bra.
    • Ensure baby latches well. He should take in as much breast tissue as possible.
    • Gently insert your little finger into the side of baby’s mouth to break the suction, if you want to discontinue breastfeeding.
    • Avoid using soap to clean the nipples because it can be drying.

2.  Engorged breasts.

    • Express a few drops of milk out before nursing to soften the areola. This will help baby to latch on better.
    • Apply chilled cabbage leaves or an ice pack on the engorged breast for 30-60 minutes.
    • Nurse frequently.

3.  Blocked ducts.

    • Nurse frequently. If baby doesn’t want to nurse, pump out the excess milk.
    • Use warm compresses or hot towel. Massage and press hard on the area when baby nurses to clear the blocked duct.
    • Ensure baby empties the breasts, which should feel softer after each feeding.
    • Express milk in a clean environment, using clean breast pump as infection can occur when germs are introduced into the milk ducts.

You might want to safe these breastfeeding hotlines for future use:

  • Mount Alvernia Parentcraft Centre: (+65) 6347 6641
  • Breastfeeding Mother’s Support Group: (+65) 6339 3558

PS. Some of the information was taken from Young Parents magazine.

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