Balcony Safety

So after delaying for a year, we’re finally ready to install invisible grilles to our balcony. Last year, we didn’t feel the need to do it yet because Nat was a newborn and we were just coping after confinement ended. Now, our boy is 13 months old and wants to climb everything. We currently don’t let him play unsupervised on the balcony but I would like him to be able to roam and play there. So, the inevitable is going to happen.

We went back to Legate to get a free quotation. They did the invisible grilles for some of our neighbours and also came to our place in 2016 to give a free quotation then.

Currently, I am probably going to go with the Premium A+ 316 stainless steel grilles from Korea (with 5 years warranty).

We’ve just started the process so if everything works out, this would hopefully be completed before the end of the year.

It took us one year because we really did not want to have stainless steel cords blocking our balcony night view of the skyline.

THIS is the to-die-for unobstructed view that we have because we’re on the 20th floor. Nothing is more calming than enjoying the breeze and watching this at night.

We also told ourselves that we can keep the balcony door locked when Nat is crawling/waking around the living room. There are also adults around who can supervise and ensure that he does not venture out into the balcony.

Yet, we decided that it’s still safer to intervene and tweak the structural surrounding than depend 100% on adult supervision. I’ve learnt that we all have slips from time to time – turn away for a few seconds and baby falls off the bed. This has happened at least twice since Nat was 6 months old. Despite knowing that one should not to leave baby unattended at all times, I’m sure this isn’t upheld every second. Sometimes, someone can be sitting just behind Nat and watching over him but somehow he can fall backwards in a split second and hit his head in the floor?

So yes, I am willing to spend approx. $1500 to “encase” my balcony, in an aesthetically-pleasing way, such that no toddler or animal (my family dog, Cookie) can fall from the 20th floor and for a peace of mind.

On a side note, Legate has an array of products to offer – grilles, blinds, windows and even artificial turf carpets.

I explored adding an artificial turf to our balcony for Nat to play there but have decided not to because installing the invisible grilles is the more urgent task.

Sigh. A kid really does change how one thinks about things.

$1500 can buy me a new Apple laptop? That’s how much our Japan air tickets costs for 2 people.

But, safety first.

– CK


Little Steps

At 12.5 months, Nat has begun taking more steps on his own! We noticed that he feels safest at home to walk unassisted and barefoot whereas outside, he’ll still prefer to hold onto our hands most of the time. I’m cool with that. To be honest, we are also baby-proofing as he ventures around the house.

I am not an expert on how babies progress from crawling to walking or some even skip the crawling stage altogether. For the longest time, Nat remained at the standing-up and cruising stage.

Around 7/8 months Nat could already stand inside his crib or playpen but he didn’t really cruise until 11 months? He just preferred to crawl inside his room or from one bedroom to another.

Nat also doesn’t get a lot of cruising time when he’s at my mom’s because her place isn’t as baby-friendly and she was/is undergoing some toilet renovation so there is dust everywhere. As a result, most of the “free-roam” time happens on weekday nights or on weekends. I don’t know if this affected when he started walking in anyway but I figured that once Nat gains more confidence, he’ll be able to walk for longer distance unassisted at my mom’s place too. On our part, we also need to help baby-proof her house pronto! Like we got to at least be on par with him and not always catching up.

So on weekdays, Nat gets to “walk” when they go to the playground in the morning or in the reading room at our place before he goes to my mom’s house. This picture taken a week ago when Nat still preferred to hold onto to our hands.

Then recently at his 1 year check-up, I asked Nat’s PD about his toes because I noticed that sometimes his feet would turn inwards. The PD called it “in-toeing” and asked us to just monitor and get firmer shoes for outdoor use.

Initially I researched that for first-time walkers, the shoes should be soft and not too heavy as their toes need to grip the floor. However, as Nat’s toes tend to face inwards, firmer shoes are recommended to keep his feet in place.

Nonetheless, the best is still walking barefoot and not assisting too much so that they can master their own sense of balance and gain confidence to walk unassisted. I got some quite useful advice from this article but how much we can actually control what happens when we are at work is another thing altogether.

Now we just have to ensure the place is safe and someone is with Nat at all times when he does his walks because he leaves a trail of destruction behind!

– CK

Nat & Art

This is a bit overdue but for Nat’s actual birthday last week, HJ and I took leave to bring him to the Children’s Art Gallery after the drizzle foiled our Botanic Gardens plans. We hope to make it a monthly thing where we try and bring him to such exploratory places aka “learning journeys”, as how my mom aptly put it LOL #teachersforlife

Details for this Children’s Art Gallery can be found HERE.

It’s located at the National Gallery and it was such a pleasant visit because we took leave last Wednesday and avoided all the weekend crowds.

However there were some galleries there were closed for school visits from 10-1130am but that’s also the time when Nat was napping in the carrier so we just chilled in the cafe until he woke up.

Previously, we have brought him to the ION Art Gallery on Level 4 but it depends on whether there are any exhibitions happening in that space.

Where to next?

Maybe our Botanic Gardens plan in Dec 🙂

– CK


One day, HJ said to me that he thinks Nat isn’t crawling enough i.e. I “protect” him too much because I don’t want him to knock his head. So I tried to find out about the crawling and whether it is really that crucial? There’s of course two sides to the coin on this. Some experts will attest to the importance of crawling while others say that skipping it altogether is no issue. Choosing to err on the side of my usual caution, I decided to let Nat have more floor/crawling time daily.

This article presents both sides to the issue but, “no matter where experts stand on the crawling issue, one point they all agree on is the importance of tummy time”. 

Previously, before we shifted out his playpen, Nat had a lot of tummy time on the play-mat. So we decided to take out the play-mat again but open it in Nat’s room instead since the playpen is occupying the living room. This way, he will get his individual playpen time and also some floor time.

I guess HJ was right in the sense that my mom and I are too “protective” of Nat because he had already fallen off the bed twice – once when he was 6 months and the most recent time was when he turned 9 months. So we’re really paranoid about letting him crawl on the concrete floor. At least, with the play-mat, there is some cushioning should be fall and hit his head. Last time, we all just crawled on whatever type of flooring there was in our homes. Nowadays, I can’t help but notice that we tend to be more anxious about potential injuries and baby-proofing our homes when our parents were not so uptight about them when we were babies/toddlers.

– CK

Mouth Injuries 

Yup… besides rolling off the bed once, Nat recently also knocked his mouth/gum against a table top (ouch!) when we were out. Thankfully, it was nothing serious and he recovered after like a minute. Then I went to google and realized there’s quite a number of things to look out for when it comes to baby safety – especially now that Nat can sit, crawl and hoist himself up. This absolutely charming boy is also very mischievous and dangerous

So related to mouth injuries in babies, besides keeping them away from sharp/hard edges, ensuring they don’t crawl or run with a toy in the mouth is another thing. As it is, I ensure that only soft items are inside Nat’s playpen when he’s sitting inside and playing alone.

If the inevitable happens, which is a knock/fall and there’s some blood, the same first aid rules apply -> use a cold wet towel or if not available, a wet-one and put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. Should bleeding persist after 5-10min, it would warrant a trip to the Doc and especially so if cut is a big one. As much as we would want to pry open their mouths to examine the inside, doing so may spilt open the wound and cause bleeding to continue so that’s another thing to take note.

Cot-wise: We have lowered the platform to the lowest so that he doesn’t hoist himself up and over. He probably doesn’t have the strength yet but we also don’t want to take any risks. As it is, his cot bumpers are quite useless because he will pull them down and keep knocking his head. It doesn’t hurt at all and we always joke that it’s because he has his father’s skull – big, hard and relatively numb to pain.

Having his playpen out in the living room is the best arrangement we have thus far because every part of it is so soft so whatever monkey antics Nat gets up to doesn’t result in any physical injuries.

Anyhow, like HJ said, some accidents are bound to happen and we can’t protect him from everything. He has to learn certain painful consequences of his actions but I guess I’ll still try to reduce the likelihood of such things happening.

– CK

Baby Furniture Rearrangments

Ever since Nat started sitting up and getting on his fours, we decided to shift around his furniture. As such, his playpen is now in our living room (-.-) while his playmat is now at my mom’s place. His crib is still in our room but soon…… we’re going to move it into his room. I’m prepared to move him this weekend but HJ would like him to snooze in our room for a while longer haha so maybe, we’ll experiment around 8-9 months?

So the main impetus for this is that Nat is rarely on his tummy nowadays, he’s always either sitting up or on his fours trying to crawl.

Moreover, since he’s over at my mom’s place 3 days a week, we decided to just leave his playmat there permanently. Then on the days he’s at home, he’ll be playing in his playpen or on our beds.

The perks to this arrangement is as such:

  1. Safety – The playpen is a much safer alternative compared to our beds or the playmat because if he loses balance and falls forward or backwards, he’s already on the playpen mattress. This was the mattress that Nat used to sleep on when he was between 1-5 months before we lowered it.
  2. Convenience – We can still see what he’s doing inside the playpen when we are at the dining area or kitchen. Then when our helper takes in the clothes to fold, she also does it on the sofa so someone is always looking out for him at any one time. Then when it’s time to read his books, we just lift him out of the playpen as the sofa and rattan chairs are all located next to it.
  3. Dog-friendly – Previously, with the playmat, we had to fold and keep it whenever Cookie came for fear that she may mistake it as her pee pad, which she conveniently picked her toilet to be smack infront of my living room display shelf. Now, with this playpen, Nat can still have his playtime while the dog is freely roaming about so both of them can do their own things concurrently.

The downside to this arrangement is…

  1. Clutter – Our living room floor space now has a playpen smack in the middle. Though it has wheels, there’s only so much place left to wheel it aside.
  2. Empty nursery – Nat’s crib being in our master bedroom while his playpen is now outside in the living room means that his diaper trolley is also occupying a corner of our room. Thankfully there’s ample room to walk from our bed to the toilet after fitting in his crib, diaper trolley and a stool. On the other hand, there is a blank space in his room, which is meant for his crib. Hopefully we can move him out soon (say at 9 months?)


Sigh… it’s like the balance between baby-related necessities and household decor is a tough one to maintain. Previously when deciding on any household items, it was always form vs function. Now, it’s form vs function vs baby haha!

Originally,  I was prepared to shift him out this Friday (always experiment when the next day isn’t a work day!) but HJ read some articles about how it is recommended for baby to sleep in the same room for the first year. So now, I guess 3 of us will be stuck in the same room for the next few months.

I mean the biggest perk of having his crib next to us is that if Nat were to suddenly wake up at 5/530am, soothing him back to sleep is much easier compared to if we had to walk out into the adjacent room. However, I think there is merit to having Nat sleep on his own. Who knows? Maybe after a few minutes of fussing on his own, he can fall back to sleep again. Currently, we have to fight the urge to sooth him the moment he cries because if left on his own for 1-2 minutes more, we notice that he actually just goes back to sleep.

To date, we are still trying to be consistent in upholding the following when it comes to nap/bedtime:

  1. Minimal assistance in helping him sleep i.e. let him fuss for 10 minutes or so, which further tires himself out so he’s really on the verge of sleeping
  2. If we have to intervene, keep patting to approx. 5 minutes such that he is drowsy but still awake so he can fall asleep on his own

It’s hard, because it’s so much easier and faster to just pat him until he’s 100% asleep but no, the ‘struggle’ for them to fall asleep without much help from us is a necessity.

– CK

Finding THE Playmat

I’ve put this on the back burner for weeks… whether we should get a rug, mattress or playmat. Then after hours of research coupled with a lucky find over the weekend, we found the perfect playmat for Nat (and our home) – the PE Parklon Folding Mat. It’s thin but firm enough and best of all, it can be folded and kept away!

So the discussion whether to get a playmat was reopened after Nat started flipping almost everywhere – on our bed, the sofa, his crib. The safest place for him to do all his antics was the floor but we only had a small quilt-like cushion for him to lie on.

We went back and forth with the options below but each had its own issues.

  1. Old school mattress: This was the surface that HJ and I learnt how to crawl. In those days, there weren’t all these fancy playmats. It was either the good old mattress or the floor.
  2. Comforter/quilt: My mom has a spare quilt that we could let Nat lie on or do tummy time. However, while it is fluffy, it’s not firm enough to cushion any impact should his head hit the floor.
  3. ‘Permanent’ Playmats: These range from those puzzle pieces to one-piece mats. I was looking at Parklon Bumper Mats from small small world’s estore. However, my main gripe with these mats is that they tend to become quite ‘permanent’ in the living room. If one is okay with that or intends for that to happen, then no issue there but… I really don’t want to have Nat’s playmat left permanently in our living room. No doubt the Parklon Bumper Mat can be folded and kept in a carrier bag but I rather not keep doing that because it may end up having crease lines after repeated folding. I also don’t think it’s meant to be folded too frequently. Cost-wise, I was really reluctant to spend $120++ on a playmat.

So we were stuck until I found the foldable version of the bumper mat – sold on smallsmallworld and Agapebabies. At less than $90 (before discount), it is more affordable vis-a-vis its bumper mat cousin. We were also very lucky because there was a 15% promotion of all Parklon mats last weekend so that was when I decided it was the right purchase. Material wise, the foldable one differs from its bumper mat cousin as it is made out of PE vs. PVC, but both of which are safe and non-toxic for babies/toddlers so PE or PVC didn’t really bother me.

From Agape Babies


The mat comes with a bag and can be kept neatly (above pic) when folded. Actually, I didn’t think we had much choice because it was the only playmat that met all my criteria:

  1. It’s thin yet firm enough to cushion any impact even though it’s only 8mm in thickness. The other bumper playmats range from 10mm to 15mm but a difference of 2-5mm didn’t really bother us because it’s mm and not cm.
  2. It is not meant for heavy usage (the description of the mat also states this) and is supposed to be folded. This sealed the deal for me! Nat is usually having his reading/tummy/play time 2-3x a day at most so it doesn’t need to be open at night after we wash him up and put him down to sleep. I also bring my mom’s dog over on weekday afternoons so even if she’s toilet trained to do her business on her pee pad, there’s no way I want to risk having a carpet/rug/playmat permanently laid out in the living room for fear of pee/poop accidents.
  3. The top surface is strangely flat/smooth and not embossed, unlike its bumber mat cousin so cleaning is very straightforward. Note: the design of the foldable mat is one-sided whereas the bumper mat has two-sides. It being one-sided was fine with us because if the under-side is going to come into frequent contact with the floor, we won’t want to flip it so often either.
  4. I love the design – okay, this has nothing to do with its functionality or price but really just my personal preference. It’s subtle, not too ‘kiddy’ and doesn’t clash with my living room decor/furniture. Coincidentally, Nat also has quite a few ‘twinkle star’ items such as his carrier and onesies so now he has a ‘twinkle star’ mat 🙂

Now, we can literally see how our decision to not have 1) a coffee table and 2) a TV are the two best decor-decisions we’ve made with regard to our home. The lack of a coffee table allows us to have the whole living room space for Nat’s mat amongst other things without having to shift anything away. It also provides ample space at night to do our circuit workouts/stretches. As for the TV, I think we’re quite happy as Netflix junkies and do not want Nat getting distracted with screen time.

So this finally concludes the playmat issue!

– CK

But first, let’s float

So this weekend, we decided to introduce Nat to the big cold pool during our staycation at Amara. The water doesn’t have such an overwhelming chemical smell so I figured it would be quite safe. Timing-wise, we went at 5pm yesterday and 11am this morning so it wasn’t too cold. Our main purpose was to get him comfortable beyond his inflatable pool. He also seems to kick more without his neck float so we’ll probably ditch that soon. 

“Swimming” with a baby is very different from without one! 

  1. I can’t dip in the pool longer than 30 minutes as babies lose heat faster than adults so 30 minutes is the maximum time for now. When Nat was younger, the recommended time was 15 minutes. 
  2. There’s no actual swimming being done unless one of us tends to the baby so the other can do laps. 
  3. There’s also not much sun-tanning while having an ice cold beer, until after dipping with baby is done. 
  4. Most importantly, one needs to plan and pick the right time to go to the pool.
  • Baby must have been fed, but not too recent as the last thing you want is for baby to vomit. 
  • Ideally, baby should have already pooped or not going to poop anything soon. Nat strangely poops slightly before 2pm everyday so bringing him at 11am and 5pm was safe. Nonetheless, always wear swim diapers as insurance! 
  • Baby also needs to be well-rested i.e. not just before nap time if not you’ll be dealing with a potentially cranky and overtired baby. Yesterday we brought him after his PM nap and today we went down at 1115am, 1hr after his 1015am feed and 1hr to go before his post-bath cat nap.
  • If the baby is unwell, or just recovered, swimming is definitely not possible. 
  • Lastly, the weather needs to be on your side. Swimming before 10am and after 6pm is too cold. The noon-day sun is also another no-no. 

So when all the above is met, then yes, perfect time to go dip baby in the pool. 

I also say “swimming” because I personally think that one needs to be of a certain age before they can listen, understand and perform the skills related to actual swimming strokes. Previously, I came across a video where babies were taught how to roll and float as a safety measure in the event that they fall into a swimming pool. The context for this is that in the US, quite a lot of private houses have pools in the backward. Nevertheless, this isn’t to say there are no perks associated with baby swim classes or bringing babies to the pool at a young age. I also believe it’s entirely possible for them to blow bubbles and swim underwater. Just that for now, we’re focusing on building water confidence such that Nat will eventually be comfortable enough when it’s time to learn the actual swimming skills. Like this article summed up, it’s more fun than form at this point. 

If I have to pick something to teach, the first one won’t be kicking per say, but floating. That was what my Grandfather did with me and I plan to do the same with Nat. 

He called it the “telephone”position because baby is lying horizontal like a telephone. I was told since young that babies or toddlers need to be comfortable lying in the water, with their heads partially submerged (eyes and mouth above the water). Their back are supported initially until they get the hang of it, then the extent of support can gradually decrease. 


In the left pic, I supported Nat with both hands under his back but I loosened my grip and didn’t support his lower back anymore in the right pic. Hopefully, floating will come naturally in due time. 
Blowing bubbles, going underwater etc. all can happen later on because now, loving the water is no.1 🙂 

– CK 


For some time now, we’ve noticed that Nat does not really want to touch/play with his toys. Now that he can roll over, he loves tummy time but no matter what is in front of him, he does not really reach out for it, except his favorite ‘ring’ toy which ends up straight in his mouth.

However, he does seem more willing to use his hands to touch/explore his books. Guess that isn’t too bad! Whatever floats his boat, we’ll go with it. 

So back to toys, last Sunday while we were having lunch at a cafe, we noticed that Nat was very intrigued by a mineral water bottle. We brought it back to the car and he was starring and touching it. 

So that gave me an idea — sensory bottles! However, in the meantime while I am collecting the bottles, I did some sensory ‘mini pots’ first. 

These are breastmilk containers but since my pumping journey is almost at its end, I filled them with rice, pasta, red beans and black beans for different sound effects. However, Nat is just mostly listening to the sounds but not really shaking anything!  

Can’t wait for the time Nat starts playing and exploring everything. Then I can do more DIY-sensory toys such as the examples found HERE. Just need to find a way to neatly store away his toys because the last thing I want is to have the whole living room filled with Nat’s things. 

For now, all of Nat’s current playtime items are in these containers. The one in front is actually a plant stand that I turned upside down to become a basket of sorts haha. It’s like the best value buy ever!

So yes, it may sound idealistic now but am hoping to still keep things tidy even as his things multiply. 

– CK 

Water Baby 

For two Saturdays now, Nat has been floating and kicking around in his inflatable pool. This would be a regular thing until he’s 5-6 months then we’ll bring him to the cold, cholrinated adult pool. This started after we observed how he loves bathtime and is always kicking in his tub so why wait ;p 

Getting it together was easier than expected and took less than a week. I found a ring pool from and it came with a free electrical pump. Total damage was <$35. Then my sister bought the neckfloat during a BHG sale for around $10. Overall, still cheaper than one session at a baby spa? 

After he’s done with this, everything can be repacked into the box and sold (I hope) because there really isn’t a lot of storage space left in the house. As it is, if the weather is too chilly, we fill the pool in our master toilet and not the balcony. Thankfully, the water is then used to wash our two toilets and the balcony so not all of it is wasted. 

Gradually the plan is to lower the water temperature over the next few weeks. Currently it’s still a bit warm because I read that the usual swimming pool water may be too cold for babies under 6 months

The next challenge would be how to get him to be confident under water? Yikes or maybe we’ll just find a baby swim class haha. Being able to swim does not directly translate to being an effective swim teacher! So I guess let’s just stick to floating around and basic things like water confidence for now. 

– CK