Monday, June 30, 2008

Little Penang Street Market June 08

June's Little Penang Street Market is on exactly the same day as Arthur's birthday. We had a mini party for him the day before and he enjoyed his day out on the actual day!
New found little friend at the market
Mom was in Penang visiting us for 2 weeks. This is the first time she's at the markets ;)
Traditional puppet show at the markets... It was a day when Penang's living heritage is honoured

Surprise, surprise! Penang newly appointed CM Lim Guan Eng was there to present awards to Penang's living heritage.

Tired out Arthur slept for almost 4 hours!Nice post, eh?

Free Hugs is now in Penang!

Alison trying out the pouch

Mom enjoying her DVDs

Wrap, wrap, wrap!

Though I only know 2 methods (Front Wrap Cross Carry and Rucksack Back Carry), Wrap is great! In any case in babywearing, especially with wraps, knowing just one carrying position is good enough. Know more? More flexibility for yourself though, like me, you would most probably be using one most of the time ;)

We were at the Food Expo in PISA, Penang last Friday to check out... well, food and yes, you guessed it right... there are lots of sampling involved ~yummy yummy~

Initially, my little Arthur was just holding on to my hands (as it was the first day of the Expo, it was not too crowded, so, quite safe to just hold hands)... when we start getting more and more food samplings, we both needed more hands ;)
While the pouch would still be good for us in these situations, all I had with me was the wrap as I foresee Arthur needing a nap later (He's too heavy in the pouch for long hours now)...
So, there you see... happi-ly munching away in the wrap!

As predicted, taking a nap in the wrap... one hour passed by without any discomfort ;)

Want to know about babywearing with Simple Pieces of Cloth like this? Join us at the next Penang Babywearers Gathering! 12th July 2008, 3pm, Rumah Nur, Penang Caring Complex.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Good Lies?

Is there anything such as good lies? Or, rather... we usually refer to it as "Lies with good intentions..."

As my little Arthur grows, I find that it is really impossible to be 'guarding' him all the time from how others wish to "teach/discipline" my boy. Myself included, it is just not easy disciplining a toddler who are trying all sorts as he grows with the world...

My Mom, for one, will be telling him, with good intentions, that if he continues to be naughty, she will "CANE" him. No.. she's not that abusive. It's just the use of the particular phrase to scare Arthur off being naughty. We don't even have a cane at home.

Dear hubby (and many others), on the other hand, will be lying to Arthur, with good intentions, that Arthur cannot drink the ice cold drink (for he's down with flu) because it is "SPICY" ... now, can a drink really be spicy?

Often, in our busy and hectic life, we try to find fast solutions to a problem... Instead of explaining to them it is rude to be hitting people, we tell them that if they do it, they will be beaten... Instead of taking the time to explain to them that they cannot have the cold drink we are having when they are down with the flu, we try to find a quick solution to make them stay away from it... Spicy drink... fast does not usually translate to be the best, if you know what I mean.

When you look at it closer, a lot of our methods of disciplining is to scare our little ones of certain actions by them. I must admit that I do that, too... on the days when it is just so hard to control myself. Still, I hold on to the believe that if I remind myself enough, I shall be able to control myself better over time. Patience, patience...

Going back to lies... Lies, with the best intentions (for the good of your little one), is still a ... LIE. Personally, no matter how you tell it, when your little one finds out that the cane is never there.... that the drink is not spicy... they will learn that we are lying and the worst part of it all.... that IT IS OK TO LIE. At the early age, they won't really know the difference between good lies and bad lies, do they.... Still, in my opinion, a LIE is a LIE!

Just as beating/caning your little one as punishment... you are, in a way, telling them it is ok to do so, too... Ok, you might not have shown this action in front of them and they are already hitting their siblings/ other children... or, even you... then thing is, if we start doing it to them, we are agreeing to their actions, too.

So, think before you lay out a "GOOD LIE".

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Custom Taggies

The latest custom order completed... personalised Peek-a-Taggies.

Ok... saw that one coming... the names are all hand-sewn ;)

Love them myself... time to do something for Arthur, too?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Kangaroo Korner Adjustable Pouches is here!

Yes! You read it right. Following up on my previous post on adjustable pouches, Malaysians can now finally get their hands on adjustable pouches.

One of the better known adjustable pouches in the market, Kangaroo Korner's adjustable pouches offers four rows of adjustments each.. which means, you are simply going to get 4 sizes in 1 pouch! Indeed, Tanya Westerman (owner and founder of Kangaroo Korner) is the very person featured on the Tummy to Tummy DVD pouch wearing session.

Ok, ok... I saw that question coming... yes, I've got one of the Solarveil (something I'd been wanting to try out as I have read great information on Solarveil) varieties. Penangites will probably be the very first ones to see it and try it as I sure will being it with me to our next gathering on the 21st June 2008 ;)

Availble from Tiny Tapir.

Look out for my review!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's not about money, is it?

Will it really make a difference to world of Babywearing if the slings are cheaper? Will cheaper carriers really mean more babywearers?

Guess what? Babywearing does not need to be expensive at all. If you do not already know, you do not even need to know how to sew. All you need is some long and wide enough fabric and some skills at cutting the fabric and you can start wearing your baby! We call that babywearing using Simple Pieces of Cloth (SPOC).

Too difficult? Why not add a pair of rings for RM5? Yes, still not necessary to sew. Just thread it and you have yourself a adjustable ring sling!

You can sew? Sew it, then!

Sometimes, we complain how the carriers in the market are pricey and not affordable (Believe me, I was probably one of them.. though not for long), that we focused too much on the price and neglected the use we are going to get out of it.

One might be willing to pay RM200 for a shirt that might just be worn once or twice (perhaps, for a special event) but not a sling that one could use for almost everyday of the year? Think about it...

One might be willing to pay the same amount of what one could pay for a carrier to buy a branded piece of toy for his/her little one but not invest in a carrier that could have brighten up the day of their babies? Think about it..

One might be thinking.. it's just fabric.. well, lots of things are 'just fabric' and there are people paying thousands, even millions, for it... ok, exageratting a bit here but yes, there are slings that are selling for more than RM1000 and they are sold out!

Point is, something as useful as a carrier would definitely be a worthwhile investment. And, handmade products are simply... priceless, if you ask me.

As with anything, just buy if you feel the price is right for you. With pouches and ring slings selling from as low as RM50 each in Malaysia, I'm pretty sure there's one to suit every budget.

Otherwise, there's always other options in babywearing that could be affordable to everyone. So, really, there's no excuse to babywearing not being affordable. Like breastfeeding, it's more of whether you believe it will work and how you want to go about making it work.

Happy Babywearing!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Food for Tots

Yes! Hop over to Food for Tots for more ideas on food for babies and toddlers... beware, it might just outgrow the toddler stage and become the blog for all sorts of food one day ;p

DIY Ring Sling in Action

Had a chance to wear Arthur out today... though non-padded, this particular shoulder style seems to be comfortable, even with a more than 12 kgs toddler!

As it was a sunny day out, forgetful me who forgot to bring Arthur's cap used the tail to cover his head ;)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My first DIY Ring Sling

Our next topic for the Penang Babywearers' Gathering on the 21st June is going to be "Eyes on Ring Sling"... focusing on everything and anything ring sling.

Excited as I am to be discussing on something I do not us as much as the Pouch, I am aiming to create my own ring sling for the very first time... perhaps, someone would like to know more about DIY-ing than the no-sew method? I will then be able to truly share my thoughts on ring sling. Indeed, have been wearing Arthur (whenever I get a chance to wear him) with a ring sling since I decided on the topic.

Anyway, still hot and newly completed from the sewing room, with help from Jan Andrea's instructions, is this:

100% Cotton, Fully Reversible Ring Sling
Yes, those are aluminium rings you see.... from SlingRings
In a way, the pictures look better than the real thing ;p

By now, I guess it is no longer a secret that I love things that are reversible (so we can get more use out of it) and 100% cotton (so we are more comfortable) where slings are concerned... though I must admit that sewing a reversible 100% cotton ring sling is tedious task as it is just so bulky.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Momma Wrap.. Di-e Di-e no carry

Those were the exact words from my little Arthur while we are out today.

This is a pleasant surprise since he started boycotting the sling in March. 

Then again, he does give me a little surprises now and then, helping me demonstrate, or, even volunteering to demonstrate different carrying positions and styles during our gatherings.

The biggest surprise from those words are... well, you guessed it right! He asked to be WRAPPED! Yes, I see that my little boy seems to understand the difference between a "wrap" and a "sling" now. Previously, he had requested, "Momma, sling (referring to the pouch)"...

Perhaps, it's time to teach him the difference between pouches and ring sling, too?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Malaysian Babywearers

Psssst.... you might not know about this yet but we are in the midst of setting up Malaysian Babywearers, a stand-alone organisation to promote babywearing in Malaysia.

As with any organisations, I find that it is important to have a forum where we can store and discuss our ideas, don't you think?

With a limited budget, we need to get forums that provides free hosting, yet, not so dull... something different. After testing a few of the providers, I came across free forum hosting by Lefora and have decided to go with this one.

We may still be at the testing stage but do come and have a look at the cool features Lefora has... it is really something different. For one, you don't see the big advertisements on the top of the page. It also highlights the more important stuff and has a summary of the posts for easy viewing.

Favourites - Kangaroo Carry

With my little experience in babywearing advocacy, though a bit difficult to get used to (for the babywearer), the kangaroo carry is by far the most enjoyable positions for our little ones.

It is no exaggeration when I say ALL babies love it, provided they are worn correctly (i.e. sitting on the fabric, NOT squatting on it). Some can even sleep in this position.

So, why the love for the Kangaroo carry? It must be because this seems to be the only position where our little ones can really look where we are looking ;) and perhaps, the secure feeling that we are always there to back them up?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Pouch slings - Sizing matters

I have long wanted to share a post on sizing of pouch slings... so, here it is.

A pouch - easiest to learn, trendy, lightweight, convenient... it is no wonder the pouch, among all others, is gaining popularity in the Malaysian market. Also, could it be the lack of knowledge that there are also other babywearing possibilities other than the pouch?

Whatever it is, what many new and experienced babywearers is not aware is that, for a pouch to feel comfortable, THE SIZE HAS TO BE RIGHT! Ok, let's not get over excited on the capital letters. In a way, being the 'RIGHT' size has it's own meanings, too.

The most common misconceptions about pouches is that they should be bigger and not JUST RIGHT. For the babywearer to comfortably wear their little ones, this is very essential. Especially when the pouch is too BIG.

Try imagining yourself carrying a backpack full of books with straps too long and pulling away from your body. How long can you wear the bag for without feeling the strain?

Compare that to the straps adjusted so as the bag is close to your back.

That is the kind of difference it would make when a pouch is too big.

Too small? That is when you feel uncomfortably tight or suffocated, though many new pouch users will feel this way even when the pouch is right.

In my little experience with pouches, some of the factors that contribute to the problems of sizing includes:
  • The measuring tape... i know i need to put the picture in... let me locate the measuring tape in the morning... Have you ever come across a measuring instrument that gives you the wrong measurements? Well, I happen to have a measuring tape that tells me my waist is just a bare 21 inches! No, of course, I am more than that... I would consider myself aneroxic if I had that measurement. Maybe, this could explain why the measurements differ and the babywearer needs something 2 sizes different?
  • Body built... probably the biggest myth in pouch sizing is the height... many I know would estimate the size of a pouch from the height of a person. What is more important here is not the height but the overall built. For instance, a 6 foot tall person can have a short body (with long legs) and a short person could simply have a wider body.. if these all makes sense. I recently fitted a pouch on someone who is more than 6 feet in height and guess what? She is a size S!
  • Different vendors, different sizing... When a pouch user is happy with the first pouch they got and just cannot live without it, chances are, they are likely going to buy another one. Just to try things out, maybe, from another vendor... ordering for the same size, without realising that there are different measurement charts across different vendors. While the Peek-a-Pouches and Littlepods are sized by the inches (i.e. only once inch different between sizes), most others are sized to fit a few measurements in a size. As such, it is essential to check out the sizing charts before ordering a pouch. It would also be wise to check if a vendor offers an exchange if the size is wrong ;) If you have noticed, there is also a slight difference in sizing between Littlepods and Peek-a-Pouches.
  • Bulk of our clothes... Ever wonder why your pouch would fit nicely yesterday but not today? Have you changed your clothes? Does your little one uses cloth diapers? Though not as critical as in countries with four seasons, the bulk in clothing can also contribute to the feel of the pouch being a bit tighter/looser than usual

So, yes, the trendy, popular, convenient and easy-to-use pouch does have it's drawbacks... mainly when the size is not right.

At any time, it is most important that the babywearer feels comfortable. That is, after all, why we chose to wear our babies, for comfort and bonding ;)

My recommendations: Try before you buy ;) Else, make sure that an exchange/resizing is possible ;)

Pouch users, what's your thoughts?