Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Letting linna out of "the cage".

First night out of "the cage". So excited!
Is it just me, or do other parents refer to their child's crib as "the cage"?

Ok, I sense your hesitation to answer "yes", but I use this word in the most humane way possible... I swear. And yes, "the cage" is a term I use among our adult friends... not with our daughter. So please, put your calls to social services on hold. Thanks.

For almost three years, our daughter hasn't tried to climb out of it, stick her head through it, and we have successfully kept all of her limbs in tact... SO, "the cage" has been her safety-nest for naps and bedtimes. About a week ago, I decided to give her a little bit of "freedom" and convert her cage into a toddler bed.

Dun dun DUN.

I probably could have had a little better timing, as I decided to do this while my husband was out of the country for work... BUT, after countless nights of my daughter calling out for me to retrieve items that have fallen out of her crib, it was time to give both Linna and I a little freedom. 'Merica!

Linna has slept in a "big girl" bed before at my parents' house in Florida, and she did really well. On the eve of setting Linna "free" from her cage, I took the advice from a friend to make it very clear to our almost 3-year-old, that she is NOT to get out of her bed, or she'll have to go back in her "cage".

Before we get into how it's going with Linna in her "big girl" bed, let's take a quick look back and reminisce of her "caged life"...

Linna's first "cage" at our very first house back in Minnesota.
Happy 1.5-year-old Linna in her "cage", after a 3-hour nap.
(Video of 15-month-old Linna throwing everything out of her crib.)

First proper "cage" in Singapore, after sleeping for months in a Pack N' Play.

Ok, now that we've got that out of the way, here's how Linna's first night out of "the cage" went...

Mama Saigh: "Linna, you are not to get out of your bed until the sun comes up, or you'll have to go back in your crib. BUT, if you have a bad dream, or you need something, you can come into Mama and Papa's room. OK?!"

(Linna happily snuggled into her bed, I exited her room, and quickly turned on the video monitor... only to see her getting out of her bed and walking out of her bedroom. Damn. I guess my instructions WERE a bit confusing.)

Mama Saigh: "Linna, what are you doing?"

Linna: "I had a bad dream."

Really Linna?! Well, this IS your first night of freedom kiddo, and your mama CLEARLY needs to work on the delivery of her "rules"... so carry on girlfriend.

Linna's "excuses" went on for a good hour. She was SO excited when I took down the front of her "cage" earlier in the day to create her "big girl" bed, but I guess that novelty had worn off. After lots of tears on her part, and frustration on my part, I demanded/asked her if she needed to go back in her crib. Her response... "YES!".

Dammit. That was SUCH a stupid "threat", when I can't exactly reassemble her "cage" by snapping my fingers, and the GOAL of all this is to get her to LIKE sleeping in her bed.

Linna - 1
Mama Saigh - 0

Night #1 was spent with Linna sleeping in her bed, while I sang her to sleep and rubbed her back. I celebrated this accomplishment with a glass (or two) of wine (this was supposed to be a detox night after a long, boozy weekend). Linna stayed in her bed all night, but I didn't get much sleep because I kept checking the video monitor. I was waiting for her to fall out of the bed, stack up a bunch of her toys and climb to the top of her closet, or stick her finger in a light-socket... or something. Thankfully, there was none of that, and she slept until 8 a.m. She wouldn't get out of her bed until I went into her room to say "good morning". THIS is reason #1,207,347 why I love you Linna Jane.

Night #2 went MUCH better at bedtime, and she slept from 7:15 p.m. until 8:30 a.m. Woot WOOT!

"Good Morning!"

It's now been a full week without "the cage", and it's going better than expected. Today was the FIRST morning that Linna actually got out of her bed on her own to come into our room. She usually just stays in her bed until I stand in the hall and call out to remind her that she can FREELY get out of her bed and walk into our room on her own. I think this is hilarious, as we got rid of her "cage" to give her some freedom, and she doesn't even take advantage of it. I guess she's the product of a "caged life", huh?!

I probably should have committed to my hesitation of getting rid of "the cage" a bit longer, because now that she's tasted freedom, I'm sure there's no going back. It's pretty cute watching her wake up in her bed and hesitantly put her feet on the floor, only to crawl right back into bed. It's like she's testing the waters before her big escape! This morning, I watched her get in and out of her bed and walk over to her bedroom door a half a dozen times, before actually making the courageous decision to make her big exit and entry into our room. Damn our kid is cute.

I love watching our little girl grow up, but I have a feeling I'm going to be missing "the cage" sooner rather than later. There's always baby #2 to look forward to "caging", right?!

No, I'm not pregnant.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

First trip to bangkok.

Arriving in Bangkok!
Papa Saigh has been working in Bangkok this month, and it's our first experience having him away for weeks at a time for work. Although we miss him while he's away, it's a great opportunity for us to visit the other countries that he's working in. So this month, Linna and I took our first trip to Bangkok, and we'll be heading back later this week for another (and longer) visit!

Bangkok is in Thailand, and it's just a two-hour flight from Singapore. I'm used to flying 19+ hours by myself with Linna, so this flight is easy-peasy! We stayed at the Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok in Sukhumvit (area of Bangkok), which is the hotel Papa Saigh is working in. The hotel is brand new and GORGEOUS! The floral scent inside the hotel makes me want to stay there forever, and the service we received as guests was phenomenal. We were saluted by the guard at the front gate every time we left and returned to the hotel, and the staff made sure all of our needs were met. I seriously felt like royalty staying at this hotel!

Every morning, we enjoyed a breakfast buffet in the hotel's Twenty-Seven Bites restaurant. These breakfasts were about as nice as the fancy Sunday champagne brunches we've experienced in Singapore, only MUCH less expensive. They had dozens of Thai, Indian, and Western dishes, but my favorite part about the breakfasts were the "young" coconuts. They were cracked open by a chef with a huge knife right in front us, and the coconut water and "meat" inside was mouth-watering. Linna, on the other hand, wasn't too pleased. She preferred the chocolate croissants and cereal:) I'm seriously looking forward to our trip back to Bangkok later this week, JUST so I can sink my teeth into those little gems!

Delicious "young" coconuts at the hotel. Linna preferred other menu items:)

Terminal 21 in Bangkok.
View from our hotel room.
Linna loved shopping... haha!
Super comfy and cute outfit I found for Linna at Terminal 21,
by a Thai designer. Just $12USD. Going back for more!

Papa Saigh also surprised me with a couple in-room Thai massages, while he took Linna to the hotel's pool. If you've never had a REAL Thai massage... GET ONE! The massage therapist stretched and bent my body in ways I didn't think were possible. It was like a yoga session without having to use my muscles! Linna loved the hotel's pool, Papa Saigh loved spending some quality time with his little lady, and Mama Saigh got some relaxing "kid-free" time... A win for all involved!

Papa Saigh and I also hired a babysitter for Linna one night so we could go to dinner. We were the first people to EVER eat on the balcony at the hotel's Attico restaurant! The view from this balcony is amazing, as it's up on the 28th floor. Since Papa Saigh sampled some of the dishes at this restaurant prior to our visit, he made suggestions on what to order for dinner. We each had a different gnocchi dish, and they were fantastic. On a couple evenings, we ordered room service for dinner, and the hotel's Pad Thai dish is one of the best I've ever had. Now you see why I didn't want to leave, right?!

Date night with this stud at Attico at Radisson Blu Bangkok.

Shopping in Bangkok is SO much cheaper than in Singapore, so we hit up two indoor shopping centers, and one outdoor market during our visit. Terminal 21 and Siam Paragon were my favorites, as they were air-conditioned and very clean. I think we spent about 45 minutes at the Chatuchak Weekend Market, as it's not very stroller-friendly, and it was SO hot and stinky! Linna slept in her stroller during our Chatuchak visit, but her face was all red and sweaty, so it was hard for me to enjoy my time there. I guess I'm more of an indoor-gal in these types of situations.

Linna and Papa Saigh chillin' at the hotel's pool. Gorgeous day!

Papa Saigh and Linna sleeping in one of our "cloud" beds at Radisson Blu in Bangkok!

The coolest guard ever at the hotel!

Bangkok's power-lines stress me out!

Taxis are also inexpensive in Bangkok, but traffic is awful! I heard that the train system is another cheap (and faster) way to get around Bangkok, but they are NOT stroller-friendly, as you have to climb lots of stairs to board and exit (no lifts/escalators). Terminal 21 is walking distance from the Radisson Blu, but Linna and I took a taxi to Siam Paragon, where we spent an afternoon at Kidzania. This place was SO cool... especially for the older kids. Kidzania is basically a village just for kids, where they're taught different jobs and skills. It's set up like a mini-town, with everything from a hospital and fire station, to a pet shop and restaurants. Kids are taught how to do various jobs such as parcel delivery, dental work, sushi making, and even working at a newspaper! Kids get to wear uniforms, work a variety of jobs, where they can earn money and even open their own Kidzania bank account. Linna spent most of her time up in the toddler area (for kids under age 4), where they had a huge play-kitchen, sand pit, ball pit, and a balloon artist to entertain the kids. Most of the "jobs" outside the toddler area are targeted for kids age 4 to 15, but Linna took a fire-fighting course which kept her attention for all of five minutes:) She enjoyed running around though, and I think it will be more her speed in a year or so. Rumor has it that there will be a Kidzania opening next year in Singapore, and one is also coming to the US!

Kidzania in Bangkok. At the entrance, every kid is given a security bracelet that staff
can scan to track and locate each child throughout the "city".

Linna and another little girl in the Kidzania Toddler-Area's Kitchen.

Some kids being taken around in an ambulance, while they "worked" at the Kidzania Hospital.
Too cute! They had a fire truck that came through every half hour or so too, with little
firefighters-in-training on their way to help put out a "big fire".

Tiny sushi makers in a Kidzania restaurant. 
Linna training to be a firefighter at Kidzania in Bangkok.

While Bangkok is very busy and stinky (often smells like poop), it is such a fun place to visit. It reminds me a lot of Manhattan actually. Some of our friends that we met in Singapore recently moved to Bangkok, so we got to visit their new place while we were there too! Clare and Roger have three little boys (Baby Ethan was just a couple days old when we visited), and they have lived in countries all over the world. They are "SERIOUS" expats, and some of the most down-to-earth people we've ever met!

Mama Saigh and our friends' brand new baby!

We are really looking forward to spending more time with them during our upcoming visit to Bangkok. I'm also hoping to see more of Bangkok, including the floating markets and temples. Papa Saigh will be working during most of our visit, so Linna and I will venture out on our own. Here's to adding more stamps on our passports!

See you again soon Bangkok!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I'll love you forever.


Linna and I have had a rough week (AKA, Linna gave Mama Saigh some HELL while Papa Saigh has been traveling for work). She's been clingy, crazy, and just plain UNREASONABLE. But tonight, I sat with my almost 3-year-old in my arms, and sobbed while reading the classic book "Love You Forever".

I used to read this book to my nanny kids (before becoming a mom) and think that the mother in this book should be in a "nut house" (seriously, who climbs into their adult child's bedroom window to "rock" him?!). But tonight, after a pretty stressful couple weeks of Papa Saigh being away in Bangkok for work, and me being on my own with our "spunky" almost 3-year-old, I sat and read this book to my Linna... and I couldn't control the tears.

Maybe it was tonight's wine o'clock glass of vino. Maybe it was the fact that my BABY will be a 3-year-old in less than 20 days. But I had an "I have-to-pretend-these-are-happy-tears" sob fest with my little lady tonight... and it was the release that I very much needed.

If you know me well, you know that I am a control-freak and clean-freak. These are qualities I've developed in recent years, that I'm seriously trying to "tame". I've noticed that I have been pretty high-strung, and VERY short-tempered with my daughter. I FREAK out over instances that in the grand scheme of things really don't matter (food on the floor, water/juice/milk spilled on tabletops, stickers ALL over the f-ing house, pee and "other projects" found in our bed RIGHT before we go to sleep, her inability to do things "right", etc. etc.). Mostly things that can be cleaned up, fixed, replaced, and eventually forgotten... but things that inconvenience ME.

It took a friend who posted a link to The Important Thing About Yelling on Facebook the other day (thank you "unnamed" friend), to make me realize that these really unnecessary and emotional displays of anger/frustration that I am presenting to my daughter, REALLY DO affect her.

I used to shake my head at other moms who would have the balls to question why their kid is "acting up", when I've witnessed that mom "lose it" with her kid multiple times. Duh... your kid is "acting up" because YOU aren't paying attention to her, and YOU don't give him the positive reaction he is desperately craving. Well, after taking an unanticipated look into my OWN recent behavior, I am honestly attributing my almost 3-year-old's "animal-like" behavior... to MY behavior.

Three days ago, I put Linna in a time-out for one of her "toddler meltdowns". She hadn't had one in a pretty long time, but this one was deserving of an Oscar for her dramatic performance. I am committed to my time-outs, and we ALWAYS end in a calm discussion/understanding and hug, which is easier said than done. After placing my kid back in her time-out spot more than a dozen times (more like 50 times) while she kicked and screamed, I raised my voice (ok, I yelled), grabbed her by the arm, and said/yelled, "You do NOT act like this with your Mama! I make the rules. YOU do NOT!".

I was seriously sweating, and she had pushed me over the edge.

After a few more times of her kicking and screaming while we went back-and-forth into her time-out spot, I watched my kid take a deep breath, and YELL back at me with a look of terror, confusion, and determination in her eyes. Her face was bright red, and her veins bulged from her neck.

I will never forget the angry and confused look on her face.

I don't remember what she yelled back at me, but I remember thinking that this isn't "normal". Yes she was misbehaving, but her angry outburst seriously scared me. I now realize that I had been doing EXACTLY what "those" other moms were doing... "THOSE" moms that I had shaken my head at before, for not being a "good mom".

WHY is my kid yelling at me for "no reason"?!


WHY is my kid clinging to me for "no reason"?

Because I'VE BEEN TOO BUSY on my phone/iPad/computer, to play with her.

We ALL lose it sometimes. Moms are human too. After reading the Important Thing About Yelling, I decided to take 48-hours of self-awareness and focus on my behaviors, actions, and relationship with my daughter (as difficult as it may be at times). I took a long, hard look at the things I stress and freak-out about with her, and I realize that most of my frustrations stem from the fact that she doesn't adhere to MY agenda.

My kid doesn't clean up after herself, or understand the idea of "we're running late". She thinks that creating her own water park in the hallway while I'm in the bathroom is a good idea. She doesn't see the need to bathe/shower. My kid also acts like a tiny drunk person when she's over-tired... thrashing about, speaking incoherently, and emotionally breaking down for no reason (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, I guess).

REALITY CHECK MAMA SAIGH... She's not even 3. What the f*ck do you expect?!

My Linna at 1 month old.
Like most moms, I struggle with finding a balance of wanting to keep my baby... a baby, and the desperate NEED for her to become a fully-functioning adult. When my almost 3-year-old is pushing my buttons to the point where I'm counting down the SECONDS until wine o'clock, I need to remind myself that one day, my baby WILL become a fully-functioning adult, and I will SO miss these moments. I want to remember her pure innocence when she experiences things for the first time, her carefree laughter, and fearless outlook on life. I don't want to miss out on these moments because of MY agenda, lack of patience, or outside influences that REALLY don't matter.

Linna is only going to get bigger, and I'm sure times will only get tougher, but I am SO thankful to have my little spit-fire to keep me grounded and connected to reality. In a few years, I will probably be that "crazy mom" who creeps into her teenage daughter's room to sing to her as she sleeps, and I'll probably be the mom who climbs into my adult daughter's house to "rock" her. But I seriously hope that my baby girl will one day realize what it feels like to be a Mama herself, and won't think she's too crazy too "rock" me in my old age.

I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living Linna, my baby you'll be.

Mama Saigh and Baby Linna, December 2011

Monday, July 21, 2014

And the winner is... LADY LIBERTY!

Winner winner, chicken dinner!
Today, Linna's nursery school in Singapore celebrated Racial Harmony Day. I had never heard of this holiday before, but any day is a good day to celebrate diversity if you ask me!

The kids got to dress up in a national or ethnic costume of their choice, and Linna took 1ST PLACE! If you know me at all, you know that I am a crazily competitive person. I can't help it. I'm a former pageant girl. I hear the word "contest" and I start to sweat! So when I heard that there was going to be a costume contest at my daughter's school... I dived right in. Since my husband is TOTALLY against me putting Linna in pageants (he'll come around sooner or later), this costume contest was a good "starting off" point;) I made Linna's Lady Liberty costume out of Papa Saigh's "old" shirts (much to his surprise), a paper towel roll, and some art & crafts supplies we had laying around. I didn't spend a dime, and it took about an hour to complete from start to finish. Linna felt pretty proud getting onto the bus to go to school today, dressed as the Statue of Liberty! She would tell people she was "Lady La-Liberty":)

Parents were also asked to bring a dish to share from their home country. So naturally, I brought a tater-tot hotdish! It was so funny watching the other kids pick at it, and I overheard comments such as, "I don't like that one!", "This is yucky!", and "I'm not hungry!". Many of the kids in Linna's school are from Chinese, Indian, and Singaporean families (I actually think Linna is the only American in her school), so a Minnesota hotdish was a pretty brave dish for them to try. Some of the teachers tried it too, and they all literally said it was... "nice". Haha! I think that's code for, "Thanks for your participation". Hey, at least they tried it! I was pleased.

We are so proud of our little Asian-American-Minnesota Baby:) Here are a few more photos from today's festivities...

Parading the students in smaller groups. This is
Linna's teacher (Teacher Hunny) and her classmate Jonnah.

Linna with some of her classmates Jonnah, Aliss, and Emilia.

She got a gift for winning!

Lady Liberty and some of her schoolmates after the costume contest.

Linna trying dried seaweed for the first time (I think). She LOVES it!

Linna and her classmates picking at the tater-tot hotdish I made. No fans
(so far) in Singapore of this Minnesota favorite.

Other BEAUTIFUL costumes from the older classes!

Linna, Aliss, Jonnah, and Emilia waiting to try some new foods.
You ROCKED it as Lady Liberty Linna Saigh!
Way to make America proud. #Merica

Monday, July 14, 2014

FREE EVENT & GIVEAWAY: Win a one-month supply of huggies little movers.



This Thursday (July 17th, 2014), My Gym in Eden Prairie is hosting FREE Baby & Parent Classes with Huggies' Baby-Movement Expert Nikki Glor. The event will be held at My Gym in Eden Prairie on Thursday, July 17th, with classes from 9 a.m. to Noon. Register for a FREE class today before they fill up ( -OR- call 952-906-0028). Plus, we're giving away a MONTH SUPPLY (4 packs) of Huggies Little Movers diapers to one of you!

There's two ways to enter for a chance to win a ONE MONTH SUPPLY of Huggies Little Movers:

1. "Like" the Minnesota Baby Facebook page, and share the contest post with your Facebook friends (you must click "share" under the "Huggies Little Movers" contest post on our Facebook page).

2. Comment on this blog post (below) with your first and last name, along with the city and state you currently reside in.

Two simple ways to enter, and if you complete both ways, you'll double your chances to win! You must enter by Thursday, July 17th, 2014 at 8 p.m. (CST) to be eligible for a chance to win. One winner will be randomly selected to win 4 packs (available in sizes 3-6) of Huggies Little Movers Diapers, and the winner will be announced on this blog. This contest is only open to US residents. Good luck everyone!

*** For more information, or to register for one of the Parent & Baby Classes on Thursday, July 17th at My Gym in Eden Prairie, MN... CLICK HERE!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Personalized gifts for kids in asia.

We had a birthday party that we were invited to this past month, and I couldn't find a gift idea for the "unique" 7-year-old birthday girl.

A friend recommended a personalized book from "Look It's About Me", which reminded me a little bit of our favorite Minnesota children's personalized book company "I See Me!". I ordered a personalized book and coloring book for the birthday girl, and I was thrilled with their adorable illustrations and stories. I loved that they not only had coloring books and reading books, but personalized gift wrap as well.

I was quite pleased with the gift we purchased for this birthday girl, that I even ordered our soon-to-be 3-year-old a personalized book for her upcoming birthday party.

The gifts from "Look It's About Me" are affordable, unique, and the quality is just like what I would expect from any other personalized gift company. I am so happy that the birthday girl enjoyed her personalized gifts from us, and we are looking forward to our daughter opening her personalized book in a few weeks! Shhhhhh... don't tell her;)

We'll let you know what she thinks!

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Thomas & friends at the minnesota children's museum.



Thomas & Friends has rolled into the Minnesota Children’s Museum this summer, with an interactive exhibit that you can visit through September 21st (2014)! Specifically designed for kids age 2-7 years old, little ones can climb into Thomas’ cab and explore the engine’s inner workings, flip levers, investigate other movable parts that trigger train noises such as braking, whistles and steam, and much more. After leaving St. Paul, the exhibit will embark on a 10-year North American tour including stops in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Quebec. 

There's two ways to enter for a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to the "Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails" Exhibit at the Minnesota Children's Museum:

1. "Like" the Minnesota Baby Facebook page, and share the contest post with your Facebook friends (you must click "share" under the "Thomas & Friends" contest post on our Facebook page).

2. Comment on this blog post (below) with your first and last name, along with the city and state you currently reside in.

Two simple ways to enter, and if you complete both ways, you'll double your chances to win! You must enter by Friday, July 11th, 2014 at 8 p.m. (CST) to be eligible for a chance to win. One winner will be randomly selected to win 4 tickets to this exhibit in the Twin Cities, and the winner will be announced on this blog. Good luck everyone!

*** Fore more information about purchasing tickets, and to find out more about exhibit times, please visit the Minnesota Children's Museum website.