Kids Read #6: Bee Safe by Joyce Piap-Go

I knew Squishy had absorbed at least one key lesson from this book when he pointed at one of our electric sockets, looked at me and said, “Basap” (“Be safe”).

We started reading ‘Bee Safe’ to Squishy when he developed a keen interest in poking around stuff he wasn’t supposed to be poking in the first place.

Source: Lunar Baboon

The book follows Dee the Bee as he encounters everyday situations at home, in school, or out and about, with a glimpse of the unpleasant consequences that may follow if Dee isn’t doing the “safe” thing. The book is illustrated by Maria Cristina Sison, a member of Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan.

It was tiring (and pointless) to keep saying “No!” every time Squishy reached for a socket or stepped into the kitchen when the oven was switched on. Because he’s too young, he won’t understand long-winded explanations either.

So, on top of baby-proofing where we can, we’ve taken to reading him this book and pointing out to him the spots in the house where he was most likely to encounter such situations.

We realized Squishy was remembering some of it when he suddenly started making a “boo-hoo” face whenever we tried to read ‘Bee Safe’ to him. We eventually concluded that he was associating the book with all the bad stuff that could potentially happen if he wasn’t careful … so maybe in this case the lesson was actually too effective, haha.

On a positive note, that means ‘Bee Safe’ is an easy-to-follow read even for toddlers as young as 1½ years old. Our point here was not to scare our little one, but rather introduce him to basic safety precautions in a loving and protected environment, with adults he knows and trusts.

Recently Squishy’s more relaxed about us reading the book to him again. “Dontdodat” (“Don’t do that”), he’d say, whenever he remembered parts of it (it’s really just the bits on the electric socket and washing hands that he remembers for now — which is just fine!).

It’s good that he’s friends with Dee the Bee again, because I just found out my mom bought the rest of the books in the series (Bee Polite, Bee Green, Bee Active, Bee Happy). Bring it on, Dee!



Bee Safe (Hiyas Press)
By Joyce Piap-Go

Php 80 at National Bookstore


Kids Read #5: A for Adobo by Nelson Agustin

Squishy was reading ‘A for Adobo’ to his lolo on one of our regular FB Messenger calls and it went something like this:

Me: “A is for…?” Squishy: “Dobo!”

M: “B is for…?” S: “Babangka!”

“Nakakagutom naman yung binabasa mo!” (“Your book is making me hungry!”), my dad laughed.

‘A for Adobo’ is exactly as described — an alphabet book for the Filipino family who loves to eat (that’s us, ehem).

Each letter of the Filipino alphabet, i.e. A to Z plus Ñ (Piña) and Ng (Daing na Bangus), is accompanied with a beautifully-shot, high-resolution photo of each Pinoy dish.

I see what you did there with the “J”!

It’s a board book so it’s perfect for toddlers like Squishy. The bright colors and clean setting also make it a joy to read for the parent (that’s me — or Hubby!). I suppose the only drawback is that it tends to bring on unusual cravings for okoy (which Squishy pronounces with an exaggerated pursed-lip “oh”) and paella valenciana.

I see what you did there with the “X” and “Z” too 🙂

I think it’s an excellent find and a good way to introduce Pinoy food to Squishy. He likes saying some of the words so much that they sometimes sneak their way in to other alphabet book readings. The other day we were reading one in English to him and, on asking him for a word starting with E (and expecting “elephant” etc.) he suddenly says “Mada!” (for Ensaymada). Oh well, bilingual households ftw. 🙂

(Ignore the Movavi watermark in the video please! Am too cheap to spring for the registered version, haha.)

I picked up this book on one of my usual National Bookstore runs. I try to drop by whenever we make a trip back home. ‘A for Adobo’ can be found in National’s kids’ books section. I noticed there were both board book and softcover editions.

A highly-recommended read — except on an empty stomach.



A for Adobo – Board Book (Tahanan Books for Young Readers) 
By Nelson Agustin

Php 275 at National Bookstore

On DIY Haircuts

Squishy started bawling the second he sensed we were about to give him a haircut at EC House Kids. His hair had been bothering me for weeks — it was growing past his ears, getting in his eyes. With him starting playgroup soon we thought it best to bite the bullet and get the haircut over with.

Squishy hates haircuts. He hates the buzz of the hair clippers. The last time he had it cut, it was in the Philippines, in Cuts 4 Tots at Glorietta. He was so stressed out he sweated buckets — they didn’t need to spritz his hair with water. He also cried his little heart out. It was agonizing to watch.

So we backed out of EC House, calmed him down with a few rounds of singing “Wheels on the Bus” and headed home. The Hubby thought we could do it ourselves with the help of YouTube instructional videos. (To be fair, the Hubby did learn to swim breast stroke via YouTube, and this kid learned how to drive. For Hubby, it was good enough to get him a beginner’s diving license!)

I watched a few “how to cut your toddler’s hair” videos and marveled at all the kids who looked chill at the sight and sound of clippers/scissors. I found one video that looked promising and, duly inspired, I set off to find the sharpest scissors at home and the baby comb.

Squishy’s “Before” photo. Readying his hair with a brush.

(As an aside, you may be wondering why Squishy’s always in an undershirt a.k.a. sando. I promise you, if you too were dressing a genetically sweaty toddler in hot and humid Singapore, this would be your at-home outfit of choice.)

Taking a cue from YouTube we played a Disney Cars 3 trailer on loop to keep him occupied. I combed his hair down following what I thought/hoped was his natural part.

Squishy is so sensitive to haircuts he kept swatting my hand away and moving side to side. I ended up just trying to trim the longish bits but generally following the shape of his previous cut. It was effing challenging to cut a straight line AND not snip a chunk out of my kid’s ear.

Stay STILL… please

I intend to fix it while he’s sleeping and he kind of looks like Moe from The Three Stooges but at least, AT LEAST, the hair is out of his eyes.

I remember my mom, for a brief time in our childhood, did our haircuts herself by putting a mangkok (bowl) on our head and cutting a straight fringe along the rim of the bowl. So you know, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

My mom got asked “O, where’s your boy?” ALL the time

Weekend Blah

As I was looking for photos for this post I realize I haven’t been taking them lately. What I have are mostly videos — of Squishy playing with his shape sorter, “reading” his books, loving his “colors” (what he calls his crayons).

He’s grown active these past few months and, when it comes to capturing memories, taking photos didn’t seem to cut it anymore. All I have are random shots of things whenever I remembered to bring my camera. Here’s one of him attempting to climb up Cinderella’s dress at Toys R’ Us because he thought it was a slide:

At this age, toddlers understand way more than they can say. Squishy amazes me by how much he can absorb like a big-ass sponge. Out of the blue the other day he said “internet” when he saw me showing Hubby a Facebook page and none of us were sure where he heard the word, much less what it meant.

He has a more nuanced sense of his favorite books now — these days he demands The Paper Bag Princess (“Pin-sess!”), Love You Forever, and Cool Cars (…which I bought for a dollar in the atrium of Lucky Plaza. Now I know where to get his books — and our Mang Tomas fix — next!).

Squishy can communicate in short phrases: “Hugas” (Wash, in Filipino) after he poops, “Hugas! Punas!” (Wash! Wipe!) when he knows we’re about to start his pre-bedtime ritual, “Pess, baba” (Press, go down) when he’s had enough of food, and he wants us to release him from his high chair’s seatbelt and carry him. Here, he’s giving us his “Stinky” face like one of the babies in his Baby Faces book.

I looked at a folder in my drive labeled “Squishy – 3rd month onwards” where I’ve dumped all our photos since early 2016. It’s a mess — I keep telling myself to get my shit together and organize it one weekend, but I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet. It has everything — Squishy’s weekly and monthly celebrations, trips we made last year, we-did-nothing quiet weekend moments, first birthday and baptism photos. Thousands of photos. In one folder. Eep! I will add it to the list “Things I’ll Organize/Do One Weekend…Someday” together with Squishy’s blank baby book.

Anyway, it’s amazing to compare my grubby little toddler in the present to the chub-tub baby he was this time last year. It’s a worn cliché but yes Virginia, they do grow up fast.

Squishy will be attending a formal playgroup soon. All his afternoon mates at the condo playground are gone, plucked off one by one as they all attend playgroup / childcare sessions of their own. It’ll be good for his social skills, he’ll get to interact with other kids his age, we think. (Probably the same thing all the other parents in the condo are thinking, which is kind of ironic in a way.)

I imagine if Squishy were in the Philippines he’d have fellow grubby little toddlers to play with outdoors. Maybe.

When Baby Won’t Eat (and my 2nd mini-giveaway!)

I see these pudgy babies on my friends’ Facebook pages, all cheeks and Michelin man arms, and I imagine these are the babies those Food Network and Tasty Junior and Annabel Karmel recipes were written for.

These are the babies who’ll probably wolf down my homemade baby mac n’ cheese (artfully blended to hide all the vege he’ll surely spit out at first sight) and ask for seconds.

These are probably the babies who’ll eat just about anything.

And then there’s Squishy.

Source: Fowl Language Comics
I remember the grief I had (and insane amount of Googling I did) when all he ate at ten months old were boxed infant cereal and apples.

After a lick of choco ice cream — which he turned down right after. Smart kid, but… but… who turns down chocolate?!
I took the parenting books to heart by keeping him fully on breastmilk for his first six months — but I knew of parents who had started feeding bub purées at four months and they were eating way ahead of Squishy at his age.

I worried. Did we start him too late on solid food?

We tried all the tricks to no avail. I bought a ceramic slow cooker to cook Japanese rice mixed with different ingredients and vegetables to vary the tastes, prepared food with different textures and colors, used funky cutlery and plates to get him interested in eating.

Nothing. He barely ate.

We took our concerns to the pediatrician who told us not to worry. His weight was fine (50th percentile). He was active. He was hitting his milestones.

Parents being parents though, the worry wart never quite goes away and Google is more than happy to fill the void with endless amounts of information: WHO growth charts you can use to plot baby’s height/weight“ideal weight” calculators for those too lazy to plot anything after a full day at work, and countless forums with equally worried parents fretting about weight issues other than their own.

Fast forward to Squishy at 1+ years old.

He’s eating well — a rotation of steamed rice, pasta, meesua, and his favorite bread for carbs; chicken, pork, fish, and (sometimes) beef for protein; broccoli, carrots, and a bit of spinach for his vege. He loves bananas, apples, and mangoes. He’s more adventurous in his diet, eager to give everything a try (but also quick to spit it out if he doesn’t like it too much, like onions).

We think we should feed him more leafy greens and he still gets a bit red when we feed him eggs, but we’re working on expanding his menu.

More food ends up in his tummy these days, but sometimes it ends up in his/our nose
Squishy’s no Michelin baby, but he’s not light to carry either.

He’s active as he can be, thriving, and best of all — he looks happy.

So what changed?

The short answer is: nothing.

Squishy just gradually came around to trying more new things. That’s it. His eating “issue” sorted itself out in time.

Believe me, I know how frustrating it can get to see your bub refuse food. But after our experience with Squishy, I realize babies and kids are smart. They will let you know when they’re hungry (loud and clear). They won’t starve themselves. They’ll gradually come around, on their own, to eating all the healthy food on your table.

Like our pediatrician said, as long as your bub is hitting his or her milestones, is active, playful, and cheerful, don’t get too hung up on the percentiles. Baby will be fine. 🙂


Now, for all you parents with easy-to-feed kids! (Jealous *sob*) Do you have time to make them cute bento-style lunch boxes? (Jealous again)

This giveaway is for you! 🙂

The MamaDramaSG Kawaiiii Mini-giveaway 

I picked up the prizes in our last trip to Japan so they’re 100% legit. 🙂 There will be five (5) winners getting one prize each, chosen at random:

– Kawaii bento picks (cute eyes, mini animals) x4

– A sausage mold set x1

So cute hor!
Terms & Conditions (Please read):

– This giveaway is open only to parents resident in Singapore.

– This is not a sponsored promotion. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. I hereby release Facebook of any liability.

– The giveaway starts 14 Mar 2017 and ends 01 Apr 2017. 

– Your personal details are entered through the @GleamApp and I have no access to these. I will only be able to see the details of the winner automatically selected by the @GleamApp.

– There will be five (5) winners getting one (1) prize each (chosen at random). The winners will be contacted by email 24 hours after the giveaway ends. If there is no response within 48 hours, I reserve the right to draw another winner.

– The prize will be mailed to the address specified by the winner. No special requests for delivery requiring additional charges on my part will be entertained.

If you have any additional questions – feel free to send me an email at!

Good luck! 🙂

Enter the giveaway here:


Or enter on Facebook on my Giveaways tab:

A Late Hello, 2017

I blink and it’s March. Squishy is not so squishy anymore; he’s definitely crossed over into toddler territory now I think. Maybe I should start calling him LS – Less Squishy – heh. He has also, somehow, accumulated around 60-odd words (yes, the O.C. in me counted) ranging from mangga (mango) to calculator (“Kata-kata!”), enjoys trips to labas (outside), and loves pointing out all the cars, buses, and trucks (“Tuck!”) that pass outside our window.

I realize that the words Squishy knows (and loves) to say are what he sees around him everyday. A city boy, through and through.

Since I last posted we’ve spent days in cold places…

Bundled up – Meiji Shrine, Tokyo

And days in warm ones…

Sand play in Boracay

There were days spent with family…

Inang teaching Squishy how to “bless” (mano)

And days when it was just us.

Lazy day at home trying to chat with Siri from a locked phone.

I’m sorry I haven’t been diligent in posting. I blame work. (Cue the helpless shrug and a big HOLLA to all the working mamas in the room *fist bump*).

Squishy and I are back and we owe you guys a giveaway. Stay tuned!

Rolled mat = instant crawl tunnel = FUN

Kids Read #4: Good Night Philippines, Good Night World by Mila Bongco-Philipzig

“I’m sleepy now. Good night. I love you.”

The message repeats, page after page, but in eleven different languages – from Ilonggo to Italian, Kapampangan to Cree, Cebuano to Swedish.

good night phils 2

These are children, siblings, parents all wishing their loved ones in various corners of the world a good night.

The Filipinos abroad are mostly OFWs: engineers, nannies, cooks, nurses, musicians.

These “good night” conversations are held over Skype, Facetime chat, old-fashioned phone calls.

The aim of “Good Night Philippines, Good Night World” is to

“celebrate the diversity of places and languages in the Philippines, as well as the courage and versatility of Filipinos who have had to embrace other cultures and languages as they travel to study, work, or immigrate abroad.”

The book has a simple premise and it was fun to have a go saying good night in all those languages (there’s a pronunciation guide at the back).

good night phils 1

But I found my thoughts drifting.

It’s not that hard to imagine such a “good night” conversation taking place in real life.

As of 2015 there were 2.4 million OFWs working abroad, mostly women (51.1%). As of August 2016 OFW cash remittances totalled $17.6 billion – 10% of the country’s GDP. By ratio to population, the Philippines ranks 1st in the world when it comes to dependency on remittances.

In short, a lot of Filipino families – not just the ones who have OFWs in the family – have OFWs to thank for the Philippine economy’s resilience.

What the statistics don’t show, however, is the day-to-day sacrifices they make. The hotel worker waking up alone the next day, after hearing her daughter’s voice in a call the night before.

It can be very lonely, especially this Christmas season.

Hubby and I are OFWs ourselves. We’re very lucky indeed to have Squishy with us here.

Not everyone is as fortunate.

When Squishy’s old enough maybe we’ll talk about books like these. How he thinks the kids in the book feel with their parents working so far away.

We’ll talk about all the languages the people spoke – how different they sound yet how in the end, they all mean exactly the same thing.

Good night. I love you.

good night phils 3


Good Night Philippines, Good Night World (Anvil Publishing)
By Mila Bongco-Philipzig

Php 150 at National Bookstore