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30 15 May 2011

THE NEW PAPER ON SUNDAY

31

Family Matters

Enjoy

Kids’ news on the blog

GENERATION NEXT I’ve been grounded for the whole week.

THE NEW PAPER ON SUNDAY 15 May 2011

What happened?

Some parents are ditching scrapbooks for the Net to document their children’s progress

Tips and advice

Slurp! REPORT: JENNIFER DHANARAJ djenn@sph.com.sg

Y

OU know the story: Parents spending hours hunched over their scrapbooks Well, my dad to capture precious memories of their just bought this children as they grow up. $200 limited-edition, And after all that time, these scrapbooks battle-damaged are shown to only a few relatives and close Metalman action friends of the family. figure for his Not any more. Some families are now collection. reaching out to a wider audience with their scrapbooks – by blogging about their kids. Ms Daphne Ling, 29, is one of them. The mother of a three-year old boy, Truett Kao and a two-year old girl, Kirsten, started her blog known as Mother, Inc almost three years ago. Were you She did that after she gave up her job in grounded the media to be a stay-home mother. because you played with it? With all the time on her hands, she decided to start a blog which takes a slightly humorous approach to parenthood. No. It’s She said: “I thought it would be nice to because I keep track of my kids’ journey as they grow added the battle and damage up. It also gives my kids a chance to know to it. what their mummy went through when they were younger.” Her blog helped her get in touch with other mothers. She said: “I was very out of touch with TNP ILLUSTRATION: KELVIN CHAN other mothers because most of my peers are

the blog to document the fun his kids have when they go out together as a family. He said: “Most of the readers come to my site when they want recommendations for places they want to take their children to.” He has blogged about the recently opened Punggol Promenade and Sentosa Boardwalk.

PICTURE COURTESY OF DAPHNE LING

KEEPING IN TOUCH: Ms Daphne Ling had time on her hands when she stopped working to raise her children, Truett and Kirsten (being carried by her husband). still working and single. “But through the blog, I was able to exchange tips and share experiences with other mummy bloggers.” They formed a tight community and often meet with their children in tow. Last year, with the help of other family bloggers, Ms Ling organised a carnival, called Happee Day, at Hort Park. More than a hundred family bloggers turned up with their children. Games were organised for the children and all proceeds from the carnival were donated to the Children’s Cancer Foundation. Ms Ling’s blog, which gets about 10,000 hits a month, has been nominated for Best

Family Blog at the Singapore Blog Awards 2011, organised by Omy.sg. Ms Ling was also a finalist last year for Most Insightful Blogger. Another nominee for the Best Family Blogger this year is Mr Kelvin Ang, whose blog is known as Ashton’s, Ayden’s and Alethea’s Diary. The 35-year-old father of three (Ashton, six, Ayden, four and Alethea, one) has been running his blog since 2005. His wife, Mrs Sharon Ang, started the blog when she was on maternity leave but passed the reins to her husband when she returned to work. Mr Ang, a financial planner, has since used

Another family blogger whom some readers look to for tips and advice is Ms Madeline Heng. She is pursuing a master’s degree in psychology at the National University of Singapore and uses her knowledge of psychology to help other parents understand children’s behaviour in some of her posts. “I thought it would be nice to input what I have learnt and help other mums as they have helped me,” she said. Ms Heng, 27, started her blog, madpsychmum @ University of Motherhood, after the birth of her daughter, Jaelle Lee, who is now 10 months old . Her blog is also a nominee for Best Family Blogger at the Singapore Blog Awards 2011. Ms Heng said that keeping a blog is comparable to keeping old family photos. “But the experience is different because the progress of your child growing is much clearer.” “And where short descriptions were written at the back of old family photos, a single picture on a blog is able to tell a lot more because the whole backstory is provided in the post, including how I felt at that moment.”

PICTURE COURTESY OF MADELINE HENG

STUDENT MUM:

Ms Madeline Heng uses her psychology knowledge to help parents understand their kids better.

FYI WHAT Singapore Blog Awards 2011 There are 10 main categories including Best Family Blog, Best Fashion Blog, Best Travel Blog and Best Social Media Integrated Blog. WHEN Nomination and registration are open till May 22, followed by a voting and judging phase till end June. The winners will be crowned at an award ceremony held at Shanghai Dolly in July.

FUN WITH DAD: Mr Kelvin Ang took over the family blog when his wife returned to work. PICTURE COURTESY OF KELVIN ANG

On the streets of Madrid, a man ruined S MURALI FATHER FIGURES muralis@sph.com.sg

FOLKS, I would like to sadly report that my wife has ruined me. Yes she has. And while we are at it, the two kids are culpable too. They have made me a shell of the man I once was. What am I talking about? Do you really want to know? Okay, get the tissues out, folks, because here goes. It all began about three weeks ago. I had packed my bags, all ready to go on a trip of a lifetime. Off to magical Madrid. Off to watch two of the best teams in the world play football against each other in one of the world’s most iconic stadiums, the Santiago Bernabeu. The match between Real Madrid and Barcelona aside, due to my flight schedules, I would also have a few days to roam the historic city of Madrid, a place I had always wanted to visit. I swear I was skipping as I boarded the plane, remembering previous workand-leisure trips that are on my list of “unforgettable moments” – I got to play the hallowed Old Course at St Andrews, make a trip to glitzy Las Vegas for an electronics show and played all the top golf courses in Hawaii. You know what I am talking about, those Kodak moments. So I had plenty of expectations for Madrid, as you can expect. But once I boarded the plane, a strange sensation started to take over. Loneliness. I tried to get it out of my head, but I just couldn’t. I kept thinking how nice it would have been to have the missus next to me, talking about what colour to paint our walls.

I even missed having to “shush” the kids, to keep them from bothering the other passengers. I tried to snap out of it, reminding myself that I was the subject of envy not only in my office but among friends and family, who were amazed that my job was to watch Real Madrid play Barcelona. But I couldn’t. Even as I watched that wonderful match at the Bernabeu, I was secretly wishing that there was someone there to share the moment with me. Worse was to come once the “work part” of my trip was over. After the big match, I was left completely to my own devices. I reminded myself that I had been in that position many times before, on many other work trips, especially as a junior reporter. I remember having enjoyed myself tremendously on those occasions as I liked exploring new places with little more than a map and some local knowledge gleaned from research. But this time, I felt different. I passed by some majestic buildings in Madrid, but never felt like stopping and taking pictures. All I could think of was that my wife would have liked the colour of that building. Or that my kids would have loved to play near that fountain. So other than shopping for gifts, I did little else in Madrid. I kept telling myself that I would come back again with the family in tow and then really enjoy the city properly. I was never like this before marriage, and before the two rugrats came along. But now, when I’m alone, I feel like a man driving a car with nowhere to go. Give me a co-driver, I say (preferably one that won’t slap me). And give me some bickering kids in the back seat. Such words, I would have never spoken, just 10 years ago. But that is how my wife and kids have ruined me. Sad, no?

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