Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Eating out with Jo Ern

We had dinner at The Ship with Jo Ern recently.  From the moment we sat down, she got busy.  First she rearranged the salt and pepper pots, the plates, the cutlery.  She moved on to the vase, plucked pieces off the leaf and orchids and stuffed some into her mouth.  Then she wanted to climb onto the table and tried to climb onto the top of the seat.  All this activity before even the bread rolls arrived!

A short pause to share my bread roll. Then she started removing her shoes, throwing them onto the floor, climbing down to the floor to retrieve them, throwing them onto the seat, climbing back onto the seat herself and putting the shoes back on.  And repeat, repeat, repeat.  Hubby asked, a little triumphantly (I've always maintained kids are not naughty until they know they're not supposed to do something and still do it.  Hubby had thought kids are naughty if they cry a lot or didn't want to do what you want them to do...), "Now tell me if she is being naughty or what?!"  I said,"At least she's entertaining herself and not disturbing our meal!"  Jo Ern isn't too interested in eating and we can't expect her to sit quietly with her hands in her lap.

Erm but I agreed with hubby we should ban her from eating out with us heh.  She eventually got bored of playing with her shoes and started crawling around under the table.  Then she demanded to go walk-walk. Luckily we'd about finished eating by then!

I shall dismantle this leaf and put the bits in my mouth

Can reach more things if I climb up onto the table

Couple of weeks later, we headed to Avanti for dinner, conveniently forgetting that Jo Ern was supposed to be banned from such trips.  :)  I'd called beforehand for a table and there were baby chair and kiddy setting ready.  Jo Ern was delighted to have her personal plate and cutlery, arranging them and putting cutlery into her mouth.  The bread basket arrived almost immediately.  She had fun eating the long breadsticks and later with the various dips (I'd first placed them out of her reach or she'd have messed things up).  Ahh what a difference in behaviour from that at The Ship!  I do think the reason is she was kept busy with this time.  We finished the meal in peace, what bliss.

Now, must think of other eating places we can take her to!  We try not to bring the maid when food is on the pricy side heh.  For now I can only think of other places with bread baskets...

Oh what's that the waiter is bringing?

3 different breads with 3 different dips. Wow!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Take 'to-to'

I do hope she outgrows this soon!  When she sees the camera, she gets all excited and says 'to-to'.  She sits on my lap a while to view the photos already taken. But when I ask her to take some photos, she goes and smiles like this:

I smile nicely already, take photo!

Oh dear, what a dreadful smile!  We try again ok?

Wait wait I'm not ready yet

OK ready! Take photo now!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Want carryyyyy....

The last day at Hanoi didn't really count.  Our flight was at 9am so we woke up early, collected our packed breakfast and headed for the airport.  Just a few more pictures of our trip.  Throughout, this Jo Ern didn't want to walk and wanted to be carried.  Especially by me.  Even when hubby was carrying her, she would stretch out her arms to me and call 'Mum-meee!'  Then when I got tired, put her down and sat on the ground myself, she would be CLIMBING onto me!

In the cave with nice formations:

Mum-meee, want carryyyy....

While waiting for the small boat to take us on the Halong bay cruise:

Mummyy, carryyyy....

At the oyster farm gift shop:

Mummy carry...

Want carryyy!

OK I definitely need a rest from going on holiday!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hanoi Day 3

Woke up and without getting out of bed, pulled back the curtains and had a lovely view of sky, sea and islands. Ahhhh. Climbed on the top deck for a short stroll before sitting down to breakfast.  One couple was late, we didn't notice and thought there were 2 extra fried eggs, and calmly helped ourselves to 1 extra for Jo Ern.  Hehee.  Well we didn't know they'd fried exactly 1 egg per paying passenger!  Luckily when the couple finally emerged, they didn't make a fuss and just helped themselves to more bread.

After breakfast was a visit to a pearl farm. Quite informative and seeing the end-to-end process was interesting.  Of course it as pretty much an excuse to try to get some sales.  I noticed NOBODY bought anything!  And was thinking that if this was a group of Asians, sure people would be buying this and that!  The mother-of-pearl deco and pearl jewellery didn't seem too expensive, just that I'm not really into pearls. 

Are we buying this thing?

Wow these are big plates. Must be for big eaters

Back to the ship for the cruise back to the mainland.  Pity we had to check out soon after the pearl farm visit, or it'd have been really nice lying in bed and enjoying the scenery.  Anyway, enjoyed the same scenery from the top deck. Reached the mainland in time for lunch - overall the food on this trip wasn't great.  Jo Ern accepted a few spoonfuls.  Hubby said she'd be a few pounds lighter after this holiday!

Reached the hotel after 4 hours... a quick shower and then out to the streets for our last night in Hanoi.  We had seafood at a roadside hawker again.  This time we were more aware of what we were ordering so didn't get a surprise when the bill came!  Jo Ern... aiyo this kid. There was a small boy (belonging to the hawker) sitting on a step behind us eating some bread from a bag.  He left for a while and Jo Ern swooped in on that bag.  Hubby managed to stop her but she kept going at that bag.  Luckily a relative of that boy noticed and pinched off some bread for her.
These were plain boiled, but the chilli dip was good

Jo Ern with her ill-gotten bread...
This bread is nice. Want some?

We walked around after the seafood, had some more street food and shopped a bit.  Noticed that Vietnamese seem to love children.  Various vendors were interested in playing with Jo Ern!  They happily posed with her, wanted to carry her, handed her assorted things to play with.

Yay Mummy is buying me this cute baby turtle

Hey, who's this person...

Went to bed early again.  Haha what to do, Jo Ern K.O.-ed in hubby's arms already.  This little one fusses about eating but she's hardly any trouble when it comes to sleeping.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hanoi Day 2

Off to Halong Bay! We had time for the included breakfast.  (What a steal, RM80+ a night for a nice room and breakfast!)  Hmm most of the food items were Vietnamese and a bit strange.  But ok la, there was more than enough to eat.  Jo Ern didn't eat much, the trend for the whole duration of this trip.

It was a 3-hour bus journey to Halong bay excluding the 20-min stop.  Jo Ern got a bit restless, started arching her back and demanding to 'walk-walk'. Luckily this didn't escalate into a tantrum!  The snacks I brought helped to distract her.

Don't wanna sit here. Wanna go walk-walk

The 20-min stop was at a souvenir place.  Of course things were overpriced and I didn't bother buying any.  But there were some nice things here, like cushion covers, that I wished I could have gotten at decent prices!  Didn't see them at normal shops later.

Oo what's this?

This one I know! Kish! Ish!

Finally, Halong bay! Was it nice? Well, yes. It's a little like island hopping in Krabi which we did recently, but better. There are way more islands and it is a much larger area.  Pictures don't do the place justice coz it's a different feeling when you're SURROUNDED by beautiful scenery.

Our ship looked like this at Halong Bay

Room and bathroom size were quite decent.  We got a triple room for the price of a double. Heh, travelling with a little child has its benefits! 

I claim this bed for tonight

One problem was, it was hot as normal for sun-kissed sea outings.  The other guests had brought sunblock and beach stuff.  We, we'd planned for cooler weather and brought sweaters, jeans and long-sleeved shirts!  Haha.  Well I did have ONE pair of shorts, boxers for sleeping in.  No choice but to wear it out hehe.
Why Mummy wearing pyjamas outside?

The cruise included a trip to Sung Sot, a cave with nicely-lit stalactites/stalagmites and other interesting structures inside.  Quite good.  But there were 50 steps to climb to get in!  Good for me that hubby carried Jo Ern all the way phew.  I got myself up with quite a bit of huffing, puffing and rest stops. :)  There were lots of other groups there but Jo Ern was the only small child there. So she got lots of attention.  From one lady who went 'Ola! ola baby!' behind us for quite some time, to another who passed by and then did a double-take when she saw Jo Ern.  Then she waved and made funny faces for quite some time too, heh.

This cave is interesting. But must carry me, don't wanna walk

Hubby: My gym sessions are paying off! But legs quite tired also...

After the cave visit was kayaking.  Now this was fun!  We should have gotten someone to take pictures.  Jo Ern absolutely refused to wear a life jacket though  I let her take it off as it was probably too big to be of any use anyway.  Hubby rowed from the back seat, I sat in front with Jo Ern and rowed and steered a bit.  Jo Ern got over her crying fit over the life jacket once we started rowing.  She likes water and enjoyed dabbling her hands into the water. Again we attracted attention - cries of 'Ooo! Look at the baby!!'.  Heh.

This life jacket is ugly and it's cramping my style. Take it off!

We didn't dare stay out long as it wasn't too safe for Jo Ern.  Especially when this little one was busy 'helping' to row, taking off her shoes and dipping them into the water, climbing up to dip her FEET into the water.  We sat back on the boat to wait for the others.  One of the vendors gave Jo Ern a chocolate wafer (a cheapo Cloud9, but still it was a nice unexpected gift) which she put into her mouth immediately, wrapper included. I unwrapped it for her and she just ate and ate.  Hmm the junkier the food, the more the kid likes it!

This is good food!

Coz later when we returned to the boat for a buffet dinner, she reverted to her usual 'don't-want-to-eat' self.  She kicked up a fuss in the dining room and we had to take our food outside to avoid disturbing the others.  It was nice eating out there though, to the sound of water gently lapping the boat.

I'm all full now, thank you!

Spent some time on the top deck since it as still early.  There was a karaoke session on.  The other guests were all Caucasions except for 2 locals - from US, Peru, different countries in Europe.  Tourism is definitely thriving here.   

Hmm sumbathe? But it's all dark

We couldn't keep our eyes open too long and retired to bed about 9pm.  Zzzzzz....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hanoi Day 1

I wasn't really looking forward to this trip.  Firstly I'd planned the trip too short, 4d3n but in reality only about 3 days.  The flight to Hanoi at 6am - the only flight for the day - meant waking up in the middle of the night. I was nursing a stuffy nose and cough, hubby was having toothache and Jo Ern still had a runny nose.  But tickets and hotel had been paid for so wasn't going to waste those!  In total it was RM1055 for airtickets and RM245 for 3 nights hotel.

Now having survived the trip, overall it was quite good. :) 

Okee... arrived at Hanoi airport after a 3-hour flight. Then it was a 1-hour wait for Jo Ern's stroller on the baggage carousel! We had almost given it up for lost since we didn't get it tagged at KL. Jo Ern entertained herself by climbing all over the luggage trolleys.

Climbing on trolleys is fun!

Hotel was Thaison Grand located in the Old Quarter. The room was really good, especially at that price!  There were two queen-sized beds and a fancy shower. Well except that hubby decided to forgo one night at the hotel and plonked down USD260 (the most expensive option!) for the 2d1n cruise to Halong Bay instead. *smacks head* Anyway ok la, we're probably not coming back so might as well enjoy.  We did get back USD21 rebate for that night so loss is only about RM20.

I claim this bed for tonight. Mummy can sleep with me

The Old Quarter was full of character and noise - shops, hotels, food vendors everywhere.  One interesting thing was that type of shops were arranged by streets!  There was a street for buttons and zips, one for toys, one for silver cookware, a few for shoes etc.  Unfortunately the street nearest our hotel housed shops selling funeral memorial plaques hehe. Another thing was, you had to be on the right street to buy things - I never did find the dresses for Jo Ern that were on my shopping list. 
Greetings from the button street in Hanoi

The streets were narrow and we couldn't use Jo Ern's stroller.  In fact, we couldn't even walk in a straight line ourselves - had to curve around street vendors, parked motorcycles, motorcycles turning onto the sidewalk to park, motorcycles backing OUT of the sidewalk to the street.  Hubby carried Jo Ern most of the time. Partly because of that, we hardly shopped - hubby wasn't in the mood to dally much while lugging almost 10kg around! Ermm more so when the aforementioned 10kg kept going K.O. on us:
But I am soooo tired.... zzzzzzz

Heh, the challenges of travelling with a 1.5 year-old!  The places we've been before with her - Genting, Singapore, Phuket - didn't offer much to see.  I did want to explore Hanoi and waited impatiently while Jo Ern napped for hours!  Eventually woke her up so we could continue exploring.  Shared a bowl of sticky rice with various condiments - lapcheong, squid floss, poached chicken slices, chicken sausage, mince - which came with a bowl of pickled cucumber.  It was good but hubby's temporary tooth crowns came off with the rice.  Luckily someone directed us to a dentist.... haha now THIS visit was not on my Hanoi itinerary!
Dentist chairs all in a row

Problem finally fixed and we continued our exploration of the Old Quarter. We went to Hoan Kiem lake and the water puppet theatre (didn't want to risk bringing the toddler for an actual show though).  We stopped at roadside stalls for noodles and hubby's favourite, seafood.  This meal turned out pretty expensive at RM120.  And little Miss Jo Ern had no patience with people digging into over a hundred assorted shellfish - conch, lala, cockles, one crab.  She was playing with the condiments on tables, the stools, her shoes... sigh.  Hubby grabbed her to keep her still and she bawled her lungs out in outrage.  Guess she was cranky from insufficient sleep.

Wanna go play! Don't wanna sit here! Wanna go play!!!

Phew.  Maybe we should wait for Jo Ern to be older before we go anywhere again!  After the early start and activities for the day, we turned in early to bed.  Had to be up nice and early for our trip to Halong bay the next day!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Visit to the doctor

Last week Jo Ern caught a bug, probably from cousin Jensen who caught it a few days before. Illnesses spread so easily between little kids. I sure hope her immunity system is stronger by the time she attends school!

This time she had fever, diarrhoea cough and vomitted too. As usual I was debating whether to take her to the paedi. She might overcome the bug with the aid of Panadol. That would be better than taking antibiotics... I follow my mum's policy to avoid these if possible. Hubby's policy on the other hand is, "why spend days being sick and suffering? Take antibiotics la!". Heh. Finally I decided on the paedi since she did have diarrhoea 8 times that day.
Oops I ngg-ngggh again

 Paedi said to give antibiotics only if the fever remains high another day. Left with:
1. Smecta for the intestines
2. Kaopec for the diarrhoea
3. Medicof for cough
4. Zithromax (antibiotics) on kiasu hubby's request

plus the Panadol suspension I already had at home. Peace of mind for a RM102 bill, hehe. Now I have added stomach medicine to my arsenal. Only problem was, how to feed all these meds to a little kid who didn't want any?? In total it was over 30ml of meds! (Smecta itself is 20ml water added to the powder). Sigh... slowly and painfully loh. Jo Ern was crying pitifully and shaking, shaking her head. Every time she opened her mouth to cry I squirted some medicine in. Eventually she was crying with her mouth pursed shut. But she had to open her mouth for air and that's when she got more medicine in. What torture for the poor child.

The next day she had diarhoea 7 times but fever was spiking far less often. Now, she's almost recovered. The antibiotics weren't needed after all. She's still off her food and milk though. Hopefully she's all well by our Hanoi trip this Thursday!

I'm all better now! No, I don't need any food thank you