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a utopist, a green, a free soul, a liberal, a young (well let's say 'a new' rather than 'young') mother, a rebel, a thinker, a smiler, a wonderer, a note, a butterfly, a rainbow, a nymph, a kite, a wave, a breeze from the sea, a purple soul, a chocolate-addict, a lover...

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Delfina's first word in English: mum :)

Delfina playing in a rock pool in Taupiri Bay
My gorgeous girl's first word in Turkish was 'baba', which means father.
Her first word in English became 'mum' :)

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Sunday, 15 January 2012

Delfi ran before she could walk / Delfinam yurumeden kosmaya basladi :)

Today Delfina was walking around with her Nanma in the garden while I was cooking. Then, Nanma asked "where is mummy?" and I put my head around the corner saying "here I am!" and Delfi, getting over-excited, ran towards me!!!! Well, she can crawl but she cannot walk on her own yet. It was one of the best moments to see her trying to run [without holding anywhere / anyone] towards me even though she fell down on her third step.


Bugun Delfinam yuruyebilemeden bana kostu :) Olaganustu bir his...
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Saturday, 14 January 2012

Singapore: Baby-friendly city

Singapore, right after Xmas
We had a three-night stop-over in Singapore on our way to New Zealand from Istanbul. It is a clean, nice, baby- and pram-friendly city. We really enjoyed Singapore with our baby.
Some (strange) facts I observed about Singapore:

  • I think Singapore is the best Asian city to go to when you need to have a stop-over on the way to New Zealand, particularly if you are travelling with a 13 month-old baby. The flight time from Istanbul to Singapore and from Singapore to Auckland was less than 18.5 hours.
  • Singapore Airport is huge! and quite cool! It is one of the must-see places in Singapore :)
  • They welcome tourists at the Immigration Control very hospitably. They offered us candies at the Passport Control Point when we arrived and before we left. They are very friendly. 
  • Singapore has five languages and English is the main language of education or let's say most common language. But apparently it is a Singaporey English. I have a suspicion that when they say 'oh it is very far', actually they mean it is very nearby! Otherwise, no way could it have happened to me twice in three days! 
  • While travelling in Singapore, many times I asked myself: "If this is modern architecture, what is it in Turkey or in Europe?" Singapore is a young and beautifully and intelligently architectured city. What kind of a fantasy can make you build three skyscrapers and connect them with a boat at the top so that you can have a city-view that you can watch, while swimming [see the building in the background of the photo above]! 
  • National Museum of Singapore
  • Finding souvenirs in Singapore is very tricky. It looks like shopping is a big deal in Singapore but you really need to be well-off to be comfortable with your spending depending on where you shop. Prices at the shopping malls are quite pricey. I went into a kids clothing shop, and with 50 % discount, a children's top was 100 Singapore dollars. You can try Bugis Street market but even though the prices may be attractive, the quality of products is really low. And when you want to buy souvenirs, everything looks like 'made in China'. After visiting Bugis Street, we went to a Buddhist and Hindu temple and afterwards we found our way to the National Museum of Singapore. By the time we arrived there, it was 6pm. At the entrance, it said 'entrance free' and the museum is open until 8pm. We said 'jolly good' and had a look at the museum. If you want to find a nice souvenir, I recommend the Museum Shop. Some of the galleries were closed but we could visit one of them. Interestingly, when we went back to the Museum the next day, they said that we needed to pay to see the galleries (!)
Tips if you are travelling with a baby
  • It is a clean and nice city. I found it very easy to travel with a baby in Singapore. Highly recommended.
  • You need to fold your pram when you get on a bus [it needs to stay folded throughout your journey].
  • It is easy to find ready meals in jars for your baby (a small jar [organic] for around 2 Singapore dollars) Naturally my baby doesn't like eating spicy foods; breastfeeding, bananas, porridge and eggs saved my life! Easy to feed!
  • Singapore is a warm and humid city. I normally don't use sun block on my baby's skin. Instead I try not to take her outside under hot sun between 10am and 5pm and make sure that she wears long-sleeves and leggings (to protect her from sun). But because we only had 3 days in Singapore and we were exclusively tourists, I had to give up on my rules for three days. Make sure you have some sun block for your baby.
  • Singapore can be very rainy. Apparently the worst month to go there is December and we were there just before the New Year. It was not too hot, but definitely it rained and it was humid. Even if you don't like using umbrellas, make sure that you carry your baby's pram's rain cover.
  • Most importantly, our baby did not need any extra vaccination to go to Singapore.
Notes on food
  • There are different yummy cuisines in Singapore but the Malaysian cuisine is the cheapest to try. My husband had a vegetarian dish for only 2 dollars! 
  • Food is cheap depending on where you buy it. Our friends, who live in Singapore, do not even cook at home, because it is really cheap. You can eat a nice bowl of noodles for only 4 Singapore dollars.
  • Finding vegetarian food is easy but in big shopping malls it can be difficult (don't know why!) What I know is we spent more than 2 hours looking for vegetarian food in shopping centres, and couldn't find any. We ended up going to a market (7 eleven) and bought a cheese-pastry thingy.    
  • Fresh juices,  such as coconut, are great to try! You drink your coconut juice from the fruit shell itself and then you can scrape its flesh with a spoon and eat it. How cool is that!
Money matters
  • Don't worry about the rates at the exchange offices at the airport, they offer pretty much what they offer at the city centre (up to 1 cent in the dollar max).
  • Before going there, everyone said that credit cards are widely accepted, but I recommend you not to rely on credit cards. For instance, they say taxis accept credit cards. Yes they accept credit cards, but they charge you  10 % extra for that!
  • Keep in mind that if you book a taxi in advance, you need to pay more than the usual price. Don't do like we did, spare some extra money before you leave. Luckily we had great friends there to lend us some money ;)
  • Supermarkets at the city centre are more expensive than the ones in suburbian areas. And being tourists, it is not that easy to locate supermarkets. 
One last suggestion: If you have time, visiting the Spice Garden in Canning Park, next to the Museum, is a very good experience. You can show your child where spices - such as cardamom, clove, ginger etc. - come from. 
Gerisi burda...

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Crossing hemispheres on a plane with a 13 month old baby

Well, I would not have dared to go to the other side of the world with a 13 month old baby, if I hadn't had to.
Thanx God, we managed to travel from Istanbul to Singapore and from Singapore to New Zealand with our baby safely. I guess travel was not as difficult as I thought it would be. Once we set off, everything was more settled. It is only the stress really that makes you tired (more than the trip itself).
We flew with Singapore Airlines. We booked a bassinet seat for Miss Delfina.
Delfina sleeping in her bassinet provided by the Singapore Airlines
Why Singapore Airlines? Well, we bought our tickets in July 2011 when Delfina was 8 months old. Singapore Airlines offered the shortest flight time (1-2 hours shorter flight time). But more importantly, their maximum bassinet seat weight was 14 kg, whereas other airline companies had a limit of 11 kg. Considering that Delfina was already almost 11kg by her 8 months, we had to go for Singapore Airlines despite the fact that it was almost 400 Euros more expensive in total. For six months (before the fight date) I kept on panicking about whether or not Delfina would be heavier than 14 kg. Well she was almost 14 kg by the time of the flight but it was ok cos on the bassinet seat, it said "max. 16kg". God, it was a relief!!! But God knows how much I feared for six months in case they said 'no we can't give any bassinet seat for your baby'!
Was I satisfied with Singapore Airlines?  They were not too bad, but they did not give me what I expected for the amount of money that they charged. Before flying with a baby, I had read many baby sites, blogs etc. and they all said 'do not worry about entertaining your baby, on the plane they provide toys, crayons etc.' =>They only provided one hand puppet for Delfina at the second leg of our journey.
They served post-weaning baby food in plastic containers with plastic cutlery (!) Baby food contained sweets (!) The fruits they provided were almost off (!)
I have flown many long-haul flights with different airline companies such as Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Korean Airlines. But either they provided more food than the Singapore Airlines or because I am now breastfeeding these guys could not feed me well! :) But I guess it's the latter.

What to take with you on the plane?  I picked up non-noisy toys: her stacking cups, one small book, some wooden toys, balloons [as long as you don't let your baby pop it by giving her a pen at the same time like someone did (!), it should be fine :)].
Of course

  1. Nappies, 
  2. An extra change of clothes, different layers [on the way to Singapore, the aircraft temperature was quite hot, but on the way to NZ it was quite chilly, so make sure you take a jacket with you], 
  3. Baby bottles,
  4. Extra food [just in case your baby does not like the aircraft food; Delfi liked the post-weaning menu],
  5. Ocean water and a nasal aspirator [if your baby's nostrils are blocked, it causes more pain in her ears while taking off and landing. So you may need ocean water to clean up the nostril and the nasal aspirator to suck the snot],
  6. Fennel seeds [to make tea in case your baby develops tummy pain; luckily we did not need it],
  7. Baking soda [Delfi is teething; rubbing baking soda on her gums relieves the pain],
  8. Paracetamol syrup [in case she had fever on the plane because of teething, just in case]

Some useful advice for fussy mothers:

  •  Every airline company provides fleece blankets, if you are a fussy mother like I am, you can put one of them on the floor so that your baby plays on it, but of course not while landing, taking off or during turbulence
  • Delfina had a top with some shinny glittery sequins on it and when they turned most of the aircraft lights off for landing, the shinny stuff on her top reflected some light onto the wall and when she was in a very grumpy mood, she spent some time trying to figure out what those shapes were on the wall. So if you have anything like that, I recommend that you wear it or make your baby wear it.
  • As a mother, I always find it useful to wear some earrings, bracelets, rings etc. My baby, when she does not have anything to play with, plays with my accesorries. It works for my baby; it may work for your baby!
  • Grab one of the newspapers they give when you first get on the plane; if you're a hygiene-fussy mother like I am and if you don't trust the hygiene of that tray,  you can put it on top of the nappy-changing tray in the toilet. To tell you the truth, that tray was far too small for my baby. Unfortunately, we had to change her nappy in sitting up position :(
  • I don't know any long-haul flight that does not have any interactive screen. If you go to 'Kids' section, and if you are lucky enough you can calm your baby down by making her listen to some "Wiggles' songs". We were very lucky to have 'Wiggles' on the list. She did not want to watch cartoons but she watched the 'Wiggles' maybe six times from Singapore to Auckland.
  • Ask hostesses to bring the baby food and your food at different times. It becomes problematic when you have two trays in front of you and a messy baby. I know it from experience ;)  
  • As you get on the plane, take everything out of the magazine pocket in front of your seat, then you can use those pockets to put your babies stuff, when you don't know where to put them in a moment of rush.
I hope I gave some useful advice to other mothers / parents and I hope we can have a trouble-free, safe and easy flight back home to Istanbul. Fingers crossed ;)
Gerisi burda...
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