Friday, June 19, 2009

Bicycle As The Fourth Birthday Present

For his fourth birthday, we thought of giving Gabriel a powerful and fast bicycle. If you find it difficult to find a kid's bicycle that is long-lasting and has quality build, here are some tips to help you.
  1. Avoid hypermarkets where they stock only bicycles with plastic molded wheels which break easily.
  2. Specialty toy stores (e.g. the blue one with a giraffe...) usually stock very limited choices and are overpriced.
  3. Look for bicycles with inflated rubber tyres and metal-spoked wheels because these provide a more durable and comfortable ride.
  4. Brakes are vital to your child's safety. Do not compromise on this and go for models with both front and rear rubber brakes. Check that the brake pads are not rubbing the wheel rims by giving the wheels a spin.
  5. Best choice of bicycles can be found in proper bicycle shops because they have the range of choices and suitable experience to guide you.
After a few hours of cruising industrial zones and whining kids in the car, I found an old-school bicycle dealer shop manned by an elderly man. The shop does more repairs than selling new bicycles, but I still found a splendid model, factory fitted with rear cargo box, front basket and mud guards. The down-to-earth man even slapped on a charming ringer designed to gain instant attention.

It was RM160 well spent, more value for money than other places where you may have to pay at least RM250 for the same features.

If you are in the Jalan Klang Lama area, check out this guy's shop:

57-79, Jalan Hujan Abu 8, Taman Overseas Union, Kuala Lumpur

When Gabriel saw his bike for the first time, his eyes grew so wide you could fit his Bagukan ball inside. Then again, I'm sure the Ben 10 Alien Force cake from Secret Recipe and Ben 10 themed party packs helped a lot as well. :)

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Five Travel Tips for People with Toddlers

Over the past two years, we have travelled with Gabriel locally and overseas. So far, he has travelled on the following modes of transport:
  • car
  • bus
  • boat
  • train
  • airplane
  • bicycle (didn't go far!)
Here are some tips we've learnt from our experiences that may help you prepare your little one for those trips.

1. Bring along the parent or caretaker your toddler is most attached to. Don't think that they don't know or feel anything when their loved one is not around after a while. If you don't heed this advice, be prepared for some far-reaching negative effects after the trip. Children do remember such events and may change their behaviour towards their loved one after they re-unite.

2. Travel by air before your toddler turns two years old. Most airlines offer 25% to 75% off the adult fare for toddlers less than two years old. However, this also means they will get a seat. You can overcome that by choosing partially-full flights or requesting that the airline seat you at the exit or partition rows. This way, your toddler can get an available seat or have more space to move and rest, respectively.

3. Use a lightweight stroller. Get a stroller that weighs no more than your toddler and one that can recline so that he/she can nap on the go. It can be hand-carried into the airplane cabin. If you're heading to places with temperate climate, don't forget to bring a portable fan with soft blades!

4. Pack light snacks and lots of water. Young ones tend to get bored much quicker when they are confined to a seat. Calm your toddler by providing snacks like plain biscuits. Water is vital as they, like the rest of us, dehydrate more when travelling. It is also a good way to clear the ears during altitude changes, like in an airplane.

5. Pray for your toddler's safety and blessing and tell him/her that he/she is going on a trip. You've done all the preparation and precaution you can ever think of, now leave the rest to your Higher Being. Even though they are young and may not have started talking, it's good to tell them what is going on and they may recall the trip when they grow bigger.

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