/bɪ ə gʊd gɜ:l/ n. moniker of she who blogs here [also known as, bie]; adj. personal awesome advice to all female kiddos

meet the fam #thechennies

meet the fam #thechennies

During the recent March holidays, we decided to be adventurous and go for a camping trip. At East Coast Park. Not that gungho, but still pushing it, considering Bieny is less than 2yo and we've only had proper hotel lodging so far.

So anyways, there are only four areas in Singapore that you can camp at (legally): East Coast Park (ECP), West Coast Park, Pasir Ris Park and Pulau Ubin. You need a camping permit for the first three parks (see designated areas here) and are encouraged to inform the Pulau Ubin Police Post staff for the latter, where a permit isn't required. Apply for a camping permit here. Of the two camp spots at ECP, I voted for the one nearer to civilisation (around the chalets) in case we needed to get anything.

As camping day rolled around, Bielet grew increasingly excited. She was so looking forward to going to sleep under the stars, waking up to the crashing waves, and running around in the sand.

Just look at Bielet happily grinning away!

As you can see, we found a spot really close to the public loo to prevent any toilet-ing accidents. But. The 'accident' happened anyway because the toilet bowl was eeky and I couldn't bring myself to plonk Bielet on it. We eventually just brought out the potty to prevent further traumatic incidents (yes, we lugged the potty too!).

ZX had sussed out the best location and got the girls to pitch the tent with him.

Rather enthusiastic helpers!

Bieny, for all of 5 seconds, that is. As you can see, there was a fair bit of litter. Eek. PICK UP BEHIND YOURSELVES, PEOPLE!

We had to shift camp a few metres away shortly though, as we realised we set up home on an ants' nest! Here, Bielet is peering at the little black dots and wondering what they were up to.

We had grand plans to play ball, fly a kite, build sandcastles, pick up kindling and twigs for a campfire - and the grandest being, cycling around Road Safety Park again. Through a joint effort, we managed three out of five tasks. Pass!

I intentionally dressed the girls in their brightest tees so I would be able to spot them from half a mile. That the tees were matching ones, was also intentional - so bystanders could tell they were sisters if they got separated. (Long shot, but still.)

Bieny and I busied ourselves playing ball. (Thanks for the mini rugby ball, Uncle Roger!) At her age, it's quite amusing watching her attempt to catch the ball. I usually get her to stretch out her arms while I aim for the ball to land within her grasp. Hey, must be encouraging, no?

ZX drew Bielet duty so he kept a watchful eye on the sand monster who kept wanting to fetch seawater!

You can tell she's lugging a bucketful of seawater from her awkward stance. HAHAHA

The famed sandmonster at work. She managed to build a whole city of sandcastles!!!

While I just left prints in the sand. I wonder if I can customise flip flops with my name at the sole #SelfInfatuated LOL

Bieny took a while to get used to the sand. I think she forgot that she loved sanding it out...

Having a blast just a month before our camping trip-cum-sand play

Yup, she liked sand alright.

Not so much on camp day.

Not so much on camp day at all. (Notice the nonchalant jiejie in the background.) 

Bieny quickly got over her sand phobia though...

Bielet, on the other hand, was totally disinterested in doing anything other than sand play.

Despite me having a mild heart attack, ZX gave Bielet his blessings to go fetch her bucketful of seawater herself. This papa is all about self-sufficiency. The mama, not so much.

Here's how ZX taught Bielet to collect seawater safely:

Put bucket at the edge of the wave and wait for the water to come in...

Run away as the wave comes towards you...

Observe from a safe distance and when the water has receded...

Go back to collect your pail (and water) but...

DON'T LET THE WAVE CATCH YOU! (I made the instructions up according to my photos. Lol.)

If you're still with me on the three tasks (#1: Bieny played ball, #2: both she and Bielet got sandy), the final one was completed by ZX and me.

Tadah~ Materials for a potential campfire. We later realised you're not supposed to have open fires so *ahem* we might or might not have built one.

After the successful activities (deemed so by me!), we had our dinner. I couldn't do a nice insta-worthy photo of the spread because the girls were ravenous by then.

We had hotdogs, corn on the cob, seaweed, juice, fruit salad (grapes, blueberries and strawberries) and brought along marshmallows and soh-ta-pia for s'mores. The girls ate the marshmallows before that could happen...............

The 2-man tent we brought along was a basic one, which wouldn't have held up in the rain, but sufficed for our mini camp.

The only photo I have of myself on this camping trip. A sliver of my thigh. Great.

Check out our makeshift clothing line!!! I loved the (our) ingenuity. #thickskinned

As nightfall came, we watched as most of the other campers packed up their tents and left. Wait, what?! Isn't the point of camping to do it overnight? Anyway, I discontinued photo-taking as the dark descended because my handphone does lousy photos sans flash. And when the girls got a bit restless, I brought them for a walk (while ZX guarded the tent) - hoping that they would tire themselves out and conk off when we returned.

Fat hope.

Bieny is afraid of the dark, and she kept whining and sobbing. After much singing and cradling, she fell asleep around 9. Bielet continued her sandcastle building at the edge of our ground sheet (told you she was a sand monster) and finally gave in to our nagging, and retreated to the tent. She too, had difficulty falling asleep in a strange environment but it was less tense than Bieny. Our mistake was not bringing a fan for the tent, so the girls sweated buckets. Strangely, I was alright. (ZX slept outside because he wanted the breeze.)

This is where it gets rough.

Around midnight, ZX and I get awakened by a group of police officers patrolling the area. ZX produces his identification and our camping permit when asked, but I realise I didn't bring my IC (because I didn't want to bring my wallet and risk losing it/having it pickpocketed). It all looked very suspicious, this unidentifiable woman who was unable to give her details properly. I JUST WOKE UP, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD - of course, I wasn't very lucid. But after three of them tapped their gadgets (dunno what, my eyes were two-thirds closed) and one wrote down my details, they cleared me and left us to go check the other tents. ZX retreated inside the tent because he got attacked by mozzies, but while shifting the girls, Bieny awoke and refused to go back to sleep. No amount of cradling or rocking or singing helped. (Even the distraction of the next-tent uncle and his nephew coming to small talk us didn't work for long.)

So, we had to pack up and leave. Bieny stopped crying when we reached the car and had the aircon, but Bielet bawled her wee heart out from the time she was awoken until we reached home.

"I wanted to wake up in the morning, in the tent," she sobbed. Well, it was past midnight when we left, so technically we fulfilled her wish.

No matter, ZX and I have promised Bielet that we will go a-camping again when Bieny grows up more. Or, we'll just leave Bieny at home.


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