Our trip to Taipei, Taiwan with twin toddlers: Part 3 (Taipei Children’s Amusement Park, Fu Hang Dou Jiang, Mid-Autumn Festival)

My last post on my trip to Taipei with twin toddlers included:

  • Reuniting with Yong He Soy Milk (Taiwanese breakfast stall)
  • Discovering the playground at Da’an Forest Park
  • Eating at the original Din Tai Fung outlet
  • Enjoying the scenery at Taipei 101
  • Sweating endlessly at the Taipei Zoo

This post will detail the last few days of our trip and include some final words of wisdom.

Day 5: McDonald’s, Eslite 24 hour bookstore, Yu’s Almond Tofu, Jin Man Yuan Pai Gu pork chop rice

Still exhausted from the previous day’s outing to the Taipei Zoo, we decided to take it easy on day 5 of our trip. We had McD’s for breakfast (slightly better than Singapore but the coffee was bitter; note that almost all the coffee in Taipei is unpleasantly bitter) and headed to the Eslite 24 hour bookstore near Zhongxiao Dunhua. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any children’s selections, but we enjoyed the air conditioned bookstore and cafe.

In the afternoon, we bought some souvenirs in Ximending and had a snack at Yu’s Almond Tofu, where we enjoyed our almond shaved ice with milk. For dinner, we had pork chop rice at Jin Man Yuan Pai Gu in Ximending. In Taiwan, pork chops are seasoned with salt and pepper (and probably MSG), deep fried, and served with rice and pickles.

Day 6: Taipei Children’s Amusement Park, empanadas at Maji Square, burger at Meat Up

Feeling rejuvenated after a relatively easy day, on day 6, we headed to the Taipei Children’s Amusement Park.

Our kids were only allowed to go on a few rides since they are just over 90 cm, but the outdoor and indoor playgrounds were enjoyable. Since it was unbearably hot, we spent most of our time at the indoor playground on the second floor (Kawai Candy Land). I highly recommend this play area for younger children (the playground is meant for those under age 6), as the play area is extremely clean, and there are lots of activities (ball pits, slides, play cars, pretend grocery store, kinetic sand). Each play session is for 1 hour and 50 minutes, and the staff spend 10 minutes cleaning in between sessions.

After our session was over, we headed to Maji Square for tacos. The tacos were decent with a respectable corn tortilla, but the empanadas at Mecato were absolutely amazing (FYI, empanadas are like curry puffs but with a crispier pastry dough and meatier filling). Maji Square also has food from other cultures, but we were floored by the empanadas! We enjoyed them with a fruity beer from the nearby deli.

My husband and I discovered another food gem after our kids went to bed. We wandered around Ximending and found Meat Up, a burger / smoothie joint. The burger was customisable and delicious, and the smoothies were Instagram worthy.

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Our trip to Taipei, Taiwan with twin toddlers: Part 2 (Da’an Forest Park, Din Tai Fung, Taipei 101, Taipei Zoo)

In my previous post on traveling to Taipei with twin toddlers, I detailed information on:

  • Applying for our helper’s visa to Taiwan
  • Our experience staying in an Airbnb in Ximending
  • Our EVA Air flight to Taipei
  • Traveling around Taipei with a twin stroller

Today I will outline the first half of our Taipei trip itinerary. My husband and I prefer to be flexible while traveling, so we usually plan outings just a day in advance.

Day 1: From Changi to Taoyuan

We left Singapore at 1:10pm, during our twins’ naptime. Thankfully, they were excited by the airplane ride and showed little signs of crankiness. They were amused by the in flight touch screen entertainment and YouTube videos my husband and I had downloaded onto our iPhones. After a few hours of playtime, both kids managed to nap for a bit.

We arrived at Taoyuan Airport around 5:45pm. Immigration and luggage collection were a breeze, and we left customs after just 45 minutes.

We dropped off our luggage at our Airbnb in Ximending and went for a quick dinner at TKK Fried Chicken. The chicken was decent but quite salty. Our kids went to bed around 8:30-9:00pm, much later than their usual bedtime.

Day 2: Yong He Soy Milk, Da’an Forest Park, 2/28 Peace Park, Ximending Night Market

Six years ago, my husband and I stayed in Ximending during our first Taipei trip. We found an amazing breakfast place with Taiwanese offerings such as you tiao (fried donut stick), fan tuan (you tiao, pork floss, and pickles wrapped in sticky rice), and soy milk. When we returned three years ago, we couldn’t find the same place after wandering around endlessly. It turns out our long lost breakfast stall, Yong He Soy Milk, was just down the street from our current accommodation! They have a picture menu, and the staff speak a bit of English, since a lot of tourists congregate here.

After breakfast, we trekked to Da’an Forest Park, which is near the Da’an MRT station. There is a large playground and sand pit, which our kids loved. Unfortunately, it was very hot and humid with little shelter, so we didn’t stay long.

For lunch, we went to the Underground Mall food court at Taipei Main Station. I had my favorite food court meal here: lu rou fan (rice with saucy minced pork), pickles, bittergourd soup with pork ribs, and boiled lettuce.

We headed back to our apartment for a nap, and later visited 2/28 Peace Park, which I would highly recommend for kids. There are lots of greenery and large sculptures to keep kids entertained. We had intended to visit the National Taiwan Museum, but it was closed for renovations.

For dinner, we went to the Ximending Night Market. I think our kids were either exhausted from the day or homesick, because they were absolutely naughty during our evening stroll. We ended up cutting our evening short and went home.

Continue reading “Our trip to Taipei, Taiwan with twin toddlers: Part 2 (Da’an Forest Park, Din Tai Fung, Taipei 101, Taipei Zoo)”

Our trip to Legoland Malaysia with twin toddlers

We recently returned from Legoland Malaysia with our two year old twins. Luckily, there wasn’t much planning necessary, but I thought it would be useful to outline our trip.

Accommodations

We booked an Airbnb at the Afiniti Residences, just 5 minutes away from Legoland. The condo was spacious and clean, but the carpark was a winding maze. Our place was also near Gleneagles Medini, which was fortunate when my little girl another terrible coughing spell and had to see a doctor.

Exiting Singapore

We drove through the Tuas checkpoint and had to show the immigration officer our passports and Singapore identity cards. We then paid a $3.20 toll with our NETS cash card and drove across the Johor Strait to Malaysia immigration.

Entering Malaysia

At the Malaysia checkpoint, we showed our passports and identity cards again. We also paid a RM 20 fee with a Touch ‘n Go card. If you don’t have a Touch ‘n Go card, go to the immigration stalls at the right side of the checkpoint. It’s RM 50.60 for one card and contains RM 40 in credits. You will also need the card to pay the numerous tolls along the Malaysian expressways.

Continue reading “Our trip to Legoland Malaysia with twin toddlers”

5 ways to manage toddler tantrums

My toddler twins began their terrible twos long before their 2nd birthday. Even though they can speak relatively well, sometimes their emotions overcome them. Here are some ways my husband and I have managed their tantrums.

1. Ignore 

How often we do this: Rarely

When we do this: In the beginning, my husband I used to ignore tantrums but found this ineffective. Toddlers often throw tantrums because their “upstairs brain” (responsible for reasoning, thought) is not as developed as their “downstairs brain” (controls emotion, basic instincts), according to Dr Daniel Siegel and Dr Tina Bryson. Their book No Drama Discipline emphasizes that parents and caregivers should aim to nurture the development of both parts of the brain when managing tantrums.

2. Talk at eye level

How often we do this: Most of the time

When we do this: In most situations, this method is effective. Lately, the most common reason for tantrums is when twin A snatches a toy or book from twin B. Sometimes we leave our twins to settle the argument between themselves, but this often leads to hitting. So we mediate by saying, “Let B finish his turn. Then you can have your turn.” Speaking to them at eye level is often most effective rather than shouting from a distance.

3. Distract

How often we do this: Sometimes

When we do this: In the toy stealing situation described above, sometimes A is inconsolable when we insist that B finishes his time with the book or toy. A rarely finds solace on her own so we try to distract her with another item. We also praise A when she settles down from her tantrum and thank B when he finishes his turn with the item.

4. Naughty corner

How often we do this: Sometimes

When we do this: Currently, our kids’ worst habits are intentionally throwing food on the ground and hitting each other. When these situations occur, I often tell them in a stern voice, “Please do not hit” or, “Please do not throw food on the ground.” Sometimes they repeat the offending behavior, so I repeat my warning. On rare occasions, the bad behavior is continuously repeated, so we will send the naughty child to a designated corner to cool off.

5. Cuddle

How often we do this: Sometimes

When we do this: Toddlers are almost biologically incapable of managing their emotions at a young age. When hunger or tiredness overcomes our kids, we just hold them for a nice cuddle to help them settle down.

 

Toddler tantrums were extremely difficult to manage in the beginning. I remember spending several gloomy nights unwinding with wine and mindless television. It took me 4-5 months to learn how to manage endless crying and whining effectively (most of the time). I often cool down (if I’m feeling agitated–which was frequent in the beginning), assess the situation, and moderate to the best of my ability.