Monthly Archives: November 2015

Shopping for a school bag

The first step was to decide on a normal bag or an ergonomic (ergo) bag. There were many reasons supporting either school of thought.

I thought I would want to get a normal bag for these reasons – more funky designs, more sleek as ergo bags tend to be bulky & heavy, children could leave some items in school as it was single session. Most importantly, I had grown up using a normal bag and I turned out fine. I did not want to spend so much on a bag that Z could either destroy or lose easily. I also thought it was really overprotective to get an ergo bag.

I surveyed a few friends who had primary school going kids. Of course, there were 2 sides to a coin and it depended on what appealed. Some said normal bags would do. One of my long time friends explained her switch from a normal sport branded bag to ergo bag. It warranted further shopping.

The second step was to understand the various ergo brands available in Singapore – Impact, Deuter Smart/Genius, SPI, LegoDr Kong, Totem, Ergobag and probably more. 

1. Kiddy Palace Marina Square – Impact (also heard that it was available at Ergoworks, some Popular stores & school bookshops)

Relatively “more affordable”    
  

First Impact bag $79.90 – I thought the size was good but I didn’t like the design. It came with the shoulder clasp.  

Second Impact bag –  seemed rather big and straps were adjustable 
  

2. Scool Marina Square – Totem, Ergobag

This Ergobag was 1.1kg. Usual SRP was $249 but on promotion at $199. It came with a waist belt and matching accessories.  

Totem which came with no shoulder or waist belts, at 990g cost more than $300 

To be honest, both brands felt bulky and uncomfortable. However, Z liked the Ergobag which I suspected was for the funky prints.

3. Takashimaya – SPI & Lego (also found at Kinderfun United Square & Centrepoint)

I did not let Z try SPI because I did not like the materials. I had mistaken Lego ergonomic bags to be “SPI X Lego” but it was wrong. Lego ergonomic bags were just another range of ergonomic bags carried by Kinderfun.

Lego Starter $139, 675g. Capacity was 19 liters.   

X carried the Lego Starter & Z carried the Lego Starter Plus (a larger version: Dimensions were 40cm H X 29cm W X 19cm D) for comparison (19liters vs 24 liters) 

Lego Ultimate $169 – it was hard case and weighed 0.99kg before putting anything in. Capacity was 21 liters. Dimensions were  36cm H X 28cm W X 20cm D.

It was so bulky that I was going to rule it out, as with Totem & Ergobag. 

Then I put 1.2kg of water in both Lego bags to test. To my surprise, the latter felt lighter on the shoulders. It meant I had to revisit Ergobag but Ergobag’s buckle was not as easy to use as Lego. The Lego Ultimate also came with a better, hard & waterproof base. 

It impressed me enough to return for a second test with 2.5kg of “weights”. 

Trying again with the detachable gym bag   

Spects of the bag  

Test with 2.5kg weights – very comfortable. Ranked #1 on my list, though Kinderfun explained this was for taller (1.3m) and fleshier kids as the hard base could hit the lower backs when children ran with the bag.

SPI – some cute model  

Test with 2.5kg weights – it still felt very heavy and the shoulder straps were uncomfortable.

SPI Active Premium L 

Test with 2.5kg weights – it felt alright but not amazing. The bag was too big for Z too. 

4. Online – Herlitz  

I came across this while researching online. It sounded really good but the problem was we would not be able to try. The style seemed similar to the Lego Ultimate and it was also a German brand. The dimensions of 36.5cm – 37.5cm for large size sounded alright.

The base didn’t seem as impressive as Lego Ultimate. I also read on KP forum that the bag weighed 1.3kg and was made in China, according to information listed on Amazon UK. The down side was – I wouldn’t be able to see or try in person. Hence, I would rule this out.

   
4.Isetan / Kiddy Palace Toa Payoh – Deuter  

Image from Scool’s website 

Based on the dimensions, S size would work better for Z. However, the capacity was surprisingly lower than lego. Deuter Smart S’ capacity was 14 liters but it was taller than Lego Starter which could hold 18 liters.

Deuter Smart S – Capacity at 14liters was very low. The width of the bag was too narrow. It could fit the L-shaped A4 file but that was about as wide as it could go.  

Deuter Smart M – it was slightly wider but way too long for Z’s current frame.
 

Test with 2.5kg weights – I could not test the full load because I could not fit in a A4 Hard Plastic file into the S bag. Based on whatever was put in, it did not feel comfortable and I still feel the weight on the shoulders. 

5. Ergo kid Wheelock – McMeil, Ergobag Soft Basic, Ergobag 2016 model 

Ergobag- 1.1kg, soft case, basic model at $198. Capacity was 23 liters. Dimensions were 40cm H X 26cm W X 22cm D.  

Test with 2.5kg weights – It was rather narrow but it was not rigid. We managed to squeeze the wide file in but the bag went out of shape. I could not comment on support since it was hanging oddly on Z.

Ergobag 2016 model -900g, hard case at $258 without accessories. Capacity was 23 liters. Dimensions were 40cm H X 28cm W X 22cm D.
Test with 2.5kg weights – The support was acceptable but the bag was too long and shoulder straps placed too close, so it felt rather tight.

McNeil – 1kg, hard case, $418. Capacity was 23 liters. Dimensions were 37.5cm H X 31.5cm W X 19cm D.  
  

Test with 2.5kg weights – The support was exceptional without the use of shoulder belt and waist belt. The buckle was easy to open and straps were easy to adjust. The back cushion was water repellent and would not absorb sweat. It was also the was the easiest bag to lift from the ground to carry because of there were no “complicated” straps. The SA could offer an additional 20% discount too.

6. Good old Nike – super light, non-ergonomic, $55. Dimensions were 39cm H X 28cm W X 15cm D. 

Test with 2.5kg weights – with the thick straps, though it was not ergonomic, the bag felt light and comfortable to carry. In fact, it was more comfortable than some of the tested ergo bags. However, the bag could not stand so I was not sure how it would pan out for assembly and classroom’s use.

6. One KM/Changi City Point/JEM – Dr Kong 

Dimensions of the bag in different sizes   
Carrying S size, $79


Carrying M size – too big for him 

 
Test with 2.5kg weights – The weight felt like it was still on the shoulders. I was not really keen to find out more. When Z tried the S size, we realized his shoulder belt was slanted. I thought we did not adjust the shoulder straps equally. Turned out that the stitching of the shoulder belt was lopsided. One side was higher than the other. It casted considerable doubts and I did not like the design. Hence, we left promptly after trying.

Verdict : Yet to buy !!

Random escapade from a routine day

I picked Z up in the middle of a work day. He was at Jubilee Hall for his rehearsal.

Outside the hall   
We walked to Marina Square to check out something and bought a new Kumon book.

Enroute to the shop

 
After that, we bought evening snacks as we were scheduled to have a late dinner.

 Happy boy with his sushi  
When we reached my office, he tucked into his meal.

 
His soya pudding was not pictured. He completed 5 pages of work and got to buy seaweed from my office’s vending machine. He was able to see the price tag and count the exact coins required to pay $1.10 to the machine. I should not expect any problem when he headed to primary school. 

My colleague taught him aeroplane chess 
It was a pretty non-typical day for Z.

Jumbo talk

We were having dinner at Jumbo Seafood with Mr H’s family and a guest from Japan one night. The guest was not keen to eat crabs and that dish was not ordered.

Midway through the meal, Z asked me, “Why didn’t we order crabs?”

I replied that the guest did not want to eat, so the order was not placed. We had arrived after the food order was taken. Hence, I asked if he wanted to order and we could do so.

Z hesitated and declined. He said he did not want to eat.

Five minutes’ later, he asked, “If we are not planning to eat crabs, why did we come to Jumbo for dinner? We can go other places.”

I really laughed out loud at this point. 

We ordered a crab in the end. We were deciding non-spicy options such as steamed, salted egg yolk or ginger with spring onion. The other adults had no preference so I thought of trying spring onion. As the waitress was penning down the order, Z suddenly voiced out, “I want salted egg yolk!”

While I had asked almost everyone, I forgot to ask him. He probably realized I wasn’t going to ask him and decided to speak up before the waitress sent the order to the kitchen.

I could only say I was very, very amused.

In the end, he ate the lion’s share of the crab. 😁

Steamboat dinner 

Mr LKY had referred to steamboat as battleship in his telegram many years ago.

Our family’s version was a tad cuter. A while ago, Z confused steamboat with Facebook.

He asked us, “Are we going to eat Facebook for Chinese New Year?”

These days, he acknowledged that Facebook could only be found in Mummy’s phone. However, his slip up would stay as a family joke forever. 

It was a working night when we opted to have a mini steamboat, or more like Shabu Shabu style. I discovered dried Japanese noodles which worked well for Shabu Shabu. It was much better than the usual udon or soba.

 

Sticker book for X

  
We used to buy a number of sticker books for Z just to get him used to the concept of pasting and having fun with books.

It took a girlfriend’s subtle reminder to jolt me into realizing that we had not done the same for X.

Many a time, we would comment that the personalities and abilities of two children were never the same. We also had to look at ourselves and ask how we had slacked and failed to do the same.

When I bought this thick sticker book, Mr H asked why I bought it. He said that X would destroy the stickers as he had done with our scrapbooking stickers. X had stacked the stickers up like pancakes.

I retorted that we had not provided him with a proper place to stick the stickers. 

In the end, X surprised Mr H by following his instructions and was able to stick more accurately than Z at that age. 

Tooth fairy 

Z did not believe in this. 

When I explained the concept, he said, “The tooth fairy is daddy or you.”

Likewise with Santa Claus, Z knew he was not real. Well, both Mr H and I never believed in Santa Claus too. It was not an issue for us that he did not believe. 

However, Z thought Harry Potter and the Hogwarts School of Magic were real. Whatever worked!

In any case, I thought this Tooth Fairy kit was lovely because it was a Baby Tooth Album. While it potentially could be disgusting, it seemed really fun as well.

   
 
Let’s see when we could file our very first tooth. 

X’s water acts

  
X dunked his face into the pool.

X jumped into the pool with his gear.

X tried to float on his backs

X did a starfish float on his front.

That was pretty good for his age because Z’s water confidence was nowhere near X’s at the same age. I joked to Mr H that if we could remove the arm floats by next quarter and if he could teach X to swim basic survival strokes (breast stroke arms with freestyle kicks), we could save some dollars by not sending him to Aquaducks.