Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Hady's birthday party

Hady's our Malay neighbour's grandson. We went to his 1 year old birthday party... but forgot to take a picture of Isaac with Hady!!! Shucks!!! Shall ask Sunarti - Hady's Mummy if she has facebook and add her... surely she has FB and pix of Hady there... :p
This is our Malay neighbour, with Shawna. We call her Auntie, but Isaac and the kids will call her Nenek (correct spelling???) - Malay for Grandma :)
Isaac in his party hat and balloon art :p Surprisingly, as Isaac grew older, though he plays less with Auntie's daughters (the younger one below), he seems more comfortable with them in the sense that he would be okay with giving them a hug and a kiss when we see them. He calls them Kak kak. (correct spelling??? geez, someone corrected me on this before, but I can't remember!)
Here's a nice pic of Shawna! :)
pix taken on 1st May 2010
Isaac @ five days to 2 yrs 9 months
Shawna @ five days to 4 months

Monday, 28 June 2010

Isaac, my Isaac!

You know I have been telling you all these conversations I have been having with Isaac? They're just a tip of the iceberg! pity I can't blog fast enough to document them all. Here're some conversations and anecdotes about Isaac...
There was a period of time when Isaac didn't want to go to school. I don't think he didn't like it. It was more like, think he wanted to stay home with me. So this conversation took place a couple of months ago, in the car, on the way in to school/work...

Isaac: Mummy, today no school.
Me: Have, today have school.
Isaac: No, today no school!
Me: Isaac has school, and Mummy has work.
Isaac: Mummy no work!
Me: Mummy has to go to work, Isaac.
Isaac: No work! Throw away your work!
Me: Oh, you want to throw away my work?
Isaac: Yes! Throw away your work! No more work!
Me: *sigh* I wish (talking to myself)
Isaac: No work for you! No work for Mummy!
Me: But if you throw away my work... my boss will get angry with me. Mummy's boss will scold Mummy.
Isaac: *horrified look* No! No! Don't scold Mummy!
Me: Then you don't throw away my work, okay?
Isaac: *tearfully* *nods* okay, I don't throw your work away.
Me: Okay, thank you for not throwing away my work.

Heart pain. My sayang wants to spend more time with me, and yet I have to go to work. *sigh* So sweet, right, my Isaac?

Suddenly, he turns to me and says
Isaac: I won't throw away your home!
Me: Oh yes, please don't! We need our home!
Isaac nods sagely, and looks out the window...
In the beginning, when he started childcare I used to be able to pick Isaac up at about 6pm. Or rather, I made it a point to try to pick him up at 6pm, coz that was roughly the time most other parents came to pick up their kids. Right in the early days, Isaac used to get upset when the other parents came to pick up his friends, but I wasn't there yet. He would cry and all.

But as the work piled on me, it became a struggle to pick him up at 6pm. I started to consistently only make it to pick him just before 7pm. In the beginning, he would cry... One day, I went there, at about 6.45pm, and couldn't find him with the rest of the kids. He was following Teacher Foong Ling around, while she was spraying the sanitizer around the centre.

He saw me and quickly came over to hug me, and dashed off to get his bags. Teacher Foong Ling told me that he was getting all teary when he saw the other parents coming, so she quickly told him:

Teacher FL: Isaac, do you want a sticker?
Isaac: *still teary eyed* Yes, I want!
Teacher FL: Okay, I give you a sticker... *pastes it on Isaac's shirt* but you can't cry. Coz if you cry, the sticker will drop.
Isaac: *eyes widen in horror* *nods quickly* *holds back his tears and sniffs*

As they walked around... Isaac was getting kinda upset again then Teacher FL quickly say
Teacher FL: Oh oh, your sticker dropping already, don't cry don't cry!
Isaac: Oh! Oh! *composes himself to not cry*

So cute, right? :p My poor Isaac. Gradually he got used to the fact that I'd come quite late. I'd usually be one of the last, just before 7pm, like 6.55pm. Some days he'd tell me

Isaac: Mummy, today I am number 9.
OR
Isaac: Mummy, today I am number 10.

I always wondered what he meant, but when I asked him, he just tells me he is the 10th student or the 8th or something like that. THEN, I figured it out... If he was the last one out, he is No. 10. If he was the second last one out then he is No. 9 and so on so forth. I wonder who is it that counts the last 10 students like that?

Feel quite bad when he clocks "Mummy, I am No. 10 again today!" He says it matter-of-factly now. Though sometimes when he is tired, he goes "Mummy, all my friends go home already." SIGH.
pix taken on 23rd April 2010
Isaac @ 2 years 8 months plus

But work has been crazy for me. Coupled with the fact that I now have less time. I can't go to work early coz by the time Isaac wakes up, eats his breakfast, and we go - no matter how I rush him, the earliest I can get into office is about 9am, usually 9.15am by the time I get in :( so late! Then, I have to scram by 6.50pm latest to get to the centre before 7pm... not forgetting that I have to make time to pump twice a day in office... *groan* really no time...

Sometimes, I wonder if I should have chosen a childcare that's nearer home so that hubbs can send and pick up instead. But ultimately, I think this is better coz if not, I'd probably work till 9pm everyday at least, and I wouldn't have the first hand experience of sending and picking Isaac from school and all those stuff...

So... praying that things get better at work! :) Quickly do handover!!! :p

Sunday, 27 June 2010

We cut their hair!

The twins! Yeah, shave botak! We shaved isaac when he was 4 months old. So we thought we'd probably do the same this time round with the twins.
Shawna had more hair than Asher at birth. It was also starting to drop out - yes, she was shedding hair on her crown. So, we thought it was about time to shave too. Asher didn't have much hair to begin with, and it grew more slowly as well. So, time to shave so that it'd grow more quickly! :)
pix above taken on 3rd April 2010
Asher & Shawna @ three days to 3 months

pic above taken on 1st May 2010
Asher & Shawna @ five days to 4 months

Voila! Botak duo for you! People say they look more similar with the same hairstyle. Actually, what they mean is, they can't use the hair as a 'cheat sheet' to obviously say the one with more hair is Shawna. hahahahhahahaha...

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Isaac swimming!

This is Isaac in his swim wear :) The tee's made of the swimsuit kinda material. Thought this was easier than getting him into those one piece suit kind, which is kinda hard to wear.
Natalie, or as we call her - Bei Bei! :) Hardly get a shot of her. Thought she looked very cool, brooding here. Hahahhaa...
It's been awhile since we took pix of Isaac, so I intentionally brought the camera along and told hubbs to take pix. Must give specific instructions to him to take pix, then he will take. If not, no action. Like

Me: Dear, take picture, now.
hubbs: Oh okay.
Me: Take take!
hubbs: yes...
Me: Again, take now!
hubbs: taking taking!
Me: Did you take him smiling? Must take him smiling okay?
hubbs: Have lah.
Me: Take some more! some more!
hubbs: I told you already *something*inaudible*
Me: Just snap! Digital photos you know, can delete one!
hubbs: *grunts*
After all my nagging, look at our nice pix! :) hehehe turned out a decent bunch of pix :)
Isaac was playing with this crocodile and insisted on sitting on it. It was pretty hard balancing him on the animal though.
Isaac loves swimming. He loves the water, since young. With his two arm floats, he can stay in the water without support for quite awhile.
I asked hubbs to pop over to the lap pool to take a picture of Isabelle and Becca having their swimming lesson. Isabelle looks so small compared to Becca in the photo! Was really cool to see them swimming like that :) We plan to start Isaac in swimming lessons with Natalie, sometime next year, I think. Or maybe end of this year.
I managed to get Isaac to agree to stop sitting on his croc, and get into a float by himself. We were turning round and round and round! See video! :)
You know what is he doing below? He's putting my hair behind my ears! :) Then he planted a kiss on my cheek! :) My sweet Isaac! :)

pix & vid taken on 27th March 2010
Isaac @ 2 years 7 and a half months

Friday, 25 June 2010

The kidzes' middle names!

Did I tell you the kidzes have middle names? kekeke... you know we Catholics and our middle names... :p for those who dunno... Catholics often have middle names - it's our Confirmation Name. From what I understand (read: without searching wikipedia...), Catholics (who are mostly born into the religion) go through this Confirmation ceremony (after attending like 10 years of cathechism classes) at approx age 16, to confirm that they still wanna be Catholic ;p The fun part of it is - you get to choose a middle name - your Confirmation Name!
So, yes, I have a confirmation name - and it's Shayne! Yes, I chose it myself. I liked the name Shane which is a variant of Shawn/Sean - but it was kinda guyish, so my cousin Yew Hui suggested I insert a 'y' into Shane, so that it becomes Shayne and consequently more 'girly'. hehehe... You might figure that Shayne's kinda similar to Shawna then. Frankly, I did not consciously "name her after me". Really, I didn't. In fact, I didn't realise the similarity until my gynae Dr Ang pointed it out when she was noting down our intended names for the babies.

Dr Ang: So what are you going to name the babies?
Me: Boy is Asher and girl is Shawna.
Dr Ang: How come none is named after Matthew?

I was stunned when she said that. I was like "Huh?" for a moment. Then I realised she thought I named Shawna after my middle name Shayne. I truly didn't intend to. I guess, I was really hardpressed to find a name I liked, and I'd tended towards the name Shawn/Sean which I had liked all along before I settled on Shawna. But... I kinda liked that she was sorta named after me. Feels nice. haha!
But Dr Ang's comment stuck with me... especially when I was still short of a middle name for Shawna. I couldn't think of a suitable one before that. Then it struck me! I'd name Shawna after hubbs too! You know hubbs' baptism name is Matthew, right? (nope, he doesn't have a middle name - we had a hard enough time finding him a baptism name!)

So I thought - is there a female version of the name Matthew? I liked the meaning, which was "God's gift" or "Gift of God". So I searched on the internet for it... and up came Matthea! I instantly liked the name, and quickly tested it on hubbs. He liked it too! And so it was set! Our baby girl was going to be named Shawna Matthea Tan :)

For Asher... one of the names which I had come across while name surfing was "Zacchaeus". I liked it a lot. Firstly, it was long and exotic sounding AND biblical :) Secondly, it sounded like Isaac, which you know, is a name I really like ;p Thirdly, it means "Pure, clean" which is a nice meaning, and I am quite particular on having names which have nice/good meanings. Fourthly, I found out that Zacchaeus in the bible was a tax collector who became Jesus' disciple - which is what Matthew was too! Matthew was a tax collector turned Jesus' disciple!

Thus, the name Zacchaeus had links to Isaac and hubbs' name! Fantastic! :) So it was settled. Asher Zacchaeus Tan it shall be. The only thing is that hubbs might have problem spelling Zacchaeus right. Well, I have problem writing Asher's chinese name too. So we're even :p
As for Isaac, not sure if I mentioned before - his middle name is Emmanuel (something which hubbs has problem spelling right, too ;p). I really liked the name Emmanuel. It means "God is with us" - wonderful, eh? I originally considered 'keeping' this name for my 2nd son, and name my 2nd son "Immanuel" so it'd be Isaac & Immanuel his brother. But then, there are not many nice names starting with "I" to last us for the rest of our kids - for the four we wanted to have. So I abandoned the idea of having all my kids names start with the letter "I".

Besides, Immanuel as a first name is not very nice - it's not 'easy' to call - too long! And the short form or nick name would be.... "Manny"? YUCKS. I keep thinking of the mammoth from Ice Age. So, Immanuel as a first name for my 2nd son was out.

I was talking to Andrea, my cousin-in-law, online, and I said "I feel like giving it to Isaac as a middle name: Isaac Emmanuel Tan - but that'd be a very long name!" She was like "But it sounds great! Heck lah! Just do it!". And so we did :) Isaac Emmanuel Tan he is.

The best part about the name Emmanuel was it's meaning: "God is with us!". And we really felt His presence with us all this time, how he has blessed us greatly - first with Isaac, and now with the twins Asher & Shawna :) Truly, the Lord is with us.
So, the only thing is... I'm out of ideas for nice names - so I wouldn't know what to name our fourth kid. No, I'm not pregnant lah. I'm just saying... ya know, IF we get pregnant again next time. Well, the good thing is, that's probably still quite a few years away, if it happens. So I have lots of time to think about it. Let me know if you think of a gem, eh? :)
pix taken on 27th March 2010
Asher & Shawna @ 2 and a half months


Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Sweet hubbs of mine!

Here's hubbs with our three lovely kids. Sweet hubbs of mine. Without him I wouldn't have these three beautiful kids (obviously) ;p What I also mean is, without him, I wouldn't be able to cope with having three kids. For those of you who has seen hubbs with the kids, you can easily see that hubbs is very involved in with the kids. Very hands on.
He's a great father who does everything he can with the kids. Even from Isaac's time and now with the twins, hubbs would bathe the kids, change their diapers, feed them (using the bottle when they drink from the bottle, and now, feed Isaac his rice/porridge etc), carry them and walk them till they sleep, play with them, bring Isaac out on his own... etc... He does everything that I can, and more! :) The only thing he can't do, that I can, is to breastfeed the kids ;p
pix taken on 21st March 2010
Asher & Shawna @ 2 months plus
Isaac @ 2 years & 7 months plus

This is our new room layout - the mattress where Isaac used to sleep on is back, and we moved out one cot. The other one remains. Much better this way.
Here's Isaac torturing his Papa - making hubbs his personal play-gym equipment :p Sometimes Isaac likes to step on hubbs' back too, literally stand on hubbs - but hubbs likes it coz it's good massage he says :p
People like to see hubbs in action with the kids. Once, at a family gathering, my auntie actually remarked to hubbs "Your kids are so lucky to have a fun dad like you." hahahaha... It was kinda awkward coz we didn't know how to react to that statement other than just smiling and saying 'thanks'. But it's a great compliment :) kudos to hubbs!
Which reminds me of this one time, when hubbs was talking to my grandmother... and then she started telling him that I (her grand daughter) is so lucky to have married him, and that he was a very good husband and father :) Hubbs is a naturally charmer lah. He charms the socks and stockings off man and woman, old or young!
pix above taken on 1st June 2010
Isaac @ 2 years 10 months
Here's hubbs in action - singing to Asher! :) Cantonese song no less! :p Not one of the usual songs he sings to the kids though. He usually sings chinese nursery rhymes to the kids. Or recites Tang Dynasty poems or something.

pic & vid above taken on 5th June 2010
Asher @ a day to 5 months
Ah ha! A more recent edition of Isaac at play in his Papa Gym. Isaac loves to flip over our shoulders like that. He used to flip over my shoulders like that too. But we had to stop him when I got pregnant with the twins.
And after I delivered, coz Isaac was jealous of the babies, he tried to flip over my shoulder while I was breastfeeding the babies!!! Very dangerous :( at one point, I had to lock the door when I breastfed the babies, to prevent Isaac from doing this...
Hubbs would hold Isaac in such a way when he flips so that Isaac doesn't hurt himself... see the video below...
Ah... Isaac loves to do this, he enjoys standing on hubbs' shoulder - balancing. And he doesn't want to hold on to hubbs hand for support either! Very daring, this boy!
So, before we end off with the video below.... Happy Father's Day, hubbs! Sorry, this was supposed to be posted on Sunday... a bit late but better late than never yeah! :)

pix & vid taken on 19th June 2010
Isaac @ 2 yrs 10 months plus

Friday, 18 June 2010

Friday nights with the girls

Fridays are one of our favourite days of the week. Firstly coz it heralds the start of the weekend. But mostly coz on Fridays, we usually go over to my sister's place for dinner. My parents would be there too. So the adults get to catch up with one another, while the kids get to play together.
If hubbs or myself manage to take leave that day or that afternoon, we'd bring Isaac there early so he gets to go swimming with the girls too. Then he'd also have more time to spend with the girls. Due to our busy work schedules, we haven't been able to do that much. But we try.
The girls look forward to us coming too. They enjoy playing with Isaac - have been so, since Isaac was young. I always enjoy seeing the kids playing together. Reminds me of when I was young, playing together with my cousins. We used to spend a lot of time with our cousins when we were young. Playing together and whatnot.

"whatnot" was when we grew older and started engaging ourselves in more activities which was more than just playing with toys. I remember the times we would follow Joel and Yew Jin into the canals to go 'fishing'. There wasn't much fish, we usually caught tadpoles. But it was fun. The whole group of us cousins used to sneak into Nanyang Girls' High School to play hide and seek in the school grounds as well. I recall one year, during Chinese New Year, we sneaked in to play hide and seek, when it started to rain heavily. Stuck in the school, we started playing cards in the school canteen to pass the time till the rain stopped.

There was a time when Yew Kiat and I were in into paper bullets. We would spend our time folding paper bullets, competing with one another to fold the best paper bullets - the ones that would inflict most pain. I learnt many things from this. For example, paper bullets made out of tissue paper were really weak, and that the harder the paper, the harder and more solid the bullet. But if the paper was too thick and hard - very difficult to fold. Also, if you fold thin paper really well, they make pretty good bullets too. Delivery played a part too - the closer you were to your target, the more pain you inflict. Oh and if you pull your bullet back (from the rubber band) really hard, you inflict a lot of pain too. Very educational, don't you think?
Okay let's not let my violent tendencies distract us here... So what does Isaac play with the girls? Sometimes they play with toys, or games that the girls have. Sometimes, they go cycling - Becca and Isabelle do - Isaac runs to keep up - he is very fast! Sometimes they watch tv together. Sometimes, they run around quite a bit. Very excitable bunch they are. Isaac likes to follow Isabelle and Becca in whatever they do. With kids this age, it doesn't take much to excite them and they have great fun together not really doing anything much - that's the beauty of kids playing together.
Sometimes they get us, the adults (hehehe we're now the adults - we used to be ' the kids' remember? ;p ) to read to them. In these pictures, my sister was actually reading to the kids, and she was conducting a play too. She cast the kids into different characters in the story she was reading, and made them enact the story.

The kids can't stage a proper skit yet, but they have a lot of fun doing this, even though it's my sister telling them what to do. One of their favourite stories to act out is The Three Little Pigs. Sometimes hubbs gets to be the Big Bad Wolf, sometimes Chris my brother-in-law does. It's great fun.
pix taken on 26th March 2010
Isaac @ 2 years 7 and a half months
Natalie @ 2 years 4 months plus
Isabelle @ 4 years 10 months plus
Rebecca @ 6 years 4 months plus

Hubbs and I have started playing some simple theatre warm up games with the kids too. We play "Yes, lets!" though hubbs conducts it, and he forgot the name of this activity and he calls it "Let's be!". Basically, someone stands on a chair and suggests something, like "Let's be an aeroplane!" and everyone says "Yes, lets!" and starts 'flying' around like an aeroplane, making aeroplaney actions and sounds.... until someone gets on the chair and suggests something else again, say "Let's be a snake!" "Yes, lets!" and everyone slithers about like snakes, making hissing noises.

Of course, with adults, we have more sophisticated suggestions like "Let's be a waiter in a restaurant!" and people can start to pretend to serve dishes, pour into a cup, walk about as though holding a tray in one hand and the other hand behind his back, taking orders etc - different representations of the same thing/person we're all trying to be.

But with kids, things are much simpler - the suggestions are invariably animals. The usual elephant, snake, cat, dog, chicken, pig etc. We try to vary that by suggesting roles which the kids will understand, like "Let's be a teacher!" - then they'd pretend to write on a board etc. Or "Let's be a doctor!" But with kids as young as Isaac and Natalie, they're too excited and hard pressed to think of something different to do, so they just end up copying what the older girls are doing.

We noticed that the girls don't have a tendency to make suggestions - perhaps they're not quite sure what to suggest. But then, Isaac seems to like doing so, and he often suggests something when hubbs facilitates and asks "What shall we be next?"

All in all, great fun! And whadya know! It's Friday today!!! Yay!!! :)

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Gym class!

These pix were taken one of the mornings when we were getting to the car to leave home for Isaac's school and work. If we happen to park in a certain part of the carpark lot on the ground floor, Isaac would want to walk on the ledge (? whadya call that?) balancing his way.
Isaac has always been quite physically inclined. He met his physically milestones early - stuff like, flipping over when he was a baby, starting to crawl early, and walk early too. He likes to play rough with hubbs, and literally uses hubbs as his personal gym & playground equipment by climbing all over hubbs and balancing on his shoulders or 'walking' up hubbs' leg etc...
So when I heard that they have extra classes in school that we could sign him up for and one of them was "gym class" - I knew Isaac would love it. So I signed him up for it, thinking that he would enjoy it from Day 1.

Alas, it was not to be! The very first day of gym class, I checked with Teacher Foong Ling if Isaac enjoyed gym class. She instinctively nodded, but paused awhile, and said "But he cried." Apparently, Isaac had some kind of separation anxiety - he didn't want to be separated from the teachers he was familiar with - Teacher Foong Ling and Teacher Lina - to go to Gym Class who was conducted by external instructors.
That first lesson, it took him very long to get acclimatised to the gym class teachers and only towards the end of the class was he more relaxed and enjoying himself. He also tried to make excuses to leave the lesson to go out to look for his teachers FL & L - by giving the excuse that he needed to go to the toilet.

By the end of that Thursday, when I picked him up, he was pretty traumatised from being forced to attend gym class that he repeated kept telling me that he didn't want to go gym class. The next day on Friday, and over the weekend, he continually kept repeating "I don't wanna go gym class."
He was so traumatised that, come Monday, he said he didn't want to go to school. I thought it was odd of him to say that coz he enjoys school. So I asked him...

Me: Why don't you want to go school?
Isaac: Don't want.
Me: Why?
Isaac: Don't want school.
Me: Oh. (then I kept quiet. after awhile...)
Isaac: Mummy, today no gym class. No gym class, right?
Me: Oh... no, no, today no gym class.
Isaac nods.
Me: Is that why you don't want to go school?
No answer.
Me: You want gym class?
Isaac: No! No!!! No gym class!
Me: It's okay, today don't have. (pause) Why don't you like gym class?
Isaac doesn't answer.
Me: Is it coz... Teacher Foong Ling and Teacher Lina are not there?
Isaac looks at me, and nods.
Me: Oh... I see... But you know that Teacher Foong Ling and Teacher Lina are just outside, right? They're right there.
Isaac just looks at me, and keeps quiet. Looking a bit sad and anxious.
Me: They're right outside. They're waiting for you to finish gym class. You don't have to be scared, they're right there. (Richard Marx 'Right There Waiting' playing in the background... kidding! :p)
pix above taken on 25th March 2010
Isaac @ 2 years 7 months plus

The next day, I quickly pre-empted Teacher FL, telling her that they better start psychoing Isaac to prepare him for gym class that coming Thursday. "Psychoing" meaning to keep telling Isaac about it, to prepare him mentally by talking him through it. I have found this method of communicating with Isaac to be very useful and effective. Perhaps it's coz I have been doing this with Isaac since young.

I don't know whether they did it in school. But at home, we started psychoing him. We'd constantly mention gym class, and talk to him about it. At the start, he used to get all worked up when the words "gym class" was mentioned. But I kept telling him that his favourite two teachers were just outside waiting for him, and that gym class is fun etc.

As the weeks pass, Isaac grew to like gym class. I suppose he got used to the gym class teachers, and he realised that teachers FL & L were really just outside, and most of all, he enjoyed what they did in class. Probably. I'm just guessing, but I think I'm probably right on most counts. But what matters is, he was no longer 'afraid' of gym class.

On Thursdays, I'd ask him if he enjoyed gym class that day, he'd say Yes! On days I forget to ask, he'd tell me "Mummy, today got gym class." Last week, when he told me that...
Me: Oh yeah... was gym class fun?
Isaac: Yes!
Me: You enjoyed it?
Isaac nods: Yes, enjoyed it.
Me: What did you do in gym class today?
Isaac pauses: Aeroplane!
Me: huh? oh! you pretended to be an aeroplane?
Isaac: Yeah!

Isaac has not learnt to describe his day to me yet. But he's slowly learning to do so. By "aeroplane" I think they were probably learning in gym class to balance on beams, and spreading their arms out (like an aeroplane) to balance themselves.

Just yesterday, Isaac saw Shawna rolling on the mattress and said "Look, Mummy! Shawna is rolling like a sausage!" :) So, I know, in gym class, my Isaac learns to roll like a sausage.

Now, Isaac looks forward to gym class, just as he enjoys school. Well done, everyone! :)

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