Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Dating life? Huh? What's that?

 
I'd recently been invited to joined a Closed Group on Facebook - a group of Singapore Mom Bloggers. It's a pretty active group, not surprising really, since it's a group of women who love to blog and are hence, more articulate than the average person. It's nice to talk to people who are as susceptible to succumb to verbal diarrhoea as I am :p Verbal Diarrhoea Anonymous kekeke...

 This morning, Evelyn wrote this blog post on her blog, and asked the question "How long did you take to get your dating life on track?" Adeline said:"Huh? What's that?" (which I immediately "Liked" and promptly borrowed her line for my title of this post).

With three kids, it is indeed very difficult to have time for just the two of us. When the kids are in childcare, we're at work. At nights and during the weekends, hubbs and I make it a point to treasure the time we have with the kids and be with them. We enjoy taking them out (park, playground, swimming, zoo, bird park, visit friends...) or just doing stuff with them indoors (play boardgames, jigsaws, read books, watch movies on our home theatre system...)... However, this conspires to ensure that we hardly have time for ourselves to even read the newspapers in peace, much less have a 'date'.
 
However, every once in awhile, hubbs and I would try to find time to spend a few quiet moments with each other. Usually, we'd take advantage of the situations/circumstances in our lives. For one, hubbs and I enjoy going for concerts and plays/performances. So a few times a year, when certain artists we like throws a concert, we'd book tickets to go. These past years, we've been to Eric Moo concert (where I fell asleep hugging hubbs' leg as he was standing on the chair having a raving good time), went to Chong Feng (Singapore xinyao) quite a number of years, Air Supply concert, Kit Chan concert, and recently to a performance by Corrinne May. Thankfully, my parents, in-laws, or my sister would help us out with babysitting the kidzes for a few hours.

Sometimes, we would take leave and spend the day together. Or when the childcare has some school celebration (for Christmas, Chinese New Year, and whatnot) so that we are supposed to be at the childcare at 4pm for some performance by the kids - we'd both usually try to take leave that day, so that we can spend the morning and early afternoon together while the kids are in childcare - yes, we send them in as usual! :)

On such occasions, we don't usually do anything spectacular. But we usually make sure we have a good meal together - whether it is a Japanese ala carte buffet, or head down to Chinatown for my favourite jiao-zi (dumplings) and his favourite frog legs porridge or even something as mundane as a meal in our nearby coffeeshop. But at least we get to eat in peace and quiet, something which is hard to come by with 3 kids!

We also enjoy having a foot/back massage together. Or we go check out some place that we've been hearing about but never got the chance to go yet - like this obscure industrial building at Kallang River that has been repositioned as an eclectic mix of idunnowhat. Called Ture (as in the last syllable of "adventure" - yes, horrible name indeed). It has a gourmet coffee joint on the ground floor, a children's enrichment centre, a ukelele shop, and a rockclimbing gym, to name some of the tenants.)

The thing about stealing time together - we talk a lot about the kids! We enjoy laughing about the antics the kids get up to, and re-enacting the funny look/face Asher did the previous night. Laugh about how feisty Shawna is. Commiserate with each other on how Isaac's whining is driving us crazy. So in a way, the kids are always with us. And having recharged by spending some leisure time together, we go fetch the kids from childcare a littler earlier, so that we can have more time with them that night. We found that we miss the kids!

That said, I think it's important that we still have our couple time, even if we spend most of it talking about the kids :) So, I wouldn't say we have a dating life - but we do try to steal some time alone, now and then. And that works for us.

Now, what I would like to get back, is the number of photos we have taken as a couple! There're virtually none in recent years! I managed to find these three above from a photoshoot we did back in April 2010!!! Which is almost 2 years ago!!!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Rockclimbing is more brain than brawn!

Last Sunday, we went to our friend's place for a rockclimbing session. Our friend, Chee Beng, a rockclimbing enthusiast has a rockclimbing wall installed on the side of his corner terrace home. So he and his family welcomes us over anytime to climb his wall. Being a rockclimbing enthusiast himself, hubbs is happy to oblige and drop by to climb.

Below is our Isaac, trying to climb the wall. A half meter higher (than in the picture) is about as far as he got that day. It was his third time climbing a wall. He tried a few times on Sunday, but I don't think he made it to the top. We tried to console ourselves that "he's inexperienced" and "he's just a little boy". But our friends,  Chan Peng and Xiaofeng's sons, just put that theory to rest.
 
Photo collage courtesy of Hay & Yu's parents' Chan Peng & Xiaofeng
The boy above in red is Yu, he is 4 years old this year. And Sunday was his first time climbing a rockclimbing wall. And look, he made it to the top! Below, the boy in white, is Yu's older brother - Hay, who is 6 years old this year. Also his first time climbing, and he managed to scale the entire wall too. As you can see, these boys aren't exactly mini Ironmans or anything like that. Yu is average in size, and Hay is one of the scrawniest 6 year old boys I have ever seen, and yet, they could do it. They scaled the wall.
Photo collage courtesy of Hay & Yu's parents' Chan Peng & Xiaofeng
We realised that rockclimbing is, in a way, more brain than brawn. All things being equal, having the right attitude is more important than having more muscles. Hay & Yu persevered, and kept trying, and they managed to scale the wall.

Isaac, on the other hand, kept saying things like "I cannot do it." "I can't I can't", and gave up a bit too easily. Looking back, I wasn't surprised, as Isaac is the type that has to have a lot of early success in order to bolster his confidence into persevering and doing well. This extends to other parts of his life. Just that it is in this instance, that it brought this aspect out so starkly.

Discussing this with hubbs, it triggered another discussion on an issue which was lingering at the back of our minds. Isaac starts primary school in 2 years time, you see. And hubbs being a Catholic High School (Pri & Sec) alumni, Isaac would have priority to get into Catholic High Primary School. Our problem is that it's sooooo far from where we are currently staying, so we are thinking twice about sending Isaac there. It seems a fightful waste not to send him to such a good school though.

But now, this discussion triggered a thought. Isaac is a very bright boy and from what we can see, he is above average amongst his peers. But, given his character, perhaps Isaac would fare better if he were placed in an average school where he is amongst the top-performers; rather than go to a good school like Catholic High, and he average there. Hmmmm... food for thought... we have one year to decide where to register him for...

Note: Photo-collages were used with approval. They first appeared at the Chans' blog here!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Corrinne May @ St Mary's

I had a fantastic day today. I took leave today. Had the morning to myself after dropping the kids off at childcare. In the afternoon hubbs and I went to Parents' Day at the kidzes' childcare, to see the kids perform (this warrants another post altogether). After that we whisked the kids off to my sister's place where Isaac had swimming class - I finally got to take some pix of him in swimming class as I am usually at work when he has his swim class. Then in the evening, we headed off to my church to attend a free concert by Corrinne May! Oh and did I mention that I listened to my favourite Corrinne May CD - Safe in a Crazy World - in the car all day while driving?! :)

Ah! Corrinne May was fantabulous. I like her voice, I mean, I'd always liked her singing. But today is the first time I see her in person. And I like her. She's humble, she's funny, she's sincere and earnest, she's generous(free concert!)... oh, and she mumbles. It's funny how her singing is clearer than when she speaks. Perhaps she was nervous; or maybe she was rushing coz there wasn't enough time. But it was cute. The mumbling, I mean.

But I think what touched my heart was that she is Catholic, and she is a mother (like me!). She has a little girl called Claire who's about 3 years old. And she's a Catholic (like me!!!). From her songs, I'd guessed she was Christian. But I didn't know she was a Catholic Christian. (Anyone who says that Catholics aren't Christians deserves to be short - yes short. Short-sighted and shortened lifespan, I say! :p)

I digress.

Corrinne May's faboo! I love her songs coz they always have some kinda story in them, and they just seem to tug at my heartstrings. Today, she sung songs from her new album that was just released this month - Crooked Lines (out in all good record stores in Singapore, now! grab yours before they're all gone and you have to resort to Amazon!)
Before singing each song, she briefly spoke about the song, what it's about, or what inspired her to write that song. She has songs inspired by her daughter's drawings, by her daughter playing on some ipad app, by the Easter candle lighting during an Easter Virgil mass, by the story of two loaves & five fishes, of how life is precious and that everyone should be given a chance to live... and many more. Very down-to-earth, and real, and of topics close to my heart. 

Several times while she was singing, I was moved to tears. I don't really know why. Just sitting there, in the pristine church, letting her music and lyrics wash over me, thinking of certain people who were in my life, and of how blessed I am right now in everything I do. It just was.

And suddenly it wasn't "so weird" that I was sitting in my church, the Church of St Mary of the Angels in Bukit Batok, the church which I have attended for more than 20 years of my life, the church I got married in, where my three kids and I got baptised in - listening to a pop star belting out her latest album. I believe the songs tonight were carefully chosen, to reflect the venue.They were very apt.

All too soon, the night drew to an end. The audience shouted encore, and Corrinne obliged us two more songs. And after that, we all quietly and sadly sat as we looked at Corrinne and her band walk off the stage. Not one person asked for another encore though I knew that everyone wished she could have sung for another hour or more. I know I did. I almost wanted to shout "Awww.... JUST ONE MORE!? PLEEEEASE!!! ANGEL IN DISGUISE!!!" That's my favourite Corrinne May song, Angel in Disguise (see youtube vid). But we were all so polite - as was her constant refrain tonight. Too polite.

But I couldn't have asked for more. I'd caught a free concert given by one of my favourite musicians of all time, in my very own church. And in doing so, I found that not only is she a great singer/musician (she writes great lyrics, composes great music, she can sing and talk while playing the piano, sing while playing the guitar, AND she can sing while sucking on a lozenge - how fab is that?!) - but that she also has a great personality to boot. You can't say that for all stars. But for this one, you can :)

Thank you, Corrinne May! We had a lovely time tonight :)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Isaac likes high number

Isaac @ 4 years 7 months plus | picture taken 13th March 2012
It's the school holidays this week. Technically the kids don't have school holidays since they're in childcare. But as it is the school hols, hubbs found out that there was this 2 day Chinese course thingy, and he promptly signed Isaac up for it. Hubbs is consciously trying to make sure that Isaac has a healthy interest in the language.

So Isaac didn't need to put on his uniform today. I dressed him in longs coz I kinda assumed that the place would be air-conditioned and he might get cold. This morning, as I was dressing him, he took a look at the print on the shirt and said -

Isaac: "Ninety. Look Mummy, ninety."
Me: "Huh. Not ninety. It's zero, nine. So it's nine, not ninety."
Isaac: "Zero, nine. Is nine?"
Me: "Yes, Isaac. You know that what. Zero and nine is 9. Nine then zero is 90."
Isaac: "Huuuuh.... I don't want 9, I want 90, I like high number!!!"
Me: "Er... 9 is high. 9 upon 10 is very high also."
Isaac: "Oh alright, Mummy."

Isaac has a tendency to fuss about the oddest things, and I was just glad to avert another episode. When he saw pictures of hubbs and I, ones that we took when we were dating, before we even got married. Isaac'd ask why he wasn't in the pictures. After I explained to him that that was taken before he was born, I tried to distract him by telling him about where that picture was taken - in Vietnam. Then Isaac started to fuss and complain that he hasn't been to Vietnam and he wants to go there. I'd say, "Okay, next time, we'd bring you there." and he'd say things like "But I want to be there with you when you took THIS picture!" And we're like !?!?!??!?!?! My Isaac, my Isaac!

Regarding the above 09/90 conversation, I was also amused to hear that Isaac "likes high numbers". I didn't get to ask him this morning why he liked high numbers as I was trying to avert an episode. Why would he show a preference for "higher numbers"? My guess is coz he's so competitive. That he wants to be the best and win all the time, and most of the time, the higher the number, "the better the results". Well, this is my guess. I'd have to ask him sometime :)

Friday, 9 March 2012

Look what we learn in school

One thing I like about the kids' childcare centre is - they take pictures of the kids' activities and paste them on the wall. I'm not sure if all the childcare centres do this, but I thought it was a pretty good practice, so that the kids can look at it in class, and remember the activities they did. And also so that parents can see a sample of what their kids have been doing in school
 
 
Asher's and Shawna's hand and foot prints. I'm praying that they don't turn out to be flat footed like Isaac and I. Those customised insoles sure don't come cheap! But they certainly seem to be helping (both Isaac and I are wearing them), so it's money well spent, in my opinion.

Below is a chart that shows picture talk - I think the kids were shown pictures and they were supposed to describe what they see. Apparently, out of the 5 kids in their class, only Asher and Shawna managed to actually say something about the picture. 
Shawna said:"Shawna water bottle." and Asher said:"Barney bottle Asher"
Friends whom we've met up with often comment that Asher & Shawna are very articulate/verbal for so young an age. Perhaps, I thought, but I recall Isaac even being more verbal that the twins are. Anyway, it's very amusing to hear them talk.
Below are Asher & Shawna's work of art. They were given balls (above) and paint, and just given free hand to create their own work of art. It's great that they do this in school. At home, we're usually too concerned that they'd make a mess of the house if we allow them to do such an activity. I know! We shouldn't think like that, but we can't help it! In any case, great that they get to do this in school.
Below is apparently a documentation of a show and tell session of dress-up. Sooooo cute. It's quite a good idea actually, to just bring out some old clothes and let the kids have fun in it. I love getting ideas from the childcare for stuff to do at home with the kids :) Particularly love it when I see such pictures, coz the kids are still too young to really verbalise and tell me what they do in school. So these are really great. Appreciate the effort put into all the documentation!
Once in awhile, I love to go into the kids classroom to take pictures of all these. So after the twins' class, I went over to Isaac's classroom to take the following pictures. This year, Isaac is in Kindergarten 1. Previously, in N1 and N2, he had the same classmates. This year, the school mixed up the two classes a little, so he has some different classmates this year. This could be why the teachers made them do this little "self-introduction" thingy above. I didn't realise my photo chopped off a bit of the left hand side of the paper... But basically Isaac wrote:"My name is Isaac. I am 4 yrs old. I like to eat chicken rice. I like Ironman and Spiderman".

All the kids did a version of what Isaac did below. They drew some books and wrote words with the gist of what Isaac wrote above:"Do not bend the books. Do not throw the books on the floor. Do not step on the books." I didn't get a chance to ask Teacher Sharm whether she dictated the words to the kids, or whether they phrased it themselves. I suspect the kids phrased it themselves, becauseI saw one version that says "Cannot bend books. Cannot throw books. Cannot step books" from a boy whose English was below average. It's great that the school teaches such values as well.
 
The above is hilarious. Haven't got to ask Isaac about it, but perhaps they were learning about sounds? He writes:"I like the car tyre sound. teeeeees. I like my neighbour's doorbell sound tinge ting" hahahaha...

At first when I saw the stuff below on a table at a corner of the class, I was wonder "What in the world is THAT?!" Then I realised... they're supposed to be toothbrushes!!! hahahaha... 
"The dentist will check for tooth decay. We need brush teeth before going to bed." Very good, very pleased they're also reinforcing this in school. No wonder Isaac has been more willing to brush his teeth before bed nowadays... :)

Pictures taken in March 2012

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Saving petrol for tomorrow?

Hubbs posted this on his Facebook wall last night:"Was cruising home in the car with Isaac. As the cars beside us are overtaking us, he turned sideway and asked:"Papa, are you saving petrol for tomorrow?" LOL"

 
Now, let me give you the background to that quip...

Isaac has always been a competitive child. He wants to win all the time. Well, I guess most kids want to, right? But we've noticed that Isaac is slightly more competitive than average. It shows in his reactions when he plays boardgames etc.

Lately, he has even started to make comments like...
Isaac: "Hah! See, I finish my milk FIRST. I am FASTER than Asher & Shawna! hahaha. I WIN! You two LOSE!!!"
Me:"Okay, that's good Isaac. Good that you're fast. But there's no need to compete in everything. And don't say that Asher and Shawna are losers. If they finish their milk, they are also winners. You're all good boys and good girl if you finish your milk. It's not nice to tell others that they're losers, you should instead encourage them, say "You can do better, Asher! Try harder next time! Okay?"
Isaac:"Okay, Mummy! Ah! Asher! You're done! You're the second winner! Shawna, come on! You can do it!!!"
Me:"Hahahaha..."
Isaac:"Like that, Mummy?"
Me:"Yes, that's right, just like that."
Isaac @ 4 years 5 months plus | Pictures taken on 29th January 2011

Like the typical boy, Isaac also likes to race, and be faster. Lately, when we drive in the car, he'd ask us to speed up the car to overtake other cars on the road etc. So, the night before last night, we had this conversation in the car:
Isaac:"Quick, Papa! Go faster! See if you can be faster than this gray car... ... ... ah yah, we are too slow..."
Me:"Isaac, there is no need to go faster than every car on the road. There will always be cars on the road ahead of you."
Hubbs:"Yeah, no need to go so fast. You see, now got traffic light, all stop. Go so fast also no use."
Me:"That's right. Waste petrol only."
Hubbs:"Yeah, go so fast - waste petrol."
Isaac:"Waste petrol?"
Me:"Yes, because you use up more petrol when you accelerate the car too quickly."
Isaac:"What is accelerate?"
Me:"Er... accelerate is to go very fast."
Isaac:"Oh, go too fast will waste petrol?"
Hubbs:"That's right. Too fast waste petrol. Then traffic light, all stop. All wasted!"
Me:"Yes, and petrol is very expensive. You need money to buy petrol. If you waste petrol, you waste money. We must save money."
Isaac:"Ah... I must save money so that I can buy my small house in Australia?"
Me:"Yes, you must save money to buy anything, including your small house in Australia."

So it was particularly hilarious, when last night... we were driving back home, on the road when Isaac observed that our car was not as fast as some other cars on the road and he said: "Papa, are you saving petrol for tomorrow?" :) He's a fast learner ;p

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