Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Isaac the biker dude

That's Isaac, our biker dude :p You know how they say that the kids model after us parents? Well, I think we deliberately as well as unconsciously push the kids in the same directions as we do. It's only logical really. It happens unconsciously when we exhibit preferences and the kids pick up on that. We deliberately do it when we expose the kids to things and activities that we like. And cycling is one of these activities.
Isaac @ 3 and a half years old - when he first got his balance bike. January 2011.

I'd always loved to cycle, from when I was a kid. I would meet up with my primary school friend Shuwen, who stayed in the same block as me, and we would often cycle to our central where we went straight for the 7-eleven there to get our weekly fix of Mr Softee ice-cream. When I was older, I asked for a mountain bike as my birthday present and started to cycle around on it. I remember how during the school holidays when I was secondary school, how I cycled all the way from Upper Bukit Timah to Tanglin Road on a mountain bike, with a friend on my back seat! And the other time during my junior college days when me and friends would cycle all the way to Geylang just to have supper (beef horfun and beancurd!!!).

Hubbs is very much into cycling these days. He has a road bike which we bought in Austin, Texas, USA - read about that here! He really started heavy duty cycling when he couldn't run long distance anymore coz his meniscus is torn. His dream is for all of us to cycle as a family, to go places together. I would love for that to happen too! I can't wait to be able to cycle long distance with the kids so that I can use it as a form of exercise. Exercise that wouldn't take me away from the kids coz we'd all be in it together.

So when we found this balance bike, we were ecstatic. It was supposed to be the most natural way for a young child to learn how to ride a bicycle - you learn to balance first. So this bicycle doesn't have any pedals. You just sit on the seat, and use your feet to propel yourself forward. And at any point in time, if you feel like you're about to fall, your legs instinctively come down. Easy peasy! Look at this video above, taken in February 2011, barely weeks after Isaac got his balance bike.

In fact, Isaac got so confident on his balance bike, that we didn't have any qualms about bringing him to Pulau Ubin to cycle with his balance bike. It was a Sunday in March 2011 when we decided to go Pulau Ubin on an adventure. Alright, I confess, hubbs had to work - he had to go look in on his NCDCC cadets who were having a camp at the NPCC camp on Pulau Ubin. So we decided to all go, instead of hubbs sacrificing his time away from us and going on his own. Upped and go, we did!

We rented two bikes. A single mountain bike with a childseat for Asher in front of me. And a double bike for hubbs to ride in front, and our helper Lina, coz we found out that day that she didn't know how to cycle. Shawna was on a childseat at the back of the double bike. I tried riding the double bike, but I couldn't control it due to the weight. And our star for the day, Isaac, was on his balance bike. And with his balance bike, Isaac rode in Pulau Ubin! :) If the slopes were too steep, we got down to push. But Isaac handled the bike very well, and we taught him how to control his speed by using his shoes as brakes. Very well done, Isaac! :)
Isaac @ 3 years 7 months | Asher & Shawna @ 14 months | March 2011
Fast forward a year, and we have here below in March 2012, Isaac on his balance bike and Shawna on her push car. Isaac is very proficient on his balance bike and has started to experiment with many twists and turns. Some people make the comment that it looks like a very tiring bicycle to cycle because there are no pedals. But I don't think it is so. In fact, it looks like it's so much fun! We've had some adults who stopped us and asked whether they have such bicycles made for adults! I wish they did, I would like to get one, just for fun! But seriously, it'd be a great training tool to teach adults how to cycle too - for those that still don't know how to, that is!
Isaac @ 4 years 7 months | Shawna @ 2 years 3 months | March 2012
Catch Isaac in action in early January 2012 on his balance bike! Can't wait for the twins to start cycling the balance bike! We lowered the height of the seat to the lowest it'd go, but the twins weren't tall enough for it yet. So our balance bike is currently on loan to Regina! Can't wait to see her in action on the bike! :)

Then on day in early May, my ex-colleague Cindy whatsapped me to ask if we wanted her son Jayden's old bike as the 9 year old boy had outgrown it. I thought it'd be perfect for Isaac as I felt that he was ready to transit to a bicycle with pedals. He was already on the second highest position that we could increase the height of his balance bike to, so technically, he could probably stay on it for a good 6 more months or more. But I was keen to start the twins on the balance bike really; so Cindy's offer came at a good time. We picked it up, pumped up the tires, and Isaac had a go at it the very next day. And just as we expected - he did it! He could ride the bike with the pedals, two-wheels - without the silly balance wheels that stick out at the sides. yay!!!
Look at Isaac go!!! The video below was taken after Isaac started cycling his pedal bike for about 10 minutes :) He'd gotten the hang of the bike very quickly. Good job, Isaac!!!

We're so very very pleased, because this means we're one step closer to being able to cycle out together! In fact, we can, because, we just have to place the twins on a childseat each on a bike hubbs and I cycle - the places we'd go!!! kekeke... stay tuned for more of our adventures in cycling!!!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Our 7th wedding anniversary!

23rd May is our wedding anniversary! :) Seven years since 2005! My, how time flies! It seems like it wasn't too long ago that we got married, and yet it also seems like we've been married and been parents for a long time. An oxymoron, I know, but I think it feels like a "long time" because we're both very comfortable being together and having kids, being parents and all. Yet, seven years seemed to have passed in a blink of an eye!
Our angels in disguise: Isaac, Asher & Shawna - August 2011

Now, every year for the past few years, I'd try to do a special wedding anniversary blog post. Last year,  we shared with you the powerpoint slideshow that we put together for our wedding. It had the usual photos of us when we were kids, and also the story of how we got together and how hubbs proposed to me. The year before that, we did a photo-story recap  of our wedding day actual day proceedings.

This year, we've put together a video!!! The English lyrics (below) are written by yours truly hahaha...

Lyrics by Pamela Tan

When the sun sets in the morning it will rise again.
When the flowers wilt but next year they bloom once more.
Pretty little birdies fly and fade away
My youth is like the flying birds - it won't come back.
My youth is like the flying birds - it won't come back.

I'm getting so old, I'm getting so old.
My youth is like the flying birds - it won't come back.

Go camping and rock-climbing? Now I have no more time.
I can't even run because my meniscus' gone.
My six-pecs and biceps have wasted away.
My hairline is receding, look I have no more fringe.
My hairline is receding, look I have no more fringe.
I'm getting so old, I'm getting so old.
My hairline is receding, look I have no more fringe.

When I wake up in the morning, and my bones ache.
When I eat a little bit, I put on some weight.
My pretty slim figure has long since gone.
My youth is like my slim figure, it won't come back.
My youth is like my slim figure, it won't come back.
I'm getting so old, I'm getting so old.
My youth is like my slim figure, it won't come back.

But now... 7 years later...

We wake up in the morning with our 3 lovely kids!
We get to play all day with them, they are so much fun.
Our hearts are brimming full of love for them.
Our youth is gone but we have 3 kids, we are so blessed!
Our youth is gone but we have 3 kids, we are so blessed!
So what if we're old?! So what if we're old?!
Our youth is gone but we have 3 kids, we are so blessed!

*grinz* hehehhee...

My colleagues say that I should send this video to MCYS and we should be the ambassadors to encourage people to have more children :p But I must state this for the record that we have kids because we love kids and not because of some government campaign or men in white (or blue or whatever colour!) tells us to.That said, if anyone wants to help us do a proper video of us singing that and/or putting us on tv - we certainly don't mind! *grinz*

Apologies for my horrible singing though! I was trying hard not to laugh and remember the lyrics! But, next to hubbs, my singing is just not as good as his, and that's the truth of it all :) Hope you got a few laughs outta that! hahaha Leave us comments, we love getting comments! :)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A Mumthesaurus speaks colourful language!

Isaac @ 4 years 6 months | February 2012
Ever since Isaac was born, I have been very conscious and aware of how I speak in front of him. I was very aware of what I said, how I phrased what I wanted to say etc. I did this because I wanted him to learn "proper English". Over the years, my Singlish has slipped in somewhat and being in school, it was inevitable that Isaac learnt some Singlish along the way. I wouldn't have it any other way though, Singlish is part of us Singaporeans, afterall.

Mindfully trying to teach him good English, one thing I often do while speaking with Isaac, is that I would try to use synonyms of words when I talk, so as to widen his vocabulary. I knew this worked very well, when one day, we had the following conversation:

Me:" ... wow! This is VERY BIG!" (I can't recall what object we were talking about already.)
Isaac:"Is it huge?"
Me:"Yes it is! Huge means "very big" - so you're right! It IS huge!!!"
Isaac:"Is it enormous?"
Me:"Yes, yes, it's enormous! Enormous has the same meaning as huge too! Very good Isaac! Some more?"
Isaac:"I know! It's HUMONGOUS!"
Me:"Yes it is!!! That's fantastic!!! Another one??? Gi -???"
Isaac:"Gi??? Oh! GIANT!!!"
Me:" Hahaha... yes "giant" works too. But actually I was thinking of "gigantic" - but very good! "Giant" also means "very big". Excellent, darling!!!"

The above conversation happened a few months back. I kept wanting to blog about it, but didn't get the chance to do so. Just about a week or so ago, we were in the car, and Isaac did something which... wasn't nice. I can't recall what it was. Nothing too serious. And when it's not too serious, I tend not to want to use words which are too... heavy (for want of a better word). So I said...

Me:"Isaac, that's not nice. Please don't do that."
Isaac:"Mummy! Can you stop saying that?!"
Me:"Stop saying what?"
Isaac:""Not nice!" Stop saying "It's not nice. It's not nice" That's so BORING!"
Me:"Huh? So what do you want me to say? You mean you want me to use other words?"
Isaac:"Yes!!! You keep saying "Not nice" so boring!!!"
Me:"Oh... so, shall I say... "That's... not pleasant."? "
Isaac nods vigorously with a smile on his face.
Me:"... not appropriate? not appealing? not polite? That's horrible! Distasteful! Horrendous!!!"
Isaac:"Yes, yes, Mummy! Very good! Well done, Mummy!!!"

I need my devour my thesaurus, seeing as how I need to be a walking thesaurus!!! Eh! I'm a dinosaur! I'm a Mumthesaurus!!! Are you one too? :)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Writing the Unspeakable

When Evelyn first approached me to guest blog on her The Bottoms Up Blog, I was honoured. Then, I realised what she was asking me to blog on. She remembered me mentioning on a private facebook group we're both on, that "my #1 fear was that hubbs would cheat on me, even though he's totally not the type" to do so. She wanted me to write about why I have that worry, to Write the Unspeakable!

This got me thinking. For even though I had that fear, I never actually really thought about it. It was something that I didn't want to really talk about, and not even think about, as I strongly feel and believe that one should not dwell on unhappy thoughts. Also, part of this stems from the irrational superstitious fear that if you talk about it, it might happen. That's ridiculous, of course. But that's what superstitions are: irrational and ridiculous.

Why is this my #1 fear? Well, most wives would have this fear, isn't it? No matter how loving the hubby is, how secure the relationship is, there is still this fear, deep down inside us, that "What if?" feeling of  insecurity nestled deep in us... that, what if one day, hubbs sees a nice pretty slim lady (not like fat 'ol blubbery me) and falls for her and decides to leave me and the kids for her?! What will I do?! My children will grow up without a father!? And I will grow old without the father of my kids to share the joy and tribulations of the kids with?! The feeling of being betrayed, of being abandoned... is horrible. It dredges up memories of breakups in the past, though thankfully, my breakups with previous boyfriends were all mutual and not due to a third party's interference. But still, it hurts.

Hubbs is a great guy. He's got a very good heart. He is kind, and has good morals and an all round good man. This was the main reason I got together with him. Back in the day when he chased me and asked me to be his girlfriend, I was pretty and slim and 7 years younger than him. He was balding (still is ;p), a heavy drinker and a heavy smoker (at that point in time. Now he isn't ;p) and he was 7 years older than me. I had a close friend who felt he was "unworthy" of me. But I could see how he had a very good heart. How kind he was, how he had a good character and how good he was with kids, how he genuinely loved kids. I knew that he was one who would be a fantastic father, and that he would take care of me, and that he was one that  I would enjoy growing old with. So I accepted him.

And I was right. 23rd of this month this year marks a full 7 years we've been married, and more than 9 years together as a couple. He is nothing short of being a wonderful husband, a fantabulous father to my three children, and the son my parents never had. My initial assessment of him was correct and I feel blessed that I had decided to take a chance with this man when I agreed to be his girlfriend more than 9 years ago.

But because of his kind nature, of how he feels for the downtrodden and helpless... I fear the day that someone would present themselves (say the woman and her kids?!) to him that they need him to take care of them. And then he will look at me and see this independent woman who is capable of taking care of her own kids, and LEAVE US! Because he knows we can take care of ourselves! And he goes and take care of these, these, these OTHER PEOPLE! This is my #1 Fear. And it strikes fear in my heart just thinking about it.

Does this have an effect on how I treat hubbs? Yes, I think so. I make sure he is very involved in the kids' lives. Thankfully, he wants to be also, so this is easy to do. He is very present, and always participating and actively initiates the activities the kids do. I make sure I tell him that I love him and constantly ask the kids to hug him and say "I love you, Papa!" to him. I consciously reign in my temper and I'm mindful of how our arguments (if any!) play out. It's a blessing that we hardly ever quarrel. But when we do, I try to make it a rational discussion of facts rather than let it degenerate into a mud-slinging contest. I do not believe in mind games or in making assumptions about anything hubbs "should know" or "ought to know" due to "common sense". To me, if I want him to know something, I will say it explicitly to him - in plain simple English, so as to make sure that he understands perfectly, what it is I am saying. So it is this way in any arguments/discussions and so it is in our everyday lives. I feel that this reduces miscommunication all round, and makes for a much more peaceful household.
Now and then, I'd make doe eyes at him and "demand" that he should never love another woman, that he should only love me and the kids. I'd tell him that we need him always, that he has to take care of us, and he cannot assume that we can take care of ourselves even though it may seem that way. All this is said and expressed to him explicitly in words, and hugs and kisses. But especially in words. They always say that women likes to hear sweet nothings? Well, I think men need to as well.

Writing the Unspeakable indeed. I would never have written this for my blog, if not for Evelyn's prompting! Thanks Evelyn!  After reading my draft of this post, it in turn prompted Evelyn to write her thoughts on this fear of spousal cheating as well - go read!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Quite a character

I love this picture of Isaac! :)
Isaac's quite a character. He has certain quirks which I used to put down to him acting his age. But now, having another two kids, I can see how all three are different in their own way, and it can sometimes be very presumptuous to say kids behave in a certain way coz they are "at that age". Also, having spoken with lots of mummies lately, they also tell me that not all the kids Isaac's age, behaves the way he does.

I am referring to how he is a very structured boy who seems to be a stickler for rules, and how things "should be". Also, I call him Mr Preempter because I need to preempt  him about how certain events will take place (say, our plans for the day), and not just spring it on him last minute or change our plans without warning, coz that will upset him. We have to remind ourselves of this so that we can prepare him so as not to upset him.
We just experienced it on Monday. Hubbs and I decided to take Monday off to convert this past weekend into a super long Labour Day weekend. We wanted to take the kids on an urban adventure. Instead of driving out like we normally do, we took the kids on the train instead. I'd do a separate post on this urban adventure with the pix we took that day. But for this post, I wish to talk about Isaac.

He asked me:"Mummy, which stop are we taking the train to?" And I told him "City Hall" coz initially, we thought of taking the train to City Hall, and then walk to the Art Museum. Then, hubbs had a better idea. He said:"Why don't we take the train to Raffles Place, so that we can walk across the bridge, along the river, and still walk to the Art Museum?" Unfortunately, in our haste to decide (the train was moving very quickly and stops were passing us by), we did not stop to consult with Isaac and convince him of our decision. We simply forced our decision on him, and we said "Now, we're going to Raffles Place instead."
Isaac threw a huge tantrum. He was very upset that we'd changed our minds on the spur of the moment.

Me:"We're going to stop at Raffles Place instead of City Hall, Isaac."
Isaac:"Huh?! But I want to go to City Hall! and the Museum!"
Me:"Yes yes, we're still going to the same Museum. Just that we'd stop at Raffles Place. We can walk along the river and you can cycle your balance bike. It's very nice."
Isaac:"But just now you said we're going to City Hall. So I want to go City Hall."
Me:"Er, yah, that was just now. But now we have decided to stop at Raffles Place. It's just one stop before City Hall. Very near."
Isaac:"No, I want to go to City Hall!"
Me:"Why do you want to go to City Hall? What difference does it make? We're still going to the same Museum."
Isaac:"You said we're going to City Hall, then now you say no City Hall. You're telling lies."
Me:"No, I'm not telling lies. I'm saying we have changed our plans and decided to walk from Raffles Place instead of City Hall. Okay, I tell you what, we'd walk from Raffles Place to City Hall, okay?"
Isaac:"No, I want to go to City Hall FIRST."
Me"What difference is it to you?! You've never even been to City Hall before?!"
Isaac @ 4 years 7 months | March 2012
This incident put Isaac in a horrid mood and he sulked all the way as we walked around Raffles Place and found a place to have lunch. In his bid to spite us, he said:"Hummpph, I don't want to eat lunch. I'm not hungry." This was the first time he'd threatened not to eat for the sake of throwing a tantrum and we were really getting quite annoyed with him. So hubbs gave him more warnings to stop his obnoxious behaviour. When he still persisted, hubbs smacked him a huge one on his bum. He cried, cried some more, asked for me, but hubbs made him stand in a corner for awhile before asking him to apologise for his horrid behaviour; then was he allowed to come let me hug and comfort him.

Me:"Isaac... please choose to be happy. This should be a good day, right? Mummy and Papa bring you, Asher & Shawna out, we take the train, we go gai-gai... Choose to be happy. You enjoyed the train ride, didn't you? *He nods* So, be happy that you got to take the train. Enjoy yourself. Don't choose to be upset over little things and things that are not important. Don't black face, okay?"
Isaac:"I never black face."
Me:"Is it? I'm looking at your face and it's very black."
Isaac:"This is angry face. It is not black face."
Me:"Angry face IS black face lah!"
Isaac:"Oh. You didn't tell me that angry face is called black face."
Me:"Okay so now you know. So... no black face,okay? Please choose to be happy? Mummy wants you to be happy and have fun. Not have angry black face and be upset all day. Okay? Please?"
Isaac:"Okay Mummy."

And so, after the spanking episode, Isaac decided to be happy, and he was. He gradually lost his black face over eating his spaghetti, and he started enjoying the rest of the day. In order to pacify his need to go to City Hall, we decided to walk there. So we told Isaac, we'd walk to City Hall. But on our way there, we made plans to meet up with another family in Sentosa, to bring the kids to the beach to play sand. With the morning's episode still fresh in my mind, I went to talk to Isaac.

Me:"Isaac... do you want to go to the beach?"
Me:"Okay, so shall we not go to City Hall now? Shall we take a taxi car to the beach?"
Isaac:"But I want to go to City Hall. You said we're walking to City Hall."
Me:"Yes, I did say that. Hmmm... do you want to see Brandon? (our friends' son, same age as Isaac)"
Isaac:"Yes. But I want to go to City Hall first."
Me:"Riiight. But Brandon is going to the beach now, you know. We can go City Hall another time. Now, we take a taxi car to go to the beach to meet Brandon there. How about that?"
Isaac:"You will forget to go to City Hall."
Me:"No, I won't. Another day, we go. Now, we go to the beach, alright?"
Isaac:"Oh alright."

And there was no fuss. We took a cab to Sentosa, and had lots of fun the rest of the day without anymore tantrums from Isaac. And so I joked with hubbs:"Your son is the "consultative type" - must consult him and get his agreement; cannot force our decision on him!" :)


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