Friday, 26 July 2013

Our activities in the car!

Given how small Singapore is, it's really amazing how much time we spend in the car. Well, I suppose this is partly due to the fact that we stay on the extreme West part of our sunny island... and the kids' childcare is more than a 15 minute drive away.

This is how the setup is in the car. The kidzes take up the entire second row of the car, with Asher and Shawna each on child carseats, with Isaac on his booster seat, in the middle.
A very natural looking photo - this is how they typically look like!!!
Being on the road so much, we've come up with a number of activities to keep the kids entertained in the car, other than listening to the radio. Some of them, we thought of. But most of them just kinda... evolved. Just thought we would like to share with you the games and activities the kids get up to in the car :)

The Alphabet Game
This started way back when Isaac was just learning his alphabet. He would suggest a letter, and we would all take turns to name objects or words that begin with that letter. For example, he would say "Letter B" and we would take turns to name anything that begins with the letter B from the usual "ball, boy, blue" to the not as usual "Batman, blood, bangsai". It's a very easy game, but intentionally so, so that the kids can play. Now, even Asher and Shawna join us in this game as they are learning their alphabet now in N1.

I Spy 
Isaac learnt this in school and was very excited to teach us the game. Basically, he learnt the colour version, whereby you take turns to be the one to say "I spy something that is ". For example: "I spy something red in colour" "Is it my shirt?" "No!" "Shawna's bag?" "No!" "I give up!" "It's that red triangle in front!" he said triumphantly, pointing to the equilateral triangle on the button on the dashboard that triggers the hazard light. He loves this game, but it has a few shortcomings when played in the car. #1 There are very few things in the car that you can name.#2  If you name an item outside the car, it's gone in a manner of milliseconds... However, the kids love this game, and sometimes I think they do it on purpose when they name something outside the car so you have a very hard time guessing...

Spot these stuff!
This is not exactly a game, but it is something the kids never fail to do. When they see something on the roads, they'd be sure to shout out and point it out to their siblings in excitement. They do the usual, like spotting ambulances, fire engines, police cars. Here are also some other not so usual ones:
  • Bumblebee - any yellow car is a Bumblebee, but this specifically excludes yellow taxis, those are simply "not counted"
  • Botak Trees - any tree that does not have many leaves is a botak tree
  • Soldier - any army men in uniform is greeted with loud cries of "Soldier! Soldier!" Asher, is especially enamoured with soldiers so Isaac and Shawna make sure to point them out to him.
  • Big _____ Car - Our car is a navy blue Honda Freed which the kids have nicknamed the Big Blue Car. They are very good with recognising other Honda Freeds on the road. When they see a white one, they'd go "Big White Car!", a red one "Big Red Car!" etc...
  • Transformers - yes, they would spot cars which have the Autobot or Decepticon symbol on the car and excited call out that they have seen a "good Transformer" or a "bad Transformer" car.
Car logos
Early this year, Isaac started paying attention to all the car brand logos, and started to ask us what brands they were and actively memorised them. He suddenly started doing this and was so enthusiastic about it that it got me wondering... One day, I found out that it was because one of his good friends in school, Shaun, was very into cars. Ah, that explains it, I thought to myself. But I thought it was quite a good memory exercise and it was probably quite normal for boys to have an interest in cars.

Clouds and scenery
Hubbs and I also have a habit of pointing out nice scenery to the kids. Clear skies with clouds, sunsets, rainbows, trees... anything and everything really. The kids would point out shapes in the clouds and tell us what they see in them. We want the kids to find beauty in nature too.

Hello, Bye Bye, Accelerate!
Asher is an incredibly sweet boy and he would smile and wave at anyone he sees from out of his side window. So, one day, Isaac invented this "Hello & Bye Bye game" Every time a vehicle in the lane next to us goes faster than us, the kids would wave and say "Bye bye car!" as the car speeds ahead of us. But every time we catch up with a car who was ahead of us, the kids would wave and say "Hello!" to that car in the next lane. They always have lotsa crazy fun with this game, and they love chanting a phrase over and over again. So one of the things they liked to chant was "Go faster! Go faster! Go faster" until one day, I said. "That is so boring. What is another word for 'go faster', Isaac?" He thought for awhile and said "Speed up?" "Ah, that's good!" I said "but you know what is even better? Accelerate! That means to go even faster, to speed up even more!" The kids catch on immediately and from then on, they chant "Accelerate! Accelerate! Accelerate!" whenever they want us to drive faster!

Centripetal Force - The Pushing Game
Currently, one of the routes to the childcare takes us through a road that has many tight bends, resulting in a kind of rollercoaster ride for the kids. They love it and would want to play The Pushing Game as was taught  to them by their Aunt, hubbs' sister. Basically, you push the person you are leaning towards because of the centripetal force in play. One day, I asked Isaac "Do you know what is causing you to lean to one side when the car turns? It's called 'Centripetal Force'" And I only said it that one time, but now all three kids know the phrase. In the morning, Shawna or Asher would ask me "Mummy, are we early today? Can we go Centripetal Force, please?" Yes, that road/route is now called Centripetal Force. But I found that they really know that the phrase refers to the force, coz when we sometimes make a tight turn, one of the kids will inevitably mutter "Centripetal force!" :)

The Spelling Game
Every time I hear the kids chant "Ac-ce-le-rate!" and blurt "Centripetal Force", I feel very pleased and amused. Who'd have known that even 3 year olds like the twins can learn such long words and even know the scientific concept behind them. Isaac is reading very well for someone who is turning 6 next month, and better yet, it seems that he can spell pretty swell too! He even finds that it is quite a fun game when I ask him to spell random words for me. Thus, every now and then, I would ask him to spell words for us. Shawna would inevitably want to play this game too, albeit not knowing how to spell a single word. So she would always say "I know how to spell! It's D I O C K!" no matter what word was being asked to spell. The amazing this is, she would consistently spell this non-word in the same exact way - D I O C K. It's become our in-joke about Shawna and her spelling diock.

Last but not least, there's dancing! Isaac can really groove and move to the music, and Asher has picked this up as well. Watch this video that was taken early this year, in the car, with Isaac dancing away. Watch out for his annoyed glance at Asher when he tries to disturb Isaac during his dancing. Also watch for Shawna doing  her mini dance in her corner :) Love this video!

So, what do YOU guys do in the car? :)

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Incredible Hulk drinks Green Soup

Remember our little Incredible Hulk? We call him Asher. He calls himself The Incredible Hulk - because the Hulk is green and Asher loves the colour green. That's him below in his three favourite green shirts. Which is about half of all the green shirts he has coz everything else passed down from Isaac is mostly red, and usually anything but green. 

Oh wait, that green army suit is passed down from Isaac. Technically, it was hubbs... It is hubbs' actual old Number Fours that were destined for the bin coz the army came up with those new pixelised camo greens. But the helper we had at the time, Hser Khu, was very handy with the sewing machine, and so she used hubbs old uniform to make a child sized suit for Isaac. See Isaac in the same suit here! He's hardly recognizable!

But this post isn't about Asher's green threads, it is about how we make a toddler eat the things we want him to! :) 

You know how I have mentioned before about Asher being such a lazy eater, and that the only thing he would open his mouth for is chocolate... Well, you might not remember coz that was so long ago. At that time, I thought Asher would outgrow it, and start eating properly sooner or later, like maybe when he was 3 years old or something. But no, he turned 3 early this year, and still he was refusing food. Oh, he's much better now. He would eat rice, and noodles, pasta etc. But he'd only eat the carbo and neither the vegetables nor the meat. Any kind of vegetables and meat, or rather, every kind, no matter what kind of vege or meat - he refuses. But he would drink soup. So his meals would consist mainly of carbo+soup. Rice and soup. Noodles and soup. Pasta and soup. The only exception is spaghetti bolognaise  - which is his favourite savoury dish.

Asher's constipation threatened to come back, with the usual signs of rock hard stools, and his difficulty in poo-ing, and of course - blood in his stools which is not really in his stools, but actually from his anus splitting due to the hard poo. Asher's constipation woes are legendary in our household - a long overdue post that I wanted to write but have yet to get around to. So it was the fear of his constipation rearing its ugly head that causes me to have an inspiration...

"Asher..." I said to my dear boy one day "You are the Incredible Hulk, right?" "Yes, Mummy, I am Incredible Hulk. HUUURRR..." He growls at me and strikes a menacing stance with his skinny arms raised in a fighting pose. "Right... so... you must drink Green Soup! Coz Incredible Hulk is green and he needs Green Soup! Right?" "Yes! Green Soup!" exclaims Asher, agreeably. Quickly, I ask my helper to have some of the spinach she cooked for dinner tonight blended into fine paste, and added to the clear soup to make Green Soup. And Incredible Asher Hulk, ate it all. The entire bowl of Green Soup and Rice, he finished every last bit.
And so he has since that fateful first bowl of green soup. In this picture collage above, there are three different bowls of his green soup. If you look closely, you can see that the top right hand corner bowl of green soup is a little more murky and creamy looking. The bottom right hand corner soup is a slightly clearer army green. Whilst the green soup in the main picture is quite swamp thingy green. He loves his soup, as long as it is green. When we leave the house every morning, he would say to my helper:"Auntie, you remember to cook green soup, okay?"

In the beginning, we only blended the vegetables. But after a week of so of that, with Asher lapping up bowl after bowl of green soup - but still refusing fish, meat, eggs, tofu, everything else, really... I got the idea of adding them all into the blender. So now, every night, we would put whatever was cooked for dinner into the blender and blend it all. We'd make sure there were enough greens in them so that they'd turn the soup green. But now, the green soup is a nutritious mix of meat, fish, eggs, tofu and whatever the rest of us were having for dinner. And because these dishes were all cooked already, the mixture is certainly very tasty indeed, albeit looking a tad disgusting to the rest of us. But for The Incredible Asher Hulk, green soup is the most delicious thing ever. Thankfully, he doesn't question why his green soup often takes on different tastes and different textures and consistency. He just finishes it all.

We used to have difficulty making him eat bread too. I love bread, and so I was particularly keen in introducing him to this wonderful food. But nope, even spreading Nutella chocolate spread on bread is NOT a sure hit with this chocolate loving boy. Then one day, my mother got him to eat a whole slice of bread. Can you guess what bread it is? That's right! Green bread! Pandan flavoured bread! He loved it! Now, he constantly asks for "Green bread!" and he would even eat it plain.

Just two evenings ago, he was eating his green bread while I was cutting his toenails. Poor Asher has a tendency to get ingrown toenails, something unfortunate that was inherited from me. However, thanks (or no thanks!) to that, I am very familiar with how to handle ingrown nails. So as I was relieving him of the nails that poke in his toes to cause him pain with every step he takes, he gave a contented sigh and said "So good..." I looked up and grinned at him as I pulled out the offending piece of dead calcium. I press the side of his toe and said triumphantly "Shiok right? No more pain..."  "Huh?" He says to me "Oh, yah, not pain." He looks like he just woke up from a nice dream... Ah... I realise something... "Asher, what is so good?" I asked. "Green bread, Mummy! It's soooo goood!!!" Laughing to myself, I asked him "What is so good about it? That it tastes so good? or the colour?" "The green colour, Mummy! Look!"

That's our Incredible Asher Hulk for you. Our lovely Green Boy :)

Friday, 12 July 2013

The Things That Matter

Shawna & Asher having fun on a Sunday morning
For those of you who have kids. You know how they are - every minute of play time is precious. Schedules don't matter.  They live in that minute, that second. If they feel like doing some painting, they want to do it now. Who cares if it is 10pm on a weekday night. Not them. 

This is why you would find us all downstairs on our bike /scooter /inline skates as early as 8am on some weekend mornings. The kids want to play and they want to play NOW. Who cares if Mummy and Daddy hasn't had breakfast yet? Well the people with the said empty stomachs do. So we compromise - we cycle/ride/skate to the coffee shop for breakfast. The kids are easy that way, they are quite agreeable to our compromises. Or we could have become experts in making such compromises in this past 6 years as parents.
Shawna is as swift as a swallow on her skate scooter - say that three times in a row!
In any case, it is with growling tummies and restless kids that we quickly ready the kids to leave the house in a jiffy. We get the water bottles, hustle the kids to go pee before we go, and we're out. The twins are being toilet trained and so they're wearing pull-up diaper pants, the DryPantz, which we're trying for the very first time. So far, it has been a great experience. It serves its basic function of holding pee and poo well - these are basics that can't be compromised. But most diapers serve their basic function well, so it is the other things that will make the difference. For example, I am happy that I no longer have to waste time arguing with Shawna  which side the diaper faces coz the word Back is clearly marked on the diaper.  With our previous brand, she used to argue with me that the picture should be in the front instead of on the butt... *roll*eye*
Asher is as happy as a lark!
I used to have a problem with buying diapers... Perhaps it is unique to parents us like who have twins. But then again, I hear of parents with kids who are close in age complain as well - having to buy diapers in different sizes! Oh woe! It is tough to bulk buy (to save time and money!) when you need three different sizes?! (Isaac was still wearing diapers at night last year).

It may not be so obvious from the pix in this post but Asher is very very slim and hipless whereas Shawna is already showing the foundations of my wide hips and thunder thighs (Mummy is so sorry,  Shawna!). Thus, strictly speaking, when we were using the previous brand of diapers, we should buy them both different sizes. But it was such a hassle to do so! After awhile, we just gave up and made them wear the same sized pull up pants diapers. I thought it wouldn't make much of a difference.

But there was a difference. With the previous brand of diapers we used, the XLs were a tad too tight for Shawna and yet slightly too loose for Asher and his ultra slim figure.But somehow Drypantz's XL size cutting could stay up on Asher, and yet wasn't too tight for Shawna. Ever since she was on Drypantz, Shawna no longer comes to me, showing me the red marks that the diaper elastic makes at her waist.... Nor is it totally necessary for Asher to have to wear tight fitting underwear so that his diapers won't droop and eventually drop off his ultra slim hips. At last, I didn't have to waste time on diaper issues that were trivial, yet not unimportant. Yay!  More time for the things that matter! Hurrah! :)

Bye Mummy, we're going to play now!
Disclaimer! We were provided with  four packs of Drypantz in XL size for our use in exchange for this user experience post. All opinions and reactions are completely mine and the kids. To be honest. I would never have tried out Drypantz if I wasn't presented with this chance. I was too used to using the other brand of diapers for the past 6 years to want to change. I had convinced myself that any issues were minor inconveniences, since the diapers performed their primary function of holding pee and poo well. However, I am glad this happened :) Would you like a sample as well? Hop on over to Drypers Singapore Facebook Page to request for a free sample now! :) Give it a try!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

The 42km Challenge!

I did it! I signed up for the OCBC Cycle 2013 earlier this year, and completed it! All 42km of it, I cycled. Okay, so I dismounted twice, both times, on the top of Shears Bridge, so that we could take a few pictures. But still... I did complete it! :) 

It wasn't the first time I had signed up for an event like that.The first picture below is my memento from that very first event I signed up for. It was last year, NTU's 127km round island cycling event Bike Rally 2012. I signed up with hubbs and his cycling buddies, thinking it would be good to take part in something like that with hubbs. He had been taking part in marathons, triathlons and cyclethons like these since for more than 6 years now, when I was pregnant with Isaac. 
The route was grueling, with lots of hills (flyovers, really) to conquer. Hubbs was nice enough (he'd better be! ;p and he was!) by accompanying me on whatever I could manage, even though my speed was probably snail's pace to him. Cycling up the slopes of NTU just to reach the check point just about did me in. I had done about 33km by then. And considering I haven't been exercising regularly prior to the event, I thought it wasn't too bad at all. I was also into self-consolation, yes. But seriously, I didn't want to kill myself. Suddenly, all the news reports of past incidents of people falling dead after exercising flashed past my eyes. And immediately,  I thought of my three lovely children waiting at my parents' place right then - my last image of them was of me kissing them goodbye that morning at about 4.30am. I decided enough was enough. I decided to go home. 

Including the distance I did cycling home from NTU, I clocked a total of 35km or or perhaps even more. It also left hubbs the freedom to charge ahead to look for his buddies and really push himself to the limit to finish the round island 127km event. And finish he did! Complete with the Finisher's t-shirt, and medal. Me? I had nothing. No t-shirt, no medal, no nothing. Just a sore bum and aching thighs. I was happy enough to have done 35km though. But not nearly proud enough to blog a post on it, in case you were wondering why you didn't see a post on this last year.
This year, I signed up for the OCBC Cycle Singapore - The Challenge. It was supposed to be 39km, but the actual route probably measured out to be 42km coz that was what they were calling it on the actual day. Flag off for my event was 6am. I was there by about 5.15am. I had signed up alone, without hubbs, coz he had already signed up for this year's NTU Bike Rally. I wasn't sure that I wanted to sign up for an event that I knew I could not complete. And he felt that OCBC Cycle was too expensive to sign up for - about $100 for 42km, versus NTU Bike Rally's $45 for 127km. Just as well. We figured we both felt better that one of us was with the kids while we were on such events anyway.

Hubbs drove me to the F1 Pit Building, where the event was starting. Look at the crowd in the pictures above!!! It's really amazing how many people would wake up way before dawn to participate in something like that. I signed up, thinking that in the months leading up to the event,  I would find a friend to sign up too. But nope, friends just started at me as if I was crazy when I asked them to join me. But luckily, there was someone as crazy as me who had signed up - Winston, The BlogFather himself! Oh yes, I remembered Liza, The BlogMother Mother of Xander, giving me the "You siao ah!" look when I asked her to sign up too. So Winston offered to be my event buddy that day - like ya know, to make sure I don't keel over and die or something. I told him that he could just go right on ahead if my snail's pace race was getting too boring for him. But he just shook his head and said solemnly:"I will leave no Geek behind!" Yay! I'm recognized as a Geek by one of the coolest Geeks around!
We plodded on at my pace. Which is a tad faster than a snail's pace, to be honest. But still quite a modest speed. I wasn't even really pushing myself to go very fast, as my primary aim was to complete the event without getting a heart attack or something. Incidentally, that's what hubbs said to be when he dropped me off and bid me good luck. He said:"Okay, just have fun okay. No need to push too hard. Cannot complete also nevermind." The message that wasn't said was pretty morbid, though I heard it loud and clear - Don't die on us, yah?!

Thus, I wasn't going as fast as I could. I kept reminding myself that I should pace myself out, and not burn out in the first half such that I couldn't complete it. Winston was pleasant company to the end - even when he politely but pointedly informed me that I would need to go faster than I was already going, so that we could complete the race within the time limit set by the event organisers (coz they would need to open up the highway they had closed for us). So faster, I went. 

We only stopped twice, both times, on the Sheares Bridge, once on the way out, and once on the way back. We had to take photos! That's what bloggers do! At that moment, I was glad that my buddy was a blogger  :p After the stop back on the Sheares Bridge, my buddy took off for the finish line at his own pace, since, I was sure to be able to make my way back for sure seeing that it was all down slope from there. Gravity took over as my buddy. 

I finished the 42km in about 3 hours. It was good enough for me! Especially knowing that I still had energy in me, which meant I could have been faster than I was. I was just glad to have completed it. Surprisingly, the next day, I had an aching butt but not aching thighs... then I remembered why! I have been doing pilates once a week, with Aloysius of Pilates Fitness Revolution for almost a year before the event - that must have been why I was fairly fit enough not to keel over after cycling 42km! Ah... it does feel good to be fit! :)

Will I do this again? Yes, definitely! :) Thanks to my supporting hubbs, thanks to my pilates instructor Aloysius, and thanks to Winston for pacing me on the race! :) Couldn't have done it without you guys! :) Now, for next year's race!

NOTE:  I paid and took part in the OCBC Cycle event, all thoughts and opinions are my own. This is not a sponsored post by OCBC.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Add this utility