My hot date with a handsome guy

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And he's not my husband!!!

It was my off day today, the last Monday of November. I was so looking forward to today as I had arranged a hot date with one of the most handsome guys!

Ya, I know, it's not funny.... I couldn't write better, pardon for my limited English :-) I took a day off because Hao Re's school was closed for spring cleaning. I was cracking my head where to bring him to or just stayed at home. Only on Sunday night, I decided to bring him for a movie.

I brought both the kids to the Choa Chu Kang Park early in the morning to do some exercises for about an hour before sending Xi Yu to her nanny's. We then played a bit at home before heading out for lunch with hubby. Hao Re certainly enjoyed it very much, as he has the full attention for both of us! Think the doting daddy enjoyed very much too though it's only an hour lunch. Hao Re ate quite a bit and behaved so well at the table, all grown up and I really couldn't take my eyes off him (but I have to-lah, since there was another handsome guy waiting to have conversation with me).

Then we went for our movie date. Really felt like a hot date. We chose a couple seats, we leaned on each other, we hold hands, and I hugged him once in a while. The movie is VERY GOOD too! Oh, by the way, we watched the Disney's movie - Rapunzel, double thumbs-up (it's either the movie is really nice or simply because I haven't watched any movie since Toy Story 3, so anything's nice for me). Hao Re enjoyed the movie so much, and he followed the story line really well.

We then walked around a little bit, again, holding hands :-) Shared a cup of Ben & Jerry Ice Cream. And then we headed home. End of my hot date. Look forward to my next one, and hope this time will be with my MAN, not my boy :-)

********************************

Saturday was whole day shopping and eating and playing at JB. The kids were very well behaved. We left our house at 8am and arrived home at about 9pm. Both kids didn't fuss at all, so proud of them!
Sunday was a visit to the Zoo, stayed home, and have dinner at the shopping mall so that the kids can get their energy burnt off at the playground (couldn't go to an outdoor one as it's raining heavily in the afternoon).

Hao Re didn't nap at all on both days, and thankfully he didn't fuss like the previous week. He knocked out earlier than usual so I actually don't mind that :-)

Xi Yu napped about 3 hours on Saturday. But on Sunday, she only napped for about 30 minutes at the last part of the zoo trip, and then she didn't nap at all! As a results, so knocked out at 8.30pm and so I don't mind that too :-)

Hope a equally nice or better weekend coming this week :-)
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Arty crafty #7 (and on bedtime issue)

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We made a tumbler crowd, that is :-)

About the sleeping issues...........
We didn't do much craft this week because hubby came home earlier for Tuesday and Wednesday, so we dined out. I have requested for hubby to make necessary arrangement at work so he can come home early. It has been 3 weeks since my parents left and on most nights, I have to put both kids to bed at the same time. And that's very, very, very stressful. Our kids were not sleep trained and we have the princess who is difficult when comes to bedtime. I sensed that I was hitting the limit, that I was yelling more, sighing more and started to beat Meimei buttock, and Hao Re started to pick up all these baddy (he scolded Meimei exactly like me, the same tone and same words!), and so I knew I needed a break.

So the very kind hubby dumped his work for 2 nights and took over the duty of putting Xi Yu to bed. That made A LOT of different to me! Luckily Xi Yu accepted his daddy (considering that I have been putting her to bed every night for one year!). Hubby managed to put her to bed within an hour and with a little bit of crying. Also good to let him experience what I am going through (that Xi Yu is not an easy sleeper) :-)

Hao Re has no problem falling asleep when Meimei is not around. It's not that he wants to play with Xi Yu or Xi Yu disturbs him, but it's that he wants my full attention or else he just refuses to sleep. He actually falls asleep independently at his childcare during nap time since he was very young. Just pop him onto his mattress and he sleeps. I guess he just wants to have special time with me, singing, talking and hugging me to sleep, which we have been doing every night for almost 3 years. Can't blame him, can I? These 2 nights, he fell sleep within 15 minutes because he had my full attention :-)

Ya, I know, having 2 nights break would not help improve my problem. I have a really nice break but now have to face the same problem once again. I know I have to change to bedtime routine. The previous method - lying down singing, talking, story telling - is NOT working when you have 2 kids of different age (and different personality, and both are very active type. I read them books in the bedroom before turning off the light. We haven't done bedtime reading as Hao Re prefers no books and light off. I have to wait and see if the kids like this new routine or not. I hope they will. It's at least more peaceful on Thursday night, and I didn't yell at them at all (so proud of myself!). I hope this is going to be improved over time. Wish me luck!

*****************************************

Back to the crafts.........
We did a very interesting crafts on Monday night, but I am not going to share it here as it's not suitable for young kids. It's bubble painting, where you stir up a home made mixture (using washing liquid, glue, colouring and some water), blow up the bubbles inside a cup and then you press the paper onto the bubbles to "paint". The effect is very nice. And certainly Hao Re loved it! Which kid doesn't like bubble, especially that it's colourful bubbles and lots of it! BUT, at one point, Hao Re nearly (or he actually did, I am not sure) sucked in a little bit of the mixture when he tried to blow through the straw. That scared the hell out of me. I worried the whole night and only sighed off a big relief when he woke up the next morning normal. But I will remember this and will let him try again a few months later, perhaps.

On Thursday night, we did a tumbler crowd. Very simple to do. And this is the outcome:



It's so simple that I don't think I need to note down the materials and methods involved. Hao Re loves it as he can do almost everything by himself. And Hao Re did some (random, free style) painting after that too.

No Mister Maker on Friday night either. Hao Re decided to have a break of this routine and we sang along some nursery rhythms played on the DVD. Xi Yu for the very first time, sat and watched the TV for almost 30 minutes without getting down from the sofa at all when this DVD was played. Usually, she can only sits for 5-10 minutes then she would get down and move around already. I think she likes music and movement, too!
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A visit to the National Museum and Orchard Road

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Good fun for the kids!

We bought a loaf of bread from the Farmer's Market yesterday. And today we have our very first breakfast at home, with just the four of us, sitting at the dining table. What a good way to kick start the Sunday :-) Hao Re didn't eat much, as usual, but he has fun spreading the butter and jam on the bread. Xi Yu, as usual, was happy eating whatever food we put on her plate.

Then we left for the National Museum. Not that we like the museum so much. We first visited the museum once about a couple of months ago, we didn't really enjoy it, but Hao Re woke up from a long nap that time and might not be in the right mood. So we gave it another try again today.

Oh well, not really we, it's I, who gave it another try. Hubby has to go back to his office for a couple of hours. He left after helping us to get the ticket and making sure we were ready for the tour. I only got ticket for the special exhibition. It's about Pompeii. I knew nothing about it before this, and so it's a learning journey for me too.

It's good that they have a short 3D show showing how the city was buried overnight after the eruption of volcano. Hao Re is one of those children who learns fast through visualisation. He was so focused during the show. And after the short 10 minutes, he understood and told me what the exhibition was about. He told me "那个 fire bomb, 很多很大的fire, 然后那个building, 那个Pompeii 就不见了". He repeated this a few times. We walked around the exhibition area and both of them enjoyed looking at the displays (mostly artefacts).

At the end of the tour (it's a very small exhibit actually that costs $12 per adult), there was an interactive station whereby the kids got to do a gladiator-like helmet, as the photos below. I only managed to help out with Hao Re, luckily Xi Yu was very patient to just playing with the waste paper (I was hoping she would take a nap, but no). Hao Re was so funny. There were quite a number of Caucasians, so almost everyone's speaking English. After 5 minutes or so, he started to talk in different tone, and he called me Mummy (instead of Mama) and spoke in full English (instead of Chinese). Peers influence, ya :-)

Hao Re the gladiator! Very simple fold and stick craft, but the outcome is beautiful! He put on this helmet for the next 2 hours including when doing his "big business" :-)


We completed the Pompeii exhibit in about an hour. So we explored the other part of the museum. We went up to the 2nd floor to view the "Presidential Presents - State Gifts from 1962 to 2009", as it's the only free exhibition on this floor. And it's pretty interesting, I would say. Hao Re enjoyed viewing the displays too. Oh, all this while, Xi Yu was being pushed around in the stroller and surprisingly she didn't make any noise.

Then when we walked pass the Living Galleries, the very kind guard stopped us and complimented that the kids are very cute, and offered to let us in to the "Food" gallery for free. I didn't buy tickets for these exhibitions because we have already seen it the last time round and thought the Pompeii exhibition can last us 2 hours.  I happily accepted the offer as we still have another half an hour to kill before hubby came to meet us.

Then Hao Re told me he was hungry. So I order a pasta and a hot chocolate for him while waiting for hubby to meet us. The 2 hours museum tour has ended, successfully without any fussing, and it's a very enjoyable experience :-)
Hao Re and his pasta. Oh no, he didn't finish it, only took about 1/4 at the most.



Xi Yu loves using the spoon to self-feed now. See how she stood up on the high chair to reach for the pasta and quickly put the noodle into her mouth :-)



Enjoying his hot chocolate after his meal. But he only took a few spoons, then he toppled the whole mug. Luckily it's already turned cool, as it poured onto hubby!



The new spoke person for iPhone! Figuring how to make a call, and I love the way how she talks on the phone. When she put the phone onto her ears, she starts to babble non-stop until she puts down the phone again :-)



Standing/walking for the very first time! This very doting daddy brought her up and down one more time just because his little princess made a eh eh sound pointing to the escalator :-)


It's about 2.30pm when we left the museum. Xi Yu immediately fell asleep in her car seat after finishing her milk, and that's her first nap for the day. Since we were so near to Orchard, hubby suggested we checked out the new Orchard Central and Somerset 313 (not sure how new there are, but it's our first time stepping in). Orchard is just so not for us, I honestly felt so old and so out of the trend. Walked around briefly and left in about an hour time. Xi Yu slept throughout despite the noise and being pushed around up and down.

Hao Re and Xi Yu slept during the car ride and continued to sleep when we reached home. Both of them took a slightly more than 3 hours nap! The consequence? They didn't go to bed until 12 midnight! And I was already dying after yelling at them a few times :-(

Good start, bad ending. But it's an enjoyable day, despite that there was no playground involved at all, surprise that Hao Re was just as happy :-)
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Farmer's Market at Dempsey

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Free trampoline, anyone?!!

Hubby told me on Friday afternoon that he was going to work for the whole day on Saturday. Feeling sad and disappointed, but thanks to his advanced "warning", I quickly adjusted my mindset and made plan for it, so it's not all bad :-P

I was glad that we still made it to the Farmer's Market before hubby went to his office. It's held only on the first and third Saturday every month, initiated by The Pantry Cookery School. It's at the Dempsey Hill, but not at the main cluster, have to drive a little further in to the Loewen cluster (just follow the signboard). It's a pretty nice place. Something different for the kids to see. Mainly on organic products, if you are into organic, you may want to pay them a visit. We just browsed through the stalls, didn't buy anything.

We have our English breakfast at The Pantry. A bit pricey. Pretty good. But not as good as our trusty Picotin :-) Good for the kids though as there is a small (very simple) playground at the left side of the restaurant, and there is a big trampoline at the right side of the restaurant. Need not to say, Hao Re already gone wild when he saw the trampoline. He ate a sausage and a bit of bread and then he has a go on the trampoline. He enjoyed jumping a lot! Xi Yu has some fun at the little playground too. There is another playground at the opposite of the restaurant, there is a slide, a smaller trampoline and something else. So yes, lots of fun for the kids! I am thinking maybe we can go back again for breakfast or lunch on a non-Farmer's Market day, so that we can have a peaceful meal while the kids enjoying the playground, just thinking :-)

We didn't take any photos. If you want to see how it's like, you may want to take a look at this blog, where the author has put up some really nice photos!

We then sent hubby to work and made our way home. Both kids knocked out during the car ride. When I was thinking how should I bring the 2 sleeping kids up to our house alone, they both woke up right after I stopped the car engine :-(

The rest of the day spent at home was pretty enjoyable, surprisingly. I even managed to cook lunch and dinner for Xi Yu and Hao Re (and myself). Xi Yu is still on porridge and Hao Re and me on rice. Xi Yu took another nap, while Hao Re didn't. And that's the problem. When I was preparing dinner, I asked him to wait and I would bring them to playground when Xi Yu wakes up from her nap. You know what he did? He went in to the room and woke up Xi Yu, grrrr! The consequence? I have two crying babies to soother :-( Duh, I shouldn't have mentioned to him about Xi Yu taking nap and waking up and going playground. Can't blame him, really, can I? Luckily both stopped crying and I brought them to the playground for a quick 30 minutes or so.

And then I made a wrong mistake, again. There was an event going on opposite our block, playing some VERY loud annoying music, I bet they must have turned the volume to the max! It was giving me a big headache, though the kids didn't seem to be bothered. Hubby was on his way home so I suggested to bring the kids to the shopping malls downstairs to escape from the horrible noise after feeding them dinner.

Hao Re had a bad melt down! He was playing at those merry-go-round happily initially. Then he climbed on top of a car. That's dangerous. So I walked towards him and helped/carried him down from the car. Didn't scold, actually didn't say a word. But he started to scream/cry. And I became very angry because hubby said I shouldn't scold him in public, which i didn't, he just decided to scream and that became my fault! I carried Xi Yu away and let him continue his nonsense. So he cried and everyone at the shopping mall was looking/staring at him, and gave us the stares like telling us how bad a parents we are, ya, you are right, THAT kind of stares! He cried for almost 15 minutes or so, and only stopped crying when I approached him when we were at home. I really shouldn't bring them out knowing that he only napped for about 15 minutes for the whole day (huh, so that's really my fault, ya). Oh well, never mind :-)

That's our Saturday.
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Xi Yu is 15 months old

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Our happy babbly chubby girl :-)

Our gal is growing up fast, very fast!

I seriously feel that I have neglected her, a lot. This poor girl only gets my attention after I attend to Hao Re and if I still have free time and free hands for her. Of course I take care of all her basic needs, like feeding, changing, sleeping, but I don't spend enough time playing with her. She loves reading/flipping books at this stage, but I just don't have time reading to her. That Hao Re can sense it when I want to spend time with Xi Yu, and he would just glue to me. Sometimes they both cry for me to carry them, sometimes I feel like laughing, sometimes crying :-)
Daddy is busy with work. When he is at home, he devotes most of his love and attention he can to his little princess.

But I am glad she is still a happy girl despite the lack of our attention. She is lucky as she receives lots of love and attention, and great care from her nanny and her family, and for that I am forever thankful to her nanny.

She can follow our instructions so well that she makes me lazier, as I can just sit on the sofa and ask her to get things (e.g., a book) for me. The most complicated instruction she has followed so far is I asked her to get her chair from the corner, pulled it to the coffee table, placed it nicely, sat on it, and read book/do colouring. And she did just that! Then the next time round, I can skip the middle part, I just said "get your chair if you want to read a book". She would do the same. She understands most of the things we say now. And that's fun!

She can indicate her "no' by shaking her head, especially good when rejected food.

She indicates her "yes" or things she wants by pointing to something and make the eh eh ah ah sounds.

She knows how to protest using her weapon - crying or pretent to cry.

She eats very well. She usually eats 2 meals of solid (porridge, pasta) of 1 big bowl each.

She drinks 3x 240ml per day. Sometimes more.

And so it's no surprise that she weighs 12kg as of today! And she has passed the 80cm mark too.

As a results, she poos a lot too! But that's good, input balance with output = healthy body system.

She doesn't drink as much water as before, but that's okay, as long as she still likes to drink water.

She babbles a lot, and she can said those common words clearly, like Baba, Mama, Gorgor, row row row (because Hao Re likes to sing row row row a boat), 摇摇摇 (as my mum recited the 外婆桥 to her many times when she sat on my mum's leg and be shaking up and down). She said other words also like, 打, 拿, 鞋, etc, mostly the words she hears from us most, and many others which I cannot recall now.

She is still an easy baby to be taken care of. No fuss during meal time, bath time and nap time. Only the bedtime is still bad. She still refuses to sleep at night and sometimes it takes up to an hour to put her to sleep, despite that she is already very tired. But at least she sleeps well now and didn't wake once she goes to bed till it's about 3-4am. This makes a lot of different to me, as I can do a lot of chores and have some personal time before turning in. She has been asking for milk in the middle of the night for the past 2 weeks or so. I just let her be, just that I have to sacrifice my sleep a bit. I only hope she sleeps better soon, as in she only wakes till the next morning and no waking up in between.

She spends between 10-14 hours in sleeping. Not too bad.

She is still on pacifier. I want to wean her off, but I am hesitating as it makes my life easier by just putting the pacifier into her mouth when she wakes in the middle of the night to soothe her, than to have to wake up to carry her or such. I am not sure yet, I might or might try weaning her off. While she herself has no intention of bidding goodbye to her pacifier.

She has got quite a lot of pushes and beating from her gorgor. It was her fault for a few times as she tried to snatch toys/books/pens from Hao Re. But most of time, she was the innocence one, she got that because her gorgor is jealous of her getting my attention. I try to be fair, but often, I have to soothe down Hao Re first, else I will have 2 crying babies.

As in my last post, I am glad that she is joining Hao Re for the fun. So I am hoping this gets better and better.

I don't have any annual leave left this year, or else I would want to take a few days of leave to spend some time with her, just Xi Yu and me, to devote my 100% full attention on her.

I think she is rougher than Hao Re. I hope she didn't pick it up from me. I usually lost my patient when the bedtime comes, and so I scold/scream/shout at them sometimes. But I am just a human. After 9 hours of work, 3 hours of tending to 2 demanding toddlers, my battery is almost flat when it's their bedtime. I seriously need to change their bedtime routine. Cut down TV time is my first to-do-things on the list till the end of the year. Wish me luck!

I am loving my little Xi Yu more and more. Sometimes I couldn't stop smiling just by looking at her funny and cute expression. She is really cute, and smart, and she's a good girl. Mama love you, Yu Yu!
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Arty crafty #6

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We made 3 different crafts in one night and Xi Yu joined in!!

Crafts created thanks to Mister Maker on Cbeebies!

First craft
Something similar to what we have done for arty crafty #2. Only that to make the shape of the clay into the body of a ladybug and the cotton buds are inserted as its legs. Paint it to look like a ladybug, or whatever insects you want it to turn into. No photo taken as Hao Re didn't finish his ladybug.

Second craft
This one similar to what we have doen for arty crafty #1, even simpler. Just draw a shape of a dinosaur (or whatever), and then stick different types of grains onto it.



As compared to the previous similar craft, he enjoyed this one very much! He saw where I got the grains from (I only gave him rice thinking easier for me to clean up afterwards, keke, lazy mum), and he obviously wasn't happy with just one type of grain since Mister Maker used several, so he got himself a few more types from the drawer himself). The reason why he liked to do this is because he can play with the glue (he used up another bottle of glue!). After making this dinosaur, he asked me to draw a butterfly and he continued doing this.

While for Xi Yu, I let her sat on her high chair and join us on the table for the very first time!
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Arty crafy #5

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We made "A thing"?!!

Crafts created thanks to the Mister Maker on Cbeebies!



Materials:
1. Papers.
2. Coloured tissue papers.
3. Glue.
4. Scissors.

Methods:
NONE - do whatever you want.

Verdict:
This is the first craft whereby Hao Re didn't want me to show him what to do. He wanted to do it his own way. He asked me for those materials. He kinda remembered a bit here and a bit there out of the 3-4 crafts Mister Maker has just shown. So the end results? He combined all what he can remember into one piece - his own creation!! And he learned how to squeeze out the glue from the bottle, and he used up one whole bottle of glue! He doesn't care what he made at the end, and neither do I. I totally love this kind of play!
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Arty crafty #4

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We made a "bird"?!!
Crafts work created thanks to Mister Maker on Cbeebies!



Materials:
1. Card papers of different colours.
2. Glue.
3. Scissor.

Methods:
1. Cut out two different colours long strips (~one inch in width) from A4 size card paper.
2. Stick them in "L" shape.
3. Fold the 2 different colours paper perpendicular, to form the springy nose thingy (the yellow and blue thing in this photo).
4. Draw a bird and cut it out.
5. Stick the springy nose to the bird.
6. DONE!

Verdict:
This is a bit challenging for Hao Re, I thought, on the part where you have to fold the 2 colours strips to form the springy nose thingy. But no, not for him. After I showed him once, he understood it so well that he actually did another on his own with a little of my help! And guess why this bird doesn't really look like a bird, because it was drawn by Hao Re and he cut it out himself! The crafts doesn't have to be a perfect piece, more important is he has had fun!

And good thing about Mister Maker ideas is that, you get the crafty idea from watching his show, and then you can be add in your own creativity and make something else using his idea. Just have to use your imagination or guide your kids to think creativitily!
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Arty crafty #3

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We made graffiti!






Materials:
1. A tray.
2. A piece of paper.
3. Paints.
4. A small rolling ball.

Methods:
1. Cut the paper into a shape to fit your tray.
2. Dab some paints onto a piece of paper.
3. Throw in the ball and roll it inside the tray to get the effect that you want.
4. Add more paints if necessary and continue rolling the ball.
5. DONE!

Verdict:
It's probably the easiest crafts to do. Hao Re enjoyed it! The original Mister Maker idea was to make a spider web. So what he did was he dab all the paints in the middle of the paper. Then after rolling the paints, he drew and cut out a spider and stuck that spider in the middle of the paper. He is great, isn't he?! Hao Re remembered the spider bit, but after he got into the rolling, he forgot about the spider (phew, so thankful for that because I do not know how to draw a spider!).
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Arty crafty #2

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We made a Monster?!!

Crafts made thanks to Mister Maker on Cbeebies!



Materials:
1. Air-dried clay.
2. Cotton buds.
3. Paints

Methods:
1. Take some clay and make it into a round (or whatever) shape.
2. Cut some cotton buds into various length.
3. Stick the cutton buds into the clay in whatever orders you want.
4. Let the clay air dry for a while (for better handling when painting).
5. Paint the "monster", be creative!
6. DONE!

Verdict:
Hao Re loves this piece! He asked to do more crafts after this. Actually it's not meant to be a monster, I cannot remember what Mister Maker intended to make it to though (can't blame a mum of 2 having bad memory, can you?). Mister Maker's creative is really wonderful, very colourful etc. But we are very happy with what we made (green one is made by Hao Re, orange is mine), it's the fun that matters, not the final outcome :-)
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Arty crafty #1

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We made a tree!

First ever craft work created thanks to Mister Maker on Cbeebies!


Materials:
1. An A4 size cut out from cardboard box or similar.
2. Some dried branches picked up from the street.
3. A few types of grains, of different size and colours.
4. Sellotape and glue.

Methods:
1. Use branches to form a tree (as big or as small as you like) and stick it to the cardboard using the adhesive.
2. Glue grains (as many or as little as you like) on to the tree.
3. To make it more fun, you can add more stuff onto the tree, like cotton wool, cut out a bird, a butterfly, apple, pear, etc.
4. DONE!

Verdict:
This is a really creative craft that only uses simple materials. Hao Re didn't appreciate it though as it was his very first craft at home. This tree is actually made by the mum who has no sense of arts and crafts. Not bad, ya :-)
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Arty crafty @ home

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Cheers to Mister Maker on Cbeebies BBC (and to Starhub too!)

First, we have to thank Starhub for offering us a great promotion, whereby when we renewed our Cable TV contract for 1 year, they slashed our month subscription price by 50%, and on top of that, we get to watch ALL CHANNELS for 2 months! Doens't it sound like an unbelievable offer? And what's more, we didn't even have to go to their shop, one of their sales rep knocked on our door and offered us this.

And because we can watch all channels, we were introduced to the Cbeebies channel, a BBC channel meant for pre-schoolers. Hao Re has since hoked on this channel most of the time, or the BabyTV channel, and has not watched the Playhouse Disney Channel for a few weeks already. It may simply because it's a novel thing and he may change his "taste" soon, but for now, we are certainly enjoying the Cbeebies channel lots, especially the "Mister Maker"! We like the "Boogies Beebies" as well, which teaches children how to do simple and interesting dance move. Hao Re likes the "Teletubbies" and "In the night garden", and other shows. Some of the more famous Cbeebies shows (which get to broadcast on Playhouse Disney) includes "Bob the Builders", "Chuggington", and "Timmy Time". Cbeebies is a fun channel for kids.

Okay, too long winded, now back to the Mister Maker.

You have to watch this Mister Maker, he is is great, the show is great, and he is so creative, can easily turn some papers or containers or whatever into nice pieces of arts and craft in a few minutes! And what's more? It's shown at the right timing for us. The TV would be switched on at 7.30pm as it's dinner time for Hao Re (I know it's bad to eat while watching TV, but I have no better way, for now). We watch the show together and after the show ends or when he finishes his dinner, whichever goes last, we switch off the TV and get to do the crafts that the Mister Maker has shown us how.

It's really great, and it's working really well for us (or rather for me, who has no sense of creativity and zero talent for arts and crafts, my hubby said that's because I am a scientist, keke). We get do something together, with Xi Yu tagging along, doing/playing with whatever I can let her play, it's quality time spent! Before this, I usually ask Hao Re what he wants to do, and we often don't know what to do after a while, and he doesn't really like reading (Xi Yu loves books though!).

Oh, a bit on the baddy - eating while watching tv. I have started to let Hao Re watch TV while eating since August/September. Hubby has to work late on most days, and so I have to handle 2 kids single-handedly till he comes home. This is how the typical schedule goes:

6.30pm - Fetch Hao Re from childcare
6.45pm - Fetch Xi Yu from nanny
7.00pm - Arrive home
7.05pm - Cook dinner (the kids either join me in the kitchen or do free play at the living)
7.30pm - On TV and feed Hao Re dinner and have my own dinner at the same time (Xi Yu doesn't like to watch TV, so she continues to play or read/flip books).
8.00pm - Off TV and the arts and crafts start
8.30pm - Change to other activities like painting/drawing/colouring/jigsaw puzzles if we finish the craft work fast
9.00pm or 9.30pm - On TV (depending on how long I can hold on to or how hard working I am on that day. And if the kids are behaving well, I sneak off the take a quick shower and do some small house chores. If not, then have to wait till the kids are asleep.)
9.30pm or 10.0pm - Off to bed (both go to the bedroom together if hubby is not back yet. If he is back, then Xi Yu goes to bed first follows by Hao Re, who continues to watch TV).

Ya, I know. I am taking the easy way out. I have officially employed our TV to be the babysitter. We tried to think positively that it's not all that bad, since they (mainly Hao Re) only get to watch TV for about 1-2 hours per day (during weekdays, and more during weekends if we stay in), and he learns something watching the TV, and we usually accompany him while watching. Yes, yes, it cannot be that bad, I am sure :-)

After watching it a couple of weeks, we have done some really simple and interesting arts and crafts, and I would show them in the next few posts. Since a couple of days ago, my little boy wants to do not just one, but all (usually 3-4) the crafts ideas Mister Maker has shown. He is no longer satisfied with just doing what I ask him to do. Rather, he initiates the crafts work - he goes get the materials needed and try to do the crafts work on his own, telling me he doesn't need my help. Sometimes he combines all 3 crafts work ideas into one, and makes sometimes different or nothing at the end, but that really doesn't matter. To me, this is self-initiated learning through play, and nothing can be better than this for my 34 months old! And Xi Yu gets to do some arts and crafts, too!

So yes, thank you so much, Starhub, Mister Maker and BBC!
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Very happening weekend!

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The Kam family heads out for fun!

On Saturday, we brought the kids to Hao Re's childcare to attend the parent-teacher meeting, as the last post.

We then headed to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. It's a great place for the kids to appreciate the nature. Though we arrived there closed to 11am, it's not too hot as it's all shaded by the trees. As the kids are still young, and we were not prepared, we didn't do the walking/hiking. We went straight to the children playground. It's good that we have to walk for a short distance to reach to the playground. So along the way, the kids got to see some giant ants (as compared to those at home), some insects you don't usually get to see, hear the insects and birds chirping, see how the leaves were eaten up by the insects (small and big holes observed on the leaves), how the leaves fall down from trees, how tall the trees are, etc, etc.

Xi Yu enjoys the walk at the nature reserve


The playground is pretty unique too, the equipment installed were not seen in other playgrounds. Especially the slide. Hao Re has to cross a small suspension bridge, then slide down through the bush and landed on the slope of the hill and has to climb some wooden stairs to come up to the playground again (see photos below if you don't know what I am talking about). BUT, he only did it once as there were a lot of ants! He was so scared of them! Then the kids have some great time playing with the swing. Especially Xi Yu, she laughed so much and refused to get off from the swing!

Hao Re takes the challenge of this very special slide! As you can see in the photo on the right, he stood up as there were too many ants!



Hao Re at the playground



Xi Yu and Hao Re have a go at the swings!


We spent about 1+ hour there and we then went for lunch. I made a booking at this Italian restaurant at Bukit Timah that serves authentic Italian food, recommended by a fellow mummy. My dear hubby was such a good daddy that he made his best effort to come home earlier on Thursday night and spent the entire 2 hours playing with the kids! Painting, playing with the clay, drawing, reading books, and without switching on the TV or PC. And the kids were so happy to have Baba's accompany (probably got sick of the boring Mama already :-)), Hao Re even giggled during sleep! So I suggested to have a nice lunch at this restaurant to "reward" him :-) The food was good, pretty nice (though still can't match with what we had in Italy) and didn't come cheap. And at the end, hubby was the one who paid for the bill, haha!

The kids were very tired already. So headed home for them to have a good nap. Stayed home till it's dinner time. Then we headed to Lot 1 for dinner, to get the Pinocchio the Musical tickets from Sistic (see below) and to buy some arty crafty thingy for Hao Re from Popular Bookshop.

Sunday is even more packed!

We had a hearty breakfast at Picotin at Horsecity, one of our favourite place for breakfast/brunch so far. The last time round when we were there with Vivien and Isaac just a few weeks ago, Hao Re ate a lot. But not this time. He's not interested in the food at all. Xi Yu was such a lady, she sat on the high chair, pick up the bread pieces gently, and put into her mouth and munched on it gently. And she did that while we kinda enjoyed (as have to keep an eye on Hao Re who was running wild)our breaksast. She was very ladylike that very morning.

Then we headed to the Singapore Repertory Theatre at Robertson Walk for the Pinnochio The Musical. It's a show espeically created by an award-winning team from Asia, Australia and the UK. Although it's recommended for children age 4 and above, we think our kids like musical and should be able to sit through and enjoy, so we braved it. And we are right. The kids enjoyed the show so much! Hubby was very smart, he got Hao Re ready for this by letting him watch some trailers on Pinocchio found on the internet. Hao Re appreciated the show very much, he understood the storyline, he watched the people and the puppets in full concentration and enjoyed the songs and musics, he asked us questions, he told us what he observed, and he even manage to sing a bit of the song that the fairy was singing at the end of the show! And our little girl? Though being a 14 months old, she amazed us on how much she enjoyed the show, too. Except for the first 10 minutes or so when she was trying to settle down in a darken room, that she walked and moved a bit, the rest of the time, she sat on my lap and watched the entire show with full concentration, without any fuss and didn't fall asleep despite it's her nap time! It's an excellent show, really great for the children (and adults too)! The show runs till 4th Dec, so you still have a chance to if you haven't watched it, tickets can be purchased from the Sistic website. Tickets are not expensive. Much better than the Barney show which was almost triple the price!



Right after the show, we headed to the Polliwogs at the East Coast Park. We are not a fan of indoor playground, but Hao Re loves it, and particularly the Polliwogs because of the gun thingy, he kept mentioning that he wanted to go to the playground that have the gun to shoot out balls, since our last visit about a month ago. The kids took a power nap during the car ride and they woke up and were so excited to find themselves at the playground. Don't have to say much - the kids totally enjoyed the 1 hour plus we were there! I climbed up and down together with Hao Re and my whole body was aching after the 1 hour work out :-) Xi Yu was very excited to explore the place as this was the first time she's there (she was taking nap the last time round). And she just went wild, trying out everything within her reach and climbed up the slope at the main area like a pro!

Sadly, it's raining. So we cannot proceed to cycling. Had our lunch and headed home. Each of them got a bottle of milk and knocked out during the car ride. The rest of the day was stayed home and they got to enjoy Mama's cooking while hubby being tortured on wife's cooking :-)
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Teacher-parent meeting

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Update of Hao Re at childcare

We attended the very first "Teacher-Parent Meeting" at this childcare that Hao Re is attending since August this year, together with Hao Re and Xi Yu, since it's on a Saturday and we have no place to deposit them :-)

The emphasis of this meeting was on the Montessori class and Chinese class, in which these 2 classes occupies him one hour each, and not on his "normal" class. As usual, we were being briefed on what he has learnt and showcased of the arts and crafts and simple worksheet (e.g., tracing of letters and alphabets) that he has done. We are glad to know that he is progressing very well as described by his teachers.

His Montessori teacher said he can recognise almost all letters and can recognise the alphabets from 1-19. We didn't know he can do so much now as we hardly/never do the letters and alphabets at home since we focus on play when he is with us. He can focus very well during the Montessori classes, follow the instructions well, very determined to complete the task, and do the tasks well. His teacher also observed that he is a little perfectionist, in accordance to what we observed too! Like this activity below with the pink tower, his teacher said he was so focused on it that he has to make each and every of the tower block aligned in a straight line perfectly, while this was not observed in his classmates. We observed the same when he is at home, when he wants to do something, he makes sure he does it right according to the way he wants it or the way we ask him to. His teacher said he has improved a lot in his speech and language and we think so too! He can now speak in proper sentences and can form a question in full. His teacher said he is a very clever boy and we just nodded with pride :-)

Hao Re concentrating on the activities during the Montessori class





His Chinese teacher feedback that Hao Re is able to communicate with her in full Chinese very well. He sings and he recites the poetry/san zhi jing during classes and he likes to do painting/colouring/drawing. The funny thing was when his teacher said Hao Re can recite the first 8 phrases of the san zhi jing, and I told her he can do more. Without us talking further, this little boy started to recite and show his teacher how much he can do, and that took his teacher to a total surprise as she didn't know he can recite that much already :-)

Amazingly, his Montessori teacher and his Chinese teacher said Hao Re seems to know who speaks Chinese only, who speaks English only, and who speaks both (the Chinese teacher speaks zero English, the Montessori teacher and his class teacher speak zero Chinese, as they are non-locals, I think, while other local teachers speak both Chinese and English). And depending on who he speaks to, he can easily switch between Chinese and English, and when he speaks in a language, he speaks that particular langugue in full without mixing with the other. He is gifted in language, perhaps :-) He starts to show great interest when hubby and I are talking in Cantonese, he might pick this up soon?

So it's all good with his progress at this childcare so far. And we are happy with the environment provided. After attending this childcare for 3.5 months now, Hao Re makes full attendance, meaning he didn't fall sick at all (he had 2 episodes of a little unwell during weekends but he recovered within a day)! That tells either he has built up really strong immunity or the school has put in some strict measures or both. Whatever it is, it's good for us and it's good for Hao Re!

It's ashamed that until now I still haven't really studied what's Montessori teaching is all about. Lazy bum I have :-) However, to us, the main purpose of putting him to a daycare is because we have to work full time. Our main priority is that he is happy there and being taking care of, and not what he has learnt or not learnt. Our choice of this school was not because of the Montessori, but because of its environment and availability at that time. And he is obviously very happy at this childcare, he goes to school happily everyday (except having Monday blues), follows the daily routines well, clicks with a little boy and made him his best friend, clicks with a little girl and made her his girlfriend, and likes his class teacher a lot (not the Montessori teacher) that he even mentioned her name during weekends, how rare! We are just happy that he is willing to go to school and spend his day at his school happily. If he can learn something extra, we take it as a bonus and we would never want to leave the teaching (or rather, the shaping and forming of his personalities) to the teachers.

I am dreaming for the day to come when I can work from home or work part time (if financial allows) and to spend more time with him and with Xi Yu. But for now, we are happy with the arrangement, and we are very thankful for the involvement of his teachers in the very important of his growing up years! Thank you teachers!
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Outdoor activities for the kids in Singapore

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Thinking where to bring the kids to?

We are actually not so much of an outdoor person before we have kids. I mean we like the nature and stuff, but that's the to-do activities only when we are on holiday :-) Before we have kids, we often watch a movie or two during weekends, read a book or two, and hunt for some nice food or food to satisfy our craving. A visit to the zoo would probably be at the bottom of the list.

Our lifestyle changed since 3 years ago, for the benefit of the kids, as we figured bringing the kids to the outdoor is the best way for them to learn (through play, observation and feeling/touching the nature), great for family bonding, good for the health, and not forgetting it's the best way for them to release their energy (so they will sleep early that night :-)).

Listed below are all the outdoor places (that I can remember and blogged about) that we have brought the kids to. To be very honest, I have never thought there are so many nice places that Singapore has to offer, for her being a city country on a tiny island, with no mountain, no lake, no this and no that. The Singapore government has really done a great job in providing and maintaining nice and safe outdoor activities for the family to enjoy, thumbs up for this!

These are listed in the order of our preference, judged on how much the kids like the place, how comfortable we are with the place, how easily accessible for us, etc.

1. Singapore Zoo (www.zoo.com.sg)
Why the Zoo comes at the top of the list? Simply because our kids love animals! The park is huge and clean and nice. And after the major reconstruction of the children play area a couple of years back, now it offers one of the best playground for the kids, the Kidzworld! And it's only a short 10-15 minutes drive from where we live. Where else would be better than this (for us)?!! Click HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE for our outings to the Zoo.

2. West Coast Park (check the npark* website)
We like this more than the East Coast Park because it's much less crowded and has lots of activities (playgrounds and obstacle courses) for the kids to do. It's very spacious and suitable for kite flying too. There is no bicycle rental though. A McDonald restaurant (with al fresco setting) is available within the compound of the park. Click HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE for our outings to the West Coast Park.

3. Jacobs Ballas Children Garden
As the name suggests, it's a garden especially designed and built for children. How privilege the children are! There are fun activities (sand playground, waterplay, tree houses, maze, suspension bridge, etc) for the kids, and when the kids are older, they get to learn the details of the plants, how photosynthesis works, etc, as it serves as an educational garden for children. Click HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE for our outings to the Jacobs Ballas Children Garden (part of the Botanical Garden).

4. Botanical Garden (www.sgb.org.sg)
The rest of the Botanical Garden is very nice too! Fresh air, lots of green, extremely spacious, nicely maintained lawn for your to sit/lie down to relax and for the kids to run/play. You have to bring something along (a ball, blow bubbles, etc) to entertain the kids though if they can't be satisfied with just running around. You can walk from the main Botanical Garden to the Jacobs Ballas but that's a pretty long walk. The restaurant offers great pizza and other western (Italian) food. Click HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE for our outings to the Botanical Garden.

5. East Coast Park (check the npark* website)
This is one of the most popular places for Singaporeans of all age! Cycling is the most popular activity as a bicycle can be rented at a very affordable price and you can cycle along the coastline to admire the scenery. You can't really swim as the water is not very clean, but you can let your kids to have sand play and get a little wet. You can try other activities also, and there are plenty of (good!) restaurants for your dining options. Click HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE for our outings to the East Coast Park.

6. Marina Barrage (http://www.pub.gov.sg/marina)
This is quite a new place. It's designed very smartly. It serves as one of the country's reservoir. And at the same time, they added in some elements to make it a leisure place for the public too. It offers water play, rooftop garden for kite flying, and to enjoy the fabulous city view. There is a Sustainable Singapore Gallery, showcasing Singapore’s efforts towards environmental sustainability. A cafe and a Chinese restaurant are available. And there is a small kiosk too. Click HERE, HERE and HERE for our outings to the Marina Barrage.

7. Hort Park (check the npark* website)
It's new. It serves as a knowledge hub for plants and gardening. It's very well organised. And it has built in playgrounds to attract the young visitors too. There is a Thai restaurant on site but we have not tried it yet (it's closed on Sunday, weird). Click HERE and HERE for our outings to the Hort Park.

8. Pasir Ris Park (check the npark* website)
We only had been here once. We like the place but it's too far away for where we live, what a shame! But we would definitely go there again to find out more about this nice park. Click HERE for our only visit to the Pasir Ris Park.

9. Choa Chu Kang Park (check the npark* website)
Despite being a neighbourhood park, the Choa Chu Kang Park is a really nice park, so I guess we are lucky to stay at CCK? Or maybe many other neighbourhood parks are about the same standard? I am not sure. The children playground has just received a total face-lift recently. Nice jogging track and all. There is a restaurant inside the park, serving halal Chinese food, how about that? It's very popular amongst Malays, as well as Indians and Chinese. The food is okay but too MSG-laden. Click HEREHERE for the great time we spent at this park.

10. Bottle Tree Park (www.bottletree.com.sg)
The uniqueness of this park is it's a privately owed park! Probably is one of the rare ones that isn't belonged to npark. The entire park is not as well maintained as the npark' parks, the equipment is aging etc. But yet, it's still a nice park with some unique touches, as opposed to the standard parks you see elsewhere. There is "longkang" fishing, boat riding, gardening, etc. And there is a Chinese seafood restaurant. We have been there a couple of times, but I didn't blog about it.

11. Bird Park (www.birdpark.com.sg)
The reason why it's not listed in the Top 10 is that as compared to the Zoo, it's kinda boring with limited variety to watch. Some of the bird species are difficult to be spotted. We have only been there once during the past 3 years, click HERE for our outing, and we didn't enjoy much, partly because Hao Re was still very young then. We should plan for our next trip soon. We may like it more this time round?

12. Dairy Farm Nature Park (check the npark* website)
We went because it's near us. It's all very natural, but it's not suitable for young children, as the main activity is to walk/hike. Nonetheless, it's worth the drive just to take in some fresh crisp air! Click HERE for our only visit.

13. Chinese Garden
It's a huge garden. We haven't really explored it that much. The first time we went it's for the mid-autumn festival at night time. The second time round we spent most of the time in the tortoise museum. Click HERE and HERE for our visits. I guess we have to visit it and spend more time to really enjoy it.

14. Farm visits
Not so much fun for us since we grew up in kampung. Hao Re was too young to appreciate, and Xi Yu was still in my tummy. Maybe we should try again soon. Click HERE for the only visit to the farms around Yio Chu Kang area. We are very near to the farms at CCK, so sometimes we drop by to get some fresh vegetables (not necessary cheap though).

*npark website at http://www.nparks.gov.sg/. Npark takes care of almost all the parks in Singapore. The list is very long. So log on to their website to find one near your place. Their website provides sufficient information for each of the park.

And there are still many other great places that we have yet to explore and we really want to go, like:

- Sungai Buloh Wetland Reserve
- Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
- Woodlands Waterfront (www.ura.gov.sg/woodlandswaterfront/)

Do you know of any other good outdoor activities in Singapore? We would love to hear from you and would really appreciate any tips from you!

To the GREAT OUTDOOR, cheers!!!
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Holiday ended

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Not a long weekend that I looked forward to.......

My parents have to go back to the kampung.......

Hubby had to work full day on both Friday (Deepavali holiday) and Saturday......

But hey! At least we had a nice Sunday! It's not all bad :-)

Friday (Deepavali Day) 
I wanted to bring the kids out on Friday, as the grandparents supposed to leave on Saturday morning (more on that later). Wanted the kids enjoyed more happy time with the grandparents. But the weather wasn't good. Looked all groomy and grey. So we stayed in till almost 6pm. Then we brought the kids to the rooftop playground at Lot 1. It's drizzling very lightly, and I still let the kids play at the water splash zone for a short 10 minutes. Then dried and changed them. Let them continue to play at the "dry zone" before we went for our dinner.

Sharing a ride :-)


Hao Re hasn't been eating well when we are out. He simply doesn't have interest on any type of food. Chinese, Japanese, Western, grilled, baked, steamed, or even deep-fried, neither meat, vegetable, rice, noodle, not even ice-cream! Soft approach, scolding, threatening, rewarding, sweet-talk, etc, nothing works. He just refuses to eat. We usually just let him be. At least he is eating well at school and reasonably well at home. And he still has some fat to be burnt out anyway :-)


Saturday
Woke up a bit early as we have to send my parents to JB to take the coach. We got them to board at JB so at least they don't have to get on and off the coach at both customs, less trouble for them. But guess what? They missed the bus! Not because of the traffic jam. The traffic was pretty okay and we had factored in enough time for any unexpected jam. We actually arrived at the Larkin bus terminal one hour plus before the departure time. Hubby went to the counter to exchange for the ticket (we booked the ticket online), and we still have 1 hour to departure time. So we decided to go to the Danga Bay for a short walk. Got on a tram ride and were brought to explore the entire place, which was a pretty nice place, and we are thinking of going back, if possible. Then we went back to Larkin at 11am with a happy mood. We were not late, but it's on the clock, and the bus had left without my parents! Despite that they knew we would be there since we had already reported ourselves at the counter one hour before that. Nobody wanted to help us, passed us from one staff to the next staff, and they were blaming us for being late, and they didn't offer to refund. Whatever! The next bus would be at night. My dad said he wanted to wait at the terminal till night bus. That's a crazy idea - the air of this place is so polluted and there is no proper room and facilities for people to wait. No way we were leaving them there. So what to do? Drove them back to Singapore again :-P

Hubby went to work. We rested at home for a while. Then we brought the kids to the Jacobs Ballas Children Garden. The kids have a wonderful time playing with the sand, and the water, especially Xi Yu. Hao Re enjoyed playing with the kids there, he has his own way to socialise with strangers :-)

Waterplay at the Jacobs Ballas Children Garden. Look how Xi Yu's big tummy shown up in the middle picture when she is in Hao Re's old swimsuit :-)


To get Hao Re out from the water play, I have to promise him to let him play at the tree house (climb up the stairs to the house and then slide down). Maybe he was already too tired or what. He fell from the stairs while climbing up to the tree house. I didn't see it happen as I was busy keeping an eye on Xi Yu, who was walking/running at the nearby path. I heard him crying a few minutes (?) after the fall. I quickly rushed to him and he was holding on to the railing refusing to let go. There was a kind woman trying to pacifying him, but he cried out loudly for me, and didn't want anyone else. He immediately jumped onto me when he saw me. I thanked the woman but I forgot to ask how he fell, as I was only thinking if he was hurt or not. He stopped crying after some cuddling and wanted to climb up and slide down again, so obviously the fall was not a bad one, luckily! I let him do two rounds and off we left. He wanted to have a go at the suspension bridge and gladly let the grandparents accompany him.

We wanted to have dinner on the way back at the Upper Bukit Timah road. But have to ditch the idea as there was no parking at all due to to the construction for the new MRT station, and also because Xi Yu has fallen asleep. So we went home straight. Had some simple dinner instead.


Sunday
I was still traumatised thinking of the Larkin bus terminal yesterday. So I asked hubby to send my parents off to board the bus at Resort World Sentosa. And I stayed home with the kids. Hao Re bid goodbye to the grandparents and gave them a hug and a kiss each. And he kept telling me "公公和婆婆坐train-train / bus 回去Salak Baru 了!". And I asked if he misses them, sometimes he said yes, sometimes he said no :-)

Today is going to be the best day for this long weekend, because hubby didn't have to work!!!

Hubby spent the morning with the kids, reading and playing, and watching some trailers on the computer. I think the kids miss him a lot and he misses the kids very very much as he had been very busy at work the whole week! Very nice to see them bond.

After lunch, we headed to the Asian Civilisation Museum, as they were running some special programs for the kids. And we have dated Vivien and Isaac. We arrived the museum at about 2pm. Both the kids were napping during the 45 minutes car ride.

The most popular activities being the face painting and the kite making. The queue was actually bearable but Hao Re was not interested. He got into a simple crafts, making a bird. I accompanied him while hubby brought Xi Yu away and let her explored freely. Hao Re did us very proud, as he managed to complete the bird almost all by himself - he did half the colouring (as it's a symmetrical thingy, so he asked me to do half following the colours he chose), he did all the cutting by himself, and I helped him with the sticking part as he's not strong enough to squeeze out the glue.

And this is the outcome:


Vivien and Isaac came a little bit late. We went in to the museum first and Isaac joined us later, after he finished doing the same craft, to watch drama and dance shows. Hao Re and Xi Yu enjoyed the shows very much, they sat through, watched with full of concentration, and reacted (clapped hands, laughed) promptly.

We then toured the museum with the kids. Hubby wandered around the museum before the shows ended and he couldn't find us until much later. To be honest, this museum is not suitable for children. Most of the displays/exhibits are not easy for (young) children to digest. And the entire exhibit area is so dark that we were happy that the kids didn't fuss. Hao Re and Isaac enjoyed each other's accompany, and they kept shouting up for "dragon", "dinasour", "animal". I think Hao Re would have fussed a lot if Isaac's not around.

We decided to move on to the Marina Barrage for more (real) fun, some sunlight and fresh air. The kids went wild at the waterplay area. All three of them took of the shirts, with Isaac has a proper swimming trunks, while Hao Re on his shorts and Xi Yu on her underwear. Xi Yu caught attention from the by-passers, they stopped to look at her and even snapped photos of her, the super cute chubby girl with a big tummy! And man, the man she played with the water, she really enjoyed it that made you wanted to join in for the fun. The boys ran around, splashed water, screamed a bit, laughed a lot. And Hao Re said he wanted to go swimming, which he had been refusing for months!

The all time favourite for the kids - waterplay!


(p/s: All photos taken with my iPhone, didn't bring the camera, so the quality of the photos is not good)

Then we went up to the rooftop to see the kite flying. We didn't bring any kite with us, which was a shame as Isaac wanted to fly a kite so desperately, and we had 2 kites in our car boot (blame the man!). The grass was wet and muddy, and the boys started to fuss. So we didn't stay long. Moved on to have dinner at the Chinese restaurant.

Out of the three, guess who's the most well-behaved? Yes, it's Xi Yu. Isaac came second and Hao Re's the last. Xi Yu sat in the high chair, happily being fed with some food and happily self-fed some rice grain with a spoon. That kept her sitting down for the entire dinner. Then hubby offered her some freshly squeezed orange juice, it tasted sour but oh man, she loved it! Isaac obediently sat in the high chair, and finished his dinner with a bit of coaxing, and he got some jelly bean candy as reward. Hao Re refused the high chair, refused all the food, didn't want his orange juice, only wanted to play with the chopsticks. And he went to poo in the middle of the meal. After came back from the toilet, he refused to sit down, luckily hubby had done with his food and kept an eye on him. But when Viv gave Isaac the candy, Hao Re got all interested, duh! And it's so nice of Isaac to willing to share his candy with Hao Re, I mean, when a kid is willing to share candy with his mates, it's either he likes his mates lots, or he's a very generous and well trained (on sharing), and I think for Isaac, it's both :-)

Sent Viv and Isaac home and we arrived home at about 8+pm. Showered them. Hao Re knocked out right after finishing his milk. Xi Yu tossed and turned on the bed and finally slept after one hour, as she fell asleep during the car ride.

And it's back to work again on Monday. With my parents gone, I gonna be super hard working again to care for the kids, wish me luck!
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Myth and Truth - about Chicken Pox!

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The MYTH about the Chicken Pox is that some people thought that everyone must have an outburst of chicken pox once in their lifetime, as they thought everyone is born with the "thing", something that is so bad so that everyone must go through one round of chicken pox to let off those "bad thing" or "toxic" from our body.

Not sure if you have heard of other myths, but this is the one I have come across often.

The TRUTH is chicken pox is a result of virus infection, those super tiny organism that one cannot see with her naked eyes, that she gets from someone else (who carries the contagious virus). We don't born with it.

The TRUTH is NOT everyone must have chicken pox in his/her lifetime. Only when one is infected by the virus will have chicken pox. It's the fact that this virus is highly infectious and that it is easily spread through coughs or sneezes of the one who is infected, or through direct contact with secretions from the rash/blister, so the virus spread fast and it gives a wrong impression that almost everyone has it. But it's not. Almost everyone would have been infected before he/she enters adulthood. If you still haven't had it till now, don't freak, you are not an alien, but a healthy human with strong immunity against the virus.

The TRUTH is although it's highly contagious, it's rarely fetal. Only a specific groups of people, i.e, pregnant women and those patients with suppressed immunity (e.g. those undergo chemotherapy) may be at high risk of serious complication. So for the "normal" people, it's no worries if one catches the virus, except that the person has to suffer and to deal with the rash (or the pox) and the itchiness.

There is no cure for the chicken pox, though there are a few ways recommended to soothe the itchiness, e.g., applying the calamine lotion. The infected person just has to give time to her immune system to work hard in order to clear the virus out from the body. After a person is infected with the virus, we will have lifelong protection against, as the immune system has already built up the defense against it. This somehow makes people believe that it's some toxic inside our body, and so by having the chicken pox, all the toxic will be expelled and we will never get the pox again.

That brings to a question that many mummies ask - should we or should we not get our kids vaccinated against the chicken pox?

Surely yes?
Surely no?
Maybe yes?
Maybe no?

A few more things to note:

1. Vaccine against the virus that causes chicken pox (varicella zoster virus) is not 100% protective. Someone who has received the jab may still get infected by the virus. But the symptoms would be reduced/suppressed greatly (to the extend of 90%). So the kid would not suffer as much from the pox.

2. Chicken pox are most common in children at the age of 4-10 years old. Almost 90% of the kids would get it during this period. Only the lucky 10% would escape this and enter their teenage years free of chicken pox infection.

3. Like the virus itself, this vaccine rarely causes complication. So it's safe to take. It's not compulsory in Singapore. And one would need a booster jab a few years after the first jab to have protection stronger. So that's 2 jabs to take (I forgot how much it costs though).

So, jab or no jab?

It's up to you to decide, really. Good luck :-)
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Three generations exploring the Singapore Zoo!

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It's photo galore time!!!

Okay, I promise, it's going to be very few words but lots of photos!

We spent about 5 hours at the Singapore Zoo last Sunday with my parents. It's fun! Think the most exciting person is Xi Yu, as this was the first time she was given so much freedom to walk and to explore. She loves it! Expect lots of photos of Xi Yu walking! Hao Re enjoyed the day very much too as it's been more than a month since our last visit, he really loves animals. We were happy as they are extra pairs of hands and eyes to help with the kids, it's not easy nowadays to go for outing with 2 very active kids. The grandparents were very happy to spend a nice day with their grandchildren while enjoying the fresh air and the green.

Now, enjoy the photos!

Hao Re is tasked to be the tour guide today. He holds on to the map till it tore :-) I chose these 3 photos because I like their face expression.



The tour guide is doing a good job reading the map and leading the grandparents :-)
Hao Re and Porpor spotted the giant crocodile! We haven't seen this giant for a very long time already, good start!




Okay, the little girl started her exploration - walk, walk and more walk (look like dancing in these photos)!



Stopping at the Orang Utan exhibit. Not sure if she is looking at the Orang Utan or the fishes in the river.



Couldn't get a seat for the Splash Safari Show, it's totally full house! So Xi Yu went to play with the sculpture instead.
Xi Yu: "Let me show you how to get on and off this little animal. It's easy bissy!"




妈妈和他的小情人. Moment like this is priceless!



Milk time. Each of them drank a bottle of 240ml of Enfagrow before we continue our trip.



The PINK lady - pink skirt, pink Minnie bottle and pink shoe! Girls do look nice in pink!



At the leopard exhibit. It's a really lucky. The leopard appeared (usually couldn't spot it), and walked to us a few times. And he even peed and pooed in front of us! Hao Re is surely remembering what's a leopard is very well from now on (see it for real is equivalent to see it from the books a hundreds time)!



Before we enter the Fragile Forest. The kind volunteers are showing Hao Re the real catepillar (a big and fat one), the butterfly samples, and some insects. Hao Re doesn't dare to go too near though.



Xi Yu and Hao Re enjoys the Fragile Forest so much, as they get to go so near to the small animals. Wonderful place for the kids!



Looking at the bats and other animals in the Fragile Forest. Hao Re is telling Xi Yu something, but I cannot remember what he said.



After the Animal Show at the Kidzworld. Think kids would never get enough of bubbles, would they?



Enjoying his Ben & Jerry ice cream. He didn't want to eat anything for his lunch, only took in a little bit of ice cream.



Xi Yu gets to munch on her biscuits after waking up from an one-hour nap (still looks tired though).



At the Orang Utan exhibit again. Not sure what the grandparents are telling him?



Xi Yu loves to push this stroller so much! She is so strong that even after I locked the stroller, she is still able to move it!



The dad and son aka the two handsomes of my life :-)



The dad and his precious girl!



Some more photo taking before leaving the Zoo. Hao Re just mastered the skill of doing the "V" sign :-)
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Xi Yu first visit to a hair salon!

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Felt that she needed a trim. Actually since she was born (with lots of hair), she hasn't been brought to a hair salon. All thanks to her super capable nanny, who managed to squeeze in some time (despite taking care of two, and cooking for the family) to do the trimming of the fringe for Xi Yu. And she did for a few times already. Shouldn't take that for granted, should we :-)

Her daddy doesn't allow to cut her hair short. He said his little princess must keep long hair. So only a trim was allowed. My mum on the other hand, kept asking me to cut her hair short tomboy-ish, since the weather is so hot and she perspired a lot. Of course I have to listen to the daddy and not my mum, what choice did I have :-P

Brought her to the hair salon downstairs. Cheap (only $6) and pretty good too! She was entertained by the iPhone throughout and she didn't fuss a single bit! She also kept checking on herself on the mirror from time to time (girls!). And she turned to me (I was carrying her on my laps) to say something to me from time to time, maybe asking if she gets prettier?

My mum said she looks very fresh and smarter with this new cut! Her daddy didn't say anything which I take it as a good thing. I think the lady certain did a good job. Mission accomplished!

Here come the new look!
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The Sleeping Handsome!

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A boy who refused to take nap
On Saturday, we went to the Science Centre in the morning. Came back home and Hao Re refused to take nap. His temper got worse when he was very tired at around 5pm. He kept bullying Xi Yu, beat her, pull her hair, push her till she falls down, all sorts. I didn't scold him as I know he did that because he was tired, just asked him stopped doing that firmly. I carried Xi Yu away, put her in her high chair and fed her dinner. Turned on the TV for Hao Re and left him alone (hubby went to work, and  my mum went downstairs to buy something). After a few minutes, when I turned and looked at him, he has already fallen asleep in the sitting position (photo #1), and that's about 5.30pm.

Carried him to the bedroom. Turned on the lights at 7.30pm to wake him up. He didn't want to open his eyes. Carried him to the living room. He lied down and continued to sleep (photo #2) despite the noise from the TV, from us talking loudly, from the patting and poking from Xi Yu (taking a revenge? :-)). He continued to sleep and nothing could wake him. After one hour, I carried him back to the bedroom, and he continued sleeping. No dinner, no milk, no shower, no wipe down, no change of clothes, just sleeping. I was worried at about 9pm and touched his forehead, no fever, no complain of discomfort/pain, no wake up in the middle of the night. Wake up all afresh the next morning at 730am.

That's a RECORD of a straight 14 hours of sleep!
Our sleeping handsome! Sleeping any how (position), any place, any time!


The sleeping bug was still with him on Sunday. We went to the Zoo with my parents and spent almost 5 hours there. We thought he would be very tired and would want to have a nap. But he didn't. He didn't look tired, good thing was he didn't throw tantrum like on Saturday, so we thought he has enough sleep the day before to last him for Sunday. We went to Bukit Batok to have our favourite salted egg crab for dinner. Before the dishes were served, he was eating a piece of jack fruit (one of his favourite fruits), and I can see his eyes were closing. I asked hubby to bring him for a walk, thought can help to drive away the sleeping bug. But that didn't work. He wanted hubby to carry him and within a few minutes, he knocked out! That's 730pm. We didn't bring the big stroller, so he has to sleep in the sitting up position (photo #3) for about an hour, till we finished our delicious crab meal :-) And again, no dinner, no milk, no shower, etc, and he slept through till the next day morning. Woke up all afresh at 7am. And went to the childcare happily :-)

That's a straight 12 hours of sleep!

He didn't eat well these few days, though he kept saying he wants to eat more so he can grow fast/tall for the "row row row a boat" thingy. W didn't force feed him, just let him be. We are not worried as he would tell us when he is hungry.

Wonder why he sleeps so much these 2 days? Growth spurt that need to more sleep but not food? No matter what's the reason(s), as long as he is happy and healthy :-)
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