Toys and books

As I posted last week, we don't spend much on buying toys for our kids, with Xi Yu only getting her first ever toy from us just right before she turned 20 months.

These are all the toys and books Hao Re owned exactly 2 year ago, when he was 1 year 3 months old (Xi Yu was still in my comfy big tummy :-)) Only 1 out of 8 "pigeon holes" was meant for books. The rest were for toys, of all sorts. Out of these toys, about half of them were from families and friends, gifted to Hao Re as his new born or 1st birthday present. My hub doesn't like to get bulky toys, unless it's really good for the kids, else he won't agree to buy bulky toys. Hao Re has enough to be entertained.

All toys and shelf in 1 shelf

We love this shelf we got from IKEA. We think it's good to be used as the toy/book shelf for the kids. They can take any toys and books from the shelf anytime they want. It helps us to make the living room neater. When we are really busy or tired, we just dumped all the toys/books back to shelf without arranging them nicely, but the room still looks reasonably neat. They are also "accessories" available if you want to add a drawer or a door to the "pigeon hole". We love this shelf so much, that from then till now, we have had 2 units of the 4x2 shelf (the one above) and 1 unit of the 4x4 shelf (like the one below). And the shelf is quite durable and it's not expensive too.

Okay, back to the toys and books.

Naturally, we have bought more toys and books over the past 2 years. We still don't buy much toys (the kids get "compensated" by lots of outdoor play instead). Most of the addition were received as Xi Yu's new born gifts and 1st birthday party gifts, and a few were Christmas presents from friends and colleagues (though we don't celebrate Christmas at all, we still received Christmas presents from the kind souls). So the shelf has been expanded to double its size! Now that we are doing the "Good boy chart" with Hao Re, he has to earn a new toy by collecting x number of good boy stars. So we expect the expansion of toys is and will be very slow. Hopefully we don't have to expand the shelf anymore. I should say, we won't expand this no more. When it's running out of space, those babies/old toys would have to make way.

Books, we buy. Books are always good. So books have expanded from 1 "pigeon hole" to 4 "pigeon hole" and there are certainly more to come! I think not for long, we would have to get another 4x2 unit just to store children books. Hao Re is very much into stories now, there isn't a more suitable time to encourage him to read more and to cultivate his love for books.

Most of the toys are kept in the IKEA shelf in the living room, and the bulky ones kept at the balcony.

Note: Not included in this photo - Hao Re's bicycle, all the slot-in and jigsaw puzzles, and their collection of DVDs.

Talking about more books to come, I have just received some new books last night. This is the first time I tried ordered from China. Now that I have seen the quality of the books, I am sure going to order more books from them! For English books, we sometimes get from the local bookshops, sometimes from Amazon, and sometimes from Bookdepository. I hope we can get a good collection of Chinese and English books for the kids. I ordered some for myself too, very happy :-)

New collection of Chinese books (those at the left bottom corner are for me, hehe), ordered from a China online bookshop, Dangdang!
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About stomach flu

Ya, right, the reason why I write on this topic is because one of my kids, Xi Yu, has just caught this nasty virus. Luckily she has recovered already after half a day of vomiting on Monday. Hao Re and Xi Yu had caught it twice each, and myself also caught it once from Xi Yu (hubby is free from the infection so far). Each time the virus caused different level of severity. When it's bad, you basically vomited non-stop and that can last for the entire day, it's tough on the adults, and more so for children.

Things to note about stomach flu (aka gastric flu or stomach virus) and things I learned from the pediatrician:

- It causes acute vomiting and/or diarrhea. The main challenge is thus to keep the infected well hydrated.

- In my experience, vomiting is more challenging than diarrhea, as one would vomit out everything, water included, at the very next minute they take in, thus posing high risk of getting dehydration. Taking in liquid in small amount helps, like just 1 small sip at a time, in shorter interval. Kids usually couldn't control how much they drink as they are very thirsty so they want to drink more. Shouldn't give them the sippy bottle as usual, but to pour a very small amount into a cup and then let them drink that amount only (can give them a straw if they haven't mastered the skill to drink from cup).

- On the other hand, diarrhea is very harsh on the kids (running toilet so often and may have stomachache and discomfort at the anus). But at least they are able to drink and eat if they feel like it (though most often they won't want to). Keep offering them liquid, if they don't feel like eating, just let them be, one to two days of not eating is okay.

- The worst case is serious vomiting AND diarrhea (e.g., when infected by the nastiest Rotavirus). For most kids who catch this virus, they would be hospitalized and put on drip as they simply can't take in and retain any fluids in their body.

- For me, when I see my kid vomit out water, or having more than 5x diarrhea (very loose stool) in a short 2-3 hours, I would immediately bring them to a doctor. For adults and older kids, we know when we are dehydrating but the young kids won't know and I certainly don't want to risk it, the implication is too huge to take on. Doctor would usually prescribe an anti-vomiting or anti-diarrhea medicine to help the kid to keep some fluids in. They are some cool parents out there who are knowledgeable enough to still continue to use natural healing or use natural remedy to stop vomit/diarrhea, I am not one of them, as the risk is not worth taking. Though I stop giving medicine as soon as the kid can take in reasonably amount of water, usually 1 to 2 dose of anti-vomit medicine would do the job.

- According to Dr Keoy, monitoring urine output is absolutely important, especially if the kids still cannot keep fluid in after medicine. Send the kid to a hospital's A&E immediately if there is no urine in 12 hours or the urine turns thicker and changes to very yellow/orange colour, as this is a clear sign of dehydration. Dehydration can cause brain damage, no joke. Don't wait till the kid become listless.

- Be warned that the stomach virus is very contagious, it spreads very easily and very quickly to other family members through contacts with discharge of the infected person. I have heard of family whereby the virus infected the entire family of six (2 kids, parents and grandparents) in a short 2 hours or so, and all 6 of them just "merlioned" away for the entire day, it's no joke.

- Wash your hands with soap regularly especially if you are the care giver of the infected or you touched any of the soiled clothes, bed sheet, etc. At times like this, you would truly an extra pair of helping hands, as there are so much mess to clean that it would easily tired you out. You may want to clear all the mess as soon as possible to reduce to risk of spreading.

- Dr Keoy also mentioend after vomiting stopped, diarrhea usually follows and that could last 2-3 days. As long as the kid can drink and eat a reasonably amount, anti-diarrhea medicine is not necessarily (though he still prescribed me that for stand-by).

For Xi Yu, I think it's the milder version virus that she had caught this time round. She didn't vomit too badly like last time, recovered very fast and it didn't get passed to another family member.

Dr Keoy said vomiting could be caused by food poisoning or stomach virus. Since Xi Yu has been eating home cooked food for the whole day of Sunday, and we all ate the same thing, it's unlikely due to the food. She could have caught the virus from the public, about 2-3 days ago (we were at the playground at Lot 1 on Thursday night and a few hours at the Pasir Ris Park on Friday). Come to think of it, I would think the likeliest "culprit" could be the waterplay at Lot 1, just guessing.

The "good" thing out of this episode is that me and my little girl become a lot closer to each other! I actually love how she sticks to me and wanted me to carry her, to sayang her all day long, and to listen to how she called me "Mama" softly and gently. Felt that we have a much, much stronger bond now! I enjoyed that because Hao Re was sent to his childcare, so I could spend all my time with Xi Yu, I couldn't possibly do that if Hao Re was around :-)

(Note: Medicine Dr Keoy prescribed:

Domper Suppository 10mg - anti-vomit suppository (for stand-by in case she couldn't even keep the Dimente syrup in)
Dimente Syrup - anti-vomit
Dhacopan Syrup - for stomach pain
Lorpamide Syrup - for diarrhea
Protexin Restore 5s - probiotics, to restore the good friendly bacteria in the gut

Out of the 5 medicine, she only took dimente syrup twice to stop vomiting. The rest are left in the fridge untouched for the "just in case")
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Easter weekend = Pasir Ris Park + Central Fire Station + Civil Defence Heritage Museum + Peranakan Museum + National Library

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It's great fun over the long Easter weekend, especially that Hao Re has a playmate, Isaac to play with during all the outings! Hao Re and Isaac played so well together that on Sunday night, when we dropped off Isaac and Viv, Hao Re cried so badly, saying that Isaac couldn't leave the car, Isaac must follow us home, he wants Isaac! Hubby said they acted like a pair of lovers :-)

Pasir Ris Park (22.04.2011, 11am to 3pm)

Four hours of great fun at the Pasir Ris Park!

Have been wanting to bring them to Pasir Ris Park for the longest time ever, but always put off by the distance. We finally made it there on the Easter Friday! Wanted to make out most of it so I even prepared food (fried bee tai mak and sandwich) for adults and kids, hope to stay there as long as the kids are willing to. Ended up with 4 hours of play at the huge playground! The kids ran off to have fun themselves so we just have to keep an eye on them especially on Xi Yu, and to feed them lots of water from time to time as we were there over noon time. It's a hot day an we forgot sunblock lotion :-( Only Xi Yu and my hub got sun burnt though as the boys know how to keep themselves under the shade but not the little girl, and hubby was running after her (glad it's not me, haha).

The kids were actually up for more fun but it started to drizzle. They just started to get on their bikes. We have to stop them and leave the park than to risk being soaking wet. There are still beach play and the staple and the mangrove etc to explore. Oh well, till the next time.

Then the kids continued to have fun a our home. Isaac really made himself so comfortably at our place and the pair of siblings welcome him and shared all their toys with him (though there were still a bit of mild fighting over toys). I cooked simple dinner for all, so we didn't have to go out for dinner and so the kids can play longer. Viv and Isaac only left after passed 9pm! A great day for the kids!

Central Fire Station and Civil Defence Heritage Museum (23.04.2011, 10-11.30am)
Viv suggested to visit the Central Fire Station on Saturday as Isaac is very much into fireman and fire engine nowadays. Every Fire Station in Singapore (except the one in Jurong Island) is opened for public on every Saturday 9am to 11am. We have been to the one at the Bukit Batok Road (nearest to our house) a few months ago (I didn't blog about it).

The tour itself was not very nice (suspected the officer whom brought us around was rather new to do this tour and hence not much explanation from him). He only talked like 5 minutes or so, didn't let us do any hands on with the equipment (unlike the last tour we had). Then left us at where the water hose is where the boys can have a go shooting out water from the big hose, and then just let us wander around the station. The kids, especially Isaac, have a good time climbing up and down the fire engine.

The good thing about going to the Central Fire Station is that there is the Civil Defence Heritage Museum next to it. It's a pretty nice (as in the kids like it) museum and the kids explored it quite a bit.

While the good thing of visiting other branch, like the one we visited or the one at Jurong (where a mummy blogger of mine visited) is you have a lot more attention (almost full attention) from the officers, allowed hands on on the equipment they used, and given some souvenirs to bring home after the tour! Unless you are planning to visit the museum, else check out the Fire Station nearest to you than to travel all the way to the city centre.

The 3 kids at the Central Fire Station and at the Civil Defence Heritage Museum.
Hao Re and Isaac are so cute when they put on the over sized fireman uniforms :-)
The photo with Xi Yu and Isaac, see how willing and how comfortable they both are to hold each other hand :-)

Peranakan Museum (23.04.2011, 11.30-12.30pm)
This was a impromptu visit. Reason being that hubby parked our car right next to it! So we thought might as well visit this one. The not-so-good thing about museums in Singapore is that entrance fee is chargeable (except the Civil Defence Heritage Museum). We have been to almost all museums in Singapore. Have to pay (though not that expensive) but yet not much to see. I really think the government should do something, like waive the entrance fee, to encourage more people visiting museums on a more regular basis (but then people would argue if you make something free, they would not appreciate it as much).

Anyway, for the Peranakan Museum, it's $6 per adult and free for children. They have installed the stamping thingy for the kids to go round the museums to collect all stamps. Guess they are trying to make the museums more kids friendly. We just walked through very quickly as it's near lunch time and the kids started to get cranky, plus its display are really not that interested for the kids to appreciate.

Guess why they are willing to sit together and let us take photos? They are watching a short video clip on a big screen!

National Library (23.04.2011, 1-3pm)
Next on to the National Library. Have our lunch there. The kids behaved better after lunch. Xi Yu couldn't take it anymore and so she dozed off right after lunch. The kids section at the National Library is great! Lots of books and have huge space for the kids to sit and read, even to run around. Hao Re and Isaac played a little, read a little, and listen to our story telling (Viv and I took turn) a little. It's pretty good time spent. Xi Yu woke up right before we were about to leave. So just have the chance to explore for a short 10 minutes or so. The one book Hao Re insisted to borrow is a cookbook for adults, on how to bake birthday cakes for children. He already flipped through the books at least 3 times, and still wanted to bring it home to read further :-) We reckoned the kids were still pretty tired from yesterday's play, so we called it a day and went home to rest.

A short playground and swim section and Aunt Gina's (24.04.2011, 6-8pm)
Sunday was initially planned to go to the Botanical Garden to enjoy the free outdoor music by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. We have attended one 2 years ago, a few weeks before Xi Yu was born, it's good, so we wanted to go again. Spent the whole day at home waiting for that. And then it rained, bleah :-( Hao Re threw a tantrum at about 4pm, so I made him to take a nap. When he woke up at 5pm, the rain has stopped and we could have made it to the outdoor music. But Hao Re said he didn't want to go. He didn't want playground and he didn't want to play with bubbles. So when we asked him "do you want to play with Isaac?", his eyes lid up and said YES!

We made our way to meet Viv and Isaac at her sis' condo. The kids have great fun playing at the small-ish playground and then some great time at the swimming pool! Thanks Gina for having us, and allowing us to disturb you for 2 hours :-) Then we proceeded to have dinner. The kids were happily eating the fried rice that I cooked (as the plan was to have dinner at the Botanical Garden) while the adults have "zhi char".

Fun at the pool! First time Hao Re playing with the water gun and he is so happy with it :-)

When it's time to say goodbye, Hao Re nearly went into a meltdown, refusing to leave Isaac. Luckily we were able to control the situation and kinda talked him over about it. Guess the two boys have been deprived of having kids of same age to play with. Hope their friendship last, forever!
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Our 20 months old princess


Our sweetie in her brand new dress, handmade by her nanny!

Oh yes, it's the day (21th) of the month again. Our little Xi Yu turned 20 months today!

I realised I haven't written much about Xi Yu lately, so this is going to be a very long post :-)

March 21 to Arpil 21 has been a great month, except the two days (2nd and 3rd April) when she threw the biggest tantrum ever (more on that later). But in general, a pretty good month.

First, we went to Hong Kong for a very nice family holiday (travel log written for Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 and Day 5). The kids enjoyed the trip very, very much. Making us thinking that we should go for a holiday at least once a year. Really enjoyable, it's different from the usual weekend outings.

Second, Xi Yu is finally sleeping through the night, again!! This is very important to her and to me. Kids need good sleep, good sleep keeps them healthy and happy. It's a such a nice thing to see her wakes up happy every morning. She used to be crying or putting on a grumpy face when she woke up in the morning. And to me? Oh, I can't tell you enough how much it means to me! Basically it's more quality sleep and more ME time, making this mummy a happy mum. And you know, happy mum means happy kids and less pressurised husband, so it benefits the all the family members!

Third, she was ill (high fever, mild cough and runny nose) after two consecutive days of waterplay at the Kidzworld at the Zoo. She hasn't been ill since her 1st birthday. But she pulled it through. She is very strong. She was more or less her usual self, lost appetite for a couple of days, and then she recovered without any medication. We didn't bring her to consult a doctor. We monitored her closely (many thanks to her nanny who was willing to follow our ways, though she was very worried at times when the fever spiked, but she respected our decision for our kids). We are very sure Xi Yu has built up and is building up a strong immunity and is going to stay healthy.

Then came the 2 horrible days, the 2nd and 3rd April, or actually, it started on Friday night, 1st April. I didn't blog about it as I didn't know how to put it. She threw the biggest tantrum ever. Me and hubby (and Hao Re) tried but couldn't and didn't know how to soothe her. Though I did let it out on Facebook. See what I posted on Facebook:

April 2nd, 10.45pm:
My little girl has been whining/crying ALL DAY LONG. Nothing can please her. I am so near to breaking down listening to her whining. Luckily hubby is around to help out. 被我女儿的哭声弄得我几乎精神崩溃

April 2nd, 2.49am:
OMG!!! The whining started again. I soooo gave up liao. Second night liao, pray she gets better when the sun rises. Hubby, good luck!!!!!

April 3rd, 11.44am (posted a video and wrote this caption):
She just threw herself onto the floor and whine and whine an whine. Besides that, there were throwing things onto the floor and hit people! I am so hoping that this is just a phase, just a passing phase, please. Me and hub started to worry how to "tame" her and help her to overcome this.

We basically stayed home all day on Saturday because of the wet weather and her unusual behavior. On Sunday, we brought them to the West Coast Park in the late afternoon, as we thought she might benefit from the sunshine, fresh air and open space. Wrong. Didn't do her any good, whiny the same way and threw herself on the road/floor/grass whenever we didn't give in to her way.

Lucky for us, everything back to normal on Monday. This was what I posted on FB on Monday night:

April 4th, 11.20pm:
Xi Yu's nanny has a magic wand to turn her back to "NORMAL" mode! Very minimum whining from 7-10pm, and fell asleep quietly :-))) Also because we are more prepared for her, and try to give her more attention. Maybe she is smarter than her gorgor, know exactly how to win over her Mama and Baba?

It's an unexplainable behavior. We thought that it's

After this very episode, we felt that she suddenly grew a lot, that she becomes a big girl already, becomes gentler, more communicative, and becomes a vain pot! The following week, the very first thing she did when she woke up was to touch her hair and said "妈妈, hair, 美美". Then turned her hands to do the "no" sign - she meant to say I haven't put on a hair clip for her to make her look pretty! And that lasted a week only, thankfully (I really don't know how to make her pretty, and actually my hub can put on the clip nicer than me, I am no hope). And most important, the tantrum has never been repeated, phew!

I felt that I have enjoyed her a lot more this month. She is truly a cutie, really really cute (that's different from Hao Re), very cute to talk to and to play with. She still loves books a lot. Any type of book, even magazines for adults like National Geographic. As soon as she gets hold of a book, she would either bring it to the sofa and sit down nicely and starts to flip and read! Or she would bring the book to either me or hubby to read for her. She really enjoys books.

And then we suddenly realised we haven't bought her any toy since she was born. Serious! Baba and Mama didn't buy any toy for our little girl for the past 20 months!! So on the day when we went to Universal Studio, we met up with hubby at the Toy R Us at Vivo City and grabbed a nice doll house for our princess, her first ever toy from her parents! We knew she is not at the age to play this kind of imaginative toy, but we still bought this one as we didn't quite know what else to buy :-P As expected, Hao Re played with it more, which is okay, as he recognised this as "mei mei's toy".

She is eating well and sleeping well. Have enough physical activities especially during the weekends. So she is growing very well, in fact, she is one of the biggest girls among her peers. :-)

She has pretty well developed gross and fine motor skills. She loves pick up small tiny things/junk from the floor. Luckily she longer put things into her mouth. She can hold a pen well and draw a pretty decent straight long line, and some odd shapes too. She is able to stack blocks. She is getting better and better with the slot-in puzzles. We are trying to put more and more time to do more variety of activities with her. At this age, Hao Re was exposed to more stuff than her, but it's okay, she gets to try everything sooner or later.

Because of Hao Re's addiction to the Leapfrog Letter Factory, Xi Yu is learning along too! She would grab the leapfrog DVD, bring it to us, and say "FROG! 开!", then run to the sofa and waiting patiently for it to be played on the screen. She is pretty okay with the A-Z and the numbers too. Her nanny said she can say up to 13! We have never heard her said that much, but we are certain she is comfortable with 1-6, in which she would pronounce as "one, du, ti, hor, hiv, sic":-)

She is picking up more and more words everyday and starts to string the words together. I am not good in tracking what she can say, but I try:

She is pretty good at animals, she can say and identify them correctly on the book/TV/when she sees a real one:
turtle (her favourite word!)
snir (for snake)
mou (for mouse)
ba (for zebra)
roar (for lion, tiger, leopard, etc)
fok (for fox)
da (for panda)
hibo (for hippo)
ki (for monkey)
fis (for fish)
fog (for frog)
fi (for butterfly)
di (for bee)
.......... etc

When she learned to speak at first, she learned to call us, first word was 爸爸, gorgor (哥哥), then only 妈妈, after that she can say almost everyone (婆婆, 姨姨, 舅舅, 弟弟, 叔叔, 姑姑, 姐姐, 爷爷), EXCEPT 公公and 妹妹. And then she learned about her body parts, which she knows how to point to when we said in either English or Mandarin, she can say some but not all.

And also other words like:
xia xia (for 谢谢)
tan gew (for thank you)
ta (for star)

No, no
豆豆 (she loves to eat nuts)

书 (she pronounces as "hu" or sometimes "su", and sometimes says book)

gai gai (to go out for a walk)


I know I am going to enjoy my little girl more and more in the coming months, until the start of the terrible twos, by then, I hope I have enough patience to go through that smoothly, just like how it went very well with Hao Re. We have to keep reminding ourselves with all the effort that we put in guiding and helping Hao Re going through that phase, and hopefully we can do it again with Xi Yu.

瑜瑜, Mama and Baba love you lots! Stay happy and healthy and enjoy your childhood!
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A "balance" weekend


Balance in the sense that we spent half of the time at home, half of the time out for fun.
Balance in the sense that we have some indoor activities and some outdoor activities.
Balance in the sense that we have some home-cooked food and have some non home-cooked food.

For both Saturday and Sunday, the four of us slept in a little, only woke up at around 8pm (have to be up around 7.15am on weekdays), so it's good start, I reckon :-) Then it's breakfast and to do some marketing downstairs. Spent the morning at home, playing with their toys and doing whatever activities they wanted to do, reading a book, drawing, painting, jigsaw puzzles, and watching the Leapfrog's Letter Factory.

I cooked simple lunch for the family, a nice soup and a stir fried vegetable. Hao Re ate up a big bowl on both day. Made me very happy. While Xi Yu was not too keen on my cooking, she is very much into the nuts, she eyes on the packet of nuts all the times, and munches on the nuts all the times (as long as we are at home).

On Saturday, we stayed home till about 5pm, as it rained pretty heavily after lunch. Brought them to CCK park for some fun. Fed Xi Yu porridge when we arrived at the park and she happily finished up all. Hao Re said he was hungry and wanted to eat satay (there is a restaurant in the CCK park, and they do sell satay). He ate 3 sticks. After dinner, Xi Yu was full of energy and running around kicking the ball happily and excitedly.

Future sports star! Kicking the ball so well and "talked" so much. Note the pair of dad and son were busy eating their rojak and satay :-)

Brought Xi Yu for a hair cut after that. Hao Re dozed off, but was woken up as soon as we got home. There was a Lion Dance performance just opposite our block. Brought the kids to watch. They love the performance and we sat there for almost 1.5 hours. It's pretty interesting, a very cultural exposure for the kids. There was not only lion dance, but also dragon dance, unicorn, lion dance of the northern region (apparently different way of performing than the usual lion dance that we see), and other stuff. But the host was a really bad one, couldn't speak Chinese well, wonder why they asked him to host, since it's obviously a Chinese cultural performance. But anyway, it's a event ran by the community club, so considered pretty good.

They only went to bed passed 10pm.

On Sunday, after having lunch at home, we went to the Causeway Point, met up with Viv and Isaac, and Viv's sister and BIL, Gina and Dan, to watch a movie - "RIO". It's a nice movie, I myself enjoyed it very much. Hao Re, as expected, enjoyed it very much, he seemed to be able to follow the story line very well. Xi Yu enjoyed it too, with the pack of popcorn in her hands (she only ate a few pieces though as she was too engaged in the screen). She was able to sit down and watch the movie quietly nearly 90% of the time.

After that, brought them to the Woodlands Waterfront Park, for the very first time. Me and hubby dropped by one afternoon a few weeks ago to check on the place. We arrived at about 5.30pm. It's a very, very hot day. Being a very new park, all the trees are not tall and big enough to provide enough shade. The hot sun was too much to bear. We only let them play at the playground when the sun went down a little.

Photo on the top of the post:
Even we waited for a while for the sun to go down, it's still a very hot day. You can see from the super rosy cheek Xi Yu got after started to play for a short 10 minutes. And her cheeks are still a bit red till now (Tuesday night), think her delicate skin is burnt :-P)

It's a very crowded playground. Lots of noise. Lots of kids, young and old. Lots of adults too. Everyone seemed to be screaming and shouting. It's noisy and messy. It's a relatively big playground that doesn't separate the young kids from the old, so everyone ran around and bumped into each other. But well, the kids enjoyed the park all the same. They don't seem to be bother with the crowd, the hot sun and the noise, not at all.

Xi Yu was very contended to play with this small slide, that she was happily queued up for her turn, walked up the few flies of stairs and slided down. I lost down how many rounds she had gone for, in this video, she managed to do 2 rounds in 1.5 minutes, and we were there for nearly 2 hours! She "talked" a lot to other children. She sure is a talkative girl.

Hao Re challenged himself with the new obstacle, climbing up the rope. He has very good attitude - keep trying and never give up, try using all strategies that he can think of. Absolutely wonderful to see him challenged himself this way. He finally climbed to the top, walked across the suspension bridge thingy, but didn't know how to get down. Daddy to the rescue!

Hao Re loves this rope climbing thingy (what is this called?). He must be the youngest child who made it to the top independently, so proud of him!

Trying his way to get up to the bridge

Stuck, didn't know how to get down. Daddy has to rescue him!

Left the park around 7.30pm. Took shower, have dinner and settled them to bed at 9pm.

That's the weekend. Look forward to the coming long weekend (Easter weekend)! Hope Baba brings us to some nice place to have fun :-)

(p/s: just realised I haven't posted a video for a very long time! Hope you enjoy the videos :-))
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Universal Studio Singapore, the 2nd visit

Nice day spent with Hao Re

(NOTE: Remember to scroll down to the bottom of this post for some "survival tips" on Universal Studio, especially you are planning for a visit)

The must-watch Shriek 4D show at last

We revisited the Universal Studio Singapore (USS) today, exactly half a year since our last visit back in October 2010, with the whole family and my parents. Today, it's just me and Hao Re. It's kinda a family day of my company, but spouse has to pay quite a high price for a ticket (only slightly cheaper than a nomal adult ticket), and my hubby is not interested to go, I can only bring 1 kid with me (as in I can only handle 1 kid alone at a theme park for a long day). Initially wanted to bring Xi Yu, as I felt like I owe her some special bonding time. But after much consideration, I brought Hao Re, main reason being that he would be able to appreciate it much more than Xi Yu and of course, he is much easier to handle.

So here we were, spent almost one whole day at USS, from 10am to 5.30pm! Forgot to bring the camera along, so all photos were taken using my iPhone.

First on, the Madagascar merry-go-round. Same as our last experience, didn't enjoy this much. The other ride at this section is still not in operation, the lady said it will not be opened till a few months later. So nothing much to see or to do, except the merry-go-round.

Hao Re wanted to choose a Lion. But none was avail. Luckily he was okay to sit on a Zebra instead.

We proceeded to the Far Far Away Kingdom. Wanted to watch the 4D show, but the queue was crazy, waiting time was longer than 1 hour! So we went for the Donkey Live Show instead. No queue, no waiting time. Hao Re enjoyed it quite a bit. But for me, if I compare it with the Stitch Show at Disneyland, unfortunately, I didn't quite enjoy this one, not as interactive and fun.

Hao Re wanted to get on this mini ferry wheel thingy inside the shop, think it's called "Magic Potion". Honestly, it's a total waste of time. Unless you don't have to queue, else give it a miss, trust me. We "wasted" a good 20 minutes or so in this, and the queue was pretty short, but it's just not moving.

Inside the ferry wheel.

Then we went on to the WaterWorld and noted the first show will be at 12.30pm. Hao Re didn't want to go in to the Jurassic Park, he said he didn't want to see dinosaurs. So we moved on to the Sci-Fi section. Again, nothing much for a young kid to do. The high-speed roller coasters are in operation already, and it looks very exciting and scary, lots of screaming which made the theme park more alive. But the waiting time was terrible, closing to 2 hours!

The only ride at the Sci-Fi section that is suitable for kids is this spinning cup thingy.

Then we walked to the Main Street to catch the "Lights, Cinema, Action!" show. This show is missed by many visitors, as it's at one of the shop houses at one of the corners, many didn't notice or except there is something to be seen inside the shop houses. Hao Re enjoyed the show very much the last time round. He enjoyed it too this time round. It's a short one to demonstrate how film directors create the effects in film making.

Left: waiting for the show. Right: The entrance to the show room.

And then we rushed back to the Waterworld for the 12.30pm. I didn't enjoy it much as I knew what to expect. Hao Re still enjoyed it and was frightened by the loud bangs a few times that made him jumped a little :-P But he told me (and insisted) that he was not scare at all! He went on to talk and talk and talk about the show.

The set up at the Waterworld show.

Then it's time for lunch. On our way out (we were going to meet hubby for lunch, he waited for us outside the park), we met Woody. This is the only character that Hao Re is willing to take photo with. He refused to take photo with all other characters. Have lunch at the Bait. Hao Re ate a reasonable good amount, the very unusual him (he usually doesn't want to eat when we are outside), guess he was already hungry with all the walking.

With the very friendly Woody.

After lunch, he started to get a little cranky. Kept wanting Baba to join us, and wanting Baba to carry him. I somehow managed to direct his attention and made him took a power nap of about 15 minutes, while we were queuing up for the dragon roller coaster (the one meant for the young kids). Yes, I carried my 16kg darling while standing/queuing up for almost 30 minutes, and even managed to use my iPhone to message hubby and read posts of FB :-)

He enjoyed the roller coaster very much! Asked to go for a second time, but the queue was simply too long, near 1 hour. The "Monster Rock" show was going to start in about 5 minutes. I knew he's going to enjoy this, so we ran to the theatre at the main street. Just in time for that, though have to sit quite far away from the stage. As expected, he enjoyed it very much, even moved his body to the beats and sang a little :-)

He asked to go see dinosaurs, so we walked to the Jurassic Park, again. There was a street dancing show going on at the Main street. So we stopped by to watch it. Hao Re loved the move! Walked pass the crate thingy and the queue was still too long, so I have decided to give it a miss (didn't manage to try this during our first visit too). We queue for the Dinosaurs flying thingy, for about 20 minutes. Luckily he was in very good. So he self entertained while queuing. He liked this ride very much, reason being that there is a button for us to press and hold to make the dinosaur that we are sitting going up, and it goes down when we released the button. We managed to go high and low a few times and that made him laughed out so loud, wonderful!

The ride that he enjoyed the most for the day!

Finally, we watched the Shriek 4D show! There was still quite a long queue, but no waiting time as the theatre can accommodate many people. We even got the near middle first row seats (but I think it's a bit too near and not comfortable to have to tilt our head throughout the show. Hao Re did enjoy the show.

Before we left, we got an ice-cream and a kids meal from the restaurant nearby. We were given a $10 voucher, so just to use it. Hao Re ate almost  half of the ice cream and some nuggets and fries. It's nearing 5.30pm already. He could be hungry already by then.

Yum yum chocolate ice-cream!

He wanted to ride the dinosaur thingy again, but I was too tired to walk there again. We have already walked the park THREE rounds! Though the park is really small, but to walk 3 big rounds under the hot sun and with a toddler (carried him sometimes) is no joke. I managed to talk him out of that. Offered him to ride the dragon roller coaster as there was no more queue, but he said don't want. So we left the place.

During the car ride home, he said this to me (in Mandarin, as usual): " Mama, I love you. I am very happy. We saw lots of things and did lots of things. I am a very good boy today, I didn't make you angry. I walked by my own and I listened to you." And gave me a big hug and big kiss!!! What else can I expect, my dear boy, love you lots too :-)

Some tips (especially for family going with young kids):

- Almost all rides have long queue. Don't waste time queuing up if the waiting time is more than 30-45 min (usually the actual waiting time is 10 minutes shorter than the speculate time). Queue generally gets shorter after 4-5pm. If you plan to stay there for the entire day, should leave those with long queue ones at the late afternoon.

- There are many shows and there are pretty good to watch. Some shows run continuously (Shriek 4D, Donkey Live Show, Light Cinema Action!),  while others only being played 3-4 times (Waterworld, Monster Rock) a day, and there are some random ones that they do on the street. Plan your time according to the show times if you don't want to miss any of the show. The show times are not included in the map that we got. I am not sure if there is a leaflet or such just for the show times.

- Drinks are prices quite reasonably, I think ($2 for a bottle of mineral water and $3 for soft drink). If you don't want to pay, there are plenty of drinking water dispenser everywhere. So you just have to bring your bottle. Food are everywhere too.

- USS is really small. So you don't have to complete all the activities in one section before moving on to the next, if you don't mind a little more walking, that is. You definitely have enough time for almost all, if not all of these rides/shows if you are going to stay there for the whole day, and that you cannot take those high-speed roller coaster (as you are going with young children). The queue for the high-speed roller coaster is the longest!

- Photo taking with characters are, to me (with young children) not that interesting. But it's still fun to do it to make your theme park experience more complete. There are usually a queue for the photo taking, but you shouldn't wait longer than 10 minutes.
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Monthly report from Childcare (October 2010 to March 2011)

We have been receiving a monthly report from Hao Re's childcare since October last year. The report comes in the form of a 3-page Powerpoint, to tell us about Hao Re's progress on 1) practical life, 2) sensorial, 3) maths, 4) language and 5) cultural, and often ends with a summary and 2 photos of Hao Re while doing some Montessori work. At home, we do very little "academic" stuff with him, and so this report is good for us to know how much he has learnt. We are a pair of "bo-chap" parents who don't care much about what he learns or does not learn at his school, or maybe because we know Hao Re has no learning difficulties and we are happy with his progress. Most important to us is, still, that he is happy spending time at the school. I think he likes his teachers a lot so that helps.

Here are the summary of his reports for the past 6 months (I should post it on a monthly basis after this):

(Note: I do not want to disclose the name of his childcare centre here, so please don't ask me this question. If you would like to find out, e-mail me, please).

October 2010
Practical life - Hao Re can walk in a straight line very slowly. He also know the difference of soft and loud voice. He is able to use his both hands in pouring activities.

Sensorial - He is able to do his work with full of concentration. He can match the same tablet by touching its texture.

Maths - He is able to recognize numerals 11-19 with the use of Sequin Board.

Language - He shows interest in writing activity. He also shows improvement in holding the pencil.

Cultural - He is very curious with the new things around him. He likes to ask questions to fill his curiosity.

Hao Re is very determined in doing Montessori work. He can follow instructions from his teacher. He can easily grasp information. He is showing good improvement with his speech and language. Keep it up!

November 2010
Practical life - Hao Re can do the dressing frames by himself. Sometimes he seeks for help in putting on school uniform and clothes.

Sensorial - He is able to do the knobless and knobbed cylinders with full of concentration. He can recognize the secondary colours.

Maths - He is able to recognize numerals 1-10 and can do the number games by himself.

Language - He can recognize the sand paper letters c, k, e, h, r, m & d. He needs practice in phonetic sounds of letters.

Cultural - He is familiar with the days of the week song. He can easily grasp the information about the Clock (hour & half hour).

Hao Re is seen being a perfectionist. He likes to do his work alone and with full of concentration. He likes to build things out of the blocks. He likes to play with older groups. Keep it up!

December 2010
Practical life - Hao Re is familiar in using the toilet. He can walk in a line. He knows how to use his soft voice and whisper the names of his friends.

Sensorial - He is very eager in doing the Knobbed Cylinders ex.2. He is familiar with the secondary colours. He is very curious with the long rods.

Maths - He can count and recognize numerals 11-20. He can count 10-90 also using the counting beads

Language - He shows enthusiasm in writing. He can grip the pencil properly.

Cultural - He is able to say the months of the year after his teacher. He likes to do art & craft.

Hao Re is adjusting well with his Nursery class 2. He can easily grasp information and has a good concentration towards Montessori work. He has well-focus in doing puzzles. He uses words and makes sentences in communicating with his friends and teachers. Well done!

January 2011
Practical life - Hao Re is able to express his emotions and knows the proper ways of greeting other people and giving courtesy. He can construct his sentence and need not to repeat the words from teacher.

Sensorial - He is able to stack up the tower and cylinder with care. He make sure that the edges are equal. However, he is confused in building the tower in sequence. He can match the color tablets into its corresponding colour. He likes to tell what he is currently doing.

Maths - He is able to count the beads and arranged them in sequence. Often times he ask for affirmation if his work is correct.

Language - He can now identify the letter name and the sound of each letter. He can also name some things that start with letter A.

Cultural - He is able to put the clock arrow from 1 o clock to 11 o clock. He’s sometimes switch the arrows and get confuse with 6 o clock. Hao Re is very much familiar with the two season summer and rainy.He is also familiar with winter season and talk about the snowman.

Hao Re has developed his fine motor skills very well.

February 2011
Practical life - Hao Re is able to transfer and sort objects . However he still use two hands to fully grip the tong.
He is able to walk in the line straightly.

Sensorial - He is able to stack up the knobless cylinder but he does it unevenly. However he can stack it up according to its proper order. He can match the color tablets into its corresponding colour. He can also hold the material with proper care.

Maths - He is able to identify number symbol 1-10. though sometimes he confused with numbers 6,8 and 9.

Language - He can now identify the letter name and the sound of each letter. He can also name some things that start with letter P, and N.

Cultural - He is able to tell time by hour but still confused in telling time by half an hour. Hao Re is able to tell the days of the week in sequence.

Hao Re has very good classroom discipline. His attention span during presentation is longer than before.

March 2011
Practical life - Hao Re had hard time to shoot the small beads in the shoe lace. However he is very eager to finish the work. Hao Re is so independent in dressing up himself. However he felt unsuccessful for he cannot put the buttons on.

Sensorial - Hao Re used the trial and error method in stacking up the cylinder. However he still manage to finish the task with enthusiasm. He can identify shapes and do the plane figure work properly. Good job!

Maths - He is able to identify counting beads 10- 80. he is very much willing to count the beads by 10’s which is a good sign that he likes numbers. Keep it up!

Language - Hao Re can learn the language so fast. He is able to produce the sounds of C K E H R M. Very Good!

Cultural - He is able to tell time half an hour. But he is still confused with numbers 6 and 8. Hao Re is able to tell months of the year but sometimes forgets the proper sequence.

Hao Re is steadfast learning in vocabulary. He can learn new sounds and words so fast.

It's amazing how much he learns from his teachers. I didn't accompany to attend the classes when he first started this childcare last August. So I have no idea how the classes are conducted and how good the teachers are. From this report, we can tell (and confirm) that he is a fast learner and he is interested in almost everything. They have exposure to Montessori materials and methods one hour per day. I cannot tell how good Montessori is, but judging from Hao Re, it seems to help him to improve on his attention span and to be independent. We hope the childcare will continue to provide enough for him to learn and to grow.

At home, we don't repeat what he learns at school (in fact, we didn't know what he learns), but to follow his lead and we do have a little chat on what he does in school during the short car ride home. Like sometimes he would recite a Chinese poem, so we would all recite the poem together (Xi Yu loves listening to that). When he is singing, we all sing that few songs together. For things that we don't know (e.g., a nursery rhyme, I don't have problem with Chinese ones, but I know very limited English ones), we have to do some homework to learn it before we can enjoy it together with him. When he wants to do crafts, we follow. When he wants to play with the dough, we do together. Or reading a book. Or drawing/painting. Hope this is enough to compliment his learning experience in school.

So far, through our observation, he has no problem in both English and Chinese. He is good in both, though, like us, he tends to mix up English and Chinese when forming a sentence. Previously we thought his main interests were music and movement. Now I think he does like language, arts and crafts, and basically everything. Hard to find out what's his strength yet, or maybe he is an all-rounder? Let's wait and see.

What do you think of Hao Re, judging from these reports, as an "outsider" point of view?
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A short stroll at the Park after vaccination

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Little Xi Yu with her new shoes and shade! And this pretty skirt is getting too small for her (the labels said for 3 years!). She wanted to walk into the poor to chase the duckie!!

We brought Xi Yu for her 5-in-1 boaster and Hepatitis A boaster jabs at Dr Keoy's clinic. It'll be the last 2 jabs till she is 3 years old.

We arrived at the clinic pretty early. Got a number and went down to the mall for breakfast. There wasn't long queue today. It's our turn when we went in to the clinic. Xi Yu was very well behaved. She greeted Dr Keoy, looked at him (and his  stethoscope) curiously. Dr Keoy gave her a biscuit and she thanked him for that. We chatted with Dr Keoy for a bit about her development and behaviour. Then it's the jabs. She was a little shock when the needle went in the first time, but hubby quickly diverted her attention to a toy. Then the second needle went in, the same thing, a bit shock but was diverted quickly. So she didn't cry at all, no tears at all, very brave girl indeed! She said bye-bye to Dr Keoy when prompted and gave him a flying kiss :-)

(Note to parents: According to Dr Keoy, the MMR and chicken pox boaster jabs have been revised and brought forward to 3 years old instead of Primary 1. Do check with your PD/doctor to find out more about it).

The measurements taken today (Xi Yu is 19.5 months):
Weight: 13.3kg (95th percentile)
Height: 87cm (95th percentile)
Head circumference: 48.5 (95th percentile)

She is a big size toddler. Dr Keoy said no worries about it, especially that she is tall and big in general. She is growing and developing very well (despite the lack of our attention for her). I think at least half of the credits have to go to her nanny, we are truly blessed to get to know such a loving and nurturing nanny, who gives her best to our dear princess. Thank you!!

Then we popped over to the United Square to get a pair of shoes for her. This poor little has no shoes for the past few weeks. Her feet are big and all her shoes and gorgor's shoes cannot fit her anymore. She only wore socks for outing in the past 2 weekends, ops :-P While we were paying for the shoes, we saw the cute shade and bought a pair for her.

Then we thought we should bring her to the Botanical Garden, since it's on our way home, so that we can spend some quality time with her alone, without Hao Re tagging along, making this half day especially for her. Spent about an hour there and it's great (though it's a bit too hot as it's approaching noon time).

Some funny/silly moment with her Baba :-)

The active girl walked around the garden under the hot sun. Baba gave her a piggy back ride when she was tired out after the one hour.

p/s: Photos taken using my iPhone camera. Not too bad ya. Forgot to try out the Apps that Viv recommended to me. Should try again next time.

Sent her to her nanny after that and we went back home to R&R :-)
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Esplanade and East Coast Park


Fun, fun, fun!!! Sand play it's one of the best activities for the kids, we should do it more often!

It's the weekend, and it's fun time, yeah!

We went to Esplanade to watch a musical show specially made for children aged 2 to 4 (perfect for our two darlings!). It's a local production (I think) based on a book, and they run a show like this (called Playtime!) once every quarterly (I think, best to check on the Esplanade show's schedule). This Saturday, the show on played was "Todd the Big Green Frog".

As expected, our two kids enjoyed the show very, very much! Hao Re was able to join in a bit of singing and a bit of movement/dancing. Xi Yu watched in full concentration, I think she was trying hard not to blink so she won't miss a single bit of the show :-) We were all made to sit on the floor, adults and kids, guess that made everyone feel more relax and can interact better with the artists. We enjoyed it too, though I expected it to be more interactive, and greedily wished it could be played longer (it's about 45 minutes only).

The ticket is not too expensive. It's $15 person (everyone has to pay including infant), but there are discounts available so we ended up paying $13.5 per person for the great show. There will be one coming up in July (titled "Rocky the baby Panda") and one in October (if I remember correctly, it's "It's a noisy Zoo").

The artists are pretty young too, I think the two young ladies are probably <20 years old. It's a good thing to support local production like this. Go check it out if you are interested, tickets are to be bought from the SISTIC website. On our way out of the room, the book where this show was originated from was on sales. Hao Re insisted to get a copy of it. We bought for him, as the illustrations are really pretty with not too many words, just nice for them. Both of them are very into reading nowadays. Especially Hao Re, he loves reading of story books very much. Xi Yu has always loved books, hasn't changed, yet.

After the show, we picked up Viv and Isaac from a nearby MRT station and we headed to East Coast Park for more fun.

First, we had our lunch at the Waraku Restaurant. All 3 kids were relatively well behave. Xi Yu has been the best, as she sat on her high chair, scooped the noodle I gave to her and ate happily (it took us by surprise how well she can feed herself!). The two boys were a bit playful, but at least stay for us to finish our lunch.

We then proceeded to the Polliwogs. It's too hot for outdoor play (it's about 1.30pm when we registered at the Polliwogs). The boys are very independent already. They ran away from us and played on their own (they seldom played with each other though). Came checked back on us from time to time (Isaac alsmot totally forgot our presence). I am still a bit worry about Xi Yu, it's very crowded that day, so I kept my eyes on her. After a while, we knew she has her own way to get around, and she has her own way to protect herself. I didn't check on her for a stretch of 30 min or so, and she's perfectly fine. She climbed onto the playard, and walked around the whole place, slided down the slides, all on her own. My very strong and brave girl!

Didn't bring the camera along and my iPhone was on low battery. Luckily Viv took some nice photos of the kids and made them into collages using some iPhone apps (on her new iPhone!).

Photos taken at the Polliwogs, courtesy of Viv :-)

Got them out of the place when the two hours were due. Surprisingly, not a problem at all to stop them. Hao Re didn't seem like enjoy it very much, probably a bit bored of it already? Then it's for outdoor fun!

First on, it's cycling! It's very special for Isaac as this is the first time he ride a bicycle!! He did it very well, he just got on it and cycled it away without having us to teach him anything, kids are born with these kinds of instinct, don't they? Xi Yu was very tired already (hasn't napped till then), so she was willingly being pushed around in the stroller and then dozed off. So it's me and Viv (plus the sleeping Xi Yu in the stroller) who ran after the two boys like mad women, keke. Hao Re is already a season biker, he can cycle really fast! But he was very kind to stop and wait for Isaac and kinda taking care of Isaac too.

The twins brother in action! You can see from the photos that Isaac's posture was a bit funny as he got to slided down from the seat and half of his butt was sat of the helmet box instead :-)

After about 1 hour of cycling (with lots of pauses in between, so it's not really cycling for the full one hour), and stopped for about 10 minutes to climb a tree, the boys got tired of cycling and was ready for sand play!

It's really fun! It's Isaac's first time playing on a beach! Isaac accomplished many "first" today :-) Xi Yu woke up to join in the fun. Unlike previous sand play, this time round aunty Viv got some water for them from the sea to build sand castle. Oh my! The kids love playing with the water and the sand. But later the boys followed Viv to collect water and only wanted to play with the water, and forgot about the sand altogether.

Hubby came back at about 5pm (he went off after lunch as he has something to attend to). Though we were prepared to stay till the sunset, the weather didn't permit us. We saw lightning and heard thunder and the sky turned dark. We thought we should wrap it up for the day then to risk getting all soak up. Both boys asked for the bicycle when they stopped sand play. The bicycles were returned to the shop while there were playing. Luckily both of them didn't fuss about it. Would have been nicer if not for the coming thunder storm. Never mind, it's always next time :-)
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The biggest conservation JOKE at the Singapore Zoo

This is what I saw/read from the signboard posted in one of the toilet cubible near to the main entrance, when I was, well, using the toilet:

Zooming in to the text, it says:

Don't you think it's a big joke?!! I certainly think so. So much about conservation. Why do we need to conserve our nature, the mangrove forests in particular? Because we are afraid that we don't have enough tasty fishes and shellfishes for our dining pleasure. Shame on you, whoever is the conservationist that came out with this message/signboard.

And so much about how the zoo is one of the best education centres for the kids. Imagining the scene when a young kid (who still cannot read) going to this cubicle with her mum:

Daughter: Mum, what's this?
Mum: Oh, it's just a signboard.
Daugther: What does it says?
Mum: It says it's important to conserve the mangrove forests.
Daugther: Why? What's mangrove forests.
Mum: (reading fromt the signboard) mangrove forests are important breeding grounds and nurseries for fishes and shellfishes.
Daugther: By why there is a tree on the plate, and there are fork and spoon. Are we supposed to eat up the mangrove forest.
Mum: Oh no, you can't eat a mangrove forest.
Daugther: Then what's the picture telling us?
Mum now has two option:
Option 1: To tell what's written on the board
Option 2: Make up a story to end it.

Be prepared for it before your next Zoo trip.
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Progress report - Term 1 Year 2011

This is what his teacher wrote for Hao Re's progress report at the end of Term 1:

Hao Re has a pleasant deposition in class. He is cooperative and well mannered. Academically speaking, his mind is like a sponge that absorbs ideas and lessons so fast. He shows enthusiasm and concentration in doing work. Keep it up!

Height: 98cm
Weight: 16kg

Two things happened at the childcare worth noting today:

1. Converting from formula to fresh milk
We have asked him and he seconded the idea to drink fresh milk while at childcare, mainly for his milk feed before nap. He is going to drink it cold from a mug that we let him bring to school. The amount is going to be lesser though, as this mug can only dit in 180ml while he drinks 240ml from bottles. Since he still drinks another 240ml in the morning and another 240ml at night, sometimes more, we won't worry. No more bottles at school! He has been drinking fresh milk on and off and he requests for it more often now. He sometimes drink fresh milk at home too in replace of the formula milk. We don't have to worry which brand to buy as he drinks all brands. We just buy a big 2 liters and will see how long can that last, probably a week plus. Let's see how this goes. If this goes well, we will gradually convert all his milk feed to fresh milk and gradually wean him off bottle.

2. Bitten by a young child
He was bitten by a friend who is in the playgroup (the 18-30 months group). Teacher applied zambak for him. It's not serious, but can see the bite mark. When I asked him, he told me the name of the child, but not able to explain why it exactly happened. But he said it's okay, it's not painful and he is not angry with his friend. So proud of him!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
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Imaginative play? Or not?

We were at the West Coast Park today. Heard this conversation between a mum and her son, who is probably 5-6 years old.

The son picked up a wood stick and stuck it onto the sand patch.

Son: "Mum, you see, I grow a tree here!! (with excitement and he was proud with his creation".

Mum: "No, son, tree doesn't grow on sand, it can only grow on soil" (she emphasized on the word soil and said it sternly).

Son: "I can water it to make it grow!

Mum: "(her tone was a bit impatient) NO, did you listen to me, I said trees don't on sand, they only grow on soil!"

The mum killed his son's imagination totally :-( Felt sad for the little boy......

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
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5D4N Hong Kong Trip - Day 5

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Last day in HK!

A very lazy day for us. We lazed around on bed and took our own sweet time to get settled. Then went to the cafe at the hotel to have a simple breakfast (yesterday was at a very local cafe nearby, the food is pretty okay, charged at only a fraction of the hotel food :-)). Then went back to the room to pack. Left hotel at about 11am. Initially wanted to take the hotel shuttle then train, but changed our mind as that would be too challenging with 2 young kids, a lugguage and a stroller. So we took cab instead.

Finally stepped on the Kowloon island. Went to an apartment near to Kowloon station to meet a forumer of mine, who has a daughter, Rylee, and she is one day older than Hao Re :-) This little girl is so blessed with so many toys, it's A LOT!! The family was on their way back from the preschool, so Hao Re and Xi Yu got the chance to sabbotage her toys, and they were really happy playing with them. Hao Re even refused to leave! While we chatted with her mum for a while.

They were so kind to bring us to a very popular restaurant 糖朝 in town to have our lunch, and the very kind and generous husband even bought us lunch, thank you so much! The lunch was great, food was good, with great accompany! Hao Re hardly ate anything, as his attention was all taken up by the entertainment gadget that his friend brought along. But honestly, even without that, he might not want to eat anything too. He was so engaged that he even snatched the toy from his friend! It's so embarrasssed. Rylee was very kind and willing to let him have it for a short while, as her mum distracted her with something else. Luckily Hao Re willingly gave back the toy to Rylee after a while, phew! He did ask me to buy a similar toy for him though :-) Rylee is very well behaved, and she is a really really sweet girl, and she is very tall too!

After lunch, walked around a little bit then took a cab to pick up our lugguage from her apartment. Good thing is her place was just above the MTR station, and it's the airport line. So convenient. We arrived at the airport 2 hours before departure. We have just enough time to check in, and then have a quick dinner, and we were already the last few to board :-) The route was very long and confusing from the check in counter to the boarding gate, so that took us quite some time, luckily the check in staff did warn us, else think most people would be late for boarding.

So, it's bye bye Hong Kong!

It's a nice trip for the family to have a change of environment, to do something fun, to do nice things, and to stick together with each other 24 hours a day (great bonding!). I think 5 days is just nice. Shouldn't be longer than this as the kids got more and more tired everyday. Not sure when we would be back, but we think we would be back, and this time round, it would be for us to hunt for good food! Too much writing about this trip already, should really stop here, can't share tips and other stuff already :-)
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5D4N Hong Kong Trip - Day 4

Did I mention the hotel that we checked in yesterday is very close to the Ocean Park? That's right, you hear it, more theme park fun today. Different from the Disneyland, in the sense that it's more localise. I like it for the fact that it's a truly "Made in Hong Kong" theme park, I am very impressed by the effort they put in to make this theme park a huge success. Despite the fierce competition from the Disneyland, they are still able to attract reasonable numbers of visitors everyday. But I guess their business must have been affected badly. We had a conversation with two elderly while watching the dophin show, and these folks told us that it's free entrance for the elderly and you get to enter for free on your birthday. Thumbs up for this. All Hong Kong people should feel very proud about Ocean Park and continue to support it!

Okay. Now, come back to our "adventure" at the Ocean Park. We were not too ambitious, we didn't want to take all rides, we just took it easy and just did as much as we can, since this is already Day 4 of our tour and the kids might be getting more and more tired (and us adults too).

First we went to see the panda! I am not sure how many pandas they keep, only 1 panda is visible in their home. His name is An An 安安. It's the first time we see a panda. The kids found it amazing and we spent quite some time here watching him. He must have been trained to put on a show on how he eats the bamboo. As you can see from the photos below, he was at the side doing something. But when it's 10am, he walked to the middle of his home, and sat down nicely facing us, and started to eat those bamboo that have been laid out on the floor. We later learned that it's the feeding time for him. He is pretty cute, I would say, but I am not sure if he is happy or not :-( Being locked up and have to make us human happy vs the danger of becoming distinct. Guess they don't have a choice. We human thought it's more important to keep this species in the world and hence this breeding program. Hope we are doing the right thing bah.

Our first time seeing a real big panda!

Next on, we sat one round of the ocean animal carousel. Which park doesn't have a carousel, right? Then, we took the cable car to the upper layer, where the other half of the park is, up on the mountain. The cable car ride was a nice one, it runs along the mountain and facing the sea, very scenic view. The cabin is quite small in size, so it's good that a family can travel in their own cabin without having to share with others. We have enjoyed the ride up and down.

Photo taken at the entrance of the park; and inside the cable car.

When we alight from the cable car, we were not quite sure which one to go first. Somehow we chose the spinning tower thingy, whereby you sat in a big tower-like thing, then it spins gently and slowly in one direction to give you a 360 bird eye view of the park (a similar one can be found at the Sentosa island). Not impressed but it's a new experience for the kids.

Then we went for the infamous Dolphin show. One of the staff advised us to reach there early ad it can be very crowder for weekend show. We were there about 20 minutes earlier. It's drizzling slightly but that didn't dampen the interest of the visitors, it was almost full house! I guess watching the Dolphin show is a must do in the Ocean Park, especially for first timer like us.

It's indeed a very nice show! I was most impressed by the attitude of the people, they show genuinely love towards the animals, I was touched. The kids must have enjoyed it as well.

Enjoying the very nice Dolphin show.

We then proceeded to the jellyfish exhibit. It's an eye opening, to see so many jellyfish of various types and of various sizes, all in a short 10 minutes or so. Hao Re was thrilled! The cable car station is just next to the jellyfish. Hao Re insisted to take the cable car (obviously he didn't know where it would bring us to). Since the rest of the rides (most of them) are not meant young children, we just followed his request and went back to the lower "deck".

Checked out another panda enclosure. There are 2 baby pandas! Do you know baby panda is in total brown colour, but not black and white? I didn't think it was baby panda till I read the board :-( Then there was a nice room displaying various type of special/unique gold fishes. I had enjoyed it so much, pointing out the differences/uniqueness of each type of the gold fishes to Hao Re. Then there was turtle, fishes, etc.

While we were walking passed this open air theatre, we noticed a bird show would begin in 10 min (how lucky we were!). It is, again, a nice show! I really like the attitute of the staff there, very professional.
Right photo - Can you spot Hao Re from the crowd?

Then it's near to lunch time. Both kids were pretty tired and looked like needing a nap, and a milk feed before that. So we decided to end our visit to the Ocean Park then. Took a public bus (the only time we took one in 5 days) to Causeway Bay. The kids must be very tired. They continued to sleep after we alighted from the bus. We asked a shop assistant where to find a dim sum restaurant. Luck we would have it, there was one just a few building away! We had our dim sum lunch with no disturbance from the kids! The dim sum was pretty nice.

Then we took the train to the Central, as we wanted to experience the mid-level escalator thingy. Both kids had woken up then. Hao Re said he wanted to eat some noodles. So we stopped by a food court. There were so many Philipinos around that area, and they are surprisingly well dress (much better than those in Singapore, some you couldn't tell if they are visitors or domestic workers!).

We followed the escalator all the way up. Didn't stop to detour to any street though. Luckily Xi Yu was willing to be pushed around the entire journey. While for Hao Re, after a long nap and some food, he was very happy walking and talking :-)

Baba and the kids at the Mid-level escalator.

We then took a cab back to the hotel. Bathed and rested. Then we decided to go for a nice dinner. We didn't know where to go. Browsed through a magazine provided by the hotel, and decided to try the HK speciality fried crab 避风塘炒蟹. It tasted pretty nice, but the price was quite steep for this restaurant. Best thing was with 2 kids tagging along, we still managed to finish our meal kinda peacefully. They didn't eat anything. Not in the mood for food. Then went back to hotel and it's pretty late already. Last night in HK already :-)
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5D4N Hong Kong Trip - Day 3

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Have our buffet breakfast at the hotel again. Felt even more bored with the food. Just ate enough to feel full. Good thing was that Xi Yu ate some hard boiled egg. The two of them haven't been eating well, in fact, almost ate nothing, only depends on milk. It's okay, if they really needed food, they will tell :-)

Checked out after that and left our luggage with the bell man (again, they are very friendly and helpful!). We took the train to the last station of the Lantau Island MTR line (forgot what's the station name). Then we took the 360 Ngong Ping cable car to travel to where the Giant Buddha was. A friend of mine has kindly warned me of the long waiting time for the cable car on weekend (they waited 2 hours!). So when a staff told us the queue for the "crystal" cabin is much shorter, we immediately opted for that without any second thought. True enough, almost no queue for the crystal cabin and it's only slight expensive than the normal cabin. It saved us at least one hour of waiting!

If you look at the photo below, the one in the middle, you can then understand why they called it "Crystle" Cabin. Its flooring is actually made of glass (not crystal) so that you can see through and have a different view. Pretty good experience I would say. The journey took about an hour and it's quite a pleasant and smooth ride, with nice view.

Taking cable car to the Giant Buddha. Remember the Buzz's gun? Hao Re has to bring it everywhere he goes! He wanted to bring the umbrella along too, but we only let him choose one.

It's quite a nice place. Unfortunately too touristy I found. They even purposely built 2 rows of shops from where you alight cable car to where the Giant Buddha is. It's convenient but not "natural". We stopped by at one of the more local looking restaurant to have bean curd. It's nice but not "wow" kind of nice :-P Then we arrived at the Giant Buddha. Hao Re insisted to have a bottle of milk, and insisted I have to carry him. I let him finish his milk and talked to him a little, while Xi Yu walked around the place with Baba's accompany. After the milk feed, Hao Re was still cranky, and yes, he wanted/needed a nap already. We asked if he was willing to walk the stairs, he said no, he ordered that Mama carries him up. No, no, no, I was so not going to do that! Carrying a 16kg boy to walk up that many flies of stairs? I am not so desperate to go up though we have heard that the view up there is very nice. But no. We just took some photos and left. On a separate note, both me and hubby were a bit disappointed as the Giant Buddha is not as giant as what we had expected. And as I said, it's become too touristy that you don't get the feel.

So close yet so far! Didn't get to go up, thanks to a cranky boy :-)

While we were walking back to the small town beside the cable car station, both of them had fallen asleep. I was so silly that I didn't think of having lunch while they were sleeping! I walked straight into the small theatre (that's what we planned to do, and it's included in the cable car tickets) and it's too late for hubby to stop me (I walked very fast as my hands were aching carrying the 16kg). Good thing was Hao Re woke up (only power napped for about 10-15min) and he caught the show. Xi Yu slept throughout despite the noise. It's a funny, cartoony show about 3 monkeys fooling around. Hao Re enjoyed it very much! After that, there was another show about the history of the Buddha, it's more of a serious show, but Hao Re enjoyed it all the same! He is a very "visual" kid, he loves all sort of shows. Then we had our lunch before taking the cable car back to the MTR station. This time round, it's Hao Re to fall asleep on the train.

Took train back to the Disney station. We waited for hubby to take the shuttle bus to the hotel to pick up our luggage. Luckily Hao Re was still sleeping, so it's not too challenging to handle Xi Yu.

You should see by now what our "pattern" is - our poor kids took nap whenever they were tired. We would not rush back to the hotel for them to nap. They would just nap in the stroller in the sitting up position, as this stroller can't be folded to sleeping position. We didn't want to bring the one which they can sleep better as that one is heavy. This one we brought is super lightweight one :-) They ate what we ate. If they don't eat, they just drink milk. We are lucky that our two kids are also those very easily adapting to new environment. So despite all the "harsh" schedule, they were doing really great! Sometimes I do feel a bit guilty though, as we stopped for lunch/dinner according to our time, not their time, so often they already have their milk before lunch/dinner, so they won't eat much or don't eat at all when we have ours, very evil parents, keke.

We took train to the Hong Kong Station at the Hong Kong Island. Luckily it's a Saturday, so the train ride was not bad, not too crowded. Then we took a taxi to the hotel, which is at the south of the island, very near to the Ocean Park (we can see the park from our room!). We have shower and rested. Initially we thought of just having dinner and rest for the rest of the night. But then we changed our mind. We decided to go to the Peak!

It's probably a good idea, as the queue was not that bad during night time, we only need to queue for about 15-20 minutes.But on the other hand, it's not so good as the wind was very strong at night and I guess night view is never too attractive to the kids. We have our dinner, very simple dinner at a cafe similar to Starbucks, just some salads and cake, as most the restaurants were full (it's Saturday night, remember?). When we wanted to go down hill, oh, the queue was very bad! The queue was so long till it extended to the outdoor, totally open with very strong wind blowing! It's still not freezingly cold, but somehow made us uncomfortable. Especially worried for the kids as they just got better for their runny nose and cough. We must have been standing in this bad condition for about 30 minutes if not longer. Hubby went to ask if they could let family like us (have young children) to cut queue, the answer was no. Wanted to take a cab, but the first driver refused to take us and the second driver quoted us like 5x the actual price! So joining the queue we were.

The night view of Victoria harbour. It was a very special photo as it's taken during the "Earth Hour", some of the building switched off their light during this hour, so it's a different view from the rest of the 364 days ;-)
The cable car ride was thrilling as the slope is so steep that you felt that as if the building along the track were tilted. Guess it would be nicer if we go up during day time, so that the kids can enjoy it more. Oh well, next time.

Went back to hotel and the kids knocked out after some fooling around on bed. This hotel is targeted business travelling customers, so there was no cartoons or kids channel available. Glad that the kids were still happy just jumping and climbing around. The thing I like most about this hotel was that the bed is so big that it fits the four of us! The two kids in the middle and each of us guarding each end, and still have a bit of space to turn. How I wish I could buy a bed like this at home. But then, can our room fit in? Probably yes, but leave with no extra space for wardrobe :-) Sweet night!
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