Sunday, May 10, 2015
Happy Mother's Day! Hope you had a good day, whether you were celebrated or celebrating someone. We had a lovely afternoon at the Bale Equestrian Club, where there was a Mother's Day programme for the day. We enjoyed a good buffet lunch and there was also a range of activities for the kids.
The highlight of the afternoon for the kids were the pony rides. There were a couple of horses too but our kids were much too short for them. The kids have been on ponies before so they were pretty confident in the saddle (of course the pony was led by a handler). There were also a couple of friendly donkeys roaming around and the kids were delighted to be able to get up close to them and play with them. Babydoll declared that they all belonged to her - "MY donkeys and MY horses".
There was a "Dress Up Your Mom" event, which Ryan asked me to participate in. The kids got to choose three accessories from a range of hats, scarves, flower leis, and other stuff, with which to adorn their moms with. Here I am, all dressed up!
Yes, babydoll is in make-up! That was from the face-painting station. She asked the face-painter to give her "Elsa". I was expecting that there would be some snowflakes on her face or something like that, so I was surprised when she came out with make-up instead! I guess this is a literal interpretation, huh.
We were there for about three hours. Well spent, I would say. The kids had a great time playing with the other kids there and I, of course, had a wonderful time being the guest of honour (ok, one of the guests-of-honour, if we must be accurate, heh). Happy Mother's Day!
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Babydoll was born in the Year of the Dragon and, yes, she breathes fire.
When I try to help her with something, she will simply say, "No, I can do it". And she usually manages to. Except for braiding hair and tying ribbons - I'm not out of a job just yet, heh.
If we tell her not to do something and she persists, we sometimes tell her - I said, "No". To which she will shoot right back - I say "YES"!
When she saw that a boy had pushed her big brother, she gave him the stink-eye. She coolly and firmly reprimanded him, "Hey, don't hurt my brother!" (That boy was a little bigger than her big brother and certainly a lot bigger than her.)
She will run along with boys twice her size to play football and she always manages to grab the ball in her arms, stubbornly holding on to it, despite the big boys crowding around her to get the ball back in the game. Fearless.
She learned to swim last month, simply because she dared to.
She will tell you, consistently, that her name is spelt "SUBW". Recently, she added an "I" to the end. Her big brother's name, she will inform you, is spelt "RTZY". She will not accept any challenge on this.
I always think that this quote from Shakespeare is apt to describe babydoll - "And though she be but little, she is fierce!" I've got to get that on a T-shirt/bag for her!
Monday, May 4, 2015
Some more catch-up today. This is about Ryan's birthday with the family in KL, back in January.
Richard had some business meetings in KL which coincided nicely with the weekend before Ryan's birthday so we tagged along to KL with him. Ryan had a grand weekend, as he always does when he's there.
For his birthday cake, Margaret got his favourite cake ringed with Kit Kat! Yum yum. Plus marshmallows...yum yum yum.
Before the birthday cake at home, we brought everyone out for dinner at Naughty Babe Dirty Duck in Desa Sri Hartamas. We thought that we ordered quite a lot of food but I think we still didn't get enough to feed the hungry horde because the portions were quite small. Every time a dish of food hit the table, the food was gone in seconds!
Babydoll wasn't too interested in the food at the place. She got my brother to take her out to a bakery nearby to buy a doughnut! Babydoll is wearing a dress I made for her back in September 2014, which you can see better in this post.
Here's the birthday boy in his new jacket, which was a present from his Aunty Margaret. Margaret and her family had just got back from a holiday in Japan so there were plenty of gifts, birthday or otherwise, for him (and the rest of us).
Ryan's birthday was in late January, but he is already telling people now that he is "six and a half" and he asks, quite often, whether he will be turning seven soon. Oh my, how fast it goes, huh. Happy birthday love! We love you to the moon and back, always and forever.
Friday, May 1, 2015
A quick post on what we did for Ryan's 6th birthday celebration at school. I kept things very simple this year. First order of things was his birthday tee-shirt. Last year I spent too much time making the gifts for the class that I didn't have time to finish his birthday tee-shirt. This year, I whipped it up on the sewing machine the day before. It has a large number 6 on the back, as you can see. I actually made a similar one just a few weeks prior to this one - it had his name RYAN in a curve above the number '5' at the back. He really loves that he gets to display his name and his age, so I really should make more of these things.
For his little party in school, we made crowns for his teachers and his classmates. Initially I was planning to sew the crowns but after sewing a couple, including sewing twenty tiny jewels onto each one, I succumbed to practicality - I could not imagine sewing 24 of those. So I opted for this version - I just cut out the crowns from stiff felt and sewed an elastic strip at the back. For embellishment, we used adhesive felt letters which are ready-cut from the store. The letters correspond to the first letter of the recipient's name.
Here are the completed crowns! The two green ones in the front of the pile, with the red R's, were for Ryan. I like the one with the fancy cut but he chose the other one, with the jewels which I sewed on, because that was the one that I presented first to him. The red one with the jewels but without a letter is an extra.
For the birthday cake, we ordered mini eggless cube cakes from Emicakes in six different flavours (one of Ryan's classmates is not allowed to have eggs). We arranged them on a cake board in the shape of a '6', stuck candles in them, handed out the crowns, sang the Happy Birthday song (a few versions), blew out the candles and distributed the cubes. It was so efficient and went really, really fast, mainly because there was no need to cut a big cake and plate the pieces. I didn't snap any photos though. I really should have!
Anyway, that was that for this year. Simple and easy. If you're interested, here's a flashback to what we did for last year's school party.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
We have never really approached toys with a "toys for boys" and "toys for girls" mindset. In Ryan's baby/toddler days, we would buy him toys like blocks, loose parts, construction parts, alphabet sets, soft toys (usually Sesame Street themed), and Lego. We did get him train tracks, which I suppose are more boyish, although he was more into the track building than the trains themselves. It was when he was five years old that he got interested in things like Hot Wheels, Transformers, and Paw Patrol, and recently, HexBug and Robocar Poli - stuff that I suppose would fit into the category of "toys for boys". We never pushed him into all this stuff though. Usually he would watch videos on Youtube about these toys and then mount an appeal for us to get them.
Little babydoll plays with all the "boy" toys. She will happily adopt a Robocar Poli toy, grab a couple of Hot Wheels for the bathtub, and put Ryan's robots in her handbag. On her last trip to the toy store, she picked out a Hot Wheels car. Be that as it may, she does have affection for "toys for girls". She loves kitchen/tea sets, playdough, soft toys and princess-ey stuff. Since she was introduced to the movie "Frozen" over Chinese New Year, she also feels a magnetic pull towards all things Elsa-related. These days, our hair-tying options are "Elsa or Anna?" meaning one or two braids? and she usually chooses Elsa.
Today's photo shows babydoll posing with her dollhouse. It was supposed to be a gift for last Christmas but I only opened and set it up last month, in March. I love the fact that it is taller than she is! She absolutely loves it. There is an Elsa doll in residence, of course. In addition, her nanny gave her some dolls for Christmas and they all live together there. Ryan plays with it too and often we will find Hot Wheels cars in there, together with the whole gang of Alphabet Robots, plus a couple of dinosaurs too.
I never tell my children that this toy is for boys or this toy is for girls, although they have gravitated naturally to the stereotypes (while still maintaining an interest in the toys supposedly for the opposite gender). I do think it's strange that we would tell our sons not to play with dolls, but expect them to become loving fathers. I think it's strange that we would tell our daughters that the "guy stuff" is not for them, yet tell them not to feel inferior to men. Perhaps the issue of toys is a small one, but I do think that it is a reflection of our mindset and besides, if we can't get the small things right then we're not going to do very well with the big things, eh?
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Ryan turned six in January and I honestly have difficulty remembering his babyness. Sometimes his little sister does or says something, and I ask - was Ryan ever like that? I've reached the stage where my memories of his baby days come to me in broad strokes, with little detail.
I cannot recall anything about Ryan's babyhood which was difficult or which stressed me out. I'm sure that there were some bad days but right now, the memories I have are only of good ones. Perhaps I'm a big picture sort of person, perhaps there weren't many bad days to begin with. Perhaps again, it's just the way mothers are wired. We forget the hard days and we let go of the stressful times. What's left is all good.
In the same way that I enjoyed Ryan's babyhood, I am enjoying the six year old version. He is as easygoing as he has always been, which is to say that he is easygoing towards other people - he is still fussy about his food! He's fun to be with, he's got lots of love to give, he's loyal to his friends and family, he listens to reason, and he can hold an intelligent conversation. Biased I may be, I think he's a great kid.
There are bad days, but they are few and far between and, to be fair, those days are only bad because I didn't handle them better. Parenting a six year old isn't quite the same as parenting a baby, eh? Ah well, the bad days are never a waste. Bad days teach us to make better decisions; they point us in the right direction. I'm learning as I go along and I'm aware and grateful that, with Ryan, it really isn't that difficult.
Just today, someone guessed that Ryan is five. It took me a second to consider whether to correct her or not - part of me is still amazed that six years have flashed past - but I did correct her. Because it's important to Ryan that he's six. He goes around telling everyone that he's six. It's his special number (until he turns seven, of course). He loves being six. (He loved being five too, actually.) Six is when you say goodbye to your schoolmates. Six is when you start anticipating going to "the big school". Six is when you finally tell your mummy, "I'm not a baby". Six is when you start believing, truly believing, that you are someone's big brother. Six is when you have thoughtful opinions about the world around you. Six is a big thing.
And yes, it's important to me too. I wanted her to know that I've had this amazing child for six wonderful years. I may have trouble recalling the bad bits, yes. Be that as it may, there are, overwhelmingly, so many good bits in those years, so much happiness and joy, so much laughter and love, so much personal growth and learning (on my part as well as Ryan's), that I wouldn't discount a single day. Six years old? Yes, oh yes.
Monday, April 20, 2015
Babydoll started going to preschool in January this year and, well, she took to it like a duck to water. No issues at all, no tears. She was so happy - finally she could have her piece of the action. She was quiet for the first week, observing what was going on around her, deciding who she wanted to be friends with, and learning the class routines. She was soon comfortable enough to speak her mind and it wasn't long before her teacher told me, highly amused, that they'd had an "argument" over sharing, which ended with babydoll giving her the stink-eye. Hahaha! Her teachers are pretty cool, I like them.
Babydoll is a late addition to her class, together with one other student. The rest of her classmates had all done at least one term (or more) of preschool when babydoll started. I actually think that this fact assisted in a smooth settling-in for babydoll as her classmates were familiar with the class routines, eg. sitting down for reading time, sitting down for snacktime and lunch and putting away the plates and utensils, keeping her stuff in her cubby, plus nobody was crying. This environment, I imagine, is far less confusing and far less scary compared to being in a chaotic classroom of children who are all clueless.
The other new student did cry on her first day and - bad timing - she was crying at the classroom door when we arrived with babydoll. I saw babydoll's expression - a little spooked and slightly panicked - which made me think that babydoll might burst into tears as well. She didn't, my brave fearless girl. She got a hold of herself and walked right into the classroom. Amazing.
We watched her through the window for a while. It was some time before a teacher could attend to her as they were occupied with welcoming the students. Babydoll stood in the middle of the room, alone, watching everyone and taking it all in. After a while a teacher approached her and invited her to join a group that was using playdough. Babydoll had been using playdough a lot at home so I was quite happy about that - it would be familiar and comforting for her. After a while, she moved on to try painting at the easel, also something she was familiar with. That's when we left. When I picked her up after school, she was all smiles and her teachers told me that she'd had a great first day. She also met her brother in the course of her day, which helped, I think. From there on, it just got better.
In her first term, I regularly received hilarious recaps of her day in school, from her own teachers as well as other teachers in her school. One of her teachers told me, again highly entertained, that babydoll would regularly "escape", meaning babydoll would wander off from the group to do her own thing, and it would happen at least once a day. One day, her teacher was searching high and low for babydoll in the canteen, and finally found her, still in the canteen, but crouched down next to a plant pot, carefully examining the plant leaves, her tiny size well camouflaged by the massive plant.
Babydoll would also join up with Ryan whenever she saw him on the school grounds (usually during outdoor playtime) and sometimes she'd "forget" to return to her own class. This habit provided the background to another funny story - one day, babydoll had to put on her shoes but her shoes were nowhere to be found. Her teacher asked her where she left her shoes and babydoll told her, "In class". Well, her shoes weren't in her classroom. Her teacher searched all over the school grounds and came up with nothing. Until her teacher realised that the shoes must be in Ryan's classroom - and they were. They were neatly placed in Ryan's cubby.
Babydoll would also often go to her brother's class to play with their stuff, and she even "borrowed" their stuff. Ryan's teacher told me that she saw babydoll walking towards the sandpit with their stuff and when babydoll saw her looking, babydoll actually turned her body to hide the "borrowed" stuff while making a run for the sandpit. Heh heh. She's a wily one.
Babydoll has just started her second term now and I don't hear as many stories about her escapades. She has made some good friends among her classmates so she has her own little gang now. That probably occupies her a little.
There's lots more to share about babydoll but I'll leave that for another time. Meanwhile, enjoy the photos. They were taken last week outside our house.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Let's get this thing back on the road, shall we?
I usually take a break from the blog for December, and as it turned out, last December's break stretched into this year's April. To say that time has flown by would be an understatement - it has blasted past at the speed of constant change.
And yes, a lot has changed around here. There have been lots of good, great changes, which we deliberately and consciously engineered. Our life looks very different from how it looked six months ago, and we are very happy.
I'll update you as we go along. For now, be reassured that not everything has changed - as you can see, the littles still live in the water and babydoll is still as cheeky as ever.